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Dr J's Audio-Visual Resources for Classics


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Bronze Age
Archaic Age

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Classical Age



Dr. J's Illustrated Classical Age color-coded Timeline

499-494 Ionian Revolt is crushed by Darius, King of Persia
496 Birth of Sophocles
493 Phrynicus fined for reminding the Athenians of Persian infamy in his play Fall of  Miletus Miletus (sacked in 494 by the Persians)
Archonship of Themistokles in Athens
490 attica38.jpg (3169 bytes)  Battle of Marathon (winning general: Miltiades)     
489 Trial and death of Miltiades
486 Comedy is introduced into the Great Dionysia
485 Death of Darius; Xerxes becomes King of Persia
Birth of the sophist Protagoras at Abdera
Birth of the sophist Gorgias in Sicily
484 Aeschylus' 1st dramatic victory, but the play is lost
483 9801mine.jpg (3608 bytes)Athens makes a big Silver Strike at the Laurion mines and Themistokles persuades Athenians to build a fleet with the money
481 Birth of Protagoras
480 north46X.jpg (2401 bytes)Battle of Thermopylae (losing general: Leonides)
Battle of Salamis (winning general: Themistokles) 
attica46.jpg (3185 bytes)
Cosmologist Anaxagoras settles in Athens
Birth of historian Herodotus (approximate date)
Birth of Euripides on Salamis (approximate date)
479 Battle of Plataea   IMG0046A.jpg (3150 bytes)
477 9805XMID.jpg (8773 bytes)Formulation of the Delian League. Athens, the city-state with the most impressive fleet, promises safety to remote colonies and islands living in the shadow of the Persian Empire, if everyone contributes to the cost of the endeavor. But what starts as a defensive alliance quickly degenerates into a protection racket, and voluntary contributions soon become required. The "Delian" League gets its name from the sacred - and neutral - isle of Delos, the hub of a wheel (CYCLADES) of islands in the Aegean.
476 Phrynichus wins Great Dionysia with Phoenissae, a play about the Greek victory over the Persians at Salamis (Themistokles is choregos!)
472/1 Aeschylus wins with Persians, also about Salamis (Pericles is choregos!)
470/469 Birth of Socrates
468 Sophocles wins first victory over Aeschylus (lost Triptolemus)
467 Aeschylus wins with Seven Against Thebes (with Laius, Oedipus, and the satyr play Sphinx, all lost)
c. 463 Aeschylus wins with Danaid trilogy (only Suppliants survives)
462/1 9801.jpg (2795 bytes)Ephialtes' democratic reforms cause the powers of the Areopagus to be abolished; Athens' alliance with Argos
461 IMG0096.jpg (2346 bytes)Pericles begins his 29-year stint as strategos in Athens.
1st Peloponnesian War begins between Athens and Sparta (war ends in 446 BC). Ephialtes is assassinated.
460 Birth of natural philosopher Democritus
Birth of historian Thucydides
458 Aeschylus' Oresteia wins 18th 1st prize (only surviving trilogy!)
457 Athenian long walls completed: they are now in perfect position to defend themselves against attack, whether from "foreign or Hellenic aggressor" (Pericles)
456 athens105X.jpg (3160 bytes)Death of Aeschylus. Legend tells us that an eagle mistakenly identified his bald head as a rock and deliberately dropped a tortoise on it from a great height to break open its shell.
454 9809X.jpg (3590 bytes)Athens moves the Delian League Treasury to Athens.
With this action, the "Delian League" becomes the "Athenian Empire."
450 Trial and departure of Anaxagoras on charge of atheism
449 PEACE WITH PERSIA. After the Battle of Plataea (479 BC), all Greeks had agreed not to rebuild anything the Persians had destroyed in order to keep the memory of their insolence and impiety fresh. But when Pericles makes peace with Persia, he suggests that the oath is no longer valid. Sparta and others refuse to discuss this, and Pericles decides that since the Athenians had suffered the most damage defending all of Greece from the Persians (after all, the Acropolis and and its buildings had been burned to the ground...), it is perfectly legitimate to use the funds from the former Delian League treasury (conveniently already in Athens...) to embark upon his Great Building Program, proof positive of Athens' superiority.
447 IMG0075.jpg (2576 bytes)   Construction on the Parthenon is begun with Delian League funds.
446 30 Years' Peace between Athens and Sparta
445 Birth of comic playwright Aristophanes
Sophocles' Ajax
c. 444 Protagoras  arrives in Athens
443 Pericles ostracizes the conservative Thucydides (not the historian)
is elected Treasurer of the Confederacy of Delos
442 Sophocles' Antigone
441 1st victory of Euripides
elected general (riding on popularity of Antigone)
439/8 Euripides' Alcestis wins 2nd prize
431 Outbreak of the 2nd Peloponnesian War - Sparta versus Athens
See Dr. J's Illustrated Pericles' Funeral Oration
1st prize: son of Aeschylus
2nd prize: Sophocles
3rd prize: Euripides' Medea
430 The plague hits Athens
429 Sophocles' Oedipus the King (AKA Oedipus Tyrannos)
Death of Pericles from the plague
Birth of Plato (approximate date)
428 Euripides' Hippolytus
427 The Sophist Gorgias begins the sophist craze in Athens
425 IMG0035.jpg (2520 bytes)Athenian victory over the Spartans at Sphakteria but Cleon rejects peace offer from the Spartans
Aristophanes' Acharnians
424 Historian Thucydides exiled for poor military performance
423 9406.jpg (1872 bytes)Aristophanes' Clouds unfairly defames Socrates as a sophist
422 Aristophanes' Wasps
421 Aristophanes' Peace
The Peace of Nicias between Athens and Sparta
416 The Athenian army brutally quashes revolt on Melos
415 Sicilian Expedition begins (Alcibiades/Nicias in charge)
Alcibiades goes over to the Spartan side
Mutilation of herms in Athens (act of gross impiety)
Protagoras on trial in Athens for impiety
Euripides' Trojan Women wins 2nd prize
414 Aristophanes' Birds
413 The Athenian navy is destroyed at Sicily
411 Oligarchy takes over in Athens
Aristophanes' Lysistrata and Thesmophoriazusae
409 Sophocles' Philoctetes
408 Euripides' Orestes and his departure from Athens
406 Athens victorious in sea-battle at Arginusae
405 Death of Sophocles (while reciting the Antigone?!)
Death of Euripides (in far-away Macedon)
Aristophanes' Frogs (bemoaning the loss of these playwrights)
Posthumous presentation of Euripides' Bacchae - 1st prize
Sparta destroys Athenian fleet at Aegospotami
404 9806.jpg (3291 bytes)Athens surrenders. Sparta wins Peloponnesian War.
The Thirty (another oligarchy) takes over in Athens
403 Democracy is restored in Athens
401 Posthumous presentation of Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus by his grandson, Sophocles
399 Trial and death of Socrates
395 Death of Thucydides
386 Death of Aristophanes
384 Birth of Aristotle

Birth of Demosthenes

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360 Plato founds his Academy
347 Death of Plato

99C0018.jpg (1809 bytes)

99C0046.jpg (2294 bytes)

Death of Demosthenes Death of Aristotle
338 north9X.jpg (5585 bytes)Philip of Macedon conquers Greece with the definitive Battle of Chaironea




N.B. When faced with contradictory information in various sources, I have relied on the Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy for the last word on dates of plays, and on Bury and Meiggs' History of Greece for historical events.