Complete Timeline of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece

Timeline of Ancient Greece | Image: The Acropolis of Athens hosts the Parthenon, an ancient Greek temple dedicated to the goddess Athena

Ancient Greece is considered by many historians and scholars as one of the most influential civilizations to ever exist. The history of this civilization and its people is often divided into three main periods – the Archaic Period, the Classical Period, and the Hellenistic Period.

What critical events shaped the history of ancient Greece, including its culture, government and religious belief set? Below, provides a succinct look at the complete timeline of Ancient Greece.

Archaic Period of ancient Greece

The Archaic Period marked a time when the first system of government was taking shape and beginning to coalesce in the various city states such as Sparta and Athens. This period also marked the Greeks interaction with subjects like philosophy, poetry and theatre.

776 BCE – Ancient Greeks hold the first Olympic Games, a festival of sports organized every four years which was used to honor the ancient Greek gods, particularly Zeus

750 BCE – Famous Greek poet Homer writes his epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey

743 BCE – Break out of the first Messenian War that sees Messenia and Sparta lock horns for decades

650 BCE – An era of tyrannical rule begins, with the tyrant Cypselus taking a firm control of Corinth

621 BCE – One of Greek’s influential leaders Draco comes out with very intolerable and strict laws to govern Athens, some of which slaps the offender with capital punishment; the laws end up being called Draconian laws

600 BCE – Ancient Greece sees the minting of its first coins

570 BCE – One of ancient Greece’s most famous philosophers and scientist Pythagoras is born; Pythagoras makes enormous advancement in geometry, including his famous Pythagorean Theorem

508 BCE – Athenians begin practicing democracy, which was introduced to them by Cleisthenes (the Father of Athenian Democracy)

Classical Period of ancient Greece

Ancient Greece’s Classical Period was a time of immense social and political growth. The period begins with the Athenians receiving a constitution that is underpinned by democratic principles. As a result, the city-state of Athens flourishes tremendously and becomes the cultural hub of ancient Greece.

The Classical Period also saw tremendous progress in different subjects such as philosophy, physics, metaphysics, botany, mathematics, medicine and numerous others. Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato committed themselves to seeking wisdom and using logic to analyze the environment around them.

480 BCE – The Greeks and the Persians wage war against each other in the Greek-Persian Wars (492 – 449 BCE); one of such wars fought was the legendary Battle of Marathon, which saw the various Greek city-states band together to defeat the colossal Persian army.

468 BCE – Greeks take to basking in poetry and theatre, as famous playwright Sophocles produces some very brilliant plays, over 100 plays actually

440 BCE – Euripides, one of Greece’s greatest playwrights and tragedy writers, rises to fame and bags his first award for best play in Athens

432 BCE – On the Acropolis in Athens, the famous temple of Athena gets built in honor of the Greek goddess Athena – goddess of strategic warfare and wisdom

431 BCE – Disagreements between arguably the two most powerful city-states – Athens and Sparta – result in a bloody conflict known as the Peloponnesian Wars; after close to three decades of clashes, Sparta comes out victorious in 404 BCE

399 BCE – Socrates, arguably the greatest philosopher of the Classical period, is convicted on the charges of impiety and corrupting the youth of Greece; the famous philosopher is executed by poisoning

386 BCE – Plato – Socrates most famous student/follower – establishes the Academy, an institution of higher learning that promotes logical reasoning and other scientific disciplines

342 BCE – Aristotle is invited to the Kingdom of Macedon to tutor Philip II’s son Alexander, a military leader who ends up conquering vast territories

336 BCE – Alexander the Great inherits the throne from his father and sets about expanding his empire like never seen before in human history

333 BCE – Alexander the Great writes his name in the annals of world history as he defeats the Persian army as well as all those that stand in his way

332 BCE – Egypt rolls out the red carpet for Alexander the Great, as the great conqueror doesn’t even need to lift a finger to conquer Egypt

332 BCE – 323 BCE – Alexander the Great’s reign over Egypt sees tremendous advancement in science and arts, including the establishment of a new capital called Alexandria that hosts buildings like the Lighthouse of Alexandria and the Library of Alexandria

Hellenistic Period   (323 BCE – 31 BCE)

The sudden death of Alexander the Great results in the ushering of a new era for ancient Greece. The Hellenistic Period, as it has been called, saw the gradual demise of ancient Greece as a force in the region. And for close to three centuries, as Greece’s influence in the Mediterranean wanes, a new power rises in Ancient Rome. By the year 31 BCE, Ancient Rome’s emergence brings an end to the Hellenistic Era.

323 BCE – Alexander the Great dies and the Ptolemaic dynasty is formed

300 BCE – One of the most famous books in mathematics – Elements – is written by Euclid

146 BCE – At the Battle of Corinth, Rome hands the Greeks a crushing defeat, making the Greeks subjects of Rome

31 BCE – Rome’s superior army defeats the Egyptians at the Battle of Actium

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