Most of the dates in this timeline are estimates – ‘circa’ or ‘about’ the dates shown. In the case a date is known, it is indicated in the text field.

Periods and events

About 8500-3350 BCE Neolithic Era (the latter part of the Stone Age)
About 4500-3200 BCE Settlement of Strophilas on Andros
About 3300-2100 BCE Early Helladic period (Greek mainland)
About 3200-2000 BCE Early Minoan period (Crete)
About 3000-1700 BCE Settlement of Plaka on Andros
About 3200-1050 BCE Bronze Age
About 2300 BCE Immigrants from Anatolia (modern Turkey) bring bronze-working skills to Greece
About 2100-1600 BCE Middle Minoan period (Crete)
About 2150-1750 BCE The construction of the first palace at Knossos, Crete, and the beginning of the flourishing of the Minoan civilisation
About 2000-1550 BCE Middle Helladic period (Greek mainland)
About 1600 BCE Mount Thera erupts on the Aegean island of Santorini, causing widespread devastation. The Minoan civilisation of Crete is largely destroyed
About 1600-1050 BCE Late Minoan period (Crete)
About 1550-1050 BCE Late Helladic (AKA Mycenaean) period (Greek mainland)
About 1450 BCE Mycenaeans from the Greek mainland conquer Crete
About 1200 BCE Mycenaean palatial civilisation on the Greek mainland collapses.
About 1200 BCE Destruction of Troy (conventional date)
About 1100-1025 BCE Dark Ages
About 1100-700 BCE Early Iron Age
About 1025-900 BCE Protogeometric style
About 900 BCE Sparta is founded in the southern Peloponnese region of Greece.
About 900-700 BCE Geometric style
About 900-700 Settlement of Zagora on Andros
776 BCE First Panhellenic games held at Olympia (Olympic Games)
About 700 BCE Written recording by Homer of earlier oral epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey
About 720-600 BCE Orientalising period
About 690 BCE Black-figure technique at Corinth begins
About 660 BCE Beginning of monumental sculpture
About 660-480 BCE Archaic period
About 600 BCE Beginning of Attic black-figure technique
596 or 582 BCE First Panhellenic games held at Delphi (Pythian Games)
582-579 BCE First Panhellenic games held at Isthmia (Isthmian Games)
About 580 BCE First coins invented in Lydia (western Turkey)
About 580 BCE Construction of the temple of Hera at Olympia
573 BCE First Panhellenic games held at Nemea (Nemean Games)
About 530 BCE Beginning of Attic red-figure technique
490 BCE Greek victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon
490-479 BCE Persian Wars
480 BCE Greek victory over the Persians at Salamis
About 480-323 BCE Classical period
About 456 BCE Temple of Zeus at Olympia finished (cult statue of Zeus completed before 431 BCE)
447-432 BCE Building of the Parthenon, designed by Iktinos and Kallikrates with decoration by Pheidias
431-404 BCE Peloponnesian Wars between Athens and Sparta and their respective allies
338 BCE Defeat of Athens and Thebes by Philip II of Macedonia at battle of Chaironea
323-27 BCE Hellenistic period (begins on death of Alexander the Great)
146 BCE Rome effectively annexed southern Greece under the name of Achaia


8th century BCE Homer writes The Iliad and The Odyssey
612 BCE Sappho the poet is born
About 550 BCE Life of Pythagoras, mathematician
528 – 462 BCE Life of Themistocles, Athenian democratic statesman
About 525 – 456 BCE Life of Aeschylus, tragic poet
518 – 438 BCE Life of Pindar, lyric poet famous for sporting odes
Late 6th century – 480 BCE Birth of Leonidas, king of Sparta (died at Thermopylae)
450-400 BCE Life of Myron, sculptor
495 – 429 BCE Life of Pericles, Athenian statesman
485 – 406 BCE Life of Euripides, playwright
About 484 – 425 BCE Life of Herodotus, historian
469 – 399 BCE Life of Socrates, philosopher
457-445 BCE Approximate birth of Aristophanes the comic poet (died 385 BCE)
About 450 BCE Polykleitos, sculptor, active
429 – 347 BCE Life of Plato, philosopher
384 – 322 BCE Life of Aristotle, philosopher; tutor to Alexander the Great
356 – 323 BCE Life of Alexander the Great of Macedonia, conqueror of the Persian empire and beyond (died in Persia)
About 350 BCE Praxiteles, sculptor, active
About 330 BCE Lyssippos, sculptor, active
287 – 212 BCE Life of Archimedes, mathematician and inventor
85 BCE Roman general, Sulla, used the treasures of Olympia, Epidauros and Delphi to fund the war against Mithridates of Pontos
About AD 150 Pausanias wrote his Description of Greece

This timeline was developed from the timeline published in ‘1000 years of the Olympic Games: treasures of ancient Greece’, Powerhouse Publishing, 2000.