Timeline of Ancient Greece

Humans lived in ancient Greece for several thousand years.

During this time period, people created new city-states, interacted with other tribes and groups, went to war with one another, and were eventually beaten by the more powerful Romans to the west.

The timeline of ancient Greece can be split into three parts: Archaic Greece, Classical Greece, and Hellenistic Greece.

Archaic Greece (800 BCE – 481 BCE)

Archaic Greece was the time when the city-states and Greek culture was developing.

The people formed their towns and started to fight between each other for control.

The Greco-Persian Wars also started when king Xerxes tried to enter Greece. The Greeks, led by Sparta, fought them back.

  • 1,000 BCE – 500 BCE: The city-states developed during this time period from and slowly grew stronger. Each one built its own military and navy to show its power to the others and defend its territory.
  • 850 BCE: Creation of the first Greek alphabet
  • 776 BCE: The first Olympic Games were held between a few city-states and would eventually spread throughout ancient Greece. The winners were given olive branches and praised.
  • 730 – 710 BCE: A city-state called Sparta takes over most of southern Greece on the mainland called the Peloponnese.
  • 650 BCE: A group called the Greek Tyrants take control of the city-states to try and make them more stable and powerful.
  • 505 BCE: Athens creates democracy, or a form of government where every male citizen could vote.
  • 499 BCE – 449 BCE: The Greeks fight a massive war against the Persians from the east led by a king named Xerxes. The Greeks win and manage to drive the Persians back.

Classical Greece (480 BCE – 323 BCE)

This is the time most people associate with ancient Greek. The city-states were well-developed, culture thrived, and the Greeks ruled the Mediterranean Sea.

  • 461 BCE – 446 BCE: The Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta starts and pulls all of the other city-states into the fight. Sparta wins and forces Athens to give up its navy and trade routes.
  • 449 BCE – 432 BCE: Athens builds the Parthenon in honor of Athena.
  • 431 BCE: Another Peloponnesian war starts between Athens and Sparta. Athens gains some of its power back but is short-lived.
  • 430 BCE: The Bubonic plague (black plague) breaks out in Athens and kills a large part of the population.
  • 399 BCE: The famous philosopher Socrates is executed for speaking against the Athenian government.
  • 386 BCE: Socrates’ student Plato founds an academy for philosophers.
  • 359 BCE: Philip II of Macedon conquers ancient Greece and forces the city-states to work together as a single empire.
  • 356 BCE: Alexander the Great is born.
  • 333 BCE: Alexander spreads the Greek empire all the way to India and defeats the Persians. He is given Egypt as a reward.

Hellenistic Greece (323 BCE – 146 BCE)

Hellenistic Greece was when Greek civilization fell apart.

Greek language and culture spread as far as India but the city-states no longer had power and the main centers of power were outside of Greece in places like Alexandria.

  • 323 BCE: Alexander the Great dies in Babylon. Historians believe he was poisoned by his generals because he didn’t want to go back to Greece.
  • 323 BCE: Alexander’s generals divide Greek territory into four separate territories.
  • 224 BCE: An earthquake shakes the city-state of Rhodes and destroys the famous Colossus that served as a lighthouse.
  • 200 BCE – 196 BCE: Rome first enters Greece and wins its first battle.
  • 197 BCE: The Greek king Philip V loses many troops to the Romans.
  • 86 BCE: The Romans capture Athens.

After the Hellenistic period, Greece became a Roman province called Graecia.

Its culture was replaced by that of the Romans instead. Ancient Greece was at an end.

Facts about the Timeline of Ancient Greece

  • The period before the Archaic Age was called the Greek Dark Ages because people struggled and there were no cultural developments.
  • The Greek culture was influenced by two previous civilizations: the Minoans and Mycenaeans.
  • Almost all of Greek culture developed during the Archaic and Classical periods.
  • Alexander the Greek tried to integrate the Greeks and the Persians but his own soldiers resisted.
  • Alexander made the new capital of Greece in Egypt and called it Alexandria.
  • The first known library was built during the Classical Period in Alexandria.
  • The Romans copied the Greek religion and just changed the names of the gods.
  • The Romans believed they were descended from the Greeks.

Questions and Answers

What were the three periods of ancient Greece called?

Archaic, Classical, and Hellenistic.

Who were the two main forces in the Peloponnesian War?

Athens and Sparta

Who forced the city-states to work together as one empire?

Philip II of Macedon

How far did Alexander the Great spread the Greek Empire?

To India

Who conquered ancient Greece?

The Romans

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