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Ancient Greece 1
Unit 1 -- Stone age:  The first 600,000 years, more or less

Readings for Unit 1


Wikipedia entries on Ancient Greece appear to be fairly devoid of modern political biases (or at least the biases are ones with which we can agree). There is, however, the problem of ancient biases:  most if not all ancient Greek sources – i.e., the historians and philosophers) are either Athenian or pro-Athenian – the others simply do not appear to have been as interested as the Athenians in writing down their histories..  Some ancient sources also have difficulty separating mythology from history.  Finally, we always have to remember that the history that comes down to us is almost entirely written by victors and that victors often suppress histories of their defeated enemies.  Some sources, although ancient, are not contemporary with the events they describe.  What comes from ancient sources should, therefore, be taken cum grano salis. 


Archeological evidence can also be chancey.  We never know for sure that what is found is representative of a culture or if it is aberrational.  All we know for sure is that we always wish we could find enough to make definitive analyses.


Note: Blue print indicates links to much more information at Wikipedia



1.  Short intro to Ancient Greek History (Neolithic to Roman)

The following text is excerpted from:


The Neolithic Revolution reached Europe by way of Greece and the Balkans, beginning in the 7th millennium BC. Some Neolithic communities in southeastern Europe, such as Sesklo in Greece, were living in heavily fortified settlements of 3,000–4,000 people. The Greek Neolithic era ended with the arrival of the Bronze Age from Anatolia and the Near East, by the end of the 28th century BC (early Helladic period).


In about 2100 B.C, the Proto-Indo-Europeans overran the Greek peninsula from the north and east.[3] These Indo-Europeans, known as Mycenaeans, introduced the Greek language to present-day Greece.[4]


Bronze Age

Main articles: Helladic period and Aegean Bronze Age


Cycladic and Minoan civilization

Main articles: Cycladic civilization and Minoan Civilization


One of the earliest civilizations to appear around Greece was the Minoan civilization in Crete, which lasted from about 2700 (Early Minoan) BC to 1450 BC, and the Early Helladic period on the Greek mainland from ca. 2800 BC to 2100 BC.


Little specific information is known about the Minoans (even the name is a modern appellation, from Minos, the legendary king of Crete).[4] They have been characterized as a pre-Indo-European people, apparently the linguistic ancestors of the Eteo-Cretan speakers of Classical Antiquity, their language being encoded in the undeciphered Linear A script. They were primarily a mercantile people engaged in overseas trade, taking advantage of their land's rich natural resources. Timber was then an abundant natural resource that was commercially exploited and exported to nearby lands such as Cyprus, Syria, Egypt and the Aegean Islands.[4] During the Early Bronze Age (3300 BC through 2100 BC), the Minoan Civilization on the island of Crete held great promise for the future.[5]


The Mycenaean Greeks invaded Crete and adopted much of the Minoan culture they found on Crete.[6] The Minoan civilization which preceded the Mycenaean civilization on Crete was revealed to the modern world by Sir Arthur Evans in 1900, when he purchased and then began excavating a site at Knossus.[5]


Mycenaean civilization


Main article: Mycenaean Greece


The Proto-Greeks are assumed to have arrived in the Greek peninsula during the late 3rd to early 2nd millennium BC.[7] The migration of the Ionians and Aeolians resulted in Mycenaean Greece by the 16th century BC.[8][9] The transition from pre-Greek to Greek culture appears to have been rather gradual. Some archaeologists have pointed to evidence that there was a significant amount of continuity of prehistoric economic, architectural, and social structures, suggesting that the transition between the Neolithic, Helladic and early Greek cultures may have continued without major rifts in social texture.[10]


On Crete, however, the Mycenean invasion of around 1400 BC spelled the end of the Minoan civilization. Mycenaean Greece is the Late Helladic Bronze Age civilization of Ancient Greece. It lasted from the arrival of the Greeks in the Aegean around 1600 BC to the collapse of their Bronze Age civilization around 1100 BC. It is the historical setting of the epics of Homer and of most Greek mythology. The Mycenaean period takes its name from the archaeological site Mycenae in the northeastern Argolid, in the Peloponnesos of southern Greece. Athens, Pylos, Thebes, and Tiryns are also important Mycenaean sites.


Mycenaean civilization was dominated by a warrior aristocracy. Around 1400 BC the Mycenaeans extended their control to Crete, center of the Minoan civilization, and adopted a form of the Minoan script called Linear A to write their early form of Greek. The Mycenaean era script is called Linear B.


The Mycenaeans buried their nobles in beehive tombs (tholoi), large circular burial chambers with a high vaulted roof and straight entry passage lined with stone. They often buried daggers or some other form of military equipment with the deceased. The nobility were often buried with gold masks, tiaras, armor and jeweled weapons. Mycenaeans were buried in a sitting position, and some of the nobility underwent mummification.


Around 1100 BC the Mycenaean civilization collapsed. Numerous cities were sacked and the region entered what historians see as a dark age. During this period Greece experienced a decline in population and literacy. The Greeks themselves have traditionally blamed this decline on an invasion by another wave of Greek people, the Dorians, although there is scant archaeological evidence for this view.


Early Iron Age


Main article: Greek Dark Ages

Further information: Protogeometric art


The Greek Dark Ages (ca. 1100 BC–800 BC) refers to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean civilization in the 11th century BC to the rise of the first Greek city-states in the 9th century BC and the epics of Homer and earliest writings in alphabetic Greek in the 8th century BC.


The collapse of the Mycenaean coincided with the fall of several other large empires in the near east, most notably the Hittite and the Egyptian. The cause may be attributed to an invasion of the sea people wielding iron weapons. When the Dorians came down into Greece they also were equipped with superior iron weapons, easily dispersing the already weakened Mycenaeans. The period that follows these events is collectively known as the Greek Dark Ages.


Kings ruled throughout this period until eventually they were replaced with an aristocracy, then still later, in some areas, an aristocracy within an aristocracy—an elite of the elite.


Warfare shifted from a focus on cavalry to a great emphasis on infantry. Due to its cheapness of production and local availability, iron replaced bronze as the metal of choice in the manufacturing of tools and weapons. Slowly equality grew among the different sects of people, leading to the dethronement of the various Kings and the rise of the family.


At the end of this period of stagnation, the Greek civilization was engulfed in a renaissance that spread the Greek world as far as the Black Sea and Spain. Writing was relearned from the Phoenicians, eventually spreading north into Italy and the Gauls.


Ancient Greece

Main article: Ancient Greece


Ancient Greece was an ancient civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (ca. 600 AD).  In common usage it refers to all Greek history before the Roman Empire, but historians use the term more precisely. Some writers include the periods of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, while others argue that these civilizations were so different from later Greek cultures that they should be classed separately. Traditionally, the Ancient Greek period was taken to begin with the date of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, but most historians now extend the term back to about 1000 BC.


The traditional date for the end of the Classical Ancient Greek period is the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. The period that follows is classed as Hellenistic. Not everyone treats the Classical Ancient and Hellenic periods as distinct, however, and some writers treat the Ancient Greek civilization as a continuum running until the advent of Christianity in the 3rd century AD.


Ancient Greece is considered by most historians to be the foundational culture of Western Civilization. Greek culture was a powerful influence in the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of Europe. Ancient Greek civilization has been immensely influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, art and architecture of the modern world, particularly during the Renaissance in Western Europe and again during various neo-Classical revivals in 18th- and 19th-century Europe and the Americas.


Archaic Greece

Main article: Archaic Greece

Further information: Orientalizing Period and Geometric Art


In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. From about the 9th century BC, written records begin to appear.[11] Greece was divided into many small self-governing communities, a pattern largely dictated by Greek geography, where every island, valley and plain is cut off from its neighbours by the sea or mountain ranges.[12]

The Archaic period can be understood as the Orientalizing period, when Greece was at the fringe, but not under the sway, of the budding Neo-Assyrian Empire. Greece adopted significant amounts of cultural elements from the Orient, in art as well as in religion and mythology. Archaeologically, Archaic Greece is marked by Geometric pottery.


Classical Greece

Main article: Classical Greece

Further information: Classical Athens


The basic unit of politics in Ancient Greece was the polis, sometimes translated as city-state. "Politics" literally means "the things of the polis". Each city was independent, at least in theory. Some cities might be subordinate to others (a colony traditionally deferred to its mother city), some might have had governments wholly dependent upon others (the Thirty Tyrants in Athens was imposed by Sparta following the Peloponnesian War), but the titularly supreme power in each city was located within that city. This meant that when Greece went to war (e.g., against the Persian Empire), it took the form of an alliance going to war. It also gave ample opportunity for wars within Greece between different cities.


Two major wars shaped the Classical Greek world. The Persian Wars (500–448 BC) are recounted in Herodotus's Histories. By the late 6th century BC, the Achaemenid Persian Empire ruler over all Greek city states and had made territorial gains in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper as well. The Ionian Greek cities revolted from the Persian Empire, through a chain of events, and were supported by some of the mainland cities, eventually led by Athens. To punish mainland Greece for its support of the Ionian cities (which uprising by that time had already been quelled) Darius I launched the First Persian invasion of Greece, which lasted from 492 BC till 490 BC. The Persian general Megabyzus re-subjugated Thrace and conquered Macedon in the early stages of the war,[13] but the war eventually ended up with a Greek victory. Darius' successor Xerxes I launched the Second Persian invasion of Greece. Even though at a crucial point in the war almost all of mainland Greece was briefly overrun (all territories north of the Isthmus of Corinth)[14] the Greek city states managed to turn this war into a victory too. The notable battles of the Greco-Persian Wars include Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, and Plataea.)


To prosecute the war and then to defend Greece from further Persian attack, Athens founded the Delian League in 477 BC. Initially, each city in the League would contribute ships and soldiers to a common army, but in time Athens allowed (and then compelled) the smaller cities to contribute funds so that it could supply their quota of ships. Secession from the League could be punished. Following military reversals against the Persians, the treasury was moved from Delos to Athens, further strengthening the latter's control over the League. The Delian League was eventually referred to pejoratively as the Athenian Empire.


In 458 BC, while the Persian Wars were still ongoing, war broke out between the Delian League and the Peloponnesian League, comprising Sparta and its allies. After some inconclusive fighting, the two sides signed a peace in 447 BC. That peace, it was stipulated, was to last thirty years: instead it held only until 431 BC, with the onset of the Peloponnesian War. Our main sources concerning this war are Thucydides's History of the Peloponnesian War and Xenophon's Hellenica.


The war began over a dispute between Corcyra and Epidamnus. Corinth intervened on the Epidamnian side. Fearful lest Corinth capture the Corcyran navy (second only to the Athenian in size), Athens intervened. It prevented Corinth from landing on Corcyra at the Battle of Sybota, laid siege to Potidaea, and forbade all commerce with Corinth's closely situated ally, Megara (the Megarian decree).


There was disagreement among the Greeks as to which party violated the treaty between the Delian and Peloponnesian Leagues, as Athens was technically defending a new ally. The Corinthians turned to Sparta for aid. Fearing the growing might of Athens, and witnessing Athens' willingness to use it against the Megarians (the embargo would have ruined them), Sparta declared the treaty to have been violated and the Peloponnesian War began in earnest.


The first stage of the war (known as the Archidamian War for the Spartan king, Archidamus II) lasted until 421 BC with the signing of the Peace of Nicias. The Athenian general Pericles recommended that his city fight a defensive war, avoiding battle against the superior land forces led by Sparta, and importing everything needful by maintaining its powerful navy. Athens would simply outlast Sparta, whose citizens feared to be out of their city for long lest the helots revolt.


This strategy required that Athens endure regular sieges, and in 430 BC it was visited with an awful plague that killed about a quarter of its people, including Pericles. With Pericles gone, less conservative elements gained power in the city and Athens went on the offensive. It captured 300–400 Spartan hoplites at the Battle of Pylos. This represented a significant fraction of the Spartan fighting force which the latter decided it could not afford to lose. Meanwhile, Athens had suffered humiliating defeats at Delium and Amphipolis. The Peace of Nicias concluded with Sparta recovering its hostages and Athens recovering the city of Amphipolis.


Those who signed the Peace of Nicias in 421 BC swore to uphold it for fifty years. The second stage of the Peloponnesian War began in 415 BC when Athens embarked on the Sicilian Expedition to support an ally (Segesta) attacked by Syracuse and to conquer Sicily. Initially, Sparta was reluctant, but Alcibiades, the Athenian general who had argued for the Sicilian Expedition, defected to the Spartan cause upon being accused of grossly impious acts and convinced them that they could not allow Athens to subjugate Syracuse. The campaign ended in disaster for the Athenians.


Athens' Ionian possessions rebelled with the support of Sparta, as advised by Alcibiades. In 411 BC, an oligarchical revolt in Athens held out the chance for peace, but the Athenian navy, which remained committed to the democracy, refused to accept the change and continued fighting in Athens' name. The navy recalled Alcibiades (who had been forced to abandon the Spartan cause after reputedly seducing the wife of Agis II, a Spartan king) and made him its head. The oligarchy in Athens collapsed and Alcibiades reconquered what had been lost.

In 407 BC, Alcibiades was replaced following a minor naval defeat at the Battle of Notium. The Spartan general Lysander, having fortified his city's naval power, won victory after victory. Following the Battle of Arginusae, which Athens won but was prevented by bad weather from rescuing some of its sailors, Athens executed or exiled eight of its top naval commanders. Lysander followed with a crushing blow at the Battle of Aegospotami in 405 BC which almost destroyed the Athenian fleet. Athens surrendered one year later, ending the Peloponnesian War.


The war had left devastation in its wake. Discontent with the Spartan hegemony that followed (including the fact that it ceded Ionia and Cyprus to the Persian Empire at the conclusion of the Corinthian War (395–387 BC); see Treaty of Antalcidas) induced the Thebans to attack. Their general, Epaminondas, crushed Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, inaugurating a period of Theban dominance in Greece.


In 346 BC, unable to prevail in its ten-year war with Phocis, Thebes called upon Philip II of Macedon for aid. Macedon quickly forced the city states into being united by the League of Corinth which led to the conquering of the Persian Empire and the Hellenistic Age had begun.


Hellenistic Greece

Main article: Hellenistic Greece


The Hellenistic period of Greek history begins with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and ends with the annexation of the Greek peninsula and islands by Rome in 146 BC. Although the establishment of Roman rule did not break the continuity of Hellenistic society and culture, which remained essentially unchanged until the advent of Christianity, it did mark the end of Greek political independence.


During the Hellenistic period the importance of "Greece proper" (that is, the territory of modern Greece) within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply. The great centres of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria. (See Hellenistic civilization for the history of Greek culture outside Greece in this period.)


Athens and her allies revolted against Macedon upon hearing that Alexander had died, but were defeated within a year in the Lamian War. Meanwhile, a struggle for power broke out among Alexander's generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire and the establishment of a number of new kingdoms (see the Wars of the Diadochi). Ptolemy was left with Egypt, Seleucus with the Levant, Mesopotamia, and points east. Control of Greece, Thrace, and Anatolia was contested, but by 298 BC the Antigonid dynasty had supplanted the Antipatrid.


Macedonian control of the city-states was intermittent, with a number of revolts. Athens, Rhodes, Pergamum and other Greek states retained substantial independence, and joined the Aetolian League as a means of defending it and restoring democracy in their states, where as they saw Macedon as a tyrannical kingdom because of the fact they had not adopted democracy. The Achaean League, while nominally subject to the Ptolemies was in effect independent, and controlled most of southern Greece. Sparta also remained independent, but generally refused to join any league.


In 267 BC, Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek cities to revolt against Macedon, in what became the Chremonidean War, after the Athenian leader Chremonides. The cities were defeated and Athens lost her independence and her democratic institutions. This marked the end of Athens as a political actor, although it remained the largest, wealthiest and most cultivated city in Greece. In 225 BC Macedon defeated the Egyptian fleet at Cos and brought the Aegean islands, except Rhodes, under its rule as well.


Sparta remained hostile to the Achaeans, and in 227 BC invaded Achaea and seized control of the League. The remaining Acheans preferred distant Macedon to nearby Sparta, and allied with the former. In 222 BC the Macedonian army defeated the Spartans and annexed their city—the first time Sparta had ever been occupied by a different state.


Philip V of Macedon was the last Greek ruler with both the talent and the opportunity to unite Greece and preserve its independence against the ever-increasing power of Rome. Under his auspices, the Peace of Naupactus (217 BC) brought conflict between Macedon and the Greek leagues to an end, and at this time he controlled all of Greece except Athens, Rhodes and Pergamum.


In 215 BC, however, Philip formed an alliance with Rome's enemy Carthage. Rome promptly lured the Achaean cities away from their nominal loyalty to Philip, and formed alliances with Rhodes and Pergamum, now the strongest power in Asia Minor. The First Macedonian War broke out in 212 BC, and ended inconclusively in 205 BC, but Macedon was now marked as an enemy of Rome.


In 202 BC, Rome defeated Carthage, and was free to turn her attention eastwards. In 198 BC, the Second Macedonian War broke out because Rome saw Macedon as a potential ally of the Seleucid Empire, the greatest power in the east. Philip's allies in Greece deserted him and in 197 BC he was decisively defeated at the Battle of Cynoscephalae by the Roman proconsul Titus Quinctius Flamininus.


Luckily for the Greeks, Flamininus was a moderate man and an admirer of Greek culture. Philip had to surrender his fleet and become a Roman ally, but was otherwise spared. At the Isthmian Games in 196 BC, Flamininus declared all the Greek cities free, although Roman garrisons were placed at Corinth and Chalcis. But the freedom promised by Rome was an illusion. All the cities except Rhodes were enrolled in a new League which Rome ultimately controlled, and aristocratic constitutions were favoured and actively promoted.


Roman Greece

Main article: Roman Greece

Militarily, Greece itself declined to the point that the Romans conquered the land (168 BC onwards), though Greek culture would in turn conquer Roman life. Although the period of Roman rule in Greece is conventionally dated as starting from the sacking of Corinth by the Roman Lucius Mummius in 146 BC, Macedonia had already come under Roman control with the defeat of its king, Perseus, by the Roman Aemilius Paullus at Pydna in 168 BC.


The Romans divided the region into four smaller republics, and in 146 BC Macedonia officially became a province, with its capital at Thessalonica. The rest of the Greek city-states gradually and eventually paid homage to Rome ending their de jure autonomy as well. The Romans left local administration to the Greeks without making any attempt to abolish traditional political patterns. The agora in Athens continued to be the centre of civic and political life.


Caracalla's decree in AD 212, the Constitutio Antoniniana, extended citizenship outside Italy to all free adult men in the entire Roman Empire, effectively raising provincial populations to equal status with the city of Rome itself. The importance of this decree is historical, not political. It set the basis for integration where the economic and judicial mechanisms of the state could be applied throughout the Mediterranean as was once done from Latium into all Italy. In practice of course, integration did not take place uniformly. Societies already integrated with Rome, such as Greece, were favored by this decree, in comparison with those far away, too poor or just too alien such as Britain, Palestine or Egypt.


Caracalla's decree did not set in motion the processes that led to the transfer of power from Italy and the West to Greece and the East, but rather accelerated them, setting the foundations for the millennium-long rise of Greece, in the form of the Eastern Roman Empire, as a major power in Europe and the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages.

2.  Greece Timeline


8000 BCE

Mesolithic Period





Earliest evidence of burials found in Franchthi Cave in the Argolid, Greece

7250 BCE





Evidence of food producing economy, simple hut construction, and seafaring in mainland Greece and the Aegean

7000 BCE

Neolithic Period

(7000-3000 BCE)




First "Megaron House" at Sesclo, in central Greece

5700 BCE





Evidence of earliest fortifications at Dimini, Greece

3400 BCE





Houses of Vasiliki and Myrtos


Messara Tholoi

House of Tiles at Lerna



3000 BCE

Aegean Bronze Age

or Early Bronze Age


Minoan Prepalatial

or: EMIA, EMIB (3000-2600 BCE)

Early Cycladic Culture


Early Helladic Period






2600 BCE

Minoan Prepalatial Period


(2600-2000 BCE)




Destruction of Minoan settlements

2000 BCE

Minoan Protopalatial Period


(1900-1700 BCE)

Early Middle Cycladic (2000-1600 BCE)

Middle Helladic Period

or Middle Bronze Age





Destruction of Minoan palaces

Settlement of Akrotiri, Thera

Grave Circle B at Mycenae

1700 BCE

Minoan Neopalatial Period

or: LMIA Advanced, LMIA Final, LMIB Early, LMIB Late, LMII





Eruption of Thera volcano (sometime between 1627 and 1600)

1627 BCE





Grave Circle A at Mycenae

Legends: Argo Voyage, Heracles, Oedipus

1600 BCE

Late Bronze Period

or The Heroic Age





Tholos Tomb at Mycenae

1550 BCE

Late Helladic Period





Linear B writing (1450-1180)

1450 BCE





Mycenaean Palaces

Evidence of expanded Mycenaean trade at Levand

1400 BCE

Minoan Postpalatial Period






Palace of Knossos destruction

1370 BCE





"Sea Peoples" begin raids in the Eastern Mediterranean

1300 BCE

Mycenaean Culture





Trojan War (1250 or 1210)

1250 BCE





Destruction of many Mycenaean palaces

Doric Invasions? (1200-1100)

Sea Peoples (1200-1100)

1200 BCE






1180 BCE

Sub-Mycenaean Period


Destruction of Miletus and resettlement

1100 BCE

Sub-Minoan Period


Dark Age of Greece


Proto-Geometric Period





End of Mycenaean civilization

Lefkandi: Toumba building

1000 BCE






900 BCE

Geometric Period






First Olympic Games

776 BCE








Greek colonies established in Southern Italy & Sicily

Invention of Greek alphabet

Homeric poems recorded in writing (750-700)

750 BCE

Late Geometric

(circa 760-700)





740 BCE

Orientalizing Period

(circa 740-650)




First Messenian War

Sparta invades Messenia


Naxos founded (734)

Syracuse founded (733)

730 BCE






700 BCE

Archaic Period





Earliest Lyric Poets

650 BCE





Second Messenian War

Sparta invades Messenia (640-630)

Cyrene founded (630)

640 BCE





Sappho born in Lesbos

630 BCE





Thales (625-545) born in Miletos

625 BCE





Pythagoras (ca. 569-475) born in Samos

569 BCE





Solon replaces the Draconian law in Athens and lays the foundation for Democracy.

Solon introduced to Athens the first coinage and a system of weights and measures

594 BCE





Pisistratos becomes tyrant of Athens

546 BCE





Pesistratos Dies. His sons become tyrants of Athens

527 BCE





Red-figure pottery developed in Athens

525 BCE





Alcmaeonid family and Spartans free Athens from tyranny.

Introduction of Democracy in Athens

510 BCE





Kleisthenes begins reforming Athenian code of laws, and establishes a democratic constitution

508 BCE





Ionian revolt

499 BCE





Ionian revolt defeated by Persians

494 BCE





Persian Wars

497-479 BCE





Battle of Marathon

Athenians defeat Darius and his Persian army

490 BCE





Silver mines discovered near Athens.

Athens begin building naval fleet

483 BCE





Aristides ostracized

482 BCE





Xerxes marches on Greece

Battle of Thermopylae

Persians burn the Acropolis

Athens and allies defeat Persian fleet at naval battle of Salamis

480 BCE

Classical Period

(480-323 )

Transitional (480-450)




Battle of Plataea

Greeks defeat Persian army

479 BCE





Delian league lead by Athens

477 BCE





Earthquake in Lakonia

Helot revolt against Sparta in Messenia

465 BCE





Peloponnesian Wars:

"First Peloponnesian War"






Perikles leads Athens through its "Golden Era" (ca. 460-429)

460 BCE





Aeschylus produces "the Oresteia" trilogy of tragedies (Agamemnon, Libation Barers, Eumenides) in Athens

458 BCE






Delian league treasury moved from Delos to Athens

454 BCE





Sophist Protagoras visits Athens

450 BCE





Acropolis and other major building projects begin in Athens

Construction of Parthenon (449-432)

Sophocles produces the tragedy "Ajax"

449 BCE





Thirty-year peace treaty signed between Athens and Sparta in winter 446/445

446 BCE





Sophocles produces "Antigone" in Athens 430-429

441 BCE





Peloponnesian War (431-404) resumes

Euripedes produces "Medea" in Athens

431 BCE





Plague epidemic in Athens

430 BCE





Death of Perikles

429 BCE





Peace of Nicias

421 BCE





Construction of Temple of Athena Nike (420-410)

420 BCE






Athenians resume hostilities

Spartans defeat Athens at Mantinea

418 BCE





Athens razes Melos

416 BCE





Athens expedition to Syracuse

Alcibiades defects to Sparta

415 BCE





Syracuse defeats Athens

413 BCE





Aristophanes produces "Lysistrata"

411 BCE





Athens surrenders to Sparta

Thirty tyrants rule Athens

404 BCE





Democracy restored in Athens

403 BCE





Trial and execution of Socrates

399 BCE





Plato establishes the Athens Academy

380 BCE





Sparta defeated in Leuctra

371 BCE





Thebes defeats Sparta at Mantinea

362 BCE





Philip II, becomes King of Macedonia

359 BCE






Macedonian army defeats Athens and its allies at Chaeronea


League of Corinth founded

338 BCE





Phillip II Assassinated.

Alexander the Great becomes king of Macedonia

336 BCE





Aristotle founds the Lyceum in Athens

335 BCE





Alexander the Great defeats Persian army at Granicus river in Anatolia

334 BCE





Alexander the Great defeats Persians at Issus

333 BCE





Tyre capitulates to Alexander after siege

332 BCE





Alexander invades Egypt

City of Alexandria founded in Egypt

Alexander defeats Persians at Gaugamela

331 BCE





Alexander's army reaches Bactria (Afghanistan)

329 BCE





Alexander marries Roxane (princes of Bactria)

327 BCE





Alexander's army reaches India

326 BCE





Death of Alexander the Great

323 BCE

Hellenistic Period





Aristotle dies

322 BCE





Stoic philosopher Zeno founds school in Athens

310 BCE





Stoic philosopher Epicurus founds school in Athens

307 BCE





Ptolemy I founds museum in Alexandria

300 BCE





Archimedes (287-212) born in Syracuse

287 BCE





Achaean League founded

284 BCE





Invasion of Greece by Gauls

279 BCE





Gauls defeated by king Attalus I

238 BCE





First Macedonian War (214-204)

Rome defeats Philip V of Macedon

214 BCE





Second Macedonian War (200-196)

Victory of Flamininus at Cynoscephalae

200 BCE







Third Macedonian War (172-168/7)

Lucius Aemelius Paulus of Rome defeats Perseus of Macedon at Pydna.

Macedonia divided into four republics

172 BCE





Roman Invasion of Greece

Mummius Achaicus sacks Corinth and dissolves the Achaean league.

Rome rules Greece henceforth

146 BCE

Late Hellenistic or Greco-Roman (146-30)




Romans led by Sulla sack Athens

86 BCE





Battle of Aktion

Octavian (later Augustus) defeats Mark Antony and Cleopatra

31 BCE





Death of Cleopatra


30 BCE

End of "Ancient Greece" period





3.  Petralona cave

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Petralona cave (
Greek: Σπήλαιο Πετραλώνων) is located in Chalkidiki (Greece), 1 km away to the east of the eponymous village, about 35 km S-E of Thessaloniki and on the west side of Mount Katsika. Often designated as the "Petralona skull", Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis, oldest European hominid, was found there. The Anthropological Museum of Petralona on the site displays some of the finds from the cave.



The cave was accidentally discovered in 1959 by Fillipos Chatzaridis, a local shepherd looking for a spring. Early estimates at the time placed the age of the hominid remains to around 70,000 years old.[1] A skull now known as the Petralona skull was estimated to be about 700,000 years old by Aris Poulianos[2] a date backed by geological analysis [3]


During the 1980s, the age of the Petralona hominid estimated by Poulianos was challenged by an article in Nature. The scientists involved used electron spin resonance measurements and dated the age of the skull to between 160,000 and 240,000 years old. [4] However, Poulianos states that his excavations in the cave since 1968 provide evidence of human occupation from the Pleistocene era.[1] The Petralona hominid, specifically, was located in a stratigraphic layer containing the most amount of tools and traces of habitation. Poulianos states that the age of the overall layer is approximately 670,000 years old, based on electron spin resonance measurements.[1] Further excavations at Petralona revealed two human skeletons that were dated to be 800,000 years old.[5]


Today, most academics who have analyzed the Petralona remains classify the hominid as Homo erectus.[2] However, the Archanthropus of Petralona has also been classified as a Neanderthal (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) and as an early generic class of Homo sapiens. Some authors, on the other hand, believe that the Petralona cranium is derived from a unique class of hominids different from Homo erectus. Runnels and van Andel summarise the situation as such : "The only known hominid fossil in Greece that may be relevant is the Petralona hominid, found by chance in 1960 in a deep cavern in the Chalkidiki.


Controversy surrounds the interpretation of this cranium, and it has been variously classified as Homo erectus, as a classic Neanderthal (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis), and as an early representative of Homo sapiens in a generalized sense (Day 1986: 91-95). The consensus among paleoanthropologists today is that the cranium belongs to an archaic hominid distinguished from Homo erectus, and from both the classic Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans (Day 1986: 95; Stringer, Howell, and Melenitis 1979). Whatever the final classification may be, the cranium has been provisionally dated to ca. 200-400 kyr (Day 1986: 94 Hennig et al. 1981, 1982; Wintle and Jacobs 1982), and it is thus possible that the Petralona hominid represents the lineage responsible for the Thessalian Lower Paleolithic sites."[6]


Further research in the cave has yielded 4 isolated teeth,[7] then two pre-human skeletons dated about 800,000 years,[8] a great number of fossils of various species and what is considered as the oldest traces of fire known to this day.[9]


The fossils have been at the Geology School of the Thessaloniki Aristotle University since 1960.[10]


Fossil fauna

Fossils from numerous species have been found in the cave:[11]


    indeterminate species


    Bufo bufo (Linnaeus) (common toad)

    Pelobates fuscus Laurenti (a species of toad)


    Testudo graeca Linnaeus (spur-thighed tortoise)

    Testudo sp. (giant)

    Varanus intermedius Bolkay

    Lacerta trilineata (Betriaga) (Balkan green lizard)

    Lacerta viridis (Laurenti) (European green lizard)

    Lacerta sp. (small) (lizards)

    Ophidia indet. (snakes)


    Anser anser Linnaeus (greylag goose)

    Aythya ferina Linnaeus (common pochard)

    Fulica atra Linnaeus (eurasian coot)

    Buthierax pouliani Kretzoi (extinct species of eagle)

    Falco tinnunculus Linnaeus (common kestrel)

    Alectoris sp. (species of partridges)

                      Alectoris graeca mediterranea Maurer-Chauvire' (rock partridge)

    Perdix jurcsaki (Kretzoi) (a species of partridge)

    Scolopacidae indet. (family of waders or shorebirds - sandpipers, curlew, snipe and other associated species)

    Larus sp. (a genus of gulls)

    Columba oenas ssp. (stock dove)

    Columba livia ssp. (rock pigeon)

    Columba palumbus Linnaeus (common wood pigeon)

    Strix aluco Linnaeus (tawny owl)

    Glaucidium Linnaeus (pygmy owls)

    Bubo (?) sp. (horned owl and associated species)

    Corvus corax Linnaeus (common raven)

    Pyrrhocorax graculus vetus Kretzoi (alpine chough)

    Turdus sp. (a genus of true thrushes)

    Lanius minor Gmelin (lesser grey shrike)

    Prunella collaris Scopoli (alpine accentor)

    Passeriformes indet. I, II




    Erinaceus europaeus praeglacialis Brunner (preglaciation European hedgehog )

    Sorex minutus Linnaeus (Eurasian pygmy shrew)

    Sorex runtonensis (Hinton)

    Pachyura etrusca (Savi)

    Talpa minuta Freudenberg (a genus of moles)



    Archanthropus europaeus petraloniensis Α. Poulianos

Chiroptera (bats)

    Rhinolophus sp. indét. I, II

    Rhinolophus ferrumequinum topali Kretzoi (a sub-species of greater horseshoe bat)

    Rhinolophus mehelyi Matschie (Mehely's horseshoe bat)

    Rhinolophus hipposideros Bechstein (lesser horseshoe bat)

    Miniopterus schreibersii Kuhl (common bent-wing bat)

    Myotis sp. indét. I, II (genus of mouse-eared bats)

    Myotis myotis Borkhausen (greater mouse-eared bat)

    Myotis blythi oxygnathus Monticelli

    Myotis blythi ssp.

    Myotis emarginatus Geoffroy (Geoffroy's bat)

    Myotis daubentonii (Kuhl) (Daubenton's bat)

    Vespertilio murinus Linnaeus (particoloured bat)

    Hypsugo savii Bonaparte (Savi's pipistrelle)

    Eptesicus sp. (a genus of bats)

    Nyctalus noctula (Schreber) (common noctule)

    Pipistrellus (?) sp. (a genus of bats)


    Lepus terraerubrae (Kretzoi)

    Oryctolagus sp. (European rabbit)


    Urocitellus primigenius daphnae Kretzoi (extinct species of Urocitellus or ground squirrel)

    Hystrix sp. (a genus of porcupines)

    Gliridae indet. (a genus of dormouse)

    Dryomimus eliomyoides arisi Kretzoi

    Parasminthus brevidens Kretzoi

    Spalax chalkidikae Kretzoi

    Apodemus mystacinus crescendus Kretzoi

    Mus synanthropus (Mus (Budamys) synanthropus) Kretzoi (a sub-species of Mus)

    Allocricetus bursae simplex Kretzoi (a sub-species of hamsters - see Allocricetulus)

    Lagurus transiens Janossy (a species of Lagurus - voles, lemmings, and related species)

    Eolagurus argyropuloi zazhighini Ν. Poulianos (a genus of rodents)

    Arvicola cantiana Heinrich (a species of vole)

    Microtus praeguentheri Kretzoi (a species of vole)


    Canis lupus mosbachensis Soergel (espèce préhistorique de loup)

    Cuon priscus Thenius (Early Middle Pleistocene dhole or wild dog)

    Xenocyon lycaonoides Kretzoi

    Vulpes praeglacialis Kormos (extinct species of vulpes - true fox)

    Meles meles atavus ? (Kormos) (primitive European badger)

    Ursus stehlini ? (Kretzoi)

    Ursus deningeri Reichenau

    Crocuta petralonae Kurten

    Pachycrocuta brevirostris Aymard (a sub-species of prehistoric hyenas)

    Pachycrocuta perrieri Croizet & Jobert (a sub-species of prehistoric hyenas)

    Panthera leo fossilis Reichenau (primitive cave lion)

    Panthera gombaszoegensis Kretzoi (European jaguar)

    Panthera pardus Linnaeus (leopard)

    Felis silvestris hamadryas ? (Kurten) (species of wild cat)

    Homotherium sp. (close to the sabertooth tiger)


    Elephas sp. (genus of elephants)


    Equus mosbachensis (Reichenau)

    Equus hydruntinus ssp. (European ass)

    Equus stenonis petraloniensis Tsoukala

    Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis Toula (a species of Stephanorhinus - rhinoceros)



    Sus scrofa ssp.(wild boar)

    Dama dama ssp. (Fallow deer|fallow deer)