Timeline of ancient Greece


This is a timeline of ancient Greece.

All dates are BCE.

Aegean civilization (Bronze Age)

Mainland Greece

  • Early Helladic EH 2800-2100 BCE
  • Middle Helladic MH 2100-1500 BCE
  • Late Helladic LH 1500-1100 BCE


  • Early Minoan EM 3650-2160 BCE
  • Middle Minoan MM 2160-1600 BCE
  • Late Minoan LM 1600-1170 BCE


  • Early Cycladic 3300-2000 BCE
  • Kastri = EH II-EH III (ca. 2500-2100) BCE
  • Convergence with MM from ca. 2000 BCE

Mycenaean Age

Eruption of Thera (Santorin Island) volcano dated probably between 1660 to 1613 BCE.

Dark Age

From 1100 BC to the 8th century BC

Archaic Period

776 :Traditional date for the first historic Olympic games. 757 :The first Messenian war starts. (date disputed by Jerome, Pausanias and Diodorus; this estimate is based on a reading of Diodorus' Spartan king lists and Pausanias' description of the war)757 :Office of Archon reduced to 10 years. Members of the ruling family to hold the office starting with Charops. (dating based on Pausanias)754 :Polydorus becomes king of Sparta.738 :Alternate date for the end of the first Messenian war. 735 :Perdiccas flees from Argos to Macedonia and conquers the land.734 :Polydorus sends colonists to Italy.727-717 :Hippomenes, archon of Athens, who killed his daughter's adulterer by yoking him up to his chariot and then locks his daughter up with a horse until she dies. (Pausanias and Aristotle)c. 725 :Lelantine War between Chalcis and Eretria. Many Greek cities are allied with one or the other. Dates before this point uncertain.719 :Polydorus The king of Sparta is murdered by Polymarchus.716 :The reign of the Heraklids over Lydia is ended when Candaules, known as Myrsilus to the Greeks, is murdered by Gyges because of his wife’s anger.690 :Pheidon becomes tyrant of Argos687 :Annual office of Archon established. Any Athenian citizen can be elected to office if they meet the requirements. Creon elected first annual archon. (dating based on Pausanias)685 :The second Messenian war begins665 :The second Messenian war ends656 :Cypselus subjects Corinth to tyranny645-560 :Spartan wars with Tegea all unsuccessful 642 or 634 :Battus establishes a Greek colony in Cyrene in Libya632 :Cylon, Athenian noble, seizes Acropolis and tries to make himself king, fails630 :Formal pederasty is introduced, first in Crete, as a means of population control and an educational modality621 :Draco, Athenian lawgiver, issues code of laws where everything is punishable by death – Draconian594 :Solon, Athenian statesman, becomes Archon pre-582BC (cf. ML6 (death of Kypselos 585BC) and Plutarch Sol. 14), captures Salamis from Megarians- later, when member of the Areopagus is appointed to effect social reforms in order to preserve order in Athens, which include the abolishment of the security of debts on the debtor's person (Aristotle Ath. Pol. 6), returning exiled Athenian slaves (Solon fr. 4 in Ath. Pol. 12), changing the value of weights and measures to the Korinthian standard, prohibiting the export of grain from Attica and encouraging the planting of olives (Plut. Sol. 22-4), established the property classes (Ar. Ath. Pol. 7) and the council of 400 (Ar. Ath. Pol. 8)590 :Sappho, Greek poetess and priestess, flourishes on island of Lesbos569 :Pythagoras was born.565 :Peisistratos, Athenian general, organizes Diakrioi, party of poor people546 :Pythagoras founded science and philosophy. 510 :Pythagoras founded his own school.500 :Pythagoras died in Crotona, Italy, when he was in Metapontum.

Late Archaic Period

561 :Pisistratus takes power in Athens for first time, 555 :Pisistratus driven out by Lycurgus who leads nobles549 :Pisistratus restored by help of Megacles546 :Croesus, rich king of Lydia, captured at Sardis by Persians542 :Pisistratus expelled, makes fortune from Thracian mines532 :Pisistratus restored by Thessaly and Lygdamos of Naxos527 :Pisistratus dies, succeeded by sons Hippias and Hipparchus525 :Persian Darius I, son-in-law of Cyrus the Great takes Egypt515 :Hippias becomes sole ruler after the death of Hipparchus508 :Hippias is forced to leave Athens.507 :Cleisthenes, Greek reformer, takes power, increases democracy490 :Themistocles and Miltiades, Athenians, defeat Darius at Marathon, Phidippides runs with news484 :Aeschylus, Athenian playwright, wins Athenian Prize

Classical Period

480 :Leonidas, Spartan, makes sacrifice of 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermopylae so main force can escape, Xerxes son of Darius is leading the Persians480 :Simultaenous with Thermopylae, the Greeks and Persians fight to a draw in the naval Battle of Artemisium480 :Battle of Salamis - Themistocles, Athenian general, lures Persians into Bay of Salamis, Xerxes loses and goes home, leaves behind Mardonius479 :Pausanias, Greek general routs Mardonius at the Battle of Plataea479 :Battle of Mycale frees Greek colonies in Asia. After the Battle of Salamis, Athens set up the Delian League, treasury on island of Delos, a confederacy of cities around the Aegean Sea. It was intended as a military defense association against Persia but was turned into an empire, collecting tribute and deciding policy of its associates. Sparta formed rival Peloponnesian League476-462 :Cimon elected general each year, he was victorious over Persia and then enforced military power on Delian League474 :Pindar, Greek poet moves to Thebes from court at Syracuse471 :Themistocles ostracized468 :Sophocles, Greek playwright, defeats Aeschylus for Athenian Prize461 :Cimon ostracized457 :Pericles, Athenian statesman begins Golden Age, he was taught by Anaxagoras, who believed in dualistic Universe and atoms456 :Aeschylus dies449 :Herodotus, Greek Historian, writes History of Greco-Persian War from 490-479448 :Ictinus and Callicrates, Greek architects rebuild Acropolis from Persian destruction441 :Euripides, Greek playwright, wins Athenian prize440 :Heraclitus, Greek philosopher, believes everything is mutable435 :Phidias, Greek sculptor, completes Zeus at Elis 1 of 7 wonders433 :Corinth, Sparta, Megara and Aegina ally against Corfu, Athens, Rhegium, and Leontini432 :End of Golden Age, Peloponnesian Wars begin Athens under Pericles blockades Potidaea (Battle of Potidaea), Corfu declares war on Corinth (Battle of Sybota)431 :Sparta led by Archidamus II sets out to destroy Athens thus starting the Peloponnesian War431 :Empedocles, Greek doctor, believes body has 4 humors.430 :Failed peace mission by Athens, bubonic plague year, Sparta takes no prisoners430 :Leucippus, Greek philosopher, believes every natural event has natural cause. Athenian Plague appears in Athens.429 :Phormio, Athenian admiral, wins the Battle of Chalcis429 :Pericles dies of Athenian Plague, possibly typhus or bubonic plague429 :Hippocrates, Greek doctor, believes diseases have physical cause428 :Plato born.428 :Mitylene rebels, chief city of Lesbos427 :Archidamus II dies, Alcidas, Greek admiral sent to help Lesbos, raids Ionia and flees after seeing Athenian might Athenian Plague returns427 :Mitylene surrenders to Athens, Plataeans surrender to Athens427 :Aristophanes, Greek playwright, wins Athenian Prize426 :Corfu secures island for Athens426 :Demosthenes, Athenian general, and Cleon, Athenian demagogue, revitalizes Athenian forces, makes bold plans opposed by Nicias, his first military campaign barely succeeds425 :Athenian fleet bottles up Spartan navy at Navarino Bay, Nicias resigns424 :Syracuse sends Athenians home424 :Pagondas of Thebes crushes Athenian army at the Battle of Delium, Brasidas a Spartan general makes a successful campaign, Cleon exiles Thucydides for 20 years for arriving late423 :Truce of Laches supposed to stop Brasidas but doesn't, Nicias leads Athenian forces in retaking Mende422 :Cleon meets Brasidas outside of Amphipolis, both are killed (Battle of Amphipolis)421 :Peace of Nicias brings temporary end to war, but Alcibiades, a nephew of Pericles, makes anti-Sparta alliance420 :Quadruple alliance of Athens, Argos, Mantinea, and Elis confronts Spartan-Boeotian alliance419 :King Agis, ruler of Sparta, attacks Argos, makes treaty418 :Battle of Mantinea, greatest land battle of war, gives Sparta victory over Argos, which broke treaty, Alcibiades thrown out, alliance broken416 :Alcibiades makes plans, is restored to power415 :Hermai are mutilated in Athens, Alcibiades accused, asks for inquiry, told to set sail for battle (Sicilian Expedition), is condemned to death in absentia, he defects to Sparta414 :Lemachus, Athenian commander killed at Syracuse413 :Nicias and Demosthenes killed at Syracuse412 :Alcibiades is thrown out of Sparta, conspires to come back to Athens411 :Democracy ends in Athens by Antiphon, Peisander, and Phrynichus, overthrown by Theramenes, Constitution of the 5000, Athenian navy recalls Alcibiades, confirmed by Athenians410 :After several successes, Athenian demagogue Cleophon rejects Sparta peace overtures409 :Byzantium recaptured by Alcibiades for Athens408 :Alcibiades reenters Athens in triumph, Lysander, a Spartan commander, builds fleet at Ephesus407 :Lysander begins destruction of Athenian fleet, Alcibiades stripped of power406 :Callicratides, Spartan naval leader, loses Battle of Arginusae over blockade of Mitylene harbor, Sparta sues for peace, rejected by Cleophon405 :Lysander captures Athenian fleet, Spartan king Pausanius lays siege to Athens, Cleophon executed, Corinth and Thebes demand destruction of Athens404 :Athens capitulates Apr 25 Theramenes secures terms, prevents total destruction of Athens, Theramenes and Alcibiades are killed401 :Thucydides, Greek historian, leaves account of Golden Age of Pericles and Peloponnesian War at his death (History of the Peloponnesian War)399 :Socrates, Greek philosopher, condemned to death for corrupting youth.387 :Peace of Antalcidas concluded between the Greeks and the Persians.347 :Plato, Greek philosopher, founder of Academy, dies.342 :Aristotle, Greek philosopher, begins teaching Alexander, son of Philip of Macedon338 :Philip of Macedon defeats Athens and Thebes at Chaeronea Aug 2 and establishes League of Corinth in winter of 338 BC/337 BC .336 :Alexander succeeds father, who was assassinated by Pausanias of Orestis333 :Alexander defeats Persians at Battle of Issus, Oct, but Darius III escapes332 :Alexander conquers Egypt331 :at Battle of Gaugamela Oct 1, Alexander ends Achaemenid Dynasty and takes Persian Empire330 :Democritus, Greek philosopher, develops Atomic theory, believes cause and necessity, nothing comes out of nothing329 :Alexander conquers Samarkand327 :Alexander invades Northern India, but his army is despondent and refuses to march further eastwards.

Hellenistic Period

323 :Alexander dies, his generals vie for power in Wars of the Diadochi:Antigonus- Macedon, Antipater- Macedon, Seleucus- Babylonia and Syria, Ptolemy- Egypt, Eumenes- Macedon, Lysimachus, later Antipater's son Cassander also vies for power316 :Menander, Greek playwright, wins Athenian prize300 :Euclid, Greek mathematician, publishes Elements, treating both geometry and number theory (see also Euclidean algorithm)295 :Athens falls to Demetrius, Lachares killed265 :Archimedes, Greek mathematician, develops screw, specific gravity, center of gravity; anticipates discoveries of integral calculus.


Wasson, Ruck, Hofmann, The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1978. ISBN 0-15-177872-8.

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