Ancient Athens


Pericles establishes radical democracy

462 B.C. - 461 B.C.


422 B.C.

Peace from Peloponnesian war

421 B.C.

Cleon & Brasidas killed; opportunity for peace arises. Celebrated in Aristophanes' play Peace. Didn't last; Athenians soon wanted more territory (looking to Sicily) - Sparta launched war again.

Athens keeps enemy at bay with virtually no fleet/army

413 b.c. - 404 b.c.

Oligarchic revolution & restoration of democracy

411 B.C. - 410 B.C.

By the time democracy was restored Athen's subject states had either revolted or gone to Spartans & Spartans had support of Persians.

Women & Lysistrata

411 B.C.

Women at the Themosphoria & Lysistrata produced.

Athens seems to be winning

408 b.c. - 406 b.c.

Athenians may have thought Aristophanes was wrong for preaching peace - but he believed people' motivations for the war were selfish (poor wanted bodies to pilage for $$, allies wanted tributes for more $$, sophists preached that law relied on selfishness (e.g. in property).


405 b.c.

Athenian defeat at Aegispotami

405 B.C.

Crushing defeat; Athen's grain supply cut off - soon had to surrender.

Athenian surrender

404 B.C.

Athens surrenders to Sparta in spring (defeated, grain supply cut off, surrounded). Athens stripped of all overseas territories, Spartan oligarchy (rule of 30 Tyrants) established in Athens. Democracy soon restored, but Athens not the same.

Plato's Symposium (380s)

380 B.C. - 370 B.C.

Only record of Aristophanes' personality - sociable.
End: Is technique of composing comedy & tragedy fundamentally the same?...