The Greeks, or Hellenes, are the natives of Greece and other countries around the Mediterranean Sea like Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, and Egypt. Ancient Greek civilization, the period following Mycenaean civilization (which ended about 1200 BCE) lasted up to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE. It was a period of political, philosophical, artistic, and scientific achievements that formed a legacy with unparalleled influence on Western civilization.
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Of the Indo-European tribes of European origin, the Greeks were foremost as regards both the period at which they developed an advanced culture and their importance in further evolution. The Greeks emerged in the course of the 2nd millennium BCE through the superimposition of a branch of the Indo-Europeans on the population of the Mediterranean region during the great migrations of nations that started in the region of the lower Danube.
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Ancient Greece Timeline-The Greeks
|Wandering tribes begin to settle in Greece
|Bronze Age Greece was inhabited by the Mycenaean people. They took their name from the capital city of their land, Mycenae.
|The Trojan war between the Greeks and the Trojans (inhabitants of Troy) began
|The Trojan war ended when the Greeks used a wooden horse to invade and overrun the Trojan city of Troy
|Mycenaean Greece was invaded by Dorian tribesmen from the north. The Dorians had iron weapons which they use to good effect to defeat and conquer the Mycenaeans.
|c. 850 BCE
|The Greek alphabet was developed from the Phoenician alphabet.
|c. 800 BCE
|Homer composed his poems – the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Iliad is an epic poem set in the Trojan War while the Odyssey tells the story of the adventures of Odysseus on his return from the Trojan war.
|First Olympic Games
|First recorded Olympic games. The games were held at Olympia. There was one event – the men’s 200m sprint.
|First Messenian War
|This was a disagreement between the Messenians and the Spartans that led to war
|First Messenian War
|The first Messenian war ended in victory for the Spartans
|Rise of the Tyrants
|The rule of aristocratic leaders was challenged by lesser aristocrats or wealthy tradesmen who wanted to overthrow the monopoly of the aristocrats. Known as tyrants they seized power from the aristocracy and took over rule in their stead.
|Draco’s Code of Law
|The laws of Athens had previously been a set of oral laws. Draco introduced a new set of harsher laws which were written down for all to read. For many crimes the punishment was death.
|The first Greek coins appeared.
|Democracy began in Athens.
|The philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras, died in Metapontum.
|First Persian War
|The First Persian war began when Persia sent an invasion force into Athens in retaliation for its participation in a Greek raid on Persia.
|Battle of Marathon
|The Greeks defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon
|Second Persian War
|The Second Persian war began when Persia’s King Xerxes led an invasion force into Greece.
|August/September 480 BCE
|Battle of Thermopylae
|The Persians defeated the Greeks in the Battle off Thermopylae
|September 480 BCE
|Battle of Salamis
|The Greeks defeated the Persians in the Battle of Salamis
|The Parthenon was completed. The temple was built in Athens to house a statue of Goddess Athena so that she could watch over the city.
|The Peloponnesian wars between Athens and Sparta.
|Athens lost the Peloponnesian Wars. The Athenian democratic government was removed and replaced by a ruling body of 30 tyrants.
|Democracy was restored to Athens.
|The philosopher Socrates, founder of philosophy, was charged with impiety (being disrespectful to the Gods) he was found guilty and executed.
|The philosopher Plato, student of Socrates, founded the Academy in Athens.
|Philip II became King of Macedon
|The philosopher, Plato, student of Socrates, founder of The Academy and author of The Republic died in Athens.
|The Catapult was invented at Syracruse
|Battle of Chaeronea
|Philip II, King of Macedon conquered Greece
|League of Corinth
|The League of Corinth, a federation of Greek states, was founded by Philip II to boost support against Persia.
|Alexander the Great
|Philip II, King of Macedon was assassinated – his son Alexander became King of Macedon. He was later known as Alexander the Great
|Aristotle founded the Lyceum in Athens.
|Alexander conquered the Persians and declared himself King of Persia.
|Alexander conquered Egypt and made Alexandria the capital of his newly gained land
|Alexander the Great
|Alexander the Great died. His son had not yet been born so his conquered lands were divided between his top generals.
|Aristotle, philosopher, mathematician, student of Plato, tutor of Alexander died in Euboea.
|c. 265 BCE
|Euclid, the inventor of geometry, died.
|The mathematician and engineer, Archimedes, was assassinated in Syracuse.
|The Romans defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Corinth and Greece became part of the Roman Empire
This article is part of our larger selection of posts about Ancient Greece. To learn more, click here for our comprehensive guide to Ancient Greece.
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