This is intended to provide an overview of Greek History from 480BC to 323BC. I've tried to provide as many links as possible so that if you are frustrated at how little I've said about a key event, you can provide a much more detailed account.

Dates are all BC. References are to ancient texts which can be viewed free at the Perseus webpage (no annoying regestering form or anything) of course if there is anyone out there who would like to transcribe texts to E2...
I've used the following shorthand:


  • 480-479 Second Persian Invasion, starts well but ends in failure.
  • 477: Athens founds the Delian League as an anti-Persian alliance (T1.96-1.97)
    • Continuing warfare against Persia under the leadership of Athenian aristocrat Cimon (T1.98-1.112 and Plutarch Cimon)

  • 472: Aeschylus' "The Persians" is produced, highlighting supposed differences between Greeks and Barbarians (Aeschylus The Persians)
  • 471: Themistocles, hero of the Persian War is ostracized and goes to Persia (T1.35-1.138 and Plutarch Themistocles)
  • 470: Naxos attempts to leave the Delian League and is forced to remain in League through the application of a seige. Thucydides says this is the first time the origional Delian League consitution was broken.
  • c468/7: Persians defeated at the battle of Eurymedon (T1.100) according to Thucyd the "Athenians and their Allies" captured or destroyed 200 Phoenician triremes
  • 465: Thasos revolts from Delian League. this is crushed through use of overwhelming military force (T1.100).
  • 464: An Earthquake occurs in Sparta (T.101), sparking a revolt of the Helots and some of the Perioeci who holed up in Ithome
    • Sparta appeals for help from the Athenians, who send a force under the control of Cimon (T1.102-1.103) .
    • This force is turned back by the Spartans who get scared at the thought of a large Athenian force on their lands during a Helot revolt.
    • Sparta is forced to agree terms with the rebels, letting them leave the country. The Athenians settle them in Naupactus.

  • 461
    • Ephialtes and Pericles institute reforms (Plutarch Pericles 10) which shift power to the Assembly.
    • Cimon is ostracised (T1.39-1.146) and relations between Sparta and Athens deteriorate with the swapping of ultimatums (Plutarch Pericles 9-10)

  • 461-429: Pericles prominent in Athenian politics (T2.65 and Plutarch Pericles 9)
  • 461-445: The First Peloponnesian War,
    • 454: Athenians fighting the Persians in Egypt. Persia manages (T1.109-1.110) to destroy a most of the Athenian force including a large fleet
    • 447-438: Pathenon built in present form under the direction of Pericles (Plutarch Pericles 12-14). This is financed by the tribute of the 'allies'
    • 447: Athens looses control of Boeotia. (T1.113)
  • 446-445: The Thirty Year Peace T1.115
  • 446/5: Chalcidean revolt against Athenian rule is unsuccessful (T1.114)
  • c445: Athenian decree requires members of the Delian League (now pretty much an empire) to use Athenian weights, measures and coins
  • 440: Samian revolt against Athens (T1.115-1.117)
  • 431: Outbreak of Second Peloponnesian War (T1.118-2.17)
    • 431/430: Pericles Funeral Oration (T2.34-2.46)
    • 430-429: The great plague of Athens wipes out a good sized chunk of the population and doesn't do much for morale (T2.47-2.55). Pericles is among the casualties
    • 428-7: Mytilene revolts with the reported intent of forging a Lesbian state (T3.2-3.50) {don't laugh} . This sparks a heated debate in which many suggest killing all the men and enslaving the women (T3.36). This motion was passed, but the next day the Athenians decided they might have been a tad harsh, so they changed their minds.
    • 427/6: Leontini in Sicily sends to Athens for help against the Spartan-allied Syracuse (T3.86-3.88) . Leontini claims that Athens must send help because of Leontini's Ionian origin. Athens sends a small fleet, claiming it was aiding its Ionian cousins, but really (many would suspect) in an attempt to ensure supplies to Athens from the Western med' and/or cut off the corn supply from the western med' to Sparta
    • 421: Peace of Nicias (T5.13-5.24). The Athenian diplomat Nicias manages to arrange a peace between Athens and Sparta (Plutarch Nicias 9-10) The peace does not last long as there are breaches of the treaty on both sides as well as a provocative Athens-Argos alliance

    • 415-413: The Sicillian Expedition. Athens sends a vast fleet to seize control of Sicily (T6.8-6.32) on the pretext of assisting Leontini. Nicias claims that such a campaign would be suicide, so the Assembly puts Nicias in command, much to his understandable distress (Plutarch Nicias 12). The campaign starts out well, but rapidly turns in favour of the Syracusians (T6.94) . Nicias sends for reinforcements and asks to be removed from command as he is bedridden with a 'stone' (T7.10-7.18). The Athenians reply that he should be quite able to command the army from his bed. Reinforcements are sent by Athens. Sparta responds by sending a detachment to aid Syracuse. The Athenian reinforcements are decimated in a disasterous naval encounter and by a plague. After a last brave effort to capture Syracuse (T7.85) Nicias is forced to surrender himself in order to save the lives of his men. This campaign drained a huge proportion of Athens' money and military might, turning the tide of war well against them. Generaly a bit of a balls up really.
    • 411: Alliance between Sparta and Persian King Darius (T8.18). The agreement pledges Darius to war with Athens Persians agree to provide money to build up the Spartan navy
    • 411-410: Civil Strife in Athens between those in favour of Democracy and those who support oligarchy (T8.45-8.98) . For a brief period Athens is ruled by the Oligarchic Council of 400
    • 410-404: Focus of the war turns to the Hellespont; the route through which the Black Sea grain supply comes to support Athens.
    • 405: Battle of Aigospotamae. Athenian fleet obliterated. (X2.1.20-2.1.32). This is a direct result of the Persian funding of the Spartan fleet.
    • 405: Athenian surrender (X2.2.1-2.2.24) . The remaining fleet is surrendered except for 12 Triremes, the walls are torn down and an oligarchic council (the Thirty Tyrants) is put in place (Plutarch Lysander 14-16)

  • 401: The Thirty Tyrants are overthrown after excessive use of the death sentence (X2.4.1-2.4.43) . Democracy is restored (Diod 14.32-14.33).
  • 401: Spartans aid Cyrus in his bid for the Persian throne. (Xenophon Anabasis). This is as the pay-back for Cyrus' help in building the Spartan fleet which won the war against Athens (Diod 14.21-14.31). Ten thousand men, mostly mercenaries are sent on the march to the Persian heartlands. Unfortunately for Cyrus everything does not go to plan; he does not get the Persian throne and the greeks have to march back through the Persian controled lands, and then through Thrace Obviously there is a lot of Greek-Barbarian interaction which is quite facinating, bloody good adventure story really.
  • 399: Socrates is found guilty of corrupting the young. (Plato, Last Days of Socrates) He is given the choice of emigrating or drinking hemlock. Socrates drinks the hemlock.
  • 396-394: The Spartan King sets out on a panhellenic/anti-Persian mission to free the Ionian Greeks from Persian control (X3.4.1-5.1.28) Persia responds by financing an anti-spartan alliance consisting of Thebes, Athens and Corinth. Athens restores it's walls. the war thus sparked was massive and very complex. It is often refered to as the Corinthian war.
  • 386: The Kings Peace is imposed (X5.1.31). This states firstly that The Persians own the Ionian coastal cities as well as Clazomenae and Cyprus. secondly it states that all greek cities should govern themselves and that anyone who breaches this proclamation will have to face the full might of Persia
  • 385/4: Sparta attempts to consolodate its position in greece (X5.2.1-5.2.10) Sparta crushes percieved opposition in Mantinea and in Phlius
  • 382: Sparta seizes the Theban Cadmea, effectively capturing the city and subjugating the Theban state (X5.2.25-5.2.36). At the same time an expiditionary force goes to war and defeats Olynthus, a city in the far north of Greece(X5.2.37-5.3.26) .
  • 379: Thebes manages to liberate itself (X5.4.1-5.4.14) . The Spartan occupying force is forced to surrender and is alowed to leave unhurt, the Spartan governor however is executed by Sparta for abandoning his post.
  • 379-375: Thebes sets out to restore the Boeotian Confederacy, (X5.4.46-6.1.1) ejecting the pro-Spartan oligarchic governments of the Boeotian cities and installing democratic systems
  • 378: Formation of the Second Athenian Confederacy to counter the domination of Sparta (X5.4.62-5.4.66). Not much is mentioned about this in the texts but there is epigraphic evidence.
  • 371: Battle of Leuctra. The Theban-led Boeotian Confederacy crushes the Spartan army (X6.4.1-6.4.20) . Sparta never recovers. (Diod 15.51-6)
  • 370/69: The Boeotians invade Laconia (X6.5.1-6.5.51). Athenians send help to aid Sparta. Thebans find they can now face down the Spartan army. They leave unaccosted (X6.5.51).
  • 369: Formal alliance of Sparta and Athens (X7.1.1-7.1.15). It is agreed that Sparta and Athens should share command of the combined forces, swapping supreme command every five days. The central aim of this alliance is to combine the Spartan alliance and Athenian Confederacy in order to provide a united front to the Thebans.
  • 367: Thebes sends an embassy to the Persians (X7.1.31-7.1.40). Upon hearing that the Thebans were talking to the Persians Athens quickly send an embassy of its own. The Persian King sides with the Thebans and orders Messene to be independant of Sparta and that Athens should disband her navy, and that if they refused to obey that all should make war on them. This comes to nothing as the individual cities refuse to swear this oath.
  • 366-365: Peace of Thebes: Most states manage to reach some arrangement whereby they stop fighting (X7.4.1-7.4.10) .
  • 362: Theban expedition to the Peloponnese (X7.5.1-7.5.27) . Almost catches Sparta undefended, but the Spartan officers in the city are forewarned and manage to take up their posts, though there are less than 100 according to Xenophon. Athenian cavalry manages to arrive but the battle is inconclusive. Epaminondas dies, marking the end of Theban supremacy.
  • 359: Philip II succeedes his brother to the Macedonian throne (Diod 16.2.4-16.3.3) and proceedes to secure Macedonia in a position of dominance on the northern borders of the greek world, subduing the Paionians and Illyrians (Diod 16.4.2-16.4.7)
  • 357: Macedonia seizes Ampipolis from the Athenian Confederacy C&W 337
  • 356-355: War of the Allies (Diod 16.7.2-16.7.4): Athenian Confederacy breaks up after a disasterous intervention in Euboea
  • 348: Olynthos falls to Macedonia. Due to Athens internal problems it was only able to send a token force.
  • 346: Peace of Philocrates (Diod 16.60); peace made between Athens and Macedonia.
  • 346-340: Macedonia takes vast areas of Thrace. By 340 Philip II has captured the northern Agean coast up to and including Byzantium, a city which is controls the entrace to the Black Sea; and borders Persia.
  • 340-336: Athens and Thebes declaire war on Macedonia.Philip defeats the united armies of Athens and Thebes at the Battle of Chaironeia making Philip undesputable Hegemon of Greece. In 337 he summons representatives to Corinth (Diod 16.89) where he informs them that he intends to invade Persia. He is then 'elected' Strategos Autokrator of Greece essentially formalising his position over the greek cities Philip does make ready to attack Persia, but dies before his campaign can get off the ground. His son Alexander assumes power.
  • 334: Alexander launches his invasion of Persia (A1.11-1.13).
    • 334: Alexander wins a victory at the river Granicus which once more (A1.13-1.17) frees the Ionian cities.
    • 333: Alexander faces and defeats the forces of Darius at Issus (A2.9-2.13)
    • 332: Alexander makes his way to Egypt, laying seige to the cites of Tyre and Gaza on the way. In Egypt he is proclaimed Pharaoh (A3.1-3.6)
    • 331: Alexander founds Alexandria, then marches back towrds the Persian heartland (A3.8-3.15) . He meets Darius' forces at Gaugamela and is victorius, Darius escapes but dies at the hands of one of his Satraps. The Persian empire is without a King.
    • 330-326: Alexander campaigns across Persia and into India.
    • 323: Alexander dies in Babylon of disputed causes. Some aledge excessive drinking, others poison, still others the suggest the result of an old war wound taken in India. The truth is lost in the mists of time... (A7.28)

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.