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The Real Life Age of Empires

 

 

 

Quick jump into the story. Choose your century and enjoy

3000BC ~ 2000BC ~ 1500BC ~ 1000BC
700BC ~ 550BC

5000 BC
Agriculture is brought by immigrants from the highlands of Palestine to the Nile Valley.

In Sumer, early settlements appears between the rivers (Mesopotamia). Primitive farmers came down from the Zagros Mountains and learn to control flooding with dikes, and how to irrigate their summer fields.

5000-3000 BC
Agricultural communities gradually form city-states along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

4000 BC
The Summerians learn how to obtain copper from ore and to make bronze by 3500 BC.

3450 BC
The world’s first cities appear along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers just north of what is now the Persian Gulf. Collectively, these cities make up the Uruk culture, named after the principal city, Uruk, which is the Biblical Erech. This culture invents writing and the lunar calendar, uses metals extensively, develops a practice of medicine, and builds monumental architecture. Even so, no unified government links these cities, and they remain independent for almost one thousand years.

3300-1000 BC
The earliest known prehistoric civilizations occupy the Aegean world. This period marks the rise and fall of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilization.

3200 BC
Archeological evidence indicates that the Sumerians are making use of wheeled transportation.

3200-1600 BC
The Indus Valley civilization grows up along the banks of the Indus River in what is now Pakistan. The two most important sites uncovered so far by archeologists are Harappa and Mohenjo-Dara; both cities show considerable development including multi-level houses and city-wide plumbing. The Indus Valley civilization appears to have collapsed because natural disaster altered the course of the Indus River.

3100 BC
Cuneiform writing emerges in Mesopotamia. This form of writing, involving wedge-shaped characters, is used to record the first epics in world history, including Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta and the first stories about Gilgamesh.

King Menes of Upper Egypt conquers Lower Egypt and establishes the First Dinasty.

3100-2770 BC
During this period in ancient Egypt, the Archaic period, Narmer unites Egypt. Hieroglyphic writing develops.

3000 BC
Large populations conglomerate around the Nile River due to the abundance of food. Flooding is under control and irrigation put much more land under cultivation.

2772 BC
In Egypt, the 365 day calendar is introduced.

2700 BC
The Sumerian King, Gilgamesh, rules the city of Uruk, which has now grown to a population of more than 50,000. Gilgamesh is the subject of many epics, including the Sumerian “Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Nether World” and the Babylonian “Epic of Gilgamesh.”

King Djoser founds the third dynasty in Egypt thereby issuing the period of the Old Kingdom, which lasts until 2200. He also builds the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the first known pyramid in Egypt. During the Old Kingdom, the power of the pharaoh is absolute.

2560 BC
Pharoah Khufu builds the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

2371 BC
Sargon I seizes the throne of Kish, and gradually conquers all of the city-states of Akkadia. Sargon will establish the first Empire of history, extending his control along the Fertile Crescent from Elam, to the east of Sumer, to the Mediterranean coast.

2340-2315 BC
Sargon I founds and rules the city-state of Akkad, after leaving the city of Kish, where he was an important official. Sargon is the first ruler in history to maintain a standing army. Even so, his empire lasts less than two hundred years.

2320 BC
Sargon conquers the independent city-states of Sumer and institutes a central government. But by 2130, Sumer regains its independence from Akkadian rule, though it does not revert back to independent city-states. At this time, Sumer is ruled from the important city of Ur.

2300-2000 BC
Cultural exchange between the Indus Valley civilization and Mesopotamia (present day Iraq) is especially prominent.

2205-1766 BC
In the Far East, the Hsia Dynasty unfolds during this period. However, no archeological evidence to date has confirmed this.

2200 BC
The first intermediate period of Egypt begins with the collapse of the Old Kingdom, mostly because of crop failure combined with low revenue due to the pyramid building projects. It ends in 2050.

Indo-European invaders, speaking the earliest forms of Greek, enter the mainland of Greece, and the Mycenaean Civilization (named after the leading Greek city on the peninsula from 1600-1200 BCE) emerges.

2100 BC
The Sumerian King List is written, recording all the kings and dynasties ruling Sumer from the earliest times. According to this list, Eridu is named as the earliest settlement, a claim that seems to be confirmed by archeological evidence.

2050 BC
In Egypt, the period of the Middle Kingdom begins with its capital at Thebes. It ends in 1786. Around this time, an early political treatise, The Plea of the Eloquent Peasant, is written, calling for a benevolent ruler.

2000 BC
The Egyptians domesticate the cat for the purpose of catching snakes. Around this time, advances in astronomy enable the Egyptians to predict the annual flooding of the Nile.

2000-1600 BC
The Old Babylonian period begins in Mesopotamia after the collapse of Sumer, probably due to an increase in the salt content of the soil thereby making farming difficult. Considerably weakened by poor crops, and therefore a lack of surplus goods, the Sumerians are conquered by the Amorites, who are situated in Babylon. Consequenly, the center of civility shifts to the north. Though they preserve most of the Sumerian culture, the Amorites introduce their semetic language, an early ancestor to Hebrew, into the region.

2000-1500 BC
Minoan Civilization (named after the Cretan ruler Minos) reaches its height with its central power in Knossos on the island of Crete. This culture is apparently more female-oriented and peaceful than others at the time.

2000-1000 BC
Indo-European immigrants slowly inhabit Italy by way of the Alps. They bring the horse, the wheeled cart, and artistic knowledge of bronze work to the Italian peninsula. Two different groups, the Greeks and the Etruscans, occupy different regions of the peninsula during the eighth century.

1990 BC
The Twelfth Dynasty, Egypt’s “golden” age, begins. It ends with the Middle Kingdom in 1786. During this period, power is somewhat distributed through the social classes. Religion shifts from a wealth-based system to one based on proper conduct. Queen Soreknofru is one of the rulers during this dynasty.

1900 BC
The Epic of Gilgamesh is redacted from Sumerian sources and written in the semetic language. Thus, though Gilgamesh was Sumerian, his Epic is Babylonian.

Babylonia is founded as a kingdom by Semetic Amorite barbarians who overran much of Canaan, Akkad, and Sumer one hundred years earlier.

The Hittites begins expanding their kingdom, using both force and diplomacy to bring rival city-states and kingdoms in Asia Minor under their control. Hattusas, their greatest capital had previously been the capital of the Hatti, one of their many conquests.

The Minoans have developed a new script, now called Linear A.

1900-1500 BC
Sometime between these dates a semetic group of nomads migrate from Sumer to Canaan and then on to Egypt. They are led by a caravan trader, the Patriarch Abraham, who will become the father of the nation of Israel.

1800 BC
The Old Babylonians are employing advanced mathematical operations, such as, multiplication, division and square roots. In addition, they are using a duodecimal system (a system based on 12 and 6) to measure time. We still use their system for counting minutes and hours.

An Amorite king of the Assyrians had established control over most of northern Mesopotamia. Their power was short-lived in this period, due first to the rise of Babylonia under Hammurabi and the rise of the Mitanni in modern Syria.

1792 BC
The small kingdom of Babylonia is inherited by Hammurabi, who will rules until 1750. During those 42 years, Hammurabi will extend the kingdom to encompass all of Sumer to the east and Akkad to the north. He will defeat and push back the barbarian Gutians of the Zagros Mountains, as well as the Elamites and the Assyrians. This was the first Great Babylonian empire.

1786 BC
In Egypt, the second intermediate period begins due to internal dissention between the nobility and the pharaoh. It lasts until 1560.

1766 BC
The Shang Dynasty, according to tradition, the second dynasty in ancient China, begins. It florishes on the banks of the Yellow River around 1400 and ends around 1027. The Shang Dynasty is known for its use of bronze containers, oracle bones, and human sacrifice, a practice that ends shortly after the collapse of the dynasty.

1763 BC
The Amorite King, Hammurabi, conquers all of Sumer. Around the same time, he writes his Code of Laws containing 282 rules including the principles of an eye for an eye and let the buyer beware. It is one of the first codes of law in world history, predated only by the Laws of Lipit-Ishtar.

1750 BC
Hammurabi dies, but his empire lasts for another one hundred and fifty years, until 1600, when the Kassites, a non-semetic people, conquer most of Mesopotamia with the help of light chariot warfare.

1600 BC
A revolution against the Hyksos begins in Upper (southern) Egypt and spreads throughout the country.

1600-1500 BC
The Aryans invade the Indus Valley region.

1600-1000 BC
Between these dates, the Early Vedic period of Indian civilization unfolds.

1595 BC
The Hittites, another non-semetic people who speak an Indo-European language, capture Babylon and retreat, leaving the city open to Kassite domination. The Kassites remain in power for about three hundred years, maintaining the Sumerian/Babylonian culture without offering innovations of their own.

1560 BC
The period of the New Kingdom begins when Ahmose defeats the Hyksos and establishes the XVIII Dynasty. The New Kingom ends around 1087. Unlike earlier periods, this period is imperialistic enabled by new modes of warfare introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos. Queen Hatshepsut is one of the rulers of the XVIII Dynasty.

1550 BC
Writing disappears from India for a time with the destruction of the Indus Valley civilization.

1500 BC
By this time, the kingdom of Kush has been established to the south of Egypt. The people of Kush, known as the Kushites, are dark-complexioned Negroids.

1450-1300 BC
The Hittite culture reaches its high point, dominating the territory to the North and East of Babylon, including Turkey and northern Palestine. By this time, the Hittite’s have constructed a mythology with a state pantheon.

1400 BC
Mycenaean Civilization replaces Minoan Civilization after the destruction of Knossos. Bronze weapons, war-scenes on art, Cyclopean defence walls, and the fact that male warriors were buried with their weapons provide evidence for the claim that the Mycenaeans were militaristic. The horse-drawn chariot emerges around this time. The Mycenaeans dominate the Aegean world for about 200 years.

1384 BC
In China, P’an Keng founds the city of Anyang. By this time, a mature culture including both writing and art has developed.

1375 BC
Amenhotep IV (Akhenaton), concerned about abuses in the Osiris cult of Egypt, posits a new monotheistic religion, perhaps the first, dedicated to the worship of the sun. He moves the capital of Egypt from Thebes to El-Amarna. The new religion does not last long; the cult of Akhenaton is abolished under the reign of his successor, Pharaoh Tutankhamen (“King Tut”), who moves the capital back to Thebes and returns to the old religion. Akhenaton’s beautiful wife, Nefertiti, achieves her own position in world history.

1363-1000 BC
Period of the Middle Assyrian Empire. Several strong kings first reasserted Assyrian independence, and begins encroaching on neighboring empires.

1353 BC
The greatest Hittite King, Suppiluliuma I, besieges the city of Carchemish that is controlling an important ford and trade route over the Euphrates River. During the siege he received a letter from Ankhesenamun, the newly widowed wife of Tutankhamun. The queen of Egypt asked that Suppiluliuma send one of his sons to be her new husband and king of Egypt. Suppiluliuma took too long to investigate and negotiate, and an Egyptian courtier-priest seized the widow and the throne. Peace between the two great powers was not arranged until 70 years later.

1350 BC
The earliest alphabetic system appears in the city of Ugarit, located in modern Syria. Ugarit is an important trading center between Mesopotamia, Palestine, Anatolia, and the ports of the Levant. The best known script from this time is called Ugaritic, which has a 32 letter alphabet and is probably the ancestor of all later alphabetic scripts.

1304-1237 BC
Rameses II (“the Great”) rules Egypt.

1300 BC
For several generations the Hittites and the Egyptians remained diplomatic and military rivals. The great battle of Kadesh was fought between these superpowers around 1300 BC and was commemorated in Egypt by a great pictorial relief, an epic poem, and an official written record. After several decades of uneasy stalemate, the two powers signed a peace treaty and mutual defense pact, perhaps in response to growing Assyrian power to the east. A copy of the treaty was inscribed on the walls of an Egyptian temple at Karnak where it can be read even today.

1300-612 BC
The Assyrians, a semetic people, establish an empire spreading out from the town of Assur in northern Mesopotamia. By 1250, they commit themselves to conquering the Kassite Empire to the south.

1286 BC
The Hittites fight off invading Egyptians, thereby demonstrating the strength of their power. This power is probably rooted in an economic advantage they have from trading the metals that are abundant in the region of Turkey. Even so, their empire falls in 1185, to the “Sea People,” an invading group coming from the West whose precise identity is unknown.

1250 BC
Under the direction of Moses, the Israelites leave Egypt and head for the “promised land.”

1250 BC
Though this is disputed, some scholars believe that the Mycenaeans wage war with the Trojans of western Asia Minor and are successful. By 1100 BC they are overtaken by barbaric Dorian invaders who are using iron weapons. From this point, Greek culture enters the so-called Dark Ages, characterized by the disappearance of writing and a decline in architecture and other aspects of material culture. The period lasts until about 800 BC. The two Homeric epics, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are often used by scholars as evidence of the traditions and institutions in place during this time. However, such use is strongly contested.

1250-1200 BC
The Hebrews, who migrated from Canaan to Egypt several hundred years earlier, return from Egypt after wandering for several years in the Sinai desert and begin the conquest of Canaan. This conquest is slow and painful and will take a hundred years. When the fighting stops, the Hebrews emerge as victors. They parcel the land of Canaan into tribal territories creating a system of government known as an amphictyony.

1225 BC
The Assyrian ruler, Tukulti-Ninurta, captures Babylon and the region of southern Mesopotamia, but Assyrian control does not last long.

1200 BC
The Hittite empire is suddenly destroyed. Fortifications at Hattusas were thrown down and the city burnt to the ground. It is not known by whom. The Kaskans, barbarians from the Russian steppes, penetrated their empire around 1300 BC and plundered Hattusas. They may have returned to finish the job for good.

1200-1020 BC
The Hebrews are ruled by the Judges during a period of relative stability that will be upset with the Philistine invasion of 1050.

1182 BC
Rameses III defeats the Sea People. Rameses is pharaoh until 1151. He is the last great pharaoh to rule in Egypt. In 1175 he builds his temple palace at Medinet Habu.

1114-1076 BC
Tiglath-Pileser I rules the Assyrians.

1050 BC
The Philistines invade Israel from the North. Facing the threat of annihiliation, the Hebrews institute a governmental reform. The amphictyony proves insufficient in the face of the new dangers, so the people of Israel ask Samuel, the last of the judges, to select a king.

1027 BC
The last Shang ruler, Chou Hsin, is conquered by Wu-wang, and the Chou Dynasty begins. Ending in 221 BC, it lasts longer than any other dynasty in China. It is typically divided into three periods: the Western Chou period (1027- 771), the Ch’un Ch’iu period (722-481), and the Warring States period (481-221).

1020 BC
Samuel selects Saul to be king of Israel thereby unifying the tribes of Israel into a nation. Facing many losses against the Philistines, Saul eventually commits suicide. Around the same time, David, undertaking his own campaign against the Philistines, proves victorious.

1004 BC
David becomes king of Israel. As such, he begins to build a centralized government based in Jerusalem, implementing forced labor, a census and a mechanism for collecting taxes. The First Temple period of Hebrew history begins with the rule of David.

1000-600 BC
During this period of Indian civilization, the Late Vedic period, the Aryans are integrated into Indian culture. The caste system emerges.

965 BC
Solomon becomes king of Iisrael. Intent on completing David’s plan to make Jerusalem stand out among the region’s cities and to affirm the religious commitment of the Hebrews, Solomon undertakes many expensive building projects, including the building of the temple in Jerusalem. Facing financial difficulties, Solomon raises taxes and employs forced labor.

928 BC
Solomon dies. The northerners, unwilling to pay taxes to help with the financial difficulties of Jerusalem and the national court, separate from the southern people. Two nations are created, Israel to the north with its capital in Samaria and Judah to the south with its capital in Jerusalem. Solomon’s sons rule the two kingdoms, Jeroboam in the North and Rehoboam in the South.

900 BC
The Assyrians expand their empire to the west. By 840, they will have conquered Syria and Turkey, the territory that at one time belonged to the Hittites.

859 BC
Ashur-nars-pal II was the cruellest of all the Assyrian kings, and his death was much welcomed for everyone. Ashur-nars-pal introduced cavalry in warfare and became the creator of the new Assyrian empire. Cruel methods of subjugation put the conquered peoples into a state of fear. Impalement, scourging and mass-executions were used. A new residence with a gigantic palace was established at Calah, built by deportees.

811 – 757 BC
Sian-Chien was a prince who successfully defended the Chinese retreat from the Huns in the North. As a reward for his battles against the Huns Sian-Chien received the state of Chin from the emperor. He assumed the title Prince of Chin and became the first ruler of the state which gave China its name.

810-805 BC
Sammuramat rules Assyria as Queen. She is one of the very few women to achieve prominance in the ancient world. It is remarkable that the mighty Assyrians were willing to accept a Queen as ruler.

800 BC
Increase in trade and the establishment of governmental defense fortifications allows for the emergence of Greek city-states from tribal communities. These grow up around marketplaces and include Athens, Thebes and Megara on the Greek mainland. The Greek city-states are considered the most famous units of Greek political life to develop in this society.

800-600 BC
The Brahmans, a priestly caste, begin to emerge in India.

800-500 BC
The Upanishads are written around this time; the doctrines of rebirth and the transmigration of souls start to appear, leading to important theological transformations within Hinduism.

800-500 BC
This period, often referred to as the Archaic period, marks the developments of literature and the arts, politics, philosophy and science. The Peloponnesian city of Corinth, SPARTA and cities along the coast of the Aegean Sea flourish. For the most part, the Greek city-states are similar in their political evolution, with the exception of Sparta’s elite dictatorship. Most begin their political histories as monarchies, evolve to oligarchies, are overthrown during the age of the tyrants (650-500 BC) and eventually establish democracies in the sixth and fifth centuries. Of the Greek city-states, Athens and Sparta were the two most important.

771 BC
The Chou Dynasty faces difficulty when its leader, King Yu, alienates the noble class who refuse to answer his call for help against invading barbarians. King Yu is killed and the nobles install a new leader. The capital is moved eastward to Loyang, thus ending the “Western Chou” period.

753 BC
Archeological research indicates that the founders of Rome itself are Italic people who occupy the area south of the Tiber River. By the sixth century BC, Rome will have become the dominant power of most of its surrounding area. Their conservative government consists of a kingship, resembling the traditional values of the patriarchal family; an assembly, composed of male citizens of military age; and a Senate, comprised of elders who serve as the heads of different community sects.

750 BC
Kashta, the ruler of Kush, begins a campaign against Egypt. With the help of his son, Piankhy, he is successful. Piankhy becomes pharaoh of Egypt.

722 BC
The Assyrians conquer Israel, leaving nothing behind. Nonetheless, the Hebrew kingdom of Judah manages to survive.

The Ch’un Ch’iu period begins. This period is characterized by a deteriorization of a feudal system and a collapse of central authority. It ends in 481.

705-681 BC
Sennacherib rules the Assyrians and builds a new capital in Ninevah where he begins to form a library of Sumerian and Babylonian tablets. Sennacherib is a powerful ruler who manages to subdue the entire region of western Asia.

701 BC
Sennacherib, king of Assyria besieges Jerusalem, without success.

700 BC
Hesiod, Greece’s second poet (after Homer) and the first poet to name himself, is composing his poetry. His most important works are The Theogony and Works and Days.

692-626 BC
Ashurbanipal was the last of the great kings of Assyria. Ashurbanipal succeeded his father Esarhadon in 669 BC. He achieved the greatest territorial expansion of the Assyrian empire which included Babylonia, Persia, Syria, and Egypt, although Egypt was soon lost as a result of a revolt. Ashurbanipal was not only a feared warrior but also a great patron of the arts. He established a famous library at his capital Niniveh with over 20 000 clay tablets. Soon after his departure Assyria fell to the combined forces of Babylonia and Media, and the empire disappeared from history.

689 BC
Sennacherib destroys Babylon, but his son rebuilds it. By 650, it has once again become prosperous.

671 BC
Egypt is conquered by the Assyrians. But when the Assyrian empire collapses just under ten years later, Egypt enjoys a century or so of independence.

668-627 BC
Ashurbanipal succeeds Sennacherib as ruler of Assyria. He continues to develop the library and, by the time he has finished, collects more than 22,000 clay tablets. In 648, Ashurbanipal destroys the newly rebuilt city of Babylon in a fierce campaign.

640 BC
Sparta’s form of government, which is adapted from the Dorians, is heavily influenced by militarianism. The Messenian wars initiate Sparta’s fear of change. They remain an isolated people, primarily by banning trade and discouraging travel outside of Spartan territory. Alcaeus, Greek lyric poet, is born in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos. His lyrics expound on contemporary politics, love, hymns to Apollo and Hermes, and include some drinking songs.

625 BC
The Assyrian empire collapses. Babylonians and Medes achieves their independance, and dominates Mesopotamia.

624-562 BC
Nebuchadnessar II was the king of Babylonia who captured Jerusalem in 586 BC, and destroyed the city. This ended the Judean kingdom, and was the beginning of the ‘Babylonian Captivity’ of many Jews. During Nebuchadnessar’s reign the Neo-Babylonian empire attained its peak and the city of Babylon its greatest glory. Among many other building projects he built the ‘Hanging Gardens’ one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

614 BC
The Babylonians (particularly, the Chaldeans) with the help of the Medes, who occupy what is today Iran, begin a campaign to destroy the Assyrians. In 612 they succeed, and the Assyrian capital of Ninevah is destroyed. Without the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, a semetic people, rule the entire region thereby issuing in the New Babylonian period, which lasts until 539.

612 BC
Sappho, Greek lyric poet of Lesbos, is born. The most famous female poet of the ancient world, Sappho is inscribed in the Palatine Anthology among the Muses, rather than among the great lyric poets, in the second century BC. Her lyric poetry includes the exploration of female sexuality, female values in a male dominated society, and love.

604-562 BC
Nebuchadnezzar II rules in Babylon, where he undertakes several monumental building projects, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. This New Babylonian Revival uses glazed bricks for building thereby creating a colorful city.

600 BC
The Persian prophet Zoroaster (Zarathushtra) founds the religion known as Zoroastrianism.

600
The Etruscans, believed to be natives of Asia Minor, establish cities stretching from northern to central Italy. Their major contributions to the Romans are the arch and the vault, gladiatorial combat for entertainment and the study of animals to predict future events. The Greeks establish city-states along the southern coast of Italy and the island of Sicily. Their contributions to the Romans are the basis of the Roman alphabet, many religious concepts and artistic talent as well as mythology.

597 BC
Nebuchadnezzar II captures Jerusalem and forces its King and nobles into exile.

600-500 BC
Lao-tzu, author of The Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism, lives around this time. He encourages people to live simply and according to nature.

594 BC
Solon, the great elegiac poet, is appointed chief magistrate of Athens. His reforms include both political and economical adjustments which lead to dissatisfaction in the upper and lower classes.

586 BC
Jerusalem falls to the forces of Nebuchadnezzar II once again, after an eighteen-month siege, when their puppet ruler tried to rebels. Several Hebrews are taken to Babylon beginning the “Babylonian Captivity.” The book of Ezekiel is written at this time.

585 BC
In Miletus, the founding city of philosophy, Thales predicts a total eclipse of the sun. The founder of the Melesian school, Thales, teaches that all things are composed of moisture; he is the first to put forth a rational explanation of the cosmos. By the end of the sixth century, philosophers begin to question the metaphysical nature of the cosmos with inquiries into the nature of being, the meaning of truth, and the relationship between the divine and the physical world.

574 BC
Nebuchadnezzar II besieges and destroy the city of Tyr.

563 BC
Gautama Siddharta Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is born somewhere in what is today Nepal. He will die sometime around 483.

559 BC
Cyrus II becomes King of the small Persian kingdom of Anshan. In the following ten years, he will subjugate the eastern part of Persia and establish a reputation among even his rivals as a great leader.

558 – 491 BC
Bimbisara is one of the early kings of the Indian kingdom of Magadha. His expansion of the kingdom is considered to have laid the foundations for the later expansion of the Maurya Empire. Bimbisara was a friend of Jina (Founder of Jainism in India) and a protector of Buddha. The king’s support made Buddhism a popular movement in India.

556 BC
Nabodinus, last of the Chaldean Dynasty, takes the throne of Babylon. He introduces new reforms that gives him control of temple finances. For several years, he will not perform the important New Year festival in the name of the Babylonian deity Marduk, renewer of the fertility of the land. Unrest and dissatisfaction these events will foster will come at a bad time, with the gradual expansion of a new power to the east, the Persian empire.

551 BC
K’ung Fu-tzu (Confucius), author of The Analects, is born. Among other things, Confucius teaches the importance of centralized authority and filial piety. Like Aristotle, he belives the state to be a natural institution. Confucius dies around 479.

550 BC
The Medes surrenders their own capital at Ecbatana when their king attempted to reasserts his control over Persia, to Cyrus II, who will be known as Cyrus the Great from this day on.

549 BC
Cyrus the Great occupies the Median capital at Ecbatana, and founds the Persian Empire.

546 BC
The first of the Athenian tyrants, Peisistratus, replaces Solon as ruler.

540 BC
Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, is born. He will die around 486.

539 BC
Cyrus the Persian captures Babylon after the New Babylonian leader, Belshazaar, fails to read “the handwriting on the wall.” Cyrus founds the Persian Empire which lasts until 331 BCE, when it is conquered by Alexander the Great. Cyrus returns some of the exiled Hebrews to Palestine; others among the Hebrews prefer to stay in Babylon, where a second Jewish center is established, the first being the one in Jerusalem.

537 BC
Cyrus the Persian campaigns west of the Indus River.

535 BC
The sea battle of Alasia, near Corsica, opposes Greek colonists against Etruscans and Carthageneans.

530 BC
Pythagoras and his followers found the city of Croton and combine philosophy and literature with political activity as the foundation of their community. Pythagoras, mathematician and philosopher, is credited with the Pythagorean theorem and the Pythagorean table of opposites (the “dualism” that underlies Greek thought).

529 BC
Cyrus dies leaving behind him the largest empire to date. His son, Cambyses, succeeds him and adds to the empire by conquering Egypt.

525 BC
Egypt is conquered by the Persians, who rule until 405. From this point onward, Egypt is ruled by Persian or Greek forces.

525 BC
Greek drama grows out of the Dionysian festivals. The plays of Aeschylus are considered to be the beginning of this long history of tragic drama. His stories are drawn from conflicts between the individual and the cosmos.

521 BC
Darius I (“The Great”) succeeds Cambyses as emperor of Persia. He engages in many large building programs, including a system of roads. In addition, he institutes the first postal system.

520-516 BC
The Hebrews rebuild Solomon’s Temple which had been destroyed in the sack of 586, thereby beginning the Second Temple period of Hebrew History.

518 BC
Pindar, considered by some to be the greatest Greek lyric poet, is born in Cynoscephalae, Boeotia. Pindar’s odes celebrate games held at the religious festivals of Greece. Athletic victory serves as the ground for his poetic fancy and his religious, moral, and aesthetic insights. He dies in 438 BCE.

517-509 BC
Darius the Persian conquers the Indus Valley region, making the area a province of the Persian Empire.

516 BC
Darius’ expansion dream to the north is stopped at the Danube, mainly due to the encroaching Schytians established there.

515 BC
Parmenides of Elea is born. He is the founder of the Eleatic school in the Phocaean colony in southern Italy. He is the first to focus attention on the central problem of Greek metaphysics: the nature of being. For Parmenides, the laws governing the universe are stable. Change is merely an illusion.

510 BC
Hippias, the son of Peisistratus, succeeds his father and is overthrown by a group of nobles with the help of Sparta.

509 BC
The Roman monarchy is overthrown and replaced with a republic. For more than two centuries following the establishment of the Roman Republic, Rome is constantly at war with the other inhabitants of Italy (the Etruscans and the Greeks).

508 BC
Cleisthenes, the father of Athenian democracy, rules Athens. His reforms grant full rights to all free men of Athens.

500 BC
The height of Greek sculpture begins with the work of Phidias. His masterpieces include the statue of Athena in the Parthenon, the Parthenon reliefs and the statue of Zeus in the Temple of Olympian Zeus. The second most important sculptor, Myron, is renowned for his statue of the discus thrower.

Apparition of the word “Celts”, designing barbarians from the east who comes to occupy a large part of Europe. Herodotos situates their origin at the sources of the Danube.

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