History Pages - Part 6

The Babylonian Exile, 586 - 538 BC

The Persian Period, ca. 538 - 336 BC

The Classical Period in Greece, 462-408 BC


586 - 538 BC The Babylonian Exile : During the Babylonian Exile the Jews forged a national identity, and became known as "Jews" (Judahites) rather than Israelites. Synagogues were formed for teaching and worship. Many of the religious traditions and teachings of the Jews were put into writing instead of being passed down by word of mouth. The Hebrew language developed into Aramaic and the "square script" was adopted for writing.

All dates, particularly the earlier ones, are approximate.

The Achaemenid dynasty General History


The family of Cyrus - the Achaemenid dynasty
Medes Persia
  700-675 BC - Achaemenes
ca.670-650 BC - Phraortes (Kashtariti ?) united the Medes against the Assyrians, fought Teispes of Persia 675-640 BC - Teispes (Chishpish) son of Achaemenes
645-625 BC - Scythian invasion ?
625-585 BC - Cyaxares, son of Phraortes
585-550 BC - Astyages, son of Cyaxares
640-600 BC - Cyrus I, son of Teispes
600-559 BC - Cambyses I, son of Cyrus I
Mandana, the daughter of Astyages married Cambyses I of Persia, became the mother of Cyrus II
559-530 BC - Cyrus II, son of Cambyses I and Mandana, daughter of Astyages
550 BC - Cyrus II led a Persian revolt against his Median grandfather Astyages, took control of Persia and started to build an empire
529-522 BC - Cambyses, son of Cyrus II, invaded Egypt
Cambyses murdered his brother and married his own three sisters, Atossa, Artystone, and Roxane or Meroe(?) who was kicked to death by Cambyses. He died of gangrene from an accidental sword cut while on his way back from Egypt to Persia to deal with a palace revolt. He had no surviving sons
Atossa survived Cambyses and eventually married Darius I, by whom she became the mother of Xerxes
522-486 BC - Darius I (the Great). Darius claimed descent from a collateral branch of the Achaemenids : Achaemenes ► Teispes ► Ariaramnes ► Arsames ► Hystaspes ► Darius
486-465 BC - Xerxes (Ahasuerus) son of Darius I and Atossa daughter of Cyrus; assassinated by a courtier
464-424 BC - Artaxerxes I (Longimanus) son of Xerxes
423-405 BC - Darius II (Nothus)
404-359 BC - Artaxerxes II
358-338 BC - Artaxerxes III, poisoned by his general Bagoas
335-330 BC - Darius III (Codomannus) conquered by Alexander

General History

approx. dates

753-510 BC
Kingdom of Rome
750-500 BC
the "Archaic Age" of Greece
625-585 BC
Cyaxares king of the Medes
612 BC
Fall of Nineveh to Nabopolassar of Babylon. Cyaxares and Nabopolassar formed an alliance, the crown prince Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon married a Median princess and built the hanging gardens of Babylon for her
587/586 BC
Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon besieged Jerusalem
586 BC
Fall of Jerusalem. The Jews were deported, the Babylonian captivity began. Ezekiel, Daniel were active as prophets
585 BC
Thales of Miletus predicted a solar eclipse
581-497 BC
Pythagoras, Greek philosopher and mathematician (lived in Sicily)
580-570 BC
Solon reformed Athenian constitution and the laws, created law courts. Solon divided Athenian citizens into four property classes and established the Council of 400, composed of 100 members from each of the four Athenian hereditary tribes, with nine archons to administer the state. Archons, members of the top property class, were chosen by lot out of candidates selected by tribes. Members of the top three tribes could bear arms if they had weapons. All four classes were included in the Athenian assembly and could act as jurors
560-546 BC
Croesus of Lydia conquered Greek city-states in Anatolia (Asia Minor)
551-479 BC
Kung Fu-tse (Confucius), Chinese philosopher
550-480 BC
Siddartha Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism in India
550 BC
Cyrus overthrew the Kingdom of the Medes
550-539 BC
Nabonidus of Babylon. Nabonidus gave the Assyrian moon-god "Sin" precedence over "Marduk" the god of Babylon. Priests of Marduk led a rebellion and welcomed Cyrus into Babylon
546 BC
Sparta gained leadership over most of the Peloponnese and formed the Peloponnesian League
546 BC
Cyrus conquered Croesus and the Lydians
540-475 BC
Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
540 BC
Persians overcame Greek cities of Ionia (Asia Minor)
539-469 BC
Parmenides, Greek philosopher
539-530 BC
Cyrus the Persian
539 BC
Cyrus conquered Babylon, and founded the Persian Empire, with the capital at Susa (Shushan)
538-331 BC
The Persian Empire : From the Persian Gulf in the south to India in the east
538 BC
"Edict of Cyrus" allowed Jews to return and rebuild the Temple at Jerusalem under the leadership of Zerubbabel. The majority of the Jews remained in Babylon
530-522 BC
Cambyses (son of Cyrus)
525 BC
Cambyses conquered Egypt and had himself made "Pharaoh". Jewish mercenaries were settled in a garrison at Elephantine, an island in the Upper Nile; numerous papyri from the Jewish community at Elephantine have been discovered
522-486 BC
Darius I "the Great" (son of Cambyses), divided the Persian Empire into provinces called satrapies
520-515 BC
One set of possible dates for the rebuilding of the Temple : Ezra and Nehemiah as leaders; Haggai and Zechariah as Prophets. (see also 450-400 BC)
518 BC
Darius had the Behistun inscription carved - a record of his achievements carved into a sheer rock cliff; Darius also had a canal dug between the Nile and the Red Sea so that ships could go from Egypt to Persia
518-438 BC
Pindar, Greek lyric poet
516 BC
Darius conquered the "Hindush" region along the Indus in India
510 BC
Tarquin, last king of Rome
510 BC - 27 BC
Republic of Rome
508-502 BC
the Reforms of Cleisthenes gave Athens a Democracy. He divided Athenian citizens in ten groups called "tribes", which were allocated by region rather than by inheritance. The Council of 500 was made up of 50 from each tribe who were appointed annually
500-438 BC
Anaxagoras, Greek philosopher
500-429 BC
Pericles, Greek statesman
499-495 BC
Ionian revolt (unsuccessful) by the Greeks of Asia Minor, helped by Athens, against Persia
496-406 BC
Sophocles, Greek dramatist
495 BC
Darius I of Persia regained control of Greek city-states of Anatolia
494 BC
Persians sacked Miletus
490 BC
Darius I of Persia lost the Battle of Marathon (in Greece) against Miltiades and the Athenians
490-449 BC
the "Persian Wars" between Greek city-states and Persia : ended in victory for Greek cities, stopped the westward advance of Persia
490-430 BC
Empedocles, Greek philosopher
487 BC
The introduction of "ostracism" at Athens (Ostracism was a way of banishing for 10 years anyone thought to be trying to make himself a dictator)
486-465 BC
Xerxes I (Ahasuerus); made Esther his Queen, was assassinated in 465 BC
485-424 BC
Herodotus, Greek historian (the first historian)
484-406 BC
Euripides, Greek dramatist
483 BC
Themistocles built a navy, founded Athenian sea-power
482 BC
Xerxes put down a revolt in Babylonia and destroyed Babylon
481 BC
Hellenic League, including Athens and Sparta, formed for defence against the Persians
480 BC
Battles of Thermopylae and Salamis (in Greece). Xerxes I was defeated and driven out by the Greeks. The Persian fleet had been made up mainly of Phoenician ships - these were sunk at Salamis. Phoenician sea-power never recovered. Carthage, the colony founded by Phoenicians, became the leading sea-power in the Mediterranean
479 BC
Battles of Plateia - Athenians and Spartans defeated the Persian general Mardonius
478 BC
the "Delian League", (on the island of Delos) : Athens, led by Cimon (son of Miltiades), and other Greek cities, swore to support one another and fight against Persia
478 BC
Themistocles rebuilt the walls of Athens, fortified the harbor of Piraeus
470 BC
Themistocles ostracized by the Athenians, took refuge in Persia
470-399 BC
Socrates, Greek philosopher
465-424 BC
Artaxerxes I (son of Xerxes I) of Persia
462-408 BC
The Greek "Classical Age", also called the "Athenian Age" or the "Age of Athens" or the "Age of Pericles"
461 BC
Pericles supplanted Cimon in Athens, rivalry with Sparta increased
460-446 BC
First Peloponnesian War : Thessaly, Megara, and Argos, against Sparta. No-one won, everybody lost
460-377 BC
Hippocrates, Greek physician
460-360 BC
Democritus, Greek philosopher who proposed that matter is made up of atoms
460-429 BC
the "Golden Age of Pericles" in Athens - he tried to make peace with the Persians, and opposed the Spartans
458 BC
Ezra went to Jerusalem
450-400 BC
(?) Malachi, Prophet
Another set of possible dates for the rebuilding of Jerusalem (see 520-515 BC)
Thucydides, historian of Peloponnesian Wars
450-387 BC
Aristophanes, Greek dramatist
450-? BC
Zeno, Greek philosopher
449 BC
End of the war between Athens and Persia (neither side won, both sides lost)
447-433 BC
Building of the Parthenon in Athens
445 BC
Nehemiah made governor of Jerusalem for 12 years. Nehemiah returned to Persia and was then re-appointed governor of Jerusalem
Ezra carried out a reform of the Jewish community, putting its life firmly on the basis of the "Law" (Torah), and giving it the vitality to withstand centuries of domination by foreign powers. (other possible dates for Ezra are 428 BC and 398 BC)
The History of Israel as given in the Old Testament stops here
Pericles made a "30-year peace treaty" (it lasted 14 years) between Athens and Sparta. The Athenian Empire was validated as a political institution. Athens became wealthy, started to build the Acropolis and the Agora; great flowering of Athenian culture and civilization : Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes
438 BC
Phidias made the statue of Athene Parthenos for the Parthenon; his enemies accused him of stealing some of the gold, and also accused him of impiety for putting the likenesses of himself and Pericles on Athena's Shield
433 BC
Death of Pericles
431-421 BC
the "Great Peloponnesian War" between Sparta and Athens (neither side won, both sides lost), destruction of the Athenian navy and of Athenian Democracy
430-423 BC
Plague decimated Athens
430-354 BC
Xenophon, Greek historian and soldier
427-347 BC
Plato, Greek philosopher
423 BC
Xerxes II (assassinated)
423-404 BC
Darius II
421 BC
the "Peace of Nicias", a 50-year peace treaty (which lasted for about 6 years) signed by Athens and Sparta
411 BC
Bagoas (a Persian) made governor of Jerusalem. The land of Israel became a region administered by Persia. The Jews of Jerusalem were "ruled" by High Priests who formed a hereditary dynasty. Large communities of Jews remained in Babylon or settled in Egypt - they were clled the Diaspora
404 BC
Athens surrendered to Sparta; Spartans tore down the walls and barred Athens from having a navy. End of the "Age of Athens"
404-371 BC
The Spartan Hegemony (not an Empire, but Sparta in control of the other city-states of Greece)
404-358 BC
Artaxerxes II of Persia
401 BC
Egypt broke free of Persian rule
401-343 BC
Dynasties XXVIII, XXIX, XXX of Egypt, the last "Pharaohs" or native rulers
400 BC
"Cyrus the Younger" led 13,000 Greek mercenaries and 30,000 Persians to oust his brother Artaxerxes II from the Persian throne; Cyrus died in battle; Xenophon led the Greek soldiers home, then wrote an account of the journey (the Anabasis)
400-330 BC
Praxiteles, Greek sculptor
399 BC
Citizens of Athens condemned Socrates to death. He drank hemlock and died
395-387 BC
the "Corinthian War", Athens, Corinth and Argos rebelled against Sparta. Athens rebuilt the town and the walls, started to rebuild a navy (nobody won, everybody lost)
394 BC
Persia signed a peace treaty and put Sparta in charge of Greece
388 BC
Plato founded the Academy in Athens, probably the first European university
387 BC
Gauls invaded and burnt Rome to the ground
384-322 BC
Aristotle, Greek philosopher; born in Macedonia, but spent most of his life in Athens
Demosthenes, Greek statesman and orator
371 BC
Sparta invaded Thebes (city-state in Greece); Thebes and Athens formed an alliance and defeated Sparta
371-362 BC
the Theban Hegemony
367 BC
Aristotle became a student at Plato's Academy in Athens and remained there for 20 years until the death of Plato in 347 BC
367 & 361 BC
Plato traveled to Syracuse to try to set up a Republic ruled by philosopher-kings
365 BC
End of the Peloponnesian League
362-355 BC
The Second Athenian Empire
359 BC
Philip II usurped the throne of Macedon
358-338 BC
Artaxerxes III of Persia, re-conquered Egypt 342 BC
355 BC
the Second Athenian Confederation of city-states broke down; Greece became a collection of small city-states without much political power
349 BC
Philip of Macedon began a conquest of Greek city-states
346 BC
Peace treaty between Athens and Phillip of Macedon
343 BC
Philip of Macedon hired Aristotle for 3 years as the teacher for Alexander
341 BC
Persia destroyed Sidon; reconquered Egypt
338 BC
Philip of Macedon conquered Athens and gained control of all Greece except Sparta
338-336 BC
Arses of Persia
337 BC
Philip of Macedon prepared to attack Persia
336 BC
Philip of Macedon assassinated
336-330 BC
Darius III (fled from Alexander the Great and was assassinated)
336-323 BC
Alexander the Great, born 356 BC, succeeded to the throne of his father Philip II of Macedon 336 BC (at the age of 21)
Alexander conquered all of the Middle East. Greek became the language of commerce
334 BC
Alexander began the conquest of the Persian Empire with 30,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, no navy, and no money
333 BC
Alexander invaded Israel
332 BC
Alexander took Jerusalem and continued into Egypt, where he founded the city of Alexandria
331 BC
Alexander defeated Darius III of Persia
330 BC
Alexander entered Babylon
327 BC
Alexander invaded India
326 BC
Alexander's troops refused to go further, and his generals forced him to turn back
323 BC - June 10
Alexander died in Babylon
The empire was carved up between Alexander's generals Ptolemy, Seleucis, and Antigonus
His mother, his brother, his wife and his posthumous son were killed in the fight for power which ensued
His general Ptolemy took his body to Egypt for burial

Main Sources : Smithsonian Timelines of Ancient History, The Timetables of History (Bernard Grun)

Go here for Map of the Persian Empire
Go here for Map of the Greek - Persian Wars

Copyright © 1999 Shirley J. Rollinson, all Rights Reserved

Dr. Rollinson

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Portales, NM 88130

Last Updated: June 28, 2017

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