Historical Timeline


  • 3100 BC – Egypt is founded
  • 1701 BC – Zeus defeats Kronos
  • 1279 BC – Heracles is born
  • 1250 B.C. – Athens the City State is founded
  • 1200 BC – Sparta the City State is founded
  • 1184 BC – The end of the Trojan War
  • 800 BC – Lycurgus creates the Laws of Sparta
  • 753 BC – Rome the City State is founded
  • 600 BC – Solon lays the foundation for Athenian democratic rights.
  • 550 BC – The Persian Empire is founded and continues to expand under King Cyrus
  • 508 BC – Athens becomes the first direct Democracy.

  • 500 B.C.Start of the campaign, Democracy has existed in Athens for 8 years after the Spartans assisted in overthrowing their previous dictator. The Spartan King Kleomenes hoped to install a new government that would be loyal to Lacedaemon and was angered with the results when his co-conspirator, the Athenian noble Cleisthenes, instead gave power to all of Athen’s citizens to do with what they will. To summarize the Spartan attitude, when a Spartan suggested to the ancient lawgiver Lycurgus that Sparta be reorganized as a Democracy, his retort was “If you want a Democracy, start within your home”. The idea that the common people, no matter how lowly or uneducated, or lacking in virtue, should control the future of the state directly was unheard of in any major city. Sparta tried to convince the newly formed Peloponnesian League to overthrow the new Athenian government and install one loyal to the league, but Corinth and the other allies voted against it, not wanting the first act of the new alliance to be one of war.

  • 499-493 B.C. – The Ionian revolt. Athens sends forces to help the city of Sardis revolt against Persia. Darius reclaims the city and begins plotting an invasion of Athens and the other Greek City States

  • 490 B.C. – The first Persian War, the Greeks defeat the Persian invasion force sent by Darius at the battle of Marathon, decisively ending the first Persian War

  • 480 B.C. – The Second Persian War, Xerxes succeeds his father and the Battle of Thermopylae occurs, death of Leonidas and the 300 Spartans

  • 479 B.C. – Athens is burned, the Allied Greek navy scores a devastating victory against the Persians at Salamis, ending Persian naval superiority. The Allied Greek Army, led by the Spartans, decisively defeat the Persian invasion force at the Battle of Plataea

  • 480 – 460 B.C. – The Golden Age of Greece, with the victory over the Persians, the Golden Age of Greece begins and a time of unequal prosperity lasts for two decades, feelings of fellowship between the triumphant Greek City States endures

  • 460 – 445 B.C. – The First Peloponnesian War. Athenian Imperialism and the subjugation of City States throughout the Aegean leads to war between the Athenian empire and Sparta along with her allies

  • 445 – 431 B.C. – Peace of Nicias, A peace treaty is signed between Athens and Sparta, but tensions remain high

  • 431 – 404 B.C. – The second Peloponnesian War, ending in the Spartans conquest of Athens

  • 403 B.C – Corinth and Thebes counseled Sparta to destroy Athens for good, but the Spartans refused. They cited the fellow Hellenes as former allies and the mutual respect that was long held between the two great Cities. When Sparta refused to destroy Athens, Corinth and Thebes secretly helped re-establish the Athenian Democracy and to rebuild their naval power in order to find in it a counterpoise against Sparta

  • 395 – 387 B.C. – The Corinthian War, After Sparta refuses to destroy Athens and they regain independence, the allied armies of Corinth, Athens, Argos, and Thebes attempt to shake off Spartan superiority, but after multiple victories against the allies, the Spartans force the allied forces to sue for peace. However, their navy is destroyed by the allies who were receiving aid from Persia, once again giving Athens naval dominance in Greece. Persia funded the allies due to the fact that a Spartan invasion force along with over 10,000 mercenary troops had been very successfully invading Asia Minor and liberating the Greek cities there. During the Corinthian War, this force returned to Sparta to defend their homeland and Persia regained control of her vassal states in Asia Minor.

  • 387 – 371 B.C. – After the downfall of Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War, the Thebans, having learned that Sparta intended to protect the states which they desired to annex, broke off the alliance. In the consequent wars with Sparta, the Theban army, trained and led by Epaminondas and Pelopidas, proved itself formidable. Years of desultory fighting, in which Thebes established its control over all Boeotia, culminated in 371 BC in a remarkable victory over the Spartans at Leuctra. Similar expeditions were sent to Thessaly and Macedon to regulate the affairs of those regions.

  • 371 B.C. – The Battle of Leuctra. Sparta, still recovering from years of conflict with Athens, loses a decisive land battle for the first time against the Army of Thebes. Spartan power goes into decline. The Thebans carried their arms into Peloponnese and at the head of a large coalition, permanently crippled the power of Sparta, in part by freeing many helot slaves, the basis of the Spartan economy.

  • 371 – 338 B.C. – The predominance of Thebes was short-lived as the states which she protected refused to subject themselves permanently to her control. Their renewed rivalry with Athens, who had joined with Thebes in 395 BC in fear of Sparta, but since 387 BC had endeavored to maintain the balance of power against her ally, prevented the formation of a Theban empire. With the death of Epaminondas at the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC) the city sank again to the position of a secondary power. In a war with the neighboring state of Phocis (356–346 BC) it could not even maintain its predominance in central Greece, and by inviting Philip II of Macedon to crush the Phocians it extended that monarch’s power within dangerous proximity to its frontiers.

  • 338 B.C. – A revulsion of feeling was completed in 338 BC by the orator Demosthenes, who persuaded Thebes to join Athens in a final attempt to bar Philip’s advance upon Attica. The Theban contingent lost the decisive battle of Chaeronea and along with it every hope of re-assuming control over Greece.Phillips son Alexander led the Macedonian army against the Theban alliance and showed his genius as a battle tactician for the first time. Macedon unites all of the Greek City States under his rule with The League of Corinth, except for Sparta who remains independent but diminished

  • 336 B.C. Phillip is assassinated and the throne goes to Alexander the Great. News of Philip’s death roused many states into revolt, including Thebes, Athens, Thessaly, and the Thracian tribes north of Macedon. When news of the revolts reached Alexander, he responded quickly. Though advised to use diplomacy, Alexander mustered the Macedonian cavalry of 3,000 and rode south towards Thessaly. He found the Thessalian army occupying the pass between Mount Olympus and Mount Ossa, and ordered his men to ride over Mount Ossa. When the Thessalians awoke the next day, they found Alexander in their rear and promptly surrendered, adding their cavalry to Alexander’s force. He then continued south towards the Peloponnese. Alexander stopped at Thermopylae, where he was recognized as the leader of the Amphictyonic League before heading south to Corinth. Athens sued for peace and Alexander pardoned the rebels. The famous encounter between Alexander and Diogenes the Cynic occurred during Alexander’s stay in Corinth. When Alexander asked Diogenes what he could do for him, the philosopher disdainfully asked Alexander to stand a little to the side, as he was blocking the sunlight. This reply apparently delighted Alexander, who is reported to have said “But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes.” At Corinth Alexander took the title of Hegemon (“leader”), and like Philip, was appointed commander for the coming war against Persia.

  • 335 B.C. – Before crossing to Asia, Alexander wanted to safeguard his northern borders. In the spring of 335 BC, he advanced to suppress several revolts. While Alexander campaigned north, the Thebans and Athenians rebelled once again. Alexander immediately headed south. While the other cities again hesitated, Thebes decided to fight. The Theban resistance was ineffective, and Alexander razed the city and divided its territory between the other Boeotian cities. Every stone was removed from the site where Thebes had been, all men put to the sword, and all women and children sold into slavery. The end of Thebes cowed Athens, leaving all of Greece temporarily at peace. Alexander then set out on his Asian campaign, leaving Antipater as regent. Many pointed to the destruction of Thebes as the only thing that could bring Greece to heel, and noted that if Sparta had done the same to Athens it would likely be them and not Macedon leading the Greeks into Asia.

  • 334 – 323 B.C. – In 334 BC, he invaded the Achaemenid empire, ruled Asia Minor, and began a series of campaigns that lasted ten years. Alexander broke the power of Persia in a series of decisive battles, most notably the battles of Issus and Gaugamela. He subsequently overthrew the Persian King Darius III and conquered the entirety of the Persian Empire. At that point, his empire stretched from the Adriatic Sea to the Indus River.Seeking to reach the “ends of the world and the Great Outer Sea”, he invaded India in 326 BC, but was eventually forced to turn back at the demand of his troops. Alexander died in Babylon in 323 BC, the city he planned to establish as his capital, without executing a series of planned campaigns that would have begun with an invasion of Arabia. Alexander’s legacy includes the cultural diffusion his conquests engendered. He founded some twenty cities that bore his name, most notably Alexandria in Egypt. Alexander’s settlement of Greek colonists and the resulting spread of Greek culture in the east resulted in a new Hellenistic civilization, aspects of which were still evident in the traditions of the Byzantine Empire in the mid-15th century. Alexander became legendary as a classical hero in the mold of Achilles, and he features prominently in the history and myth of Greek and non-Greek cultures. He became the measure against which military leaders compared themselves, and military academies throughout the world still teach his tactics.

  • 322 – 281 B.C. – Without a chosen successor there was almost immediately a dispute among his generals as to who his successor should be. Meleager and the infantry supported the candidacy of Alexander’s half-brother, Arrhidaeus, while Perdiccas, the leading cavalry commander, supported waiting until the birth of Alexander’s unborn child by Roxana. A compromise was arranged – Arrhidaeus (as Philip III) should become king, and should rule jointly with Roxana’s child, assuming that it was a boy (as it was, becoming Alexander IV). Perdiccas himself would become regent of the entire empire, and Meleager his lieutenant. Soon, however, Perdiccas had Meleager and the other infantry leaders murdered, and assumed full control. The other cavalry generals who had supported Perdiccas were rewarded in the partition of Babylon by becoming satraps of the various parts of the empire. By about 281 BC, the situation had stabilised, resulting in four major domains:
    The Antigonid dynasty in Macedon and central Greece;
    The Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt based at Alexandria;
    The Seleucid dynasty in Syria and Mesopotamia based at Antioch;
    The Attalid dynasty in Anatolia based at Pergamum.

  • 280 B.C. – 215 B.C. The Hellenistic Period, The quests of Alexander had a number of consequences for the Greek city-states. It greatly widened the horizons of the Greeks, making the endless conflicts between the cities which had marked the 5th and 4th centuries BC seem petty and unimportant. It led to a steady emigration, particularly of the young and ambitious, to the new Greek empires in the east. Many Greeks migrated to Alexandria, Antioch and the many other new Hellenistic cities founded in Alexander’s wake, as far away as what are now Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom survived until the end of the 1st century BC. This resulted in the export of Greek culture and language to these new realms, and moreover Greek colonists themselves. Equally, however, these new kingdoms were influenced by the indigenous cultures, adopting local practices where beneficial, necessary, or convenient. Hellenistic culture thus represents a fusion of the Ancient Greek world with that of the Near East, Middle East, and Southwest Asia, and a departure from earlier Greek attitudes towards “barbarian” cultures. The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of Greek colonization which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa. Those new cities were composed of Greek colonists who came from different parts of the Greek world, and not, as before, from a specific “mother city”. The main cultural centers expanded from mainland Greece to Pergamon, Rhodes, and new Greek colonies such as Seleucia, Antioch and Alexandria. This mixture of Greek-speakers gave birth to a common Attic-based dialect, known as Koine Greek, which became the lingua franca through the Hellenistic world.

  • 215 – 205 B.C. – Macedon formed an alliance with Rome’s enemy Carthage, which drew Rome directly into Greek affairs for the first time. Rome promptly lured the Achaean cities away from their nominal loyalty to Philip, and formed alliances with Rhodes and Pergamum, now the strongest power in Asia Minor. The First Macedonian War broke out in 212 BC, and ended inconclusively in 205 BC, but Macedon was now marked as an enemy of Rome. Rome’s ally Rhodes gained control of the Aegean islands.

  • 205 – 196 B.C. In 202 BC, Rome defeated Carthage, and was free to turn her attention eastwards, urged on by her Greek allies, Rhodes and Pergamum. In 198 BC, the Second Macedonian War broke out for obscure reasons, but very likely because Rome saw Macedon as a potential ally of the Seleucids, the greatest power in the east. Philip’s allies in Greece deserted him and in 197 BC he was decisively defeated at the Cynoscephalae by the Roman proconsul Titus Quinctius Flamininus. Luckily for the Greeks, Flamininus was a moderate man and an admirer of Greek culture. Philip had to surrender his fleet and become a Roman ally, but was otherwise spared. At the Isthmian Games in 196 BC, Flamininus declared all the Greek cities free, although Roman garrisons were placed at Corinth and Chalcis. But the freedom promised by Rome was an illusion. All the cities except Rhodes were enrolled in a new League which Rome ultimately controlled, and democracies were replaced by aristocratic regimes allied to Rome.

  • 196 – 188 B.C. – In 192 BC, war broke out between Rome and the Seleucid ruler Antiochus III. Antiochus invaded Greece with a 10,000 man army, and was elected the commander in chief of the Aetolians . Some Greek cities now thought of Antiochus as their saviour from Roman rule, but Macedon threw its lot in with Rome. In 191 BC, the Romans under Manius Acilius Glabrio routed him at Thermopylae and obliged him to withdraw to Asia. During the course of this war Roman troops moved into Asia for the first time, where they defeated Antiochus again at Magnesia on the Sipylum (190 BC). Greece now lay across Rome’s line of communications with the east, and Roman soldiers became a permanent presence.

  • 188 B.C. – 149 B.C. – The Peace of Apamaea (188 BC) left Rome in a dominant position throughout Greece. During the following years Rome was drawn deeper into Greek politics, since the defeated party in any dispute appealed to Rome for help. Macedon was still independent, though nominally a Roman ally. When Philip V died in 179 BC, he was succeeded by his son Perseus, who like all the Macedonian kings dreamed of uniting the Greeks under Macedonian rule. Macedon was now too weak to achieve this objective, but Rome’s ally Eumenes II of Pergamum persuaded Rome that Perseus was a potential threat to Rome’s position. As a result of Eumenes’s intrigues Rome declared war on Macedon in 171 BC, bringing 100,000 troops into Greece. Macedon was no match for this army, and Perseus was unable to rally the other Greek states to his aid. Poor generalship by the Romans enabled him to hold out for three years, but in 168 BC the Romans sent Lucius Aemilius Paullus to Greece, and at Pydna the Macedonians were crushingly defeated. Perseus was captured and taken to Rome, the Macedonian kingdom was broken up into four smaller states, and all the Greek cities who aided her, even rhetorically, were punished. Even Rome’s allies Rhodes and Pergamum effectively lost their independence.

  • 149 – 143 B.C. – Under the leadership of an adventurer called Andriscus, Macedon rebelled against Roman rule in 149 BC: as a result it was directly annexed the following year and became a Roman province, the first of the Greek states to suffer this fate. Rome now demanded that the Achaean League, the last stronghold of Greek independence, be dissolved. The Achaeans refused and, feeling that they might as well die fighting, declared war on Rome. Most of the Greek cities rallied to the Achaeans’ side, even slaves were freed to fight for Greek independence. The Roman consul Lucius Mummius advanced from Macedonia and defeated the Greeks at Corinth, which was razed to the ground.
    In 146 BC, the Greek peninsula, though not the islands, became a Roman protectorate. Roman taxes were imposed, except in Athens and Sparta, and all the cities had to accept rule by Rome’s local allies.

  • 133 – 88B.C., the last king of Pergamum died and left his kingdom to Rome: this brought most of the Aegean peninsula under direct Roman rule as part of the province of Asia.

  • 88 – 27 B.C. – The final downfall of Greece came in 88 BC, when King Mithridates of Pontus rebelled against Rome, and massacred up to 100,000 Romans and Roman allies across Asia Minor. Although Mithridates was not Greek, many Greek cities, including Athens, overthrew their Roman puppet rulers and joined him. When he was driven out of Greece by the Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Roman vengeance fell upon Greece again, and the Greek cities never recovered. Mithridates was finally defeated by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) in 65 BC. Further ruin was brought to Greece by the Roman civil wars, which were partly fought in Greece. Finally, in 27 BC, Augustus directly annexed Greece to the new Roman Empire as the province of Achaea. The struggles with Rome had left Greece depopulated and demoralised. Nevertheless, Roman rule at least brought an end to warfare, and cities such as Athens, Corinth, Thessaloniki and Patras soon recovered their prosperity.

Historical Timeline

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