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Ancient Greece - Index

Greek Index / Timeline Aegean Sea Civilizations Trojan War Greek Dark Ages Greek Archaic Period
Greek Gods Greek Classical Period - I Persian War Greek Classical Period - II Peloponnesian War
Philosophers Tragedy - Oedipus Greek Classical Period - III Alexander the Great Greek Hellenistic Period

500 - 323 BC - Greek Classical Period - Part III (404 - 323 BC)

404-336 BC

Troubling Times and the Rise of the Macedonians

404-371 BC

Sparta serves as hegemon, establishing military rule within the Greek states

Sparta plunges into war with the Persians

390's BC

Causes a resurgence in Athens, allowing it to rebuild its walls and navy

395-387 BC

The Boeotian War

Spartan aggression leads Thebes and Athens to ally against Sparta. In 394 BC, Corinth and Argos join the alliance

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Lysander," 27, p. 313-4. Plutarch contends that blame could be placed on Lysander, the Thebans, or both.

399 BC

Socrates is placed on trial for corrupting the youth, introducing religions innovations, and not worshipping the state gods

  • Plato Apology, p. 425. According to Plato, Socrates reads at his trial a "pretended affidavit of [his] accusers," which states, "Socrates is a criminal and a busybody, prying into things under the earth and up in the heavens, and making the weaker argument the stronger, and teaching these same things to others." Socrates, however, refutes and explains away these charges.
  • Plato Apology, p. 434. Socrates defends himself saying, "I am no criminal...However, when I said some time ago that I was heartily disliked by many, you may be sure that it is quite true. An this is what will convict me, if anything does...the prejudice and dislike of so many people."

Socrates is found guilty, but refusing to stop teaching, he chooses death

  • Plato Apology, p. 443. Socrates says, "I cannot keep quiet" since "it is the greatest good for a man every day to discuss virtue and the other things, about which you hear me talking and examining myself and everybody else, and that life without enquiry is not worth living for a man."
  • Plato Crito, p. 457-8. Plato tells a story of Socrates being tempted by a friend to escape from prison while awaiting execution. Socrates succeeds in reasoning with his friend Criton that if Socrates escapes, there will be said "plenty of ugly names to [Socrates'] disgrace." Furthermore, the suspicions raised about Socrates would be vindicated if he escaped.
  • Plato Phaedo, p. 466. Plato records an eyewitness account of the death of Socrates. Socrates believed that "one who has spent his life in philosophy should be confident when he is going to die, and have good hopes that he will win the greatest blessings in the next world when he has ended."
  • Plato Phaedo, p. 521. After Socrates drank the Hemlock and died, Plato writes, "This was the end of our comrade...a man, as we would say, of all then living we had ever met, the noblest and the wisest and most just."

387 BC

King's Peace is reached between Greeks and Persians

385 BC

Plato founds the gymnasium or Academy

384 BC

Aristotle, pupil of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great, is born

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Alexander," p. 275. Plutarch regards Aristotle as "the most learned and most celebrated philosopher of his time."

382 BC

Philip of Macedonia is born

370's BC

Revolts and battles weaken and defeat the Spartan military machine

  • Thucydides Peloponnesian War, 1.75, 80. At a Spartan debate over whether to declare war on Athens, Thucydides reports, "Finally there came a time when we [the Spartans] were surrounded by enemies, when we had already crushed some revolts..."

371-362 BC

Thebes becomes the hegemon

  • Thebes concludes its own peace with the Persians

359-352 BC

Philip II of Macedonia rises to power, conquering neighboring city-states

356 BC

Alexander, son of Philip II and Olympias, is born and is taught by Aristotle

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Alexander," p. 269. Plutarch claims that Alexander was descended from the Olympian god Hercules.
  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Alexander," p. 273-4. Plutarch tells the tale of Alexander's bond with his horse, Bucephalus. After purchasing the horse, Alexander found it very difficult to subdue. Despite its uncooperativeness, Alexander states, "What an excellent horse do they lose for want of address and boldness to manage him!" Later he states, "I will pay...the whole price of the horse." Turning Bucephalus toward the sun so that the horse could no longer be afraid of its shadow, Alexander succeeds in subduing the horse and gaining a companion.
  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Alexander," p. 275. "Alexander received from [Aristotle] not only his doctrines of Morals and of Politics, but also something of those more abstruse and profound theories which these philosophers, by the very names they give them, professed to reserve for oral communication to the initiated, and did not allow many to become acquainted with."

352-338 BC

Philip II and his Macedonians battle Athens

351 BC

Demosthenes, an Athenian considered to be the greatest orator of Ancient Greece, speaks out against Philip's aggression

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Demosthenes," p. 354. Plutarch says, "So it happened to Demosthenes, who, first venturing upon oratory for the recovery of his own private property, by this acquired ability in speaking, and at length, in public business, as it were in great games, came to have the pre-eminence of all competitors in the assembly."
  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Demosthenes," p. 360. According to Plutarch, although Demosthenes may have harbored many ill feelings towards Philip of Macedonia, Demosthenes chooses the topic of Macedonian aggression to further his own public image and to compete against rival orators. "The object which he chose for himself in the commonwealth was noble and just, the defence [sic] of the Grecians against Philip; and in this he behaved himself so worthily that he soon grew famous, and excited attention everywhere for his eloquence and courage in speaking. He was admired through all Greece."
  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Demosthenes," p. 360. Because of Demosthenes' great fame as an orator, "the King of Persia courted him, and by Philip himself he was more esteemed than all the other orators."
  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Demosthenes," p. 363. Despite Philip's initial respect for Demosthenes, this soon changes, "for whatever was done by the Macedonian, [Demosthenes] criticised [sic] and found fault with, and upon all occasions was stirring up the people of Athens and inflaming them against him."

Demosthenes convinces Thebes to join forces with Athens against Philip

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Demosthenes," p. 369. "The cities of Greece were inspirited once more by the efforts of Demosthenes to form a league together. The Thebans, whom he had provided with arms, set upon their garrison, and slew many of them; the Athenians made preparations to join their forces with them; Demosthenes ruled supreme in the popular assembly, and wrote letters to the Persian officers who commanded under the king in Asia, inciting them to make war upon the Macedonian."

353 BC

Mausoleum of the dynast Mausolus, designed by Pythius, is built at Halicarnassus

348/7 BC

Plato dies

338 BC

At the battle of Chaeronea, Philip II and his son Alexander crush the Athenian and Theban armies

  • Demosthenes flees for Athens
  • Philip becomes master of all Greece
  • Because of Alexander's military skill and his father's fear that Alexander is actually the son of Zeus, this battle drives a wedge between Alexander and Philip II

337-336 BC

Philip II forms the League of Cornish

  • With Philip and "his descendants" as hegemon, the states swore to protect each other

Philip marries a girl named Cleopatra as a war-bride.  Because she is Macedonian, their son would become the rightful heir to the Macedonian throne since Alexander's mother Olympias was not Macedonian.  This further disrupts the relationship between Alexander and his father Philip II.

337 BC

Philip declares war on Persia out of revenge for Xerxes' destruction of Greek temples

336 BC

Philip is assassinated by one of his bodyguards (possibly with the consent of his wife Olympias)

Alexander, his son, succeeds him as king of Macedonia

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Alexander," p. 274. After Alexander succeeds in subduing Bucephalus, his father Philip says, "O my son, look thee out a kingdom equal to and worthy of thyself, for Macedonia is too little for thee." Apparently, Alexander took those words to heart.

Darius III becomes king of Persia

 

Alexander the Great and His Conquests

335 BC

Alexander the Great suppressed the barbarians along Macedonia's northern frontier

  • Upon rumors of his death and an ensuing Theban revolt, Alexander the Great conquered and destroyed Thebes to warn other Greeks

334-330 BC

Using an expeditionary force of 30,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry, Alexander conquers Asia Minor at the Battle of Granicus on the Granicus River

334 BC

Alexander the Great cuts a famous knot in Gordium. According to tradition, anyone who could master the knot would become master or ruler of the world

333 BC

At the battle of Issus, Alexander captures the family of Darius III, but Darius himself escapes

332/1 BC

Alexander conquers Egypt and is proclaimed Pharaoh

Founds the city of Alexandria, which contained a library (containing over 500,000 books) and the famous lighthouse (which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World)

Alexander consults the oracle at Siwa and hears from the oracle that he is the son of Zeus -Amon

  • Plutarch Parallel Lives, "Alexander," p. 296. "For when [Alexander] was master of Egypt, designing to settle a colony of Grecians there, he resolved to build a large and populous city, and give it his own name."

331 BC

At the battle of Arbela, Alexander the Great uses scythe-bearing chariots to deal a severe blow to the Persian army

  • Darius escapes Alexander's clutches once again

330 BC

Alexander defeats the Persians at the battle of Gaugamela in modern-day Iraq

Alexander marches to Babylon and then to pursues Darius to Hecatompylus

  • At Hecatompylus, Alexander scares some of Darius' own men into assassinating their leader
  • Alexander becomes master of the Persian empire and is proclaimed King of Asia

326 BC

In June, Alexander confronts a people known as the Malli.  During the siege of the Mallian city, Alexander's troops are confronted with a wall. Alexander proposes to climb over the wall, but his men object because of the Mallian archers. Alexander, to prove to his men that success is within their grasp, climbs to the top of the wall and begins cutting down the enemy with his sword.  His men, horrified, put ladders into position to try to rescue their general. In their haste, the ladders break.  In the end, Alexander receives an arrow wound to the lung, almost killing him.

  • Arrian The Campaigns of Alexander, "The King had now reached the top. Laying his shield on the wall, he forced some of the defenders back into the fortress, cut down others with his sword, till he stood there alone, not one of the enemy within his reach. The sight of him filled his men with terror for his safety; scrambling, they made a dash for the ladders, but under the excessive load they broke and hurled the climbers to the ground.

    Suddenly a thought crossed his mind: by staying where he was he might be killed with nothing accomplished; but if he leapt down into the fortress, he might break the spirit of the enemy, or at least, if it was his fate to die, death would come in glorious battle to be remembered and retold by future men."

Alexander the Great travels down the Khyber pass to India, where he fights King Porus at the Jhelum River (near Harappa)

  • Despite a Macedonian victory, casualties are extremely high and Alexander's troops plead to return home

Due to monsoon rains and starvation, three-fourths of Alexander's army dies on the coast of the Persian Gulf

324 BC

Alexander and his army return to Babylon

  • While planning an invasion of Arabia, Alexander catches swamp fever (perhaps malaria)
  • Alexander's generals ask him who will take over the empire when he dies.  Alexander responds that his empire should go "to the strongest"

323 BC

Alexander the Great dies in Babylon on June 10 at 32 years old



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