(3,000 BC - AD 476)

5000 BC

--Great Flood and formation of the Black Sea

--origins of Sumerian culture in Mesopotamia and Indo-European (Kurgan) culture north of the Black and Caspian seas

--Sumerian village of Eridu, near the mouth of the River Euphrates at the Persian Gulf


3300 BC

--gradual development of writing by the Sumerians in Mesopotamia (c. 3500-3000 BC)

--origins of Indus Valley civilization (3300-1300 BC), cities like Harappa, Mohenjo Daro

--Ötzi (Oetzi) the Iceman, frozen corpse in Alpine glacier between Austria and Italy

3250 BC

--Scorpion King, unification of upper Egypt, earliest known hieroglyphics from his tomb

3200 BC

--passage grave in New Grange, Ireland

3100 BC

--Neolithic village of Skara Brae, in Orkney, Scotland

--King Narmer/Menes, unification of upper and lower Egypt

3000 BC

--beginning of Indo-European migrations from regions north of the Black and Caspian seas into Europe and Asia

--origins of Minoan civilization on Crete and other islands of the Mediterranean Sea

--oldest ziggurat at Tepe Sialk, in Kashan, Iran


2800 BC

--earliest stages of Stonehenge (Stonehenge I & II, 2800-2000 BC)

2700 BC

--Gilgamesh, Sumerian king of Uruk in Mesopotamia

2600 BC

--Oldest Egyptian pyramid, step pyramid at Saqqara, tomb of 3rd dynasty king Djoser, built by priest/architect Imhotep

--Mesoamerica: beginnings of Maya civilization

2500 BC

--Great Pyramids of Giza, Egypt; tombs of 4th dynasty kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure.

--Sphinx, monument in honor of Khafre or Khufu

--Mediterranean: Minoan writing (Linear A script)

2450 BC

--Oldest Pyramid Texts; religious inscriptions carved on pyramids of the 5th and 6th dynasties

--cult of Amun-Ra, a composite sun/wind/creator deity combining the attributes of Ra (sun god) and of Amun (god of the wind, “the breath of life,” the “hidden” < imn, Yamanu)

2100 BC

--Ur-Nammu, Sumerian king of Ur in Mesopotamia, first law book, step pyramids (ziggurat)

2000 BC

--Sumerian king Shulgi, son of Ur-Nammu

--oldest written versions of the Epic of Gilgamesh on clay tablets from library at Nippur in Mesopotamia

1750 BC

--Hammurabi of Babylon; lex talionis (“an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”)

--Abraham at Ur in Mesopotamia

1650 BC

--rise of the cult of Osiris and Isis in Egypt during the Middle Kingdom (2000-1650 BC)

--Shang Dynasty in China (1600-1046 BC)

--Indo-Europeans in Greece: Mycenaean culture (1600-1100)

1500 BC

--Mediterranean: catastrophic eruption of volcano in Thera/Santorini in the Aegean Sea, decline of Minoan civilization

--Mesoamerica: Olmec civilization (Veracruz, Mexico) (1500-400 BC)

--India: Indo-European culture, Vedic period, 1500-500 BC

--Egypt: Book of the Dead, papyrus scrolls, 1500 BC and after

1450 BC

--Greece: Mycenaean writing (Linear B script), derived from Minoan Linear A


1420 BC

--Minoans in Crete conquered by Mycenaean Greeks (c. 1420)

1350 BC

--Egypt: Akhenaten (r. 1353-1336 BC); a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty; married Nefertiti; invented monotheism and established worship of a single god, Aten (the sun); Amarna Period; "Hymn to the Sun"

--Tutankhamen (r. 1333-1323 BC), abandoned the cult of Aten; married a daughter of Akhenaten; his tomb remained untouched and was discovered in 1922

1300 BC

-- India: Battle of Kuruksetra (1302 BC): war between the Pandava and Kaurava clans ( the latter led by the blind patriarch Dhritarastra of Hastinapura); subject matter of Hindu epic the Mahabharata (5th-4th c BC)

1250 BC

--Egypt: Ramses II (r. 1279-1213 BC); pharaoh of the 19th dynasty; engaged in war against the Hittites and Lybians; commissioned great building projects, including many gigantic statues of himself; possibly the pharaoh at the time of Moses

--Moses among the Egyptians

--earliest writing in China, oracle bones


1200 BC

--Trojan War; fall of city of Troy, in Asia Minor, to Mycenaean Greeks; subject matter of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey (8th c BC)

1100 BC

--Mycenaean Greek culture destroyed by Dorians equipped with iron weapons; end of Bronze Age

--China: Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BC)

--Phoenicians develop alphabetic writing derived from acrophonic features of Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs


1000 BC

--arrival of Celtic tribes (Indo-Europeans) to Britain


750 BC

--Homer active in western Asia Minor, author of the Iliad and the Odyssey

--foundation of Rome (753 BC) by Romulus and Remus

--Mesoamerica: earliest Maya cities

605 BC

--Babylon: King Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 605-562 BC); Hanging Gardens of Babylon


586 BC

--destruction of Jerusalem temple by the Babylonians

522 BC

--begins reign of Darius I the Great, king of the Persians (r. 522-485 BC)

516 BC

--Behistun Rock, memorial monument to conquests of Persian King Darius, Kirmanshah, Persia. It made possible the decipherment of cuneiform writing in the 19th century. The Behistun Rock stands 300 ft high and features sculpted figures and inscriptions with writing in Old Persian, Babylonian, and Elamite

--completion of reconstructed Jerusalem temple


500 BC

--India: Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha

-- beginning of Persian Wars (499-479 BC), between Persians and Greeks

490 BC

--Battle of Marathon, Greek victory over the Persians

480 BC

--Battle of Thermopylae, Persian victory over the Greeks

454 BC

--the Athenians move the Delian treasury, a common fund intended for the defense of Greek cities, to Athens; funds appropriated by the Athenians for construction and other projects in Athens

432 BC

--completion of the Parthenon in Athens (447-432 BC)

430 BC

--begin Peloponnesian War (Greek civil wars involving the cities of Athens and Sparta) (431-404 BC)

--Athenian leader Pericles dies of the plague (429 BC)

410 BC

--democracy replaced by oligarchy in Athens (411 BC)

405 BC

--destruction of Athenian fleet at Aegospotami by combined Spartan/Persian force (405 BC)

--Athens under siege, capitulation (404 BC)

399 BC

--Socrates put to death by the Athenians, accused of corrupting the youth of Athens

350 BC

--Tollund Man, Scandinavian (Denmark) peat bog body, hanging victim; oldest peat bog bodies date back to 10,000 years ago (Koelbjerg Woman), some bodies suggest human sacrifice rituals associated with Celtic cultures

--death of Plato (347 BC)

330 BC

--Alexander the Great's invasion of Egypt, 332 BC, Greek domination of Egypt, death of Alexander in 323 BC

325 BC

--death of Alexander the Great (323 BC)

--Egypt ruled by Ptolemy I (r. 323–285 BC), one one of Alexander's generals), and later by his successors. Capital at Alexandria

--death of Aristotle (322 BC)

--India: Chandragupta Maurya, beginning of Maurya empire (321-187 BC)


--India: Ashoka, Maurya emperor (268-232 BC), growing influence of Buddhism

--beginnings of the Punic Wars (264-146 BC), conflict between Rome and Carthage that led to Roman domination of the Mediterranean

250 BC

--Septuagint, Greek translation of the Hebrew bible written in Alexandria c. 250 BC

--Mesoamerica: Maya writing


225 BC

--China: Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC). Emperor Qin Shi Huang (d. 210 BC), buried in mausoleum with terracota warriors army

196 BC

Rosetta Stone: rock inscribed with three bands of writing in hieroglyphic, demotic, and Greek--it made possible the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Discovered in 1799

146 BC

--Roman conquest of Greece, fall of Corinth to the Romans

100 BC

--Mesoamerica: city of Teotihuacan (c. 100 BC-AD 550), population estimated at around 125,000 c. AD 250


71 BC

--Rome: defeat of rebel forces of gladiator Spartacus; over 6000 of his followers crucified along the Via Appia

55 BC

--Rome: armies of Julius Caesar reach Britain

44 BC

--Rome: assassination of Julius Caesar

37 BC

--Israel: King Herod the Great (37-4 BC)

31 BC

--Rome: Battle of Actium, Octavian (later emperor Augustus) defeats Mark Antony and Cleopatra in naval encounter

30 BC

--suicides of Mark Antony and Cleopatra

27 BC

--Rome: begins reign of Augustus (27 BC-14 AD)

20 BC

--temple of Jerusalem rebuilt by Herod the Great (c. 20-19 BC)

4 BC

--reign of Herod Antipas in Galilee (4 BC-39 AD)

--birth of Jesus Christ (c. 4 BC - d. 30-36 AD)

14 AD

--end reign of Roman emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC-14 AD), begins reign of Tiberius (r. 14-37)


--death of Jesus Christ


--end reign of Tiberius; begins reign of Caligula (37-41)


--death of Caligula; begins reign of Claudius (r. 41-54)


--death of Philo of Alexandria (13 BC-50 AD), philosopher who encouraged allegorical readings of Hebrew scripture and their reconciliation with Greek philosophy; criticized literalistic readings of the Bible and stressed its character as an ethical guide; concept of logos as precursor of the world

--Emperor Claudius concludes the Roman conquest of Britain


--death of Claudius; begins reign of Nero (r. 54-68)


--Great Fire of Rome; blamed on Nero who then blamed Christians (Tacitus, Annals)


--martyrdom of Christians at the Roman Circus; death of Paul the Apostle

--writing of the Gospels (65-100 AD)


--death of Peter the Apostle


--death of Nero (end of Julio-Claudian Dynasty)

--Roman emperors Galba, Otho, and Vitellius (68-69 AD)

--beginning of Flavian Dynasty (69-96): Vespasian (r. 69-79), Titus (r. 79-81), Domitian (r. 81-96)


--Jerusalem temple destroyed by the Romans

--building of the Roman Colosseum (70-80 AD)


--Roman city of Pompeii destroyed by eruption of Mt. Vesuvius


--Roman emperor Nerva (r. 96-98)


--Roman emperor Trajan (r. 98-117)


-- death of Roman historian Tacitus (56-117) author of the Annals and Germania (c. 98 AD)

--Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138)


--Hadrian's Wall (73 miles long), 121-127 A.D. Fortification against Picts in northern Britain


--Roman emperor Antoninus Pius (r. 138-161)


--Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-180)


--death of Marcus Aurelius (r. 161-180); end of the Pax Romana (31 BC-180 AD)


--death of Clement of Alexandria (150-215), theologian interested in synthesis of Christianity and Greek philosophy; stressed the importance of gnosis, reason, education and the intellect


--death of Tertullian (150-225), Christian theologian who opposed reason, Greek philosophy and the intellect (“What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Prescription Against Heretics)


--Roman empire instability, invasions, economic crisis, political unrest, famine, plagues, floods (235-285) (“age of iron and rust,” Dio Cassius, Roman History)


--death of Origen (185-254), Christian/Platonic theologian, disciple of Clement of Alexandria (150-215)


--death of Plotinus (205-270), Neoplatonic philosopher

--India: rise of Gupta empire (250-590)


--begins reign of Diocletian (r. 284-305); administrative division of the Roman empire; persecution of Christians


--begins reign of Constantine (r. 306-337)


--death of Porphyry (233-309), Neoplatonic philosopher


--October 28, Battle of the Milvian Bridge, Constantine defeats and kills his rival to the throne and brother-in-law Maxentius. According to legend Constantine was promised victory in the battle by a vision in the sky of a cross and the sun representing Christ (the Chi-Rho later used in the military standard known as the labarum) and the Greek words Εν Τουτω Νικα (“IN HOC SIGNO VINCES”; “by this sign you will be victorious”) (Eusebius, Life of Constantine)


--Constantine defeats, betrays and executes his brother-in-law and co-emperor Licinius


--Council of Nicea, definition of orthodox belief, enforcement of doctrinal consensus, suppression of Arianism, establishment of conventional date for celebration of Resurrection (first Sunday after first full moon after vernal equinox)


--Constantine executes his son Crispus and his wife Fausta


--Constantine begins construction (completed around 360) of Old Saint Peter’s Basilica (replaced by the new Saint Peter’s Basilica built 1506-1626)


--death of Constantine


--first encounters of Germanic Goths and Asian Huns north of the Black Sea


--persecution of pagans and violence instigated by Theodosius and Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria (c. 388-391)


--Christianity becomes the official religion of the Roman Empire, decreed by Theodosius (r. 379-395)

--destruction of the pagan temple of Serapis (the Serapeum), along with the remaining collections of the former Library of Alexandria


--death of Theodosius, division of the empire into Eastern and Western, ruled by his sons, Arcadius and Honorius respectively


 --death of Ambrose (339-397), Christian theologian who believed in the subordination of secular rulers to moral ecclesiastical authority


--massive westward movement of Germanic populations, fleeing the Huns, into Roman territories


--Visigoths, led by Alaric, sack Rome

--Romans abandon Britain, recall of troops to defend Rome


--death of Hypatia of Alexandria, pagan woman philosopher, mathematician and astronomer, killed by Christian fanatics


--death of Jerome (340-420), Christian theologian, author of the Vulgate, a Latin edition and translation of the Bible based on Greek and Hebrew sources


--death of Augustine (354-430), Christian theologian author of the Confessions and The City of God


--begins reign of Attila the Hun (r. 434-453)


--large-scale Germanic invasions of England by Angles, Saxons, Jutes


--sack of Rome by Vandals led by Gaiseric


--September 4, Fall of the Roman Empire. Emperor Romulus Augustulus deposed by Odoacer/Odovacar, leader of the Germanic Scirii and Heruli (at that time foederati or allies of the Romans)


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Last updated: September 23, 2018 22:57


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