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Greek Timeline

Source: This Timeline was compiled by Fodors, it can be found at

Greek Timeline

Neolithic Period to the Establishment of Democracy

ca. 6000 BC Beginning of Neolithic period in Greece, with introduction of domesticated plants and animals from Anatolia

ca. 3000 BC Development of early Bronze Age cultures: on Crete called "Minoan" after the legendary monarch, Minos, and on the mainland known as "Helladic"

ca. 1900 BC Rise of important settlement at Mycenae

1900 BC-1400 BC Height of Minoan culture. On Crete the Palace of Minos at Knossos is built, which includes indoor plumbing. Its mazelike complexity gives rise to the legend of the labyrinth

1400 BC-1200 BC Height of Mycenaean power: Crete is taken, and the city of Troy in Asia Minor is sacked. At Mycenae and Pylos impressive tombs mark this warrior culture

1200 BC-1100 BC Mycenaean civilization falls as Bronze Age civilizations of the Eastern Mediterranean collapse

1100 BC-750 BC The "dark ages": writing disappears. The legendary poet Homer narrates a history of the Trojan War and describes an aristocratic society; this oral tradition is later written down as the Iliad and the Odyssey

ca. 750 BC Establishment of the polis, or city-state, as the characteristic form of political and civic organization in Greece

ca. 725 BC The poet Hesiod describes rural life in Works and Days and establishes the pantheon of Greek gods in Theogony. The Olympic Games are established as a Panhellenic event, during which peace prevails

700 BC-500 BC Colonization builds Greek city-states throughout the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, social pressures at home lead to the rule of tyrants

621 BC Dracon publishes a notoriously severe legal code in Athens

ca. 600 BC The legendary ruler Lykourgos establishes the Spartan system of a highly controlled, militaristic society. Thales of Miletus, the first Greek philosopher, starts wondering about the world

594 BC Solon is given extraordinary powers to reform the Athenian government and constitution

ca. 550 BC Establishment of the Peloponnesian League, a military alliance of city-states dominated by Sparta. The philosopher Pythagoras propounds a famous theorem and sets up a monastic colony in southern Italy; the poet Sappho of Lesbos describes a particular kind of love

508 BC-501 BC Cleisthenes establishes Athenian democracy

The Classical Era

499 BC-479 BC Persian wars: Athens leads Greek states against Kings Darius and Xerxes. 490 BC: Battle of Marathon is a critical victory for Athens. 480 BC: Xerxes invades Greece; the Greek League, which includes Athens and Sparta, defeats him in a series of battles at Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea

478 BC-477 BC Founding of Delian League of city-states under Athenian hegemony; it will evolve into an empire

ca. 475 BC-400 BC Golden age of classical Greek culture, centered at Athens. Aeschylus (525 BC-456 BC), Sophocles (circa 496 BC-406 BC), and Euripides (circa 485 BC-402 BC) form the great triumvirate of classical drama; the comedies of Aristophanes (circa 450 BC-385 BC) satirize contemporary mores. Socrates (469 BC-399 BC) and his disciple Plato (circa 429 BC-347 BC) debate the fundamental questions of knowledge and meaning. Herodotus (circa 484 BC-420 BC) and Thucydides (471 BC-402 BC) invent historical writing. The Acropolis epitomizes the harmony and precision of classical architecture and sculpture

462 BC Pericles (circa 495 BC-429 BC) rises to the leadership of Athens and leads the city to its cultural height

460 BC-445 BC First Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta ends with the "Thirty Years' Peace" and recognition of the Athenian Empire. At the height of his power, Pericles rebuilds Athens

432 BC The Second, or Great, Peloponnesian War begins when Sparta declares war on Athens

429 BC A disastrous plague kills more than one-third of the Athenian population, including Pericles

415 BC-413 BC Athens's disastrous invasion of Sicily reopens the war and sets the stage for its downfall

404 BC Athens falls to Sparta and its walls are dismantled, ending an era

398 BC-360 BC Rule of Agesilaus at Sparta, whose aggressive policies lead to its ruin

394 BC Spartan fleet destroyed by Persians

386 BC Plato founds the Academy in Athens, a school of philosophy that trains statesmen

384 BC Birth of Aristotle, the greatest ancient philosopher and scientist (died 322 BC)

378 BC Second Athenian Confederation marks the resurgence of Athens

362 BC Death of Epaminondas at the battle of Mantinea ends Theban dominance, documented by Xenophon (circa 434 BC-355 BC)

355 BC Second Athenian Confederation collapses, leaving Greece in chaos

The Hellenistic Era

351 BC Demosthenes (384 BC-332 BC) delivers the First Philippic, warning Athens of the dangers of Macedonian power

342 BC Aristotle becomes tutor to a young Macedonian prince named Alexander (356 BC-323 BC)

338 BC Alexander's father, Philip of Macedon (382 BC-336 BC) defeats the Greek forces at Chaeronea and establishes Macedonian hegemony

336 BC Philip is assassinated, leaving his empire to his son Alexander, soon to be known as "the Great." Aristotle founds his school, the Lyceum, at Athens

323 BC Having conquered the known world and opened it to Greek culture, Alexander dies of a fever in Babylon

ca. 330 BC-200 BC Hellenistic culture blends Greek and other influences in a cosmopolitan style. Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Cynicism enter philosophy; Hellenistic sculpture blends emotion and realism. At the new city of Alexandria in Egypt, Greek science and mathematics flourish with Euclid (300 BC) and Archimedes (circa 287 BC-212 BC); Aristarchus (circa 310 BC-230 BC) asserts that Earth revolves around the sun

The Roman Era

215 BC The outbreak of the First Macedonian War signals Rome's rise in the Mediterranean

146 BC Rome annexes Greece and Macedonia as provinces. Roman culture becomes increasingly Hellenized

49 BC-31 BC Greece is a battleground for control of Rome's empire. In 48 BC Julius Caesar defeats Pompey at Pharsalus; in 42 BC Caesar's heir, Octavian, defeats Brutus at Philippi; in 31 BC Octavian defeats Mark Antony at Actium and becomes, as Augustus, the first Roman emperor

AD 125 The guidebook of Pausanias makes Greece a favored tourist stop; the emperor Hadrian undertakes the renovation of ancient monuments

394 The emperor Theodosius declares Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire and bans pagan cults, suppressing the Olympic Games and closing the oracle at Delphi

The Medieval Era

476 The fall of Rome leaves Greece open to waves of invaders, though it remains nominally under the hegemony of the Byzantine emperors at Constantinople

529 The Byzantine emperor Justinian closes Plato's Academy in Athens

1054 The Great Schism divides the Christian Church into Greek and Roman orthodoxies

1204-1261 Greece briefly reenters the sphere of Western influence with the Latin capture of Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade

1453 The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks leads to nearly four centuries of Turkish rule in Greece

The Modern Era

1770 The Russian prince Orloff attempts but fails to establish a Greek principality

1814 The Philike Hetairia, a "friendly society" established by Greek merchants at Odessa (Russia), is instrumental in the growth of Greek nationalism

1821-1829 The Greek War of Independence. 1821: the Greek Patriarch, Archbishop Germanos, declares Greek independence, and war with the Turks breaks out. Among those aiding Greece in her struggle is the English poet Lord Byron. 1826: a Greek defeat at Missolonghi stirs European sympathy. 1827: the Triple Alliance of Great Britain, France, and Russia intervene against the Turks and their Egyptian allies. 1829: the Turks are defeated and Greece is declared an independent state, guaranteed by the Triple Alliance

1832 Prince Otho of Bavaria is offered the Greek throne by the Triple Alliance

1834 King Otho chooses Athens as his capital

1844 Greece adopts a constitution that establishes a constitutional monarchy

1863 As a result of Otho's pro-Russian policies during the Crimean War, he is forced to abdicate and is replaced on the throne by Prince George of Denmark

1896 Birth of the modern Olympic Games, which are held in Athens

1909-1910 The Military League, a group of young army officers, leads a peaceful revolt and installs as prime minister Eleftherios Venizelos, who enacts a series of reforms

1912-1913 Greece gains Macedonia, Epirus, and Crete as a result of the Balkan Wars

1917-1918 Greece fights on the Allied side in World War I

1924 Greece is declared a republic

1935 Monarchy is restored; in the next year, King George II allows General Joannes Metaxas to establish a military dictatorship

1940 Italy invades Greece, leading to four years of Axis occupation

1946 Greece becomes a charter member of the United Nations

1946-1949 Communist rebellion is defeated with U.S. help

1952 Women are given the right to vote

1963 George Seferis wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

1967 A military coup ousts King Constantine II

1974 In the wake of the Cyprus crisis (Turkey invades northern Cyprus), the military government of Greece collapses and the first elections in 10 years are held. Constantine Karamanlis is named prime minister. The republic is confirmed by popular vote

1980 Odysseus Elytis becomes the second Greek to win the Nobel Prize for Literature

1981 Greece joins the European Economic Community

1993 Andreas Papandreou returns to power

1994 Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri dies

1996 Former prime minister Andreas Papandreou dies; Costas Simitis becomes leader and wins a vote of confidence shortly after Papandreou's death, when he was elected to the position of PASOK party president, a position that Papandreou never relinquished

2002 Euro bills and coins enter circulation in 12 countries of the European Union, including Greece. The drachma is withdrawn from circulation. The Greek police arrest presumed members of the elusive November 17 terrorist group, responsible for various bombings and 22 killings since 1975

2004 Athens hosts the XXVII Summer Olympic Games











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