Solon Becomes Archon - Athens was experiencing a period of social and political upheaval. To combat this, Solon, an esteemed Athenian, was appointed as ruler of Athens. He inaugurated a series of new laws to replace the laws of Draco. He canceled all land debts, outlawed new loans for which humans were used as collateral, and made other popular and successful reforms.
Nebuchadnezzar Takes Jerusalem - In 588 Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian army breached the wall of Jerusalem, capturing it and destroying the temple. Many of the Jews of Judea were taken to exile in Babylon.
Pisistratus Rules Athens - Following the resignation of Solon, Athens was governed by a group of leaders. One of them was Pisistratus, who made three attempts to seize power, finally succeeding on the third attempt. Pisistratus ruled with a firm hand, but was nonetheless popular. He engaged in large-scale building campaigns, and maintained Athens in an unparalleled state of tranquility.
Cyrus The Great - Cyrus the Great deposed Astayges of Medea who had been King of both Medea and Persia, which the Medes had conquered. Cyrus had been at the court of Astayges. When he managed to escape to Persia where his father was king, Astayges followed with a great army. The army was many times the size of the Persian forces organized by Cyrus. Cyrus' army was attacked many times. After each encounter, the Persians were forced to give ground to the larger Medean army. Cyrus' father fell in one of those battles. Finally, as the Medes were camped near the Persian capital, Darius attacked. His surprise attack succeeded in defeating the Medes and enabled the Persians to capture the King. Cyrus then declared himself the King of both Persia and Medea. He was accepted as such by both peoples.
Cyrus Captures Lydia
- Cyrus next attacked the Lydians. Theirs was the largest empire in Asia Minor,
maintaining alliances with the Egyptians, the Babylonians and even the Spartans.
Cyrus approached Lydia and in Pteria fought the Lydian army led by its general, Croesus. The battle ended in a draw and Croesus, believing that Cyrus would not fight again until spring, returned to his capital city of Sardis, and disbanded a portion of his army. Cyrus followed and in a battle outside Sardis, Cyrus' army defeated the Lydians and forced them into the city. Cyrus then laid siege to the city. His men were able to scale the citadel, enter Sardis and lay waste to it. Croesus was captured and the Lydians were now part of the Persian Empire.
Jews Return To Jerusalem - Cyrus allowed the Jews who had been conquered by the Babylonians to return to Jerusalem after his defeat of the Babylonians. Cyrus' strategy was to befriend local populations. The Jews were allowed to rebuild the temple destroyed by Nebbechadnezzar seventy years before. This gesture on the part of Cyrus resulted in tremendous loyalty towards him on the part of the returning Jewish population.
Cyrus Captures Babylonia - Cyrus spent a number of years securing his eastern frontiers against invaders. In 539 B.C., he once again turned his attentions eastward. He attacked the city of Babylon. First, he defeated Babylonian forces outside the city. The Babylonians then divided their forces in two. King Nabonadius took his forces to Borisappa, hoping to divert Cyrus's attention. The tactic did not work and Cyrus invaded the city. Legend has it that Cyrus was successful in capturing the city by diverting the waters of the Tigris river.
Persians Conquer Egypt - The end of the New Kingdom coincided with the end of dynasty of the Ramesids. Egypt entered a long period of turmoil and foreign conflict.
Darius - Cyrus was succeeded by Darius I in 521 B.C. Darius spent the first years of his administration suppressing revolts that seemed to develop in every part of the Empire. Darius then reorganized the Persian Empire into separate provinces called satraps, each with its own governor and tax system. Darius improved communication within the empire by creating a series of 111 post stations with horses similar to the pony express system developed nearly two thousand years later in the United States. It became possible to send or receive messages anywhere in the Empire within two weeks. Though Darius successfully quelled a revolt of Ionian Greeks in Anatolia, he failed in two attempts to conquer Greece proper.
Darius Invades Indus Valley - In 516 B.C., Darius invaded India capturing the Indus Valley. He annexed it to the Persian Empire. His hold on the region was tenuous and lasted less then ten years.
The Roman Republic Founded - 509 BC is the year that has traditionally been given as the founding of the Roman Republic. Junius Brutus and Taqrquinius were the first consuls of Rome.
Athenian Democracy Established By Clesithenes
Pisistratus was succeeded by his sons, one of whom -- Hipparchus -- was
assassinated as a result of a private feud. The other son, Hippais, responded
with such oppression, that he was overthrown and exiled by the nobles of the
Cleisthenes was appointed as ruler and enacted fundamental reforms that became the basis of the Golden Age of Athens. Cleisthenese divided Athens into 10 tribes, each of which was made up of a mixture of Athenians from all groups. The ultimate governing body of Athens became the Assembly made up of all male Athenians from all social classes. Each member had one vote. Daily control was left in the hands of the Council of 500, which was composed of representative selected from the ten tribes.
Work On Grand Canal - The Chinese began work on the Grand Canal under the Eastern Chou dynasty. The goal of the canal was to connect the Yellow and Yangtse River. Work and improvements on the canal continued for 2,000 years.
Greek City States Revolts - The Greek city states known as the Ionians in Asian Minor revolted against Persian rule. Their leader was Aristagoras of Miletus. The Athenians sent 20 ships to help them.
Darius Navy Defeats Greeks Off Lade - Darius' naval forces were able to defeat the Greek fleet off the island of Lade. With the sea under his control, Darius had no problems in seizing and sacking Miletus. Darius put down the revolt and took control of Ionia.
Battle Of Marathon - The Army of Athens and its allies met the Persians on the Plains of Marathon about 22 miles from Athens. The Greeks charged the Persian lines. Both sides fought hard, but it was the Greeks who were able to break the Persian lines. The Persians were forced to withdraw to their boats. The complete Greek victory at Marathon ended the immediate Persian threat.
Buddha - In 483 B.C. Gautama Buddha died. He was the founder of Buddhism. Shortly after his death, 500 disciples met to further refine his doctrine and code of discipline.
Confucius - At the age of 56, the Chinese minister of Lu Long Fuzi resigned. He spent the last 12 years of his life wandering China teaching morality, family values and statecraft. Lu Long became known as Confucius and, to this day, remains the most revered Chinese philosopher.
Second Invasion Of Greece
Xerxes who seceded Darius vowed to revenge his father's defeat by renewing the
attacks on Greece. He led an invasion force of 150,000 soldiers and 700 naval
ships. The Greeks fought a delaying battle at the Thermopylae Pass. Nine
thousand Greeks under Spartan command held the pass for two days. The Persians
managed to outflank the Greeks, however. Most of the Greek forces withdrew, but
300 Spartans fought to the death. Athenians then abandoned their city which the
Persians promptly sacked. The Greek fleet was bottled up, in the Saronic Gulf.
The Persians then tried to storm the Gulf, but became tangled as they entered
the straits leading to the gulf and were destroyed.
Xerxes then withdrew. The next year at the Battle of Plataea the Greeks decisively defeated the Persians and ended the Persian threat.
Naxos Tries To Leave Delphian League - According to legend, Rome was founded in 753 B.C. Its traditional founder was Romulus, said to be the son of a princess of Alba Longa. In truth, we know little about the actual founding of the city. The first settlement in Rome most likely took place on Palatine Hill near the Tiber River.
Third Messenian War - One of the first acts of the Eighteenth Dynasty under Ahmose was the subjugation of Nubia. The Egyptians quickly subdued the Nubians and assimilated them into the Empire.
Age of Pericles - The Age of Pericles, lasted from 461 B.C. (when Pericles as a young aristocrat became the dominant politician in Athens) until 429 B.C. This was a period of expanding democracy at home and increased imperialism abroad.
431 - 404 BC
Peloponnesian War - For Sparta and its allies, the growing Athenian power aroused fear and suspicion. A series of disputes finally led to the outbreak of war between Athens and Sparta. Sparta hoped to defeat the Athenians in open battle. The Athenians, on the other hand, relied on their navy. Their forces withdrew behind the city walls, which Sparta besieged. Despite a plague that killed one-third of Athenians (including Pericles) the Athenians fought on. In 415 B.C., the Athenians attempted to capture Sicily. The attack was repulsed and the Athenians were defeated outside the city of Syracuse. All their soldiers were killed or sold into slavery. In 405 B.C., the Athenian fleet was destroyed at Aegospotami. In 404 B.C., the Spartans finally captured Athens and brought the war to an end.
Hippocrates - Hippocrates was spared death from a plague that killed between 1/3 and 2/3d's of the population of Athens. Hippocrates was the first to say that disease was not miraculous, or a punishment from the gods. Hippocrates is best known for the Hippocratic Oath that every physician swears to.
Battle Of Cunaxa - After a three-year siege, Samaria (the capital of Israel) fell to the Assyrians. It is said that the Assyrian took 20,000 Israelites into slavery. Thus ended the Kingdom of Israel.
Hsiung Nu - (Huns) Dominate Mongoliat- Starting in 399 B.C., the Hsuing Nu (known as the Huns) began to dominate the other tribes in Mongolia. Over a process that took nearly 200 years, they came to dominate the Northern border of China.
395 - 387 BC
Corinthian War - With the help of the Persians, Athens and other Greek city-states organized to challenge Sparta once again. In the course of the war, both sides won victories, but Sparta finally negotiated a peace with the Persians which was known as the 'King's Peace' which ended the war.
1st Roman Roads Built - The Romans built their first road. The road ran from Rome to the Alban Hills, and was used primarily to carry military traffic.
Battle At Leuctra - Sparta was defeated at the Battle of Leuctra by Epaeminondas of Thebes. This defeat shattered the myth of Spartan invincibility and ended Sparta's hegemony over Greece.
Philip II Regent Of Macedonia - Philip II became Regent of Macedonia in 359 B.C. He reorganized the army and made it one of the strongest in Greece. He was soon drawn into the quarrels between the various Greek city-states.
Peace Of Philocrates - Philip forced Athens to accept a peace treaty with Macedonia, one which was very favorable to Macedonia. This marked the beginning of the end of Greek independence.
Alexander The Great - Battle Of Granicus- Alexander the Great led a Greek army of 35,000 soldiers into battle against the Persian army led by Darius III at Granicus. The Persian army of 40,000 waited across the river of Granicus for the Macedonians who streamed across. The battle was hard-fought but Alexander's troops gained the upper hand, and killed or captured half of the Persian army which was forced to retreat.
Battle Of Issus - In the Battle at Issus, Macedonian forces under Alexander, met a Persian army, numbering from two hundred to two million men, and one thousand to twelve hundred ships under the command of Darius III. Alexander attacked the Persian infantry in the center of the lines and achieved an overwhelming victory, decimating the Persian forces.
Battle Of Gaugamela - Darius III and the Persian Empire made a final stand in October 331 B.C. at Gaugamela near Arbela in the heart of Assyria. Nearly 1 million men faced an army of 50,000 Macedonians under Alexander. Alexander obtained excellent intelligence on the disposition of Persian forces and was able to attack the Persians, disrupting their lines which resulted in a general Persian retreat. Darius fled the battlefield, was pursued and was eventually assassinated in Bactaria. The Persian empire came to an end.
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Senior Project : 2001-2002 The Great Persian Empire Website