5th - 4th CENTURIES B.C. THE CLASSICAL ERA - CLASSICAL GREECE
Athens sends 20 ships to aid the Ionian Revolt against the Persians.
The great tragedian, Sophocles, is born whom with his works and unparalleled form of speech,
elevates the genre of poetic art to new heights. From a total of 123 of his works, only 7
exist intact today and continue to be presented in theaters throughout the world.
Themistocles is elected archon and presents his program for the organization of the Athenian fleet.
Persians invasion against Athens, headed by Datis and Artaphernes.
Under the guidance of the general Miltiades the Athenians win a great
victory in the plain of Marathon. The story of the Battle of Marathon,
as well as all of the events of the Persian Wars, are known to us through
the work of the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus´ who is considered the Father of History
485 or 480 B.C.
Euripides, the third great tragedian is born. Through his works,
he succeeds in bringing to light all of the dark aspects of the human
spirit and to bring man face to face with his own self. From the 92 plays
that he created, there are on 18 in existence today.
Hellenic victory at the Battle of Plataea and at the Sea Battle of Mycale.
Establishment of Delian League, known as the first Athenian League with the goal of
liberating the Greeks of Asia Minor from Persian enslavement. Fortification of Athens
and Piraeus takes place according to Themistocles´ plan (Themistoclean Wall).
The great philosopher, Socrates, is born in Athens. Socrates´ way of
thinking is considered cutting-edge in the evolutionary path of Philosophy.
Although Socrates himself did not write any works, the reflection of his versatile
personality became known through the works of his students particularly from the
books of Plato.
Significant victory against the Persians by the fleet of the Athenian League,
led by Cimon at the Eurymedon river in Pamphylia in Asia Minor.
Athenian mission under Cimon to assist the Spartan in putting down
a revolt of the helots (Messenians in Ithome). Refusal of Athenian
support by the Spartans. The leader of the radical democrats, Ephialtes with a
political coup diminished the political power of the aristocratic court,
the Areopagus and transfers it into the Council of Five Hundred (Boule), the
Ecclesia (the Popular Assembly) and the Court of Heliaia.
Dissolution of the alliance with Sparta. Assassination of Ephialtes.
Pericles is declared the new leader of the radical democrats. Ostracism of
Cimon. The insult of the Spartans who rejected Cimons´ support mission was
the excuse to declare war against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League.
Establishment of Athens´ new alliances, with Argos and Thessaly. Pericles
implements an admirable plan for the building of the Acropolis after the
destruction and looting done by the Persians. Main partner in his endeavor
is the great sculptor, painter and architect, Phidias. The results are
masterpieces of architecture and sculpture: the Parthenon, Erechtheion
and the Temple of Athena Nike. Of course, other temples are constructed
as well in particular, the Temple of Poseidon at Sounio, the Temple of
Hephaestus on top of the Agoraios Kolonos hill, the Temple of Nemesis at
Rhamnous and the Temple of Ares at Acharnes. During the 5th Century, the
following are built: the Stoa of Zeus Eleftherios; the Great Duct at Agora;
the South Stoa located on the south side of the Agora; the Temple of Artemis
Agrotera on the left bank of Ilissos river and the Asclepieion on the south
side of the Acropolis.
Defeat of the Athenians by the Spartans at the Battle of Tanagra.
Victory against the Spartan allies, the Boeotians, at the Battle of
Oenophyta. Expansion of Athenian control to Thermopylae.
Defeat of the Athenian army at Memphis under the command of
Persian general Magabazus and end of Athenian expedition to
Egypt against the Persians. Transfer of the allied treasury
from Delos to Athens.
Cimon´s return and five-year truce with the Spartans
Cimon´s death during the Siege of Citium on the southwest
coast of Cyprus. Great victory of the Athenian fleet against
the Persians at Salamis in Cyprus. Peace treaty between Athenians
and the Persians that became identified with the name of the
Athenian diplomat, Callias ("Peace of Callias").
Thirty Years Peace treaty between the city-states Athens and Sparta.
The great Athenian rhetorician, Isocrates, is born.
With his inspired speeches, he tries to unite the
Greeks and end civil conflict.
Athens support Corcyra in its conflict against Corinth.
Corinthian support of the revolt of Potidaea against
the Athenian League. The construction of the Parthenon
and the Propylaea is completed.
The Peloponnesian War. It is probably the most important
event in the history of ancient Athens since it marks the
point of the city´s highest peak as well as the beginning of its fall.
The Athenian historian, Thucydides, documents the history of the Peloponnesian War.
Thucydides´ work is the first scientific historical document and, for this reason,
he is considered the father of "scientific history". His objectivity, critical ability,
political thinking and scientific disposition are the elements that
established Thucydides as the all time model for every aspiring historian.
The Peloponnesian War is divided into three basic periods:
431 - 421 B.C.
431 - 430 B.C.
Peloponnesian invasions in Attica, naval raids of Athenians
in the coast of the Peloponnnese, plague in Athens, Pericles
conviction and expulsion from general command, siege of Plataea
by the Spartans, re-election of Pericles and his death from the plague.
428 - 427 B.C.
Secession of Mytilene by the Athenian league and its harsh
punishment by the Athenians. Occupation of Plataea by the Spartans.
In the same period, the great ancient philosopher who developed a profound
and multifaceted philosophical system, Plato, is born. Plato´s
philosophical thought is the point of reference for all philosophers,
even today, since his works exerted intense influence and various reactions.
The Athenian General, Demosthenes, seizes a strategic
point at Pylos and captures 120 Spartans at Sphacteria.
Cleon is declared leader of the radical democrats.
Defeat of Athenians at Delium. The Spartan General, Brasidas, takes Amphipolis.
Battle at Amphipolis with Spartans the victors.
Cleon and Brasidas are killed in the battle.
"Peace of Nicias" , a peace treaty
between Athens and Sparta that was meant to last for fifty years
415 - 413 B.C.
Sicilian expedition with Alcibiades and Nicias as generals.
Indictment of Alcibiades for his participation in the mutilation
of Hermai (heads of the god Hermes on a plinth with a phallus).
Recall Alcibiades to Athens to stand trial. Alcibiades take refuge
to Sparta. Total defeat of the Athenians and death of the generals,
Nicias and Demosthenes.
413 - 404 B.C.
Decelean War or Ionian War.
Occupation of Decelea by the Spartans.
Oligarchic reform in Athens. Reaction by the military, which elects Alcibiades for general.
Navel victory of Alcibiades at Cynossema and Cyzicus.
Reestablishment of democracy in Athens, led by Cleophon.
409 - 408 B.C.
Siege of Chalcedon and Byzantium by Alcibiades and his
triumphant return to Athens. The Athenians are defeated
at Notium, near Ephesus, which marks the complete fall of Alcibiades.
BGreat victory of the Athenians over the Spartan fleet at Arginusae Islands
Destruction of the Athenian fleet at Aigospotamoi .
Athens completes a treaty, resigns from all foreign domination
and is obligated to tear down its Long Walls and the Wall of Piraeus.
404 - 403 B.C.
Period of government by the Thirty Tyrants that
impose a terrifying regime. Restoration of democracy by Thrasybulus.
395 - 386 B.C.
A period during which the "Corinthian War" takes place.
The Athenians participate in the war led by generals Conon
and Iphicrates. With Persian financing, the Long Walls are rebuilt.
During the 4th Century B.C., the Stadium on the left bank of Ilissos
river is built, as well as the Temple of Apollo Patroos on the west
side of the Ancient Agora, the Chalkotheke and the sanctuary of Artemis
Brauronia on the Acropolis.
Founding of the second Athenian alliance (Second Athenian Confederacy)
with the goal to deal with the spread of the Spartan influence.
358 - 355 B.C.
Revolt of Athens´ allies against the "Allied War"
and dissolution of the second Athenian league.
349 - 348 B.C.
Significant political figure of Athens is the great orator Demosthenes,
who tries, through his speeches and political activities to rekindle in
his fellowmen, the lost fighting spirit for freedom and pride in their
country. Outbreak of the War of Olynthus against King Philip II of Macedon
that ends with the destruction of Olynthus and the defeat of the Athenian army.
Peace of Philocrates - Treaty between King Phillip II
of Macedon and Athens. The treaty stipulates that both sides keep their winnings.
Total defeat of the Athenian and Theban armies by King Phillip II of Macedon.
Participation of the Athenians on common (panhellenic)
expedition against the Persians with Philip II of Macedon as leader
The great Greek philosopher, Aristotle, founds the School
of Philosophy in Athens named, "Peripatos" (known to us as
the Lyceum of Aristotle).