- First Olympiad
Traditional date for the First Olympiad and conventionally regarded as the start of Greek history and the Archaic period.
- Naval Battle of Artemisium
The Greeks lose the naval battle against the Persians at Artemisium.
- 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.
- Naval Battle of Salamis
Greek victory against the Persians near the island of Salamis. King Xerxes retreated to Asia Minor.
- Death of Alexander the Great
Alexander dies in Babylon after a brief illness.
- 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.
- Death of Augustus
The Roman emperor Augustus died on 19 August AD 14.
- Death 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.