back to English 704 syllabus
back to English 891TT syllabus
 
Timeline of Greek & Roman Antiquity
By David Fleming
(all dates BCE, "Before the Common Era," unless otherwise noted)

I before 3500 Stone Age: the "neolithic revolution" of near east civilizations (esp. Mesopotamia) sees the rise of irrigation & agriculture; towns & cities; temple architecture; writing; intense social stratification



II 3500-1100 Bronze Age (note that, in antiquity, the historical ages were Gold, Silver, Bronze, [Heroic,] & Iron)

3500-1450 Minoan civilization at Crete (non-Greek-speaking); Linear A syllabary

c. 2000 First Greek-speaking (IE) tribes enter Greece (the Achaeans?)

1700-1100 Late Bronze Age Mycenean civilization (Greek-speaking) on mainland; about 1450 takes over Crete. Linear B syllabary. Homer sometimes hearkens back to this world

1250 Trojan war (traditional)

1200-1100 Second group of tribes (Dorians) enters Greece and destroys Mycenean civilization; many Achaeans emigrate to Asia Minor & become known as Ionian Greeks; others resist and stay on at Athens. Disappearance of Linear B.



III 1100-750 Iron (or Dark) Age: the Age of Homer (the world of the Iliad and Odyssey); Havelock's total non-literacy

1100-875 Proto-geometric period in pottery

875-750 Geometric period in pottery; monarchies overthrown by oligarchies; rise of the polis; beginnings of Athenian cultural prominence; "eighth century renaissance"

776 First Olympic games
back to top



IV 750-480 Archaic period: Havelock's craft literacy; Cole's pre-rhetoric

750 adaptation of Phoenician alphabet; revival of writing in Greece

750-500 era of Greek colonization in West and East; continued development of polis culture; rapid increase in commercial & agricultural activity; hoplite revolution; rise of panhellenic religious festivals and games; emergence of rational and scientific thought

725-675 writing down of the Iliad

720-620 Orientalizing period in pottery

620-480 Archaic period proper; oligarchies overthown by tyrants; rise of democracy; standardization and diffusion of Homeric epics; esp. at Athens



V 480-323 Classical period

480-400 Fifth Century: Havelock's semi-literacy; Cole's proto-rhetoric

534-400 Drama at Athens: Aeschylus 525-456; Sophocles 496-406; Euripides 485-406.

492-479 Persian Wars: defeat of Darius at Marathon 490 and Xerxes at Salamis 480 & Plataea 479

494-434 Empedocles of Sicily (teacher of Tisias & Gorgias?)

476 Corax and Tisias (teacher of Gorgias?) in Sicily (democracy in Syracuse)

462 Legislation of Ephialtes (pay for jurors)

461-429 Pericles strategos in Athens

451 restriction of citizenship in Athens

450-400 The First or Great Sophists at Athens: Protagoras of Abdera (485-410); Gorgias of Leontini (485-380) (teacher of Isocrates); Antiphon (480-411); etc.

469-399 Socrates

431-404 Peloponnesian War; oligarchic interlude in Athens




399-323 Fourth Century: Havelock's general literacy; Cole's rhetoric

392 Isocrates (436-338) opens his school

380 Plato (420-348) opens Academy

367 Aristotle (384-322) comes from Stagira to study at Academy; later opens Lyceum

350 Demosthenes (384-322); Philip of Macedon most powerful ruler in greater Greece

323 death of Alexander the Great
back to top



VI 323-30 Hellenistic period; school rhetoric; Kennedy's letteraturizzazione

323-279 struggle of the diadochoi: Alexander’s Macedonian generals (Antipater; Perdiccas; Antigonus; Ptolemy; Seleucus; etc.) and their descendants (Cassander; Demetrius; Ptolemy II; Antiochus; etc.) jockey for power. Three dynasties emerge:


a. the Ptolemies: Egypt & South Syria (capital Alexandria)


b. the Seleucids: Asia Minor & Persia (capital Antioch)


c. the Antigonids: Macedonia & Greece (capital Athens)

241 a fourth power is born when Attalus names himself ruler of part of the Seleucid kingdom with Pergamum as capital (the Attalid dynasty)

c. 250 confederacies and leagues spring up in Greece; giving groups of cities some autonomy

passim spread of Greek culture; Greek ruling class; Greek language; rise of cosmopolitan cities (e.g. Alexandria; Antioch; Pergamum; Athens); rhetoric becomes chief tool of education esp. in cities of Greek Asia (e.g. Rhodes)

215 Rome involved in affairs of Macedonia

146 Greece a Roman province

30 conquest of Egypt by Rome
back to top



VII 753-30 Rome: rise of the republic

753 legendary founding of Rome by Romulus (fr. Aeneas)


the 7 kings - some Etruscan - elected by people & advised by senate of elders


three tribes based on kinship & 30 wards; later tribes based on residence + wealth (5 classes: richest control assembly/senate)

600 literacy - based on Gk. alphabet




510-270 early republic: aristocratic; 2 consuls elected annually; dictator possible; senate governs


conflict of the orders: plebians seek security; land; debt relief; equality from patricians; they est. their own magistrates (tribunes) & assembly; threaten secession

451 the Twelve Tables; intermarriage (445); consulship = 1 + 1 with a veto for each (366)

287 debt relief; full sovereignty of concilium plebis (287)


outcome of the conflict of the orders is a mixed patrician/plebian oligarchy of about 50 noble families who monopolize magistracies & thus senate which is composed of all ex-magistrates


also at this time: conquest of Italian peninsula

390 Rome almost destroyed by Gauls

280 war with Greek cities in S. Italy


features of republic: right to take part given to all adult male citizens but wealthy had more rights: voting first; magistrates control right to address assembly; assemblies not deliberative; only the aristocratic senate debated; the cursus honorum of magistracies: quaestor; aedile; praetor; consul; censor; oratory in law courts and senate (educated; trained; wealthy; intelligent)
back to top




270-120 middle republic


in Italy: peace; common culture; language; and law


outside Italy: expansion – Sicily; Punic War with Carthage; Cisalpine Gaul; Illyricum; Macedonia; Greece; Spain; Asia; Gaul; etc.


immense wealth coming in; rise of non-senatorial equestrian class


Greek influence on art; architecture; literature; oratory; etc.




120-30 late republic


provincial misconduct; army uprisings; senate increasingly oligarchic


struggles between the optimates & populares; 1st civil war


populist Gracchi; conservative reaction; populist Marius; time of great oratory

88 Sulla vs. Marius; 2nd civil war


later Pompey & Cicero (senatorial party) vs. Caesar & Crassus (popular)

60 first triumvirate: Caesar; Pompey; Crassus


rivalry b/w republican Pompey & dictator Caesar; increasing anarchy

45 by 45 Pompey dead; Caesar killed in 44. Cicero dead in 43 (Ciceronian Age of literature 70-30: Cicero; Caesar; Lucretius; Catullus; Sallust; and Varro)


3rd civil war: first Antony vs. Octavian (both Caesarian); then the two of them vs. Brutus & Cassius (republican)


second triumvirate: Octavian; Antony; & Lepidus

30 death of Antony 30; Octavian becomes emperor (Augustus)
back to top



VIII 30 BCE -410 CE Rome: the Empire

30 BCE -14 CE Augustan Age (literature: Vergil; Horace; Ovid; Livy)

14 –68 CE the Julio-Claudian emperors: Tiberius; Caligula; Claudius; Nero (literature: Lucan; Seneca the Younger; Petronius)

69 CE "year of the four emperors": Galba; Otho; Vitellius; Vespasian

70-96 CE the Flavian emperors: Vespasian; Titus; and Domitian (literature: Elder Pliny; Martial; Quintilian)

98-117 CE Trajan peak of the empire (literature: Tacitus; Juvenal; the Younger Pliny)

117-138 CE Hadrian

138-192 CE the Antonines (Marcus Aurelius: 161-180)

193-235 CE the Severi

235-305 CE the Soldier Emperors (Diocletian: 285-305)

313 CE Constantine’s Edict of Milan grants religious freedom to Christians

330 CE Constantine moves capital to Byzantium (Constantinople)

395 CE empired divided between East and West

410 CE Rome sacked by Gauls

527-565 CE reign of Justinian - last eastern emperor to use Latin; beginning of Byzantine age (to 1453)
back to top