Important Events in Ancient Greece


Dark Ages of Greece

1200 B.C. - 750 B.C.

The time period where the Dorians, a nomadic tribe, invaded Greece. It is called the 'Dark Ages' because they didn't have a writing system, providing us with no known facts about this time period. Due to lack of a writting system, storytelling was done orally.

Period of Reformers

621 B.C. - 500 B.C.

During this time period there were three reformers: Draco, Solon, and Cliesthenes. Draco was a harsh ruler who created strict laws and created a separation between the rich and the poor. He also encouraged slavery and the death sentence. Government wise, he took the power from the nobles and distributed it into the leaders of the courts. Solon is known as the father of democracy for Athens. He created four political reforms which included dividing the society into 4 social classes, allowing citizens to participate in Assembly, allowing citizens to bring charges to court, and the law of no slavery was created. Solon also created 4 economic reforms which included regulating crop export, allowing foreign tradesman to settle and become legal Athenian citizens in exchange for natural resources, managing grains, and making fathers teach their sons a trade. Cleisthenes was another reformer who made 3 political reforms. These included the organization of districts, allowed people to participate in the Assembly, and he created the Council of 500 which was a group of people from different parts of Athens who came together to introduce and explain laws.

Sparta: Greece's Strongest Military

600 B.C. - 371 B.C.

During this time period, Sparta emphasized their army to an extent where any for of individual expression was discouraged. As a result, art, beauty, freedom, individuality, literature and learning became less important than duty, strength, and discipline. Boys and girls were taught to put service to Sparta over everything, including family. In Athens however, they strongly valued arts and literature. They also encouraged individuality as well as beauty and freedom.

The 1st Persian Battle: The Battle at Marathon

500 B.C. - 490 B.C.

Persia sent more than 25,000 men across the Aegean Sea to seize Athens. They landed in Marathon which was 26.2 miles away from Athens. There were only 10,000 Athenians but by the end of the short battle, 6,000 Persians were killed due to Athen's battle strategy of the phalanx. In all, only about 200 Athenians died.

Pheidippides' Run

490 B.C.

A young runner named Pheidippides raced 26.2 miles back to Athens from Marathon to announce Athen's victory over Persia. His last words were "Rejoice, we conquer." and then he collapsed and died instantly.

The Second Persian Battle: Battle of Thermopylae and the Naval Battle

480 B.C. - 476 B.C.

Xerxes, the son of King Darius and the emperor of Persia at the time, led his Persian army along the eastern coast of Greece to invade Athens. When the Persian army came to Thermopylae, 7,000 Greeks (including 300 Spartans) were stationed there to hold them off. The 300 Spartans ordered the other Greeks to spare themselves and return home while they held them off themselves. They stalled for 3 days until every last one of them was killed. Meanwhile, Athenians positioned themselves into a naval battle, forcing the Persians into a narrow channel near the island of Salamis. The Persians did not know how to navigate the waters and were soon driven out of Athens for good.

Golden Age of Athens

475 B.C. - 430 B.C.

Athens was the leader of the Delian League which gave them power and wealth from taxes. It was almost like they were building a mini-Greek empire.

Age of Anti-sophists Philosophers

470 B.C. - 322 B.C.

Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were well known philosophers in Ancient Greece. Socrates was a veteran of the Peloponnesian Wars who taught that in order for a human to achieve inner peace and knowledge, you must question yourself in an attempt to make yourself a better person. He often challenged authority which caused him to be put on trial for corrupting Athens' youth. He was sentenced to death by poison which killed him in minutes. Plato was Socrates' student who continued Socrates' work and wrote down his teachings in dialogue form. Most of Plato's teachings included recognizing what was yours and other people's faults in different situations. Like Socrates, he was also a major critic of Democracy. One of Plato's brilliant successors was Aristotle. He applied logic to science which ultimately started off as the first scientific method. To answer questions about the natural world, he used syllogism.


462 B.C.

This was the year when the developement of a well-run Olympics started in a city called Olympia. The Olympics occured every 4 years and started off with 4 events. These events included discus throw, javelin, wrestling, and long-distance running.

Age of Pericles

461 B.C. - 429 B.C.

Pericles was and honorable statesman who fought in the Persian War. He favored the idea of direct democracy and strengthened democracy by increasing the number of paid public officials. For the empire, he taxed other city-states, moved the headquarters of the Delian League to Athens, and re-built the navy. He used the tax money collected from the Delian League to beautify Athens. He also lead Athens into the Peloponnesian War but soon died in the beginning of the 26 year war due to a plague that killed him and 1/3 of the Athenian population.

Peloponnesian War

430 B.C. - 404 B.C.

The Peloponnesian War consisted of many small battles between Athens and Sparta. Sparta had revolted against Athens due to their illegitimate use of power. They started off by burning Athens' food supply and they attacked them after a plague killed 1/3 of the Athenian population, including Pericles. In 421 B.C. they established a temporary truce until Athens attempted to invade Syracuse, Sicily. Sparta was victorious in saving Syracuse and the ongoing battles continued until Athens surrendered to Sparta in 404 B.C. Due to their surrender, Athens lost their wealth, power, and the Delian League.

Conquest of Alexander the Great

334 B.C. - 323 B.C.

Alexander started ruthless invasions of Persia and Egypt at the age of 20 when his father, Phillip II, was stabbed to death. Persia did not want to be conquered by Alexander so they fought hard but, sadly, they succumbed under Alexander's military. Egypt on the other hand viewed Alexander as a hero who had come to save the Egyptians from the undesirable rule of the Pharaohs. Blinded by his huge ego, Alexander marched his troops to the Indus Valley. There the people of the Indus Valley defeated him and he and his troops marched home. Unfortunately, Alexander died along the way due to illness.