Saturday, April 6, 2013

Greek Timeline

Normally I'd put up biographies of Plato and Aristotle but I did that last year.  You can read them here and here if you'd like.  The main reason that I do the biographic sketches is so that I can get a feel for the people and their times. I've been trying to get a handle on the larger picture of ancient Greece by reading and watching documentaries on the period.  There were three different wars that pictured the ancient Greek worldview and it's useful to put the various writers in context of those wars.  (As future historians learn about the 20th century, they'll need to be very aware of both world wars and the Vietnam war.  Same deal.)

Trojan War - (Sometime in the 1200s or 1100s BC)  This was the legendary war that provided so many stories of heroism and courage.  The Greeks wrote and sung about the happenings of this war for centuries. 

Homer - (850 BC?)  The Homeric epics cemented the Trojan war and its aftermath in Greek storytelling. 

Aeschylus - (525 - 456 BC)  Wrote about Agamemnon's return from the wars and the ensuing bloodbath.

Greco/Persian wars - (499 - 449 BC)  Notably, this started with a Greek adventure into Persian territory.  The Persians counter-invaded in 492 and the incredibly influential battle of Marathon happened in 490.  Two generations of Greeks lived with the reality of war with the Persian empire.

Sophocles (497-405 BC) and Herodotus (484 - 425 BC) - Both men grew up in the wars.  It's notable that Herodotus traveled extensively during this whole period. 

Socrates (469 - 399 BC) - Grew up as the wars were winding down.  Was in his late 30's when the next war really heated up.

Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BC) - This war had many phases, but the most important for this timeline is that Athens was completely humbled by the end.  We're set to read Thucydides on this subject next year. 

Plato (428 - 348 BC) - Grew up during the long fight with Sparta.  His adulthood was mostly in the post-war era. 

Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) - Lived entirely after the wars.  By this time Athens was no longer had an empire nor a world power. 

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