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Major Events in Ancient Greece History

written by: Percila Jackson • edited by: Noreen Gunnell • updated: 3/10/2014

The events of Ancient Greece were varied and important to the history of the world. There were many cultural, intellectual and governmental achievements, as well as major wars. The events that occurred during the time of Ancient Greece greatly influenced the development of western civilization.

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    Ancient Greece had a rich and eventful history. Some of renowned events included founding the Olympics, the many wars that were Ancient Greece from Wikipedia fought with outside countries and between Greek city-states, and intellectual discoveries such as the development of philosophy and the sciences.

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    Start of the Olympics

    The first Olympics began in 776 BC. The Olympics were a series of contests in various sports in which Greeks participated in order to see who was the greatest in each sport. The Olympics that began in Ancient Greece are still held regularly in the present day.

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    Homer Writes the Iliad and the Odyssey

    Written in 750 BC by the poet Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey are two books that chronicle the Battle of Troy and Odysseus' journey afterwords. The Iliad is an epic poem about the battle of Troy. The Battle of Troy began when Helen, who was the wife of the Greek King Menelaus, was kidnapped by Paris. King Menelaus gathered other Greek forces to attack Troy and get Helen back. There is archaeological evidence that a battle at Troy actually occurred.

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    Athens Becomes a Democracy

    In 505 BC Athens was the first city in the world to have a democratic government. Cleisthenes of Athens introduces a constitution and allowed all free male citizens to participate in the government and decision-making of Athens.

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    Persian War

    The Persian Wars occurred from 499 BC to 493 BC. During this war, the city-states of Athens and Sparta combined forces to fight for their independence from Persian rule. The Athenians first fought and defeated the Persian forces of King Darius at Marathon and then 10 years later a coalition of Greek city-states including Athens and Sparta fought the large Persian army of King Xerxes and won.

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    Peloponnesian Wars

    Athens and Sparta continued to distrust each other and The Peloponnesian Wars began. The Peloponnesian wars were fought between Athens and Sparta and they fought several wars between 431 BC and 404 BC ultimately resulting in the defeat of Athens. After the war, Sparta instated the 30 Tyrants to rule over Athens but the 30 Tyrants were eventually disposed of.

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    Plato Founds the Academy

    In 380 BC Plato founded and presided over the Academy where men learned philosophy and the sciences in order to become better statesmen. Plato was the student of Socrates who was executed for "corrupting the youth." Plato was the teacher of Aristotle and Aristotle was the teacher of Alexander the Great.

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    Alexander the Great Expands Greece

    One of the major events of Ancient Greece was the reign of Alexander the Great. From 333 to 323 BC, he greatly expanded the territory of Greece from mainland Greece all the way to present day Afghanistan through conquest and assimilation. He died at age 32.

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    Rome Conquers Greece

    Rome conquered Greece from 200 BC to 86 BC. Rome incorporated and spread much of the culture, philosophy, religion, government, and civilization of Ancient Greece.

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    The history of the events of Ancient Greece included many cultural events, wars, and intellectual discoveries. Ancient Greece had a great impact on the ancient world throughout its history and has a very great impact on western civilization today.

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    Additional Reading & Resources

    History Timelines: Ancient Greece Timeline

    Ancient-Greece: History of Greece: Classical Greece

    Trojan Horse: The Battle of Troy

    Archaeology Expert: Archaeology Myth: Excavating Troy

    Stetson University: Plato