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Sophocles’ ninety years were lived during the greatest of centuries for the Athenian republic. He was present at all the major events and knew all the most important players. Pericles was a personal friend. His plays dramatized the major crises of the republic and his masterpiece, Oedipus the King was considered by all his contemporaries as the greatest Greek play of the age.

Athens Photos


3000 Origins of Minoan civilization on Crete. Time of Homer's "Golden Age," Older than his own Ionian Greek civilization.
1700 Invention of Chariot Warfare. Invasion of Bronze Age Charioteers.Come from the north down into Greece .
1300 Creation of Mycenaean civilization in mainland Greece. Agamemnon, Menelaus, Helen.
1250 Agamemnon at Mycenae, Theseus at Athens. Oedipus at Thebes, Minos at Cnossus (Daedalus and Icarus in Labyrinth).
1200 Troy flourishes.Age of Homeric Heroes, Achilles, Agamemnon.
1198-1188 Trojan War, Fall of Troy. ( In 2008, scientists Marcelo O. Magnasco and Constantino Baikouzis at Rockefeller University used clues in the text and astronomical data to attempt to pinpoint the time of Odysseus's return from his journey after the Trojan War.  The first clue is Odysseus' sighting of Venus just before dawn as he arrives on Ithaca. The second is a new moon on the night before the massacre of the Suitors. The final clue is a total eclipse, falling over Ithaca around noon, when Penelope's Suitors sit down for their noon meal. The seer Theoclymenus approaches the Suitors and foretells their death, saying, "The Sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world." The problem with this is that the 'eclipse' is only seen by Theoclymenus, and the Suitors toss him out, calling him mad. No one else sees the sky darken, and it is therefore not actually described as an eclipse within the story, merely a vision by Theoclymenus. Doctors Baikouzis and Magnasco state that "[t]he odds that purely fictional references to these phenomena (so hard to satisfy simultaneously) would coincide by accident with the only eclipse of the century are minute." They conclude that these three astronomical references "'cohere', in the sense that the astronomical phenomena pinpoint the date of 16 April 1178 BC" as the most likely date of Odysseus' return. This dating places the destruction of Troy, ten years before, to 1188 BC, which is close to the archaeologically dated destruction of Troy VIIa circa 1190 BC.
1100 Destruction of Mycenaean palaces & Minoan civ. New invaders(Dorians). Greek refugees from invasions leave central Greece. Move east across Aegean. Refugees establish colonies on the coast of Turkey (Ionia) .SUPREMACY OF TERRITORIALITY. Unique principle for political organization. Other organizing ideas: Egypt, Mesopotamia and India.
1000 Refugees fleeing Dorian invaders. Establish Ionian colonies.Miletus, Smyrna, Ephesus etc.
776 First Panhellenic games at Olympia. First Olympics. First definite date in Greek history.
750 Homer (writing in Ionia) memorializes Mycenaean civ. Agamemnon, Odysseus, Achilles, Paris, Helen, Hector. Battle of nearby Troy (north up the Ionian -Turkish- coast).
594 Solon's legal revolution.constitutional reform of Athens.
585 Thales of Miletus (Ionia), first scientist of natural world.
550 Miletus in Ionia on coast of Turkey richest Greek city of all. Ionia more advanced than mainland Greece(Athens).
525 Pythagoras of Samos (mathematics). Birth of Aeschylus.
499 Ionian Greek cities rebel against Persian overlord. Destroyed in ensuing war against powerful Persian empire. End of great Ionian Greek cultural centers.Mainland Greece(Athens)estab. new centers of Greek culture.
496 Birth of Sophocles.(d. 406)
495 Birth of Pericles. (d. 429)
484 Birth of Herodotus. (d. 430?)
490 Battle of Marathon. (How far from Athens?). War Against Persia.
480 Xerxes of Persia prepares another invasion of mainland Greece. Crosses the Hellespont with troops, animals on bridge of boats. New upstart democratic Athens the target. Army=2 million men(Herodotus).
480 Battle of Salamis on Sept 23, in front of Athens. 1200 Persian ships to 300 Greek. Athens wins. Birth of Euripedes.
468 Sophocles wins prize for tragedy. Defeats older dramatist Aeschylus.
458 Aeschylus, The Oresteia trilogy.
456 Death of Aeschylus. (b. 525)
460-429 Age of Pericles , Anaxagoras, Protagoras, Sophocles.
447 Pericles rebuilds the Acropolis. The Parthenon.
441 First performance of Sophocles'Antigone . Sophocles general in war against rebellious Samos.
431-404 PELOPONNESIAN WAR.Athens attempts impose supremacy. Sparta opposes.
430 First performance of Oedipus. Death of Herodotus.
425 Historian Thucydides. A general in Peloponnesian War.
415 Athen's ill-fated expedition to conquer Sicily. Euripede's anti-war The Trojan Women.
411 Defeat of Athens in Sicily. Athens in decline.
406 Death of Euripedes. Sophocles speaks at funeral, commemorates his great rival, and death of Sophocles months later.
404 Final confrontation: Athens vs. Sparta. Athens surrenders. End of the great Golden Age of Athenian democracy. All the great men of the 5th Century Golden Age now dead.
400 Plato student of Socrates . Death of Thucydides.
399 Execution of Socrates. Hemlock.
384 Birth of Aristotle. (Stagira in the north).
364 Aristotle comes to Athens. Student of Plato.
359 Philip II King of Macedon.
350s Rise of Macedon in the north. Transfer power out of hands of fractious democracies. Rise of well-organized monarchy.
356 Birth of Alexander. (d. 323)
347 Death of Plato. (b. 429)
344 Aristotle marries niece of wealthy Hermias.
343 Aristotle becomes tutor to Alexander.
338 King Philip of Macedonia defeats Athens-Thebes at Chaeronea. Young Alexander present. Distinguishes self as brilliant warrior. Alex & Hephaestion to Athens with Athenian dead. Only time Alex ever in Athens. Statues of Philip &Alexander erected on Acropolis.
336 Assassination of King Philip.Alexander King of Macedonia. Birth of Zeno (in Cyprus) Stoicism, the Stoa=porch. End of heroic age of Greek philosophy.
334 Aristotle returns to Athens.Establishes own school in the Lyceum.
333 Battle of Issus: Alex defeats Darius. Darius flees, leaves wife, mother. Sisygambis, in hands of Alexander.
332 Alexander conquers all Egypt. Almost no opposition.
331 Battle of Gaugamela: Alex defeats Persians. Darius dies in the oxcart by the river, a Greek soldier finds him.The soldier brings water to the dying Emperor. Alex arrive son scene and weeps.
330 Alexander adopts Persian dress, Greeks angry.Birth of Euclid, studies in Athens then to Alexandria. New exciting cultural center of Alexandria.
329 Alexander marries Sogdian princess Roxanne. A new life as "husband."
323 DEATH OF ALEXANDER (June 13) .Ptolemy brings body to Alexandria. Aristotle leaves Athens. Wont allow Athens to sin against philolosophy twice.
322 DEATH OF ARISTOTLE. The philosopher is gone one year after his student.
322 Ptolemies rule in Egypt 300 years. Cleopatra the last of the Ptolemies in Egypt. Flowering of Alexandria.
315 Zeno comes to Athens.
300 Euclid comes to Alexandria, new center of science. Library of Alexandria, greatest in world.
146 Rome conquers all of Greece.