Chronologies for Ancient Greece and Rome

Ancient Greece Chronology

c. 1600-1200 B.C. The first Greek civilization, known as Mycenaean, owed much to the Minoan civilization of Crete and may have been produced by the intermarriage of Greek-speaking invaders with the original inhabitants.

c. 1300 B.C. A new wave of invasions began. The Achaeans overran Greece and Crete, destroying the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations and penetrating Asia Minor.

1000 B.C. Aeolians, Ionians, and Dorians had settled in the area that is now Greece. Many independent city-states, such as Sparta and Athens, had developed.

c. 800-500 B.C. During the Archaic period, Ionian Greeks led the development of philosophy, science, and lyric poetry. The Greeks became great sea traders and founded colonies around the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, from Asia Minor in the east to Spain in the west.

776 B.C. The first Olympic games held.

594 B.C. The laws of Solon took the first step toward a more democtratic society.

c. 560-510 B.C. The so-called tyranny of the Pisistratids in Athens was typical of a predemo-cratic stage that many Greek cities passed through after overturning aristocratic rule.

545 B.C. From this date the Ionian cities in Asia Minor fell under the dominion of the Persian Empire.

507 B.C. Cleisthenes, ruler of Athens, is credited with the establishment of democracy. Other cities followed this lead, but Sparta remained unique, a state in which a ruling race, organized on military lines, dominated the surrounding population.

500-338 B.C. The classical period in ancient Greece.

499-494 B.C. The Ionian cities, aided by Athens, revolted unsuccessfully against the Persians.

490 B.C. Darius of Persia invaded Greece, only to be defeated by the Athenians at Marathon and forced to withdraw.

480 B.C. Another invasion by the Persian Emperor Xerxes, after being delayed by the heroic defence of Thermopylae by 300 Spartans, was defeated at sea off Salamis.

479 B.C. The Persians defeated on land at Plataea.

478 B.C. The Ionian cities, now liberated, formed a naval alliance with Athens, the Delian League.

455-429 B.C. Under Pericles, the democratic leader of Athens, Greek drama, sculpture, and architecture were at their peak.

433 B.C. The Parthenon in Athens was completed.

431-404 B.C. The Peloponnesian War destroyed the political power of Athens, but Athenian thought and culture remained influential. Sparta became the leading Greek power.

370 B.C. The philosopher Plato opened his Academy in Athens.

338 B.C. Phillip II of Macedon (359-336 b.c.) took advantage of the wars between the city-states and conquered Greece.

336-323 B.C. Rule of Phillip’s son, Alexander the Great. Alexander overthrew the Persian Empire, conquered Syria and Egypt, and invaded the Punjab. After his death, his empire was divided among his generals, but his conquests had spread Greek culture across the known world.

280 B.C. Achaean League of 12 Greek city-states formed in an attempt to maintain independence against Macedon, Egypt, and Rome.

146 B.C. Greece became part of the Roman Empire. Under Roman rule Greece remained a cultural center and Hellenic culture remained influential.

Ancient Rome Chronology

753 B.C. According to tradition, Rome was founded.

510 B.C. The Etruscan dynasty of the Tarquins was expelled and a republic established, with power concentrated in patrician hands.

450 B.C. Publication of the law code contained in the Twelve Tables.

396 B.C. Capture of Etruscan Veii, 15 kilometers (9 miles) north of Rome.

387 B.C. Rome sacked by Gauls.

367 B.C. Plebeians gained the right to be consuls (the two chief magistrates, elected annually).

343-290 B.C. Sabines to the north and the Samnites to the southeast were conquered.

338 B.C. Cities of Latium formed into a league under Roman control.

280-272 B.C. Greek cities in southern Italy subdued.

264-241 B.C. First Punic War against Carthage, ending in a Roman victory and the annexation of Sicily.

238 B.C. Sardinia seized from Carthage.

226-222 B.C. Roman conquest of Cisalpine Gaul (Lombardy, Italy). More conflict with Carthage, which was attempting to conquer Spain.

218 B.C. Second Punic War. Hannibal crossed the Alps and invaded Italy, winning a series of brilliant victories.

202 B.C. Victory of Gen. Scipio Africanus Major over Hannibal at Zama was followed by the surrender of Carthage and the relinquishing of its Spanish colonies.

188 B.C. Peace of Apamea confined the rule of the Seleucid King Antiochus the Great to Asia.

168 B.C. Final defeat of Macedon by Rome.

146 B.C. After a revolt, Greece became in effect a Roman province. Carthage was destroyed and its territory annexed.

133 B.C. Tiberius Gracchus suggested agrarian reforms and was murdered by the senatorial party. Roman province of Asia formed from the kingdom of Pergamum, bequeathed to Rome by the Attalid dynasty.

123 B.C. Tiberius’s policy adopted by his brother, Gaius Gracchus, who was likewise murdered.

91-88 B.C. Social War: Revolt by the Italian cities forced Rome to grant citizenship to all Italians.

87 B.C. While Sulla was repelling an invasion of Greece by King Mithridates of Pontus (in Asia Minor) Marius seized power.

82-79 B.C. Sulla returned and established a dictatorship ruled by terror.

70 B.C. Sulla’s constitutional changes were reversed by Pompey and Crassus.

66-63 B.C. Pompey defeated Mithridates and annexed Syria.

60 B.C. The First Triumvirate was formed, an alliance between Pompey and the democratic leaders Crassus and Caesar.

51 B.C. Caesar conquered Gaul as far as the Rhine.

49 B.C. Caesar crossed the Rubicon and returned to Italy; a civil war between him and Pompey’s senatorial party began.

48 B.C. Pompey defeated at Pharsalus.

44 B.C. Caesar’s dictatorship ended by his assassination.

43 B.C. Second Triumvirate formed by Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus.

32 B.C. War between Octavian and Mark Antony.

31 B.C. Mark Antony defeated at Actium.

30 B.C. Egypt was annexed after the deaths of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

27 B.C. Octavian took the name Augustus. He was by now absolute ruler, though in title he was only princeps (first citizen).

A.D. 14 Augustus died; Tiberius proclaimed as his successor.

43 Claudius added Britain to the empire.

70 Jerusalem sacked by Titus.

96-180 The empire enjoyed a golden age under the Flavian and Antonine emperors: Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.

115 Trajan conquered Parthia, achieving the peak of Roman territorial expansion.

180 Marcus Aurelius died, and a century of war and disorder followed, with a succession of generals being put on the throne by their armies.

212 Caracalla granted citizenship to the communities of the empire.

284-305 Diocletian reorganized the empire, dividing power between himself and three others (the Tetrarchy).

313 Constantine the Great recognized the Christians’ right to freedom of worship by the Edict of Milan.

330 Constantine made Constantinople his new imperial capital.

395 The empire divided into eastern and western parts.

410 Visigoths sacked Rome; Roman legions withdrew from Britain.

451-452 Huns raided Gaul and Italy.

455 Vandals sacked Rome.

476 Last Western emperor, Romulus Augustulus, deposed.

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