776 BC

First Olympiad

Traditional date for the First Olympiad and conventionally regarded as the start of Greek history and the Archaic period.

Sociopolitics, Culture, Religion

Greece

480 BC

Naval Battle of Artemisium

The Greeks lose the naval battle against the Persians at Artemisium.

Military

Greece

Battle of Thermopylae

A Greek army under the command of the Spartan king Leonidas is defeated by the Persians after a three-day struggle at the pass of Thermopylae.

Military

Greece

Naval Battle of Salamis

Greek victory against the Persians near the island of Salamis. King Xerxes retreated to Asia Minor.

Military

Greece

323 BC

Death of Alexander the Great

Alexander dies in Babylon after a brief illness.

Sociopolitics, People

Mesopotamia

27 BC

Gaius Octavius becomes Augustus

After a bloody civil war, Gaius Octavius, heir to Julius Caesar, is named Augustus (‘Enlightened’) by the Roman Senate. This is conventionally taken as the starting point of the Roman Empire.

Sociopolitics, People

Italy

AD 14

Death of Augustus

The Roman emperor Augustus died on 19 August AD 14.

Sociopolitics, People

Italy

AD 180

Death of Marcus Aurelius
Statue of a man with head of Marcus Aurelius

On 17 March 180, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius died. The last of the so-called ‘Good Emperors’, he was succeeded by his son, the notorious Commodus. An argument could be made that the rise of Commodus signalled the beginning of the end for the Western Roman Empire.