3300-1000 BCE: Greece - The earliest known prehistoric civilizations occupy the Aegean world. This period marks the rise and fall of the MINOAN and MYCENAEAN civilization.

2200 BCE: Greece - Indo-European invaders, speaking the earliest forms of Greek, enter the mainland of Greece, and the MYCENAEAN CIVILIZATION (named after the leading Greek city on the peninsula from 1600-1200 BCE) emerges.

2000-1500 BCE: Greece - MINOAN CIVILIZATION (named after the Cretan ruler Minos) reaches its height with its central power in Knossos on the island of Crete. This culture is apparently more female-oriented and peaceful than others at the time.

1400 BCE: Greece - MYCENAEAN CIVILIZATION replaces MINOAN CIVILIZATION after the destruction of Knossos. Bronze weapons, war-scenes on art, Cyclopean defence walls, and the fact that male warriors were buried with their weapons provide evidence for the claim that the Mycenaeans were militaristic. The horse-drawn chariot emerges around this time. The Mycenaeans dominate the Aegean world for about 200 years.

1250 BCE: Greece - Though this is disputed, some scholars believe that the MYCENAEANS wage war with the Trojans of western Asia Minor and are successful. By 1100 BCE they are overtaken by barbaric Dorian invaders who are using iron weapons. From this point, Greek culture enters the so-called Dark Ages, characterized by the disappearance of writing and a decline in architecture and other aspects of material culture. The period lasts until about 800 BCE. The two Homeric epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are often used by scholars as evidence of the traditions and institutions in place during this time. However, such use is strongly contested.

800 BCE: Greece - Increase in trade and the establishment of governmental defense fortifications allows for the emergence of Greek city-states from tribal communities. These grow up around marketplaces and include ATHENS, Thebes and Megara on the Greek mainland. The Greek city-states are considered the most famous units of Greek political life to develop in this society.

800-500 BCE: Greece - This period, often referred to as the Archaic period, marks the developments of literature and the arts, politics, philosophy and science. The Peloponnesian city of Corinth, SPARTA and cities along the coast of the Aegean Sea flourish. For the most part, the Greek city-states are similar in their political evolution, with the exception of Sparta's elite dictatorship. Most begin their political histories as monarchies, evolve to oligarchies, are overthrown during the age of the tyrants (650-500 BCE) and eventually establish democracies in the sixth and fifth centuries. Of the Greek city-states, ATHENS and Sparta were the two most important.

700 BCE: Greece - HESIOD, Greece's second poet (after HOMER) and the first poet to name himself, is composing his poetry. His most important works are The Theogony and Works and Days.

640 BCE: Greece - Sparta's form of government, which is adapted from the Dorians, is heavily influenced by militarianism. The Messenian wars initiate Sparta's fear of change. They remain an isolated people, primarily by banning trade and discouraging travel outside of Spartan territory. Alcaeus, Greek lyric poet, is born in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. His lyrics expound on contemporary politics, love, hymns to Apollo and Hermes, and include some drinking songs.

612 BCE: Greece - Sappho, Greek lyric poet of Lesbos, is born. The most famous female poet of the ancient world, Sappho is inscribed in the Palatine Anthology among the Muses, rather than among the great lyric poets, in the second century BCE. Her lyric poetry includes the exploration of female sexuality, female values in a male dominated society, and love.

594 BCE: Greece - Solon, the great elegiac poet, is appointed chief magistrate of ATHENS. His reforms include both political and economical adjustments which lead to dissatisfaction in the upper and lower classes.

585 BCE: Greece - In Miletus, the founding city of philosophy, Thales predicts a total eclipse of the sun. The founder of the Melesian school, Thales, teaches that all things are composed of moisture; he is the first to put forth a rational explanation of the cosmos. By the end of the sixth century, philosophers begin to question the metaphysical nature of the cosmos with inquiries into the nature of being, the meaning of truth, and the relationship between the divine and the physical world.

546 BCE: Greece - The first of the Athenian tyrants, Peisistratus, replaces Solon as ruler.

530 BCE: Greece - Pythagoras and his followers found the city of Croton and combine philosophy and literature with political activity as the foundation of their community. Pythagoras, mathematician and philosopher, is credited with the Pythagorean theorem and the Pythagorean table of opposites (the "dualism" that underlies Greek thought).

525 BCE: Greece - Greek drama grows out of the Dionysian festivals. The plays of AESCHYLUS are considered to be the beginning of this long history of tragic drama. His stories are drawn from conflicts between the individual and the cosmos.

518 BCE: Greece - Pindar, considered by some to be the greatest Greek lyric poet, is born in Cynoscephalae, Boeotia. Pindar's odes celebrate games held at the religious festivals of Greece. Athletic victory serves as the ground for his poetic fancy and his religious, moral, and aesthetic insights. He dies in 438 BCE.

515 BCE: Greece - Parmenides of Elea is born. He is the founder of the Eleatic school in the Phocaean colony in southern Italy. He is the first to focus attention on the central problem of Greek metaphysics: the nature of being. For Parmenides, the laws governing the universe are stable. Change is merely an illusion.

510 BCE: Greece - Hippias, the son of Peisistratus, succeeds his father and is overthrown by a group of nobles with the help of SPARTA.

508 BCE: Greece - Cleisthenes, the father of Athenian democracy, rules ATHENS. His reforms grant full rights to all free men of Athens.

500 BCE: Greece - The height of Greek sculpture begins with the work of Phidias. His masterpieces include the statue of Athena in the PARTHENON, the Parthenon reliefs and the statue of Zeus in the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The second most important sculptor, Myron, is renowned for his statue of the discus thrower.

490 BCE: Greece - Lasting until 479 BCE, the Greeks initiate war with Persia when Persia, at this time the strongest power in western Asia, establishes rule over Greek-speaking cities in Asia Minor. The PERSIAN WARS are commonly regarded as among the most significant in all of history. Darius the Great is defeated at the battle of Marathon in 490 BCE. The Greeks emerge victorious and put an end to the possibility of Persian despotism.

486 BCE: Greece - A contempoary of Darius the Persian, Heraclitus of Ephesus lives somewhere around this time. For Heraclitus, reality is flux which originated out of fire (as opposed to Parmenides' "stable" reality -- see 515 BCE). PLATO credits Heraclitus for saying, "One cannot step into the same river twice." Heraclitus was also known as "the obscure."

485 BCE: Greece - Accompanying the high point of democracy in ATHENS is a Greek intellectual revolution, with its beginnings in Sophism. The Sophists situate ethics and politics within philosophical discourse which, before, was limited to physics and metaphysics alone. The leading Sophist, Protagoras, states his famous doctrine: "Man is the measure of all things." For him, all truth, goodness, beauty, etc. are relative to man's necessities and inquiries. Emerging in opposition to the Sophists are Socrates, PLATO and ARISTOTLE, each of whom offers alternatives to the Sophists' relativism.

484 BCE: Greece - The father of history, Herodotus, is born. He is author of a nine-book History of the Persian War and a book dedicated to his travels through Egypt. He dies in 420.

478 BCE: Greece - ATHENS joins with other Greek city-states in the formation of the DELIAN LEAGUE. The League continues even after the end of the PERSIAN WARS and transforms into a naval empire with Athens as its leader.

469 BCE: Greece - SOPHOCLES is born. He is the second Greek dramatist, following AESCHYLUS, and is considered by some to be the greatest of the Greek dramatists. His works include Oedipus Rex and Antigone. He dies in 406 BCE. This year also marks the birth of Socrates, a philosopher of ethics who leaves no written philosophy. He is the major critic of popular belief in ATHENS and is the protagonist of Plato's dialogues. He is condemned to death in 399 BCE on the charges of corrupting the youth and introducing new gods into Greek thought.

461-429 BCE: Greece - During this "Age of Pericles," Athenian democracy reaches perfection, and the court systems are completed. A jury system is put in place with the jury serving as absolute authority in judicial matters.

448 BCE: Greece - ARISTOPHANES, considered by some to be the greatest Greek comedy writer, is born. He dies in 380 BCE. Greek comedy, like Greek tragedy, originates out of the Dionysian festivals.

431-404 BCE: Greece - During the PELOPONNESIAN WAR between ATHENS and SPARTA, the political supremacy of Athens is ended. Athenian trade is destroyed. Athenian democracy is overthrown, and Athens is forced to surrender to Sparta as a subject state. Sparta assumes dominance over the Greek world and replaces many Greek democracies with oligarchies. The two major causes of the war are Athens' growth in imperialism and the economic and cultural differences between Athens and Sparta. Between 404 and 338, Sparta is not able to persist in the rule of Greece. Power over Greece shifts from Sparta to Thebes and then to numerous other city-states, none able to maintain rule over such a large empire.

427 BCE: Greece - PLATO, Socrates' most distinguished student, is born. He is a prolific writer and is considered by some to be the most important of all philosophers. Among his most noted works are The Apology, The Symposium, The Phaedo, The Phaedrus, and The Republic. His written works are in dialogue form. He dies in 347 BCE.

406 BCE: Greece - EURIPIDES dies. Born in 480 BCE, he is the last of the tragic dramatists. His contribution to the history of Greek tragedy is his creation of a drama that deals with situations analogous to human life.

384 BCE: Greece - Plato's most distinguished student, ARISTOTLE, is born. He enters Plato's Academy at the age of seventeen. After spending several years as tutor to Alexander the Great, Aristotle returns to ATHENS and founds the Lyceum. Among his writings are treatises on logic, metaphysics, ethics, politics, rhetoric and several on natural sciences. He dies in 322 BCE.

350 BCE: Greece - HELLENISTIC GREECE witnesses the new philosophy of the Cynics. Their leader, Diogenes, puts forth the first argument against conventional life. The Cynics believe that people should live naturally and strive for self-sufficiency.

343 BCE: Greece - The greatest dramatist of HELLENISTIC GREECE, Menander, follows the comedic genre put forth by ARISTOPHANES (the subject of which is romantic love).

338 BCE: Greece - Philip of Macedon, Alexander the Great's father, conquers Greece and is succeeded by his son two years later. At age twenty-two, Alexander begins his campaign to acquire new territory in Asia. Within four years, Alexander conquers the entire Persian Empire (including Asia Minor, Egypt, Persia, Syria and Mesopotamia). Alexander continues his campaign farther east and eventually returns to Persia in 323 BCE, where he dies of fever in Babylon. Before his death, Alexander was the ruler of the largest empire the world had seen. HELLENISTIC GREECE, a combination of Greek and western Asian cultures, lasts from Alexander's time until the beginning of the Christian era.

323 BCE: Greece - Alexander leaves no successors, and the highest generals engage in many wars which result in the decisive battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE. The empire is divided into four major states under the separate rules of Seleucus, Lysimachus, Cassander and Ptolemy. Greek cities revolt against Macedonian rule but to no avail. The next four hundred years witness the growth of large cities and Hellenistic international trade.

300 BCE: Greece - Epicureanism and Stoicism both originate in ATHENS. Both Epicurus (342-270 BCE) and Zeno, the Stoic (not to be confused with Zeno of Elea), believe in an individualistic and materialistic philosophy. Neither believe in spiritual substances. The soul is thought to be material. The Epicureans believe that pleasure is the highest good, and only by abandoning the fear of the supernatural can one achieve tranquillity of mind. The Stoics believe that tranquillity of mind is only achieved by surrendering the self to the order of the cosmos.

310 BCE: Greece - Hellenistic astronomy is founded by Aristarchus of Samos. His major contribution to Hellenistic thought is his theory that the earth and all other planets revolve around the sun, contrary to ARISTOTLE.

200 BCE: Greece - Under the influence of Carneades, Skepticism arises with doctrines closely tied to Sophism. They teach that because all knowledge is achieved through sense perception, nothing can be known for sure.

146-30 BCE: Greece - Between these years, nearly all Hellenistic territory becomes subject to Roman rule.