Ancient Greek Timeline: The ancient people found it really difficult to live in Greece. The soil of the place was not fertile and there was not an abundant flow of water. Therefore, Greek civilization in the soil of Greece came about much later. Let us take a look at the Ancient Greek Timeline.
When did Ancient Greece Start
History reveals that people started settling in this place in 55,000 BC. They started harvesting crops around 6000 BC. Slowly villages came into existence as a man formed groups and resided near each other. People gradually became attracted to this, place and came and settled over here more and more.
It was in and around 2000 BC that Indo European invaders came and settled in this place. They came from West Asia. It was at this time that bronze came into existence. These people also invented the potter’s the wheel. The Greek language got formulated during this time.
Ancient Greece Time Period
The invaders from west Asia socialized with the locals who were already staying in this place. The timeline of ancient Greece extended till 1400 BC when these people started constructing palaces and tombs for their leaders to stay.
The Earliest civilization
The island of Crete on which the Minoan civilization flourished, was captured by the Mycenaeans around 1900 BC, which had flourished in the same time on the Greek mainland. This was one of the four civilizations that prospered during the bronze age’s main phase. It is known for its palatial palaces which controlled the provinces in a system known as the palace bureaucracies. This was the phase in which earlier versions of the Greek script originated. It had great connections with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations and it also declined almost at the same time around 1050 BC due to multiple factors like foreign invasions, the decline in trade, naturals disasters, etc.
The decline of the Mycenaean civilization led to a general decline in civilization, with a decline in literacy, prosperity, and sources which led to the historians calling it a dark age which began around 1050 BC to about 750 BC.
It was an age of decline in population, famines, drought, and a chaotic political situation in which aristocrats controlled starches of land and many people started to live a more mobile lifestyle instead of a settled agricultural lifestyle. Warfare changed from majestic chariots ridden by nobles dominating battles to more emphasis on cavalry. Trade declined and a general suffering of the masses.
The general increase in agricultural output led to a resurgence of civilization and urban complexes around 800 BC, which led to the beginning of the Archaic age. This phase saw the rise of city-states and an increase in literacy and prosperity among the people. This was an important phase with historical events that would impact for a long time.
Age of Tyrants
The archaic age is also known as the age of tyrants. The people became frustrated with the corrupt rule of aristocrats who controlled huge stretches of land and all its output belonged to them. The people were exploited and this led to great discontent. This period saw the rising of tyrants in many places with one of the aristocrats or the military overthrowing the oligarchic order to monopolize power in his hand with the support of the people or by sheer military support.
Many even became extremely powerful and also started to oppress the masses. Draco is a famous name that ruled Athens as a tyrant and passed harsh laws against the poor people in the society.
Rise of Hoplites
Sparta engaged in an invasion of Messenia around 745 BC which lasted for 20 years. It was a bloody battle that resulted in the defeat of the Messenians and the passing of their territory to the Spartan state. This was one of the most fertile lands in the whole of ancient Greece.
This was a great victory that saw them converting the local population into land-bonded slaves known as helots hereditarily. This was one of the main reasons for the rise of Spartan power as it solved their problems of food supply, which was a major problem for a naturally poor Sparta.
Homer and Pythagoras
Ancient Greece saw great scientific and literary advancements during this phase with Homer writing his world-famous ‘ Iliad and Odyssey. Pythagoras was also born and made great scientific and mathematical inventions. The fundamentally crucial Pythagoras theorem was invented by him at this time.
The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer Ancient Greek Events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.
The Greeks considered it their duty to attend, and duty to their gods was more important than duty to their city-states, which were fighting the wars in the first place. Many of the best athletes were soldiers whose commanders would not want them to leave the fighting. With the truce in place and the fighting halted, these soldier-athletes were free to compete in the Games and then return to the fighting when the Games had finished.
The classical age is assumed to be the peak of ancient Greek civilization. It saw the flourishing of Greek art, literature, drama, scientific invention, and cultural activities which had begun in the archaic age.
Democracy established in Athens
Athens had first overthrown their tyrant with the help of the spartans who installed an oligarchy headed by Isagoras. But around 508 BC, Cleisthenes with public support reformed the Athenian constitution to give more rights to the citizens and established a direct democracy. It was the first of its kind where the public decided the policies of the state by voting and debates.
The Persian invasions
The Persians under Darius the Great invaded the Greek lands around 490 BC and were defeated by the Greeks in the famous battle of the Marathon.
But the Persians were back under Xerxes with a larger force to conquer almost the whole of southern Greece. Athens was burned, although they had evacuated the city beforehand. The battle turned with the battle of Thermopylae, where a group of 300 spartan soldiers held the Persians for a long time before the Persian fleet was destroyed in the Battle of Salamis.
The Greeks formed a Confederate known as the Hellenic league to fight the Persians. Athens took the lead to even freeing the Greek states from Persian control to finally get rid of the Persians.
The Peloponnesians wars
Rise of Macedonia
Macedonia which was known for its fighting skills rose to prominence under Philip II from 360 BC. He modernized the army and made great innovations in tactics. He managed to bring a large portion of the Greek territories under his control.
Although he ruled a large number of Greek states it was mainly with the rise of Alexander that they were consolidated under the Macedonian throne. He managed to join the majority of Greek states under his rule before turning toward the Persians. He managed to build the largest empire known in history which stretched up to the northwest part of the Indian subcontinent. His death signalled the end of the classical period.
Alexander The Great
It was later possessed by his son King Alexander. Prince Alexander was a student of Aristotle. When Greece came into the possession of Alexander, it was probably the strongest political state in the world. He unified Greece under one ruler for the first time in History. After gathering absolute power in Greece, he embarked on the invasion of Persia which took him almost around 10 years to conquer. He launched his last invasion towards the Indian subcontinent and won great victories in the north-western parts of India but his army refused to advance further leading him to turn back.
Alexander went on conquering the world and built the largest Empire history has ever seen, streching from the Mediterranean to Egypt, the entire central Asia and up to the north western part of Indian subcontinent. He came to be known as Alexander the Great and was alsoo a great patron of art and literature which spread the Greek culture far and wide. He died in 323 BC.After his death, ancient Greece lost all its political powers.
The Hellenistic period began with the death of Alexander which led to the gradual decline of Greek dominance with the empire set up by Alexander being divided among his four generals.