It is impossible to study western culture without eventually getting an understanding of the Ancient Greeks. The ancient Greeks influenced much of the ancient world with their arts, government, philosophy, and language.
Ancient Greece Timeline: Founding
Settlement around Greece begins.
The Mycenaeans that inhabited Greece enter the Bronze Age.
Ancient Greece Timeline: Dark Ages
1194 – 1184 B.C.
The Trojan War takes place with Greece defeating the Trojans by penetrating their walls with a wooden horse.
The Dorians invade Greece and conquer the Mycenaeans. This was partly due to their weapons bing iron rather than bronze.
The Greeks develop their alphabet based on the Phoenician alphabet.
Ancient Greece Timeline: Archaic Age
The first olympic games were held at Olympia. The one event was the 200 meter sprint.
743 – 724 B.C.
The First Messenian War takes place between the Spartans and Messenians. Sparta would emerge victorious and Messenia would lose its sovereignty.
710 – 650 B.C.
The Lelantine War is the modern name for a military conflict between the two ancient Greek city-states Chalcis and Eretria in Euboea which took place in the early Archaic period. The reason for war was, according to tradition, the struggle for the fertile Lelantine Plain on the island of Euboea. Due to the economic importance of the two participating cities, the conflict spread considerably, with many further city states joining either side, resulting in much of Greece being at war. The historian Thucydides describes the Lelantine War as exceptional, the only war in Greece between the mythical Trojan War and the Persian Wars of the early 5th century BC in which allied cities rather than single ones were involved.
685 – 668 B.C.
The Second Messenian War was a war between the Ancient Greek states of Messenia and Sparta. It started around 40 years after the end of the First Messenian War with the uprising of a slave rebellion. This war lasted from 685 to 668 BC. Other scholars, however, assign later dates, claiming, for example, that 668 is the date of the war’s start, pointing at Sparta’s defeat at the First Battle of Hysiae as a possible catalyst for the uprising
Draco was the first recorded legislator of Athens in Ancient Greece. He replaced the prevailing system of oral law and blood feud by a written code to be enforced only by a court. Draco was the first democratic legislator, inasmuch as he was requested by the Athenian citizens to be a lawgiver for the city-state, but the citizens were fully unaware that Draco would establish harsh laws. Draco’s written law was characterized by its harshness. It is where we get the term “draconian.”
The first Greek coinage appears
600 B.C. – 265 B.C.
The Sicilian Wars, or Greco-Punic Wars, were a series of conflicts fought between Ancient Carthage and the Greek city-states led by Syracuse, Sicily, over control of Sicily and the western Mediterranean. It ended in a stalemate with Carthage controlling a third of Sicily and Greece the rest.
While not the first democratic city in Greece, Athens is certainly the most referenced and probably the most successful model. It was around this time that democracy begins in Athens.
492 – 490 B.C.
The first Persian invasion of Greece, during the Persian Wars, began in 492 BC, and ended with the decisive Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. The invasion, consisting of two distinct campaigns, was ordered by the Persian king Darius I primarily in order to punish the city-states of Athens and Eretria. These cities had supported the cities of Ionia during their revolt against Persian rule, thus incurring the wrath of Darius. Darius also saw the opportunity to extend his empire into Europe, and to secure its western frontier. The Persian invasion would end at the Battle of Marathon when the Greeks miraculously defeated a much larger army.
480 – 479 B.C.
The second Persian invasion of Greece occurred during the Greco-Persian Wars, as King Xerxes I of Persia sought to conquer all of Greece. The invasion was a direct, if delayed, response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece at the Battle of Marathon, which ended Darius I’s attempts to subjugate Greece. After Darius’s death, his son Xerxes spent several years planning for the second invasion, mustering an enormous army and navy. The Athenians and Spartans led the Greek resistance. About a tenth of the Greek city-states joined the ‘Allied’ effort; most remained neutral or submitted to Xerxes.
The invasion began in spring 480 BC, when the Persian army crossed the Hellespont and marched through Thrace and Macedon to Thessaly. The Persian advance was blocked at the pass of Thermopylae by a small Allied force under King Leonidas I of Sparta; simultaneously, the Persian fleet was blocked by an Allied fleet at the straits of Artemisium. At the famous Battle of Thermopylae, the Allied army held back the Persian army for seven days, before they were outflanked by a mountain path and the Allied rearguard was trapped and annihilated. The Allied fleet had also withstood two days of Persian attacks at the Battle of Artemisium, but when news reached them of the disaster at Thermopylae, they withdrew to Salamis.
After Thermopylae, all of Boeotia and Attica fell to the Persian army, which captured and burnt Athens. However, a larger Allied army fortified the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, protecting the Peloponnesus from Persian conquest. Both sides thus sought a naval victory that might decisively alter the course of the war. The Athenian general Themistocles succeeded in luring the Persian navy into the narrow Straits of Salamis, where the huge number of Persian ships became disorganised, and were soundly beaten by the Allied fleet. The Allied victory at Salamis prevented a quick conclusion to the invasion, and fearing becoming trapped in Europe, Xerxes retreated to Asia leaving his general Mardonius to finish the conquest with the elite of the army.
The following spring, the Allies assembled the largest ever hoplite army, and marched north from the isthmus to confront Mardonius. At the ensuing Battle of Plataea, the Greek infantry again proved its superiority, inflicting a severe defeat on the Persians and killing Mardonius in the process. On the same day, across the Aegean Sea an Allied navy destroyed the remnants of the Persian navy at the Battle of Mycale. With this double defeat, the invasion was ended, and Persian power in the Aegean severely dented. The Greeks would now move to the offensive, eventually expelling the Persians from Europe, the Aegean islands and Ionia before the war finally came to an end in 479 BC.
The Parthenon was completed. The Parthenon was a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. It would become an ancient marvel and an example of Greek architecture.
431 – 404 B.C.
The Peloponnesian War was an ancient Greek war fought by the Delian League led by Athens against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases. In the first phase, the Archidamian War, Sparta launched repeated invasions of Attica, while Athens took advantage of its naval supremacy to raid the coast of the Peloponnese and attempt to suppress signs of unrest in its empire. This period of the war was concluded with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. That treaty, however, was soon undermined by renewed fighting in the Peloponnese. Athens dispatched a massive expeditionary force to attack Syracuse in Sicily; the attack failed disastrously, with the destruction of the entire force. This ushered in the final phase of the war, generally referred to either as the Decelean War, or the Ionian War. In this phase, Sparta, now receiving support from Persia, supported rebellions in Athens’ subject states in the Aegean Sea and Ionia, undermining Athens’ empire, and, eventually, depriving the city of naval supremacy. The destruction of Athens’ fleet at Aegospotami effectively ended the war, and Athens surrendered in the following year. Corinth and Thebes demanded that Athens should be destroyed and all its citizens should be enslaved, but Sparta refused. Sparta took over the Athenian empire and democracy ceased to exist for a short period of time.
Democracy returns to Athens
The Greek philosopher Socrates was found guilty for impety against the gods. He was put on trial and executed. His death would be highly controversial.
Plato, a student of Socrates, founded the Academy in Athens.
Philip II of Macedon becomes king of Macedon. He would emerge as one of the greatest military leaders in the ancient world at that time.
The great philosopher Plato dies in Athens.
Ancient Greece Timeline: Hellenistic Age
Philip II conquered Greece at the Battle of Chaeronea. The exception was Sparta. Philip II organizes the League of Corinth. The League aided Philip in fighting a war against the Persian empire.
Philip II was assassinated and his son Alexander becomes king of Macedon. Alexander had been educated by Aristotle and some of the great military minds of his time. After his father’s death it would not take him long to earn the name Alexander the Great.
336 – 323 B.C.
Alexander the Great expanded his father’s empire and defeated the Persian Empire and conquered Egypt. He also launched a campaign into India. His empire spread Greek culture and Language all over the Mediterranean Sea and into Asia.
After his conquest of Egypt he founded a new city and named it Alexandria. It became the new capital of his empire.
Ancient Greece Timeline: Rise of Roman Empire
Alexander the Great dies in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar. His empire was split and his Generals would fight each other to control it.
The Romans had emerged over the past century and expanded their lands. in 146 B.C. the Romans defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Corinth. The Greeks would become part of the Roman Empire.
Ancient Greece Timeline: Online Resources
- Wikipedia – Ancient Greece
- Ancient Greece Culture, History, Architecture, and more
- British Museum – Greece History
- PBS – The Greeks
- Met Museum – Greek and Roman Art
- History Channel – Ancient Greeks
- Greek Mythology
- Alexander the Great reads the prophecy in Daniel about himself
- Amazing Prophecy of Alexander the Great in Daniel
- Does the Bible mention Alexander the Great?
- Nebuchadnezzar’s Vision