Century Epoch 600-300 BC


600-501 (Alex, Jake)

Era of tyrants 650-500

Buddha Born in 565

Zoroastrianism (575) 600

Pythagoras 575-500

Confucius taught in china 579-551

Siddhartha Gautama founder of Buddhism 563- 483


Cyrus The Great founded Achaemenid Persian Empire 550-530 Conquered

Babylonian Empire 539

Greek city states fall under Persian rule 547

Cleisthenes (Greek statesman) founder of democracy Athens 572-485

Lydia’s  King Croesus 546

Darius I King of Persia 520’s -485 ruler of Achaemenid dynasty Builds extensive road systems 521-486

Persian conquered Egypt 525

Xerxes Son of Darius 520-465


500-401 (Sarah)

Greece classical period 480-323

Herodotus 485-425

Socrates 470

Peloponnesian war 431-404

Plato 427

Athens surrenders to Sparta, thirty tyrants 404



400-300 (Lora)

Gaul destroys Rome 390

Aristotle 384 dies 320’s

Alexander the Great 356-323, defeats Persian creates large empire 334-324

Phillip II creates unified Macedonia 337, assassinated in 336

Hellenistic Age 323-30 BC

India new dynasty Chandragupta Maura 321

End of democracy in Athens 317

Alexander’s mother, Olympias, claims rule in Macedonia  316

Alexander IV and Roxana (Alexander’s Wife) assassinated 311

600-300 BC: Teutonic tribes' invasions of western Europe:
        * Alemanni on the upper Rhine
        * Franks and Saxons between the Elbe and Weser
        * Thuringians south of the Saxons
[Hammond Almanac, p.789]
594 BC: Solon promulgates a limited Democracy in Athens 
with social and constitutional reforms. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.590-529 BC     King of Persia, Cyrus the Great, founded the 
     Achaemenid Persian empire.  Cyrus, at first a Persian vassal-king, conquered Media and consolidated his rule over Iran. He subjugated Lydia by defeating Croesus in battle, in 456 BC. With allies among the city priesthood of Babylon, Cyrus entered that city without a fight.  Once he'd conquered the Babylonian Empire, he brought Palestine into the Persian Empire, at which time Cyrus allowed the Jews to come home from their Babylonian Captivity.  Cyrus then wrested much of Central Asia to his rule.  He borrowed customs from the peoples he subjugated, thereby shaping Achaemenid arts and civilization. Cyrus was killed during an campaign against the Scythians. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
586 BC:  Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, smashed the Temple of Solomon, and carried Hebrews back to slavery in Babylonia. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.585-c.525 BC     Greek Philosopher Anaximenes, born in Miletus, is one of the first three major philosophers of Western culture.   Thales [see c.624 BC, above] held that water is the basic substance of all matter, and Anaximander [see c.610  BC, above] taught of unlimited essential substances, Anaximenes maintained that the basic substance in the cosmos is air. 
paraphrased and expanded from the visually strong HyperHistory 
580 BC: Thales, first great Western philosopher.... [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.580-c.527 BC     Jina Mahavira Vardhamana, Prophet in India, founded the Jain religion, which preaches salvation through asceticism.  "Mahavira" (Great Hero) is the honorific title of Vardhamana.  "Jina" is the term for saviours in the Jain religion.  Mahavira was an ascetic monk who reformed the religious order of Jaina. He advocated vegetarianism and acceptance of the "Five Great Vows": * abstinence from violence * abstinence from falsehood * abstinence from stealing * contentment with one's own wife [life?] * lack of possessions.  paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
c.575-c.500 BC     Pythagoras, Greek Philosopher/Mathematician, is best known today for the Pythagorean Theorem: the square of the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Born on the island of Samos, he moved to southern Italy, and founded a school at Croton where he taught that the structure of the universe was to be discovered with the aid of mathematics, which he held as the basis of physics, acoustics and astronomy.  He famously said "all is number" -- meaning that all existing things can ultimately be reduced to numerical relationships.  His mystical
     preaching was on transmigration of souls (reincarnation). 
paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
c.575-c.478 BC     Xenophanes, Greek Philosopher/Poet from Ionia, in Asia Minor, traveled to Italy and lived at Elea.  Only fragments of his work survives; it seems that Xenophanes opposed to the mysticism of Pythagoras.  He anticipated the philosophy of Parmenides in teaching "all is one and the one is God." He was an extreme free thinker, writing that "if oxen, lions, and horses had hands wherewith they could paint images, they would fashion gods after their own shapes ... the Ethiopians make their gods black; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair." paraphrased and expanded from the visually strong HyperHistory 
c.572-c.485 BC     Cleisthenes, Greek Statesman, was the founder of democracy in Athens.  Cleisthenes served as Athens's chief Archon in 525 BC. After the fall of the tyrant Hippias, Cleisthenes instituted a democratic regime, and prepared Athens to face the threatening Persian armies.  He introduced the practice of "ostracism," or temporary banishment. His major innovation was to base individual political responsibility on city's citizenship, rather than on clan membership. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
566 BC: First Census of Romans. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
563-483 BC: Siddhartha Gautama Buddha preaches in India. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.560-c.477 BC     Siddhartha Gautama is the founder of Buddhism, the fourth largest of the world's religions.  He is seen as either a human spiritual teacher or an omniscient active deity. Gautama was the son of a Nepalese aristocratic family who lived a life of comfort and luxury.  When he was 29 years old, he realized that humans are subject to old age, disease, and death -- that life is suffering. He left his palace to search for truth, as a wandering ascetic. He travelled south to the Magadha kingdom in search of      teachers, experimented with fasting, yoga, and living as a hermit in the forest.  Six years of austerity later, he quit asceticism to seek his own road to Enlightenment.      While he sat under a banyan tree, clear vision came to him and he became a supreme Buddha (in Sanskrit: "wise" or "enlightened" one). paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
560-510 BC: Pisistratus seizes power, Tyrants rule Athens. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
see: 602 BC, above.
560 BC: Lydia's King Croesus conquers Ionian cities. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.558-491 BC     Bimbisara, King of Magadha (an Indian kingdom) expanded the kingdom, as a precursor to later expansion of the Maurya Empire. Bimbisara was a friend of Jina (Founder of Jainism in India; see: c.580 BC, above) and a protector of Buddha. The King Bimbisara's support helped Buddhism  becomea popular movement in India.
paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
551-579: Teachings by Confucius in China. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.551-479 BC     Confucius (Kung Fu-tse), Chinese Philosopher, became famous as a sage of China during its "Age of Philosophers."  His "Five Classics",  which recount his teachings, have influenced all of eastern Asian  civilization. Confucius was born in the state of Lu during an era when local rulers failed to pay homage to the emperor of a Chou dynasty in decline. Confucius deplored the disrespect and chaos, and yearned  nostalgically for the decent past. He studied the teachings of the Chinese sages (wise men) whose thoughts had united China. Confucius intended to restore the faith, and renew the practices of sages and emperors of history.  Without an official position from which to launch his reforms, he dedicated his life to inspiring and instructing his disciples. He rectified language and music. Confucius tried to lay out sound rules for every event in life.  Compassionately perturbed by the world's miseries, he desired to make men noble, and thus bring back an age of nobility.  His style of ritual, benevolence, and propriety became the ideology of Han China. 
paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
550-486 BC     Darius I, King of Persia (Darius the Great) was the most successful ruler of the Achaemenid dynasty and the most effective administrator of the Persian Empire.      Darius became king after murdering the previous king's son, an usurper of the throne.  Once king, he organized the Persian Empire into satrapies (administrative units). He built great royal arterial roads to bind together the empire. Darius conquered the Indus valley; campaigned against frontier tribes; and suppressed the revolt in Asia Minor of     the Greek city-states.  However, his punitive expedition against Greece failed at the battle of Marathon. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 

550 BC to 500 BC

c.550 BC: The Persian Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great,

ruled huge swaths of Near East and Middle East; art flourished, architecture elaborated, and the religion of Zoroastrianism spread widely. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
550 BC: Ephesus has Temple of Diana (Artemis) completed. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
546 BC: Lydia's King Croesus conquered by Cyrus the Great. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.544-c.480 BC     Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher was born in Ephesus, a Greek colony in Asia Minor. Heraclitus was deemed the "obscure philosopher" because of his sometimes cryptic utterances. For him the essential substance that unites all things was fire (as opposed to the "air" of Anaximenes, or the "water" of Thales). He wrote that the cosmos was an "ever-living fire kindling in measures and being extinguished by measures."  He taught that everything was in eternal flux, because of contending opposites, and that "reality" transforms to "harmony."  He summarized this doctrine of eternal change with the epigram that "one cannot step twice into the same river."  For Heraclitus, the first principle of the world was not static "being" but dynamic "becoming."  That makes him, in modern terms, the first "process philosopher." paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
538 BC: The Hebrews were returned to Jerusalem when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
534-510 BC: Reign of Etruscan ruler Tarquinius Superbus; when he dies the Etruscan culture declines into obscurity. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
c.530-c.472 BC     Aristides, Athenian Statesman was a talented military general who founded the Delian League, which turned Athens into Greece's leading power in Greece.  In 482 he was ostracized for opposing the plan of Themistocles to build a large fleet to attack, or defend against, the Persians. Restored to prominence in 480, he led the victory over the Persians at Salamis, and commanded the Greek army successfully at the Battle of Plataea. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
525-c.449 BC     Themistocles, Statesman of Athens. Themistocles began his political career following the Battle of Marathon and the Persians' retreat. He insisted that the Persians would return, so proposed to build a strong fleet to meet them at sea. This was opposed by Athens' leader Aristides. Themistocles prevailed with the naval strategy and      banishment of Aristides.  The Persians did return, defeated Sparta at Thermopylae and occupied Athens. Themistocles retreated the Athenians to the island of Salamis, where he engaged and destroyed the fleet of Persia.  He'd made Athens a great power, but the citizens were persuaded that he had taken bribes, so in 471 BC, he was banished from the city he loved. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
525-405 BC: Egypt beaten and ruled by Persia. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
525-456 BC     Aeschylus, Greek Playwright, was the earliest of the great Greek tragedians, and the key to the establishment of Greek drama. He is deemed the      "Father of Tragedy."  Aeschylus fought for Athens at Marathon [490 BC], helping to defeat the invading Persians. His first prize in a dramatic contest was in 484 BC, followed eight years later by his earliest extant play, "The Persians."  Before Aeschylus, tragedies had a single actor, who could only respond to suggestions of the chorus. By adding a second actor, Aeschylus invented the way to dramatize intrigue and conflict. He shrank the chorus, diminishing its importance, and emphasizing dramatic dialogue instead.  The chorus had a secondary role, commenting, warning, or setting the mood for the play's action of the play, now advanced by actors. Of the 90+ or plays Aeschylus wrote, only 7 have survived in complete form, including the "Oresteia" trilogy, "The Seven against Thebes," and "Prometheus Bound." paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
521-486 BC: Darius the Great (Darius I), King of Persia, fought Greece, and unified Persian power in the East. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
520-465 BC     Xerxes I, King of Persia was the son of Darius I and grandson of Cyrus, founder of the Persian Empire. He was a great builder, but less tolerant and cautious      than his father and grandfather. Xerxes thus had to crush revolutions in Babylon and Egypt.  Desiring to avenge his father's defeat at Marathon, he invaded Greece and      won the Batttle of Thermopylae, but later suffered a decisive naval defeat at Salamis, near Athens. Persia's defeat loomed large in Greek eyes, but Xerxes considered his recovery of Egypt to be more significant. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
c.518-c.438 BC     Pindar, Greek Poet, was born in Boetia, central Greece, and is considered the greatest of the Greek choral lyricists. His masterpieces are the "epinicia" (44 are known), which celebrate victories achieved in the Pythian, Olympic, and Isthmian games. His poetry includes lyrics of unrivaled splendor, but the choral lyric itself dwindled as tragedy devoured all that was vital in the tradition, so       Pindar had no significant successors. paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
509 BC: Traditional date for the founding of the Roman Republic. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
509 BC: On the Roman Capitol, the Temple of Jupiter is dedicated. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]

500 BC to 450 BC

500 B.C.     The Sahara turns to desert, pyramids are built at Oaxaca
c. 500 BC to AD 400: Adena and Hopewell Cultures in the Americas [David W. Koeller]
500-449BC:  Greek-Persian Wars, due to economic rivalry, leads to Greek domination by Athens. [Hammond Almanac, p.789]
6th/5th century BC     Parmenides, Greek Philosopher from Elea in southern Italy, who founded the Eleatic School of Philosophy. He taught that the changing world, perceived by human the senses, is too unstable and perishable to be the ultimate reality. In his principle work, a lengthy two-part philosophical poem, he said that the apparent multiplicity of existing things are merely an appearance of a single eternal reality. His doctrine "all is one" contradicts his contemporary Heraclitus [see c.544 BC, above] who taught that "all is change."  paraphrased from the visually strong HyperHistory 
451 BC     "In Rome the laws were inscribed on tablets. These were the foundation of Roman jurisprudence. (The science of law). The Ten Commandments of the Jews, another source of jurisprudence, were also originally inscribed on tables of stone."
Time line for the history of science and social science

450-400 BC

c.440 BC     "Democritus proposed the concept of atom to describe the ultimate indivisible, indestructible particles that composed the substance of all things. Lucretius (95-55 BC) wrote De rerum natura inspired in the ideas of Democritus and Epicurus." Chemical Engineering, Science & Technology Timeline Compiled by Luis Klemas 
{to be done}  [Hellemans p.9] Much more to be done on the 5th Century BC: Pericles, Peloponnesian War, the golden age of Athens, and all that...
430 B.C.     Herodotus writes Histories
429 BC     "Pericles (leader of the democracy in Athens) died of fever during a long         war between Athens and Sparta. Political turmoil followed his death." Time line for the history of science and social science 
427 BC     Plato (philosopher) born Time line for the history of science and social science 
404 BC     Athens surrendered to Sparta. Government of the thirty tyrants      came to power in Athens. Time line for the history of science and social science
403 BC     Restoration of democracy in Athens. Time line for the history of science and social science
400 BC     Catapults are invented in Syracuse Niel Brandt's General Technology

400-350 BC

399 BC     "Socrates, the great Greek philosopher, destroyed the arguments of many powerful and respected authorities, with a simple question and answer dialectic. Thus he became subversive to the established political order and was accused of impiety and innovation, he was condemned to death, to drink an infusion of hemlock."  Chemical Engineering, Science & Technology Timeline Compiled by Luis Klemas 
c.390 BC     "Plato develops his philosophy and theory of knowledge" 
386 BC     "Plato, a pupil of Socrates, established the Academy - the first university - where he taught for the rest of his life. Plato argued that: * truth and reason are external. * we must govern our personal and social lives using reason. * humans can reason to external truth." Time line for the history of science and social science
384 BC     Aristotle born. Time line for the history of science and social science
363 BC     Aristotle studied under Plato. Time line for the history of science and social science

350 BC to 300 BC

347 BC      Plato died. Following Plato's death, Aristotle left Athens. Time line for the history of science and social science
342 BC      Aristotle tutor to Alexander, who became the Emperor Alexander. Time line for the history of science and social science
335 BC      "Aristotle returned to Athens, where he opened a school called the Lyceum. Aristotle argued that: * truth and reason are within things * the truth of something is its essence or nature * the essence of something is what it could become. An acorn, for example, is a seed that could become an oak." Time line for the history of science and social science
c.340 BC     "Aristotle proposed that Earth is a sphere, that space is continuous and always filled with matter. He also laid the basis of physics, metaphysics and 
geocentric cosmology." Chemical Engineering, Science & Technology Timeline Compiled by Luis Klemas 
335 B.C.     Alexander succeeds Philip of Macedonia
331 BC onwards      Alexander destroyed the power of Persia, and established an         empire which stretched from Macedonia to Egypt, and to the Indus. Time line for the history of science and social science
322 BC     Aristotle died Time line for the history of science and social science
300 B.C.     Parisi tribe founds Paris as Lutece, fishing village on small island in the Seine



598 BCE:.The Chaldeans overrun Jerusalem and Judah, while driving the Egyptians back to Egypt.

593 BCE:.An Egyptian army sacks the Nubian city of Napata, along the upper Nile. Nubians push into Meroe.

587 BCE:.Jerusalem rebels against Chaldean rule. The Chaldeans burn the city and tear down its walls and Solomon's temple. They round up about forty thousand from Judah as captives, including political leaders and high priests, and take them to their capital, Babylon.

584 BCE:.Around this time, the Greek philosopher, Thales, turns forty. Thales, is an engineer and thinker from Miletus who believes in the gods but is interested in the nature of things apart from magic. He theorizes that the world is in essence water. He mentors Anaximander, who rejects his ideas and develops a more complex theory about nature and change.

550 BCE:.The Greek Pythagoras studies the movements of celestial bodies and mathematics. He blends his observations with Greek religion into what he believes is a theological coherence.

547 BCE:.A Persian, Cyrus II, is expanding his empire and overthrows King Croesus of Lydia, in Asia Minor.

539 BCE:.Cyrus conquers Babylon. There the captive high priests of Yahweh worship are liberated and see Cyrus as an agent of Yahweh. They expect Cyrus to inflict Yahweh's vengeance upon the wicked Babylonians. But Cyrus fails to punish Babylon. He honors Babylon's gods and disappoints the priests.

530 BCE:.The Greek Xenophanes rejects mysticism, divine revelations and Pythagoras. He describes the gods of Homer as morally bankrupt. All they have taught men, he says, is theft, adultery and mutual deceit. He ridicules seeing gods as human-like and says that if oxen, horses or lions had hands to make images of their gods they would fashion them in their own image. He speculates that the earth stretches infinitely in all directions, that the earth is infinitely deep and that air extends infinitely upwards. He imagines a god as a central force in the universe but not human-like in shape, thought or emotions: a god that is everywhere and everything, a god that is the whole universe. And his belief that god is nature and nature is god leaves him open to the charge that he believes in no god at all.


517 BCE:.Darius extends Persian rule through the Kyber Pass to the Indus River. The Persians still rule in Egypt, Asia Minor and everywhere in between, including Jerusalem.

510 BCE:.Confucius is around forty. The use of iron has brought a higher productivity in agriculture in China, followed by a greater rise in population, urban growth and new wealth, and this has loosened social stratification. Confucius attributes the ills of his time to people neglecting the rituals or performing incorrectly the rituals of the early Zhou kings. Unlike other scholars of his time who become reclusive, Confucius tries to teach proper respect.

509 BCE:.Roman nobles fed up with their Etruscan king drive him from power. The city of Rome becomes independent of the Etruscans and a republic.

508 BCE:.In Athens, Greece, progressive members of the upper class unite with commoners in a popular rising against an oligarchy supported by Sparta. A democracy of sorts is created. Slavery in Athens lives on. Women in Athens are subject to custody of their fathers, their husbands, and, when they are widowed, their sons.

501 BCE:.The Greek philosopher Heraclitus is around forty. Rather than dwell on harmony, he sees conflict as a part of nature, and, recognizing conflicting interests, he introduces objectivity and compromise into deciding questions of justice.

500 BCE:.Rebellion against Hinduism and its animal sacrifices gives rise to Jainism. In the gatherings that are entertainment in towns across the Ganges Valley, cult leaders have been debating and picking up followers. Siddartha Gautama is a successful debater and movement leader. He also rejects animal sacrifices and metaphysics. He produces a guide for living and (according to claims passed down by his followers) he says that people must be their own light rather than follow blindly the dogma of any priesthood.

499 BCE:.In Asia Minor, Greeks begin a rebellion against Persian rule.

490 BCE:.To punish mainland Greeks for their support of the rebellion in Asia Minor, Darius the Great of Persia sends a fleet across the Aegean Sea and lands soldiers near Marathon, twenty-six miles north of Athens. A runner covers the distance to announce the arrival of the Persians. A coalition of city-states defeats the Persians at Marathon, and the Persians withdraw. In Athens, the god Pan is said to have given the Greeks their victory, to win back from the Athenians their devotion, which he had seen as diminishing.

486 BCE:.Darius the Great dies at around the age of seventy-two.

485 BCE:.The Athenian poet, Aeshylus is turning forty. Before he dies he will have written around ninety plays. Athens is developing a literature that goes beyond simple divisions of good versus evil people, a human-centered approach that would be called humanistic. These are writers about which the Yahwist Isaiah would have complained that "...they do not pay attention to the deeds of the Lord." (Isaiah 5:12)

480 BCE:.Xerxes, son of Darius, marches an army through Thrace and into mainland Greece. The Persians are trying to extend their empire too far.

479 BCE:.Near Athens, the Athenian navy and its allies destroy the Persian fleet. With much of the Persian army dependent on ships for supplies, it is forced to march back to Asia Minor.

460 BCE:.The navy of Athens is still taking war to the Persians, and, asserting leadership, Athens is turning its alliance with other Greek cities into an empire.

458 BCE:.The Persians are allowing Yahwist priests to return from Babylon to Judah and urging the priests to maintain order in accordance with their teachings -- a common practice by the Persians regarding subject peoples. The Persians do not allow the Jews a king, which is okay with the high-priests. In Jerusalem, the high-priest Ezra arrives with 1,800 others and finds assimilations. He begins to organize Judaic law along lines of identity with Yahweh worship. Men are soon to be asked to expel from their homes their foreign wives. Judaic law is to be based on an assembled five books purportedly written by Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Intolerance toward other faiths is encouraged.

450 BCE:.The philosopher Anaxagoras is teaching in Athens. He gives laboratory demonstrations, conducts simple experiments and tests hypotheses. He speculates that matter too small to see is infinitely numerous and distributed in all things. He speculates that mind is a substance disconnected from all other substances, that mind was the first cause of all motion. He equates mind (collective rather than individual) with soul, which he calls nous, and for Anaxagoras, nous is God, giving rise to a monotheism alongside what has arisen in the Upanishads.

445 BCE:.Protagoras is around forty and moves from Thrace to Athens. He is a democrat and, contrary to popular opinion, speaks of people from different areas around the world as sharing a common humanity. He claims that by criticizing tradition and eliminating customs derived from “barbarian times” people can create better societies. He is opposed to the tradition of laws made by kings, favoring the privileged and described as having been made by the gods. He claims that laws should be made by and for people common people. He claims that humanity must learn for itself what is just and right -- a view that "man is the measure of all things."

442 BCE: In Rome, legislation is introduced against a law prohibiting marriage between aristocrats and commoners. Aristocrats (patricians) are concerned about the purity of their blood and describe the legislation as a rebellion against the laws of heaven. Commoner (plebeian) families headed by vigorous entrepreneurs have accumulated much wealth, and patricians from poorer families have an interest in marrying into these more wealthy families. The law against prohibiting marriage between aristocrats and commoners is repealed.

440 BCE:Herodotus is in his early forties. He has or will soon write about the Persian war and about his travels to Babylon, Egypt, the Crimea, Italy and elsewhere. His open-mindedness about the people he visits results in fellow Greeks calling him a "barbarian-lover."  Unlike priestly writers, he does not write to praise his gods and he admits that his work is subjective.

431 BCE: The Great Peloponnesian War begins, with Sparta and its allies on one side and Athens and its allies on the other. Athenians have built an empire among the island states and believe that it is rule or be ruled. Sparta and its allies fear domination by Athens and invade Attica, announcing that they are fighting against Athenian imperialism for their independence and for the liberty of Greeks.

430 BCE: A Chinese scholar, Mo-zi, nears forty. Unlike Confucius and his followers, Mo-zi believes that all men are equal before the lord of the heavens. He believes that the powers of heaven exercise love for all humankind. Mo-zi speaks of the value of the labor of common folks, and he advocates promoting people to positions of power solely on the strength of their abilities and virtues. Mo-zi witnesses local rulers sending their armies against neighboring states, devastating crops, slaughtering cattle, burning towns and temples, killing civilians and dragging people away to be made slaves. He tries to mediate between rulers at war with each other. He creates an army of well-trained and highly disciplined warriors which he offers to rulers defending themselves against aggression.

404 BCE: Athens has counted too much on military force and too little on hearts and minds. The Great Peloponnesian War ends with defeat for Athens and victory for Sparta and its allies. Sparta is now the undisputed leader and policing power among the Greek city-states.  


400 BCE: Zoroastrianism is the faith of many Persians. The Zoroastrians believe in a struggle between their god, Mazda, and the devil. They believe that the birth of their founder, the prophet Zarathustra, was the beginning of a final epoch that is to end in an Armageddon and triumph of good over evil. Perhaps Persian officials or merchants in Judah are passing Zoroastrian notions to the Jews, who at this time had respect for Persians and the late Cyrus II, who had freed the Jewish captives in Babylon.

399 BCE: Democrats, back in power in Athens and afraid of enemies and condemn the aristocratic philosopher Socrates to death. Socrates wants people to question, and he pretends to be without conclusions. He believes in a god like that of his teacher, Anaxagoras. Like Xenophanes he thinks that the gods of Homer are examples of bad behavior. Greeks are looking upon Homer's writing as divinely inspired and a reference for religious thought. Those who sentence Socrates at least pretended to be believers in the gods of the common people, and they consider Socrates subversive and against democracy.

396 BCE: Antisthenes is around forty. He has founded a school of thought called Cynicism. He is disgusted by the world around him and what he sees as the worthless quibbling of refined philosophy. He has left the company of other philosophers and preaches to common people in market places using simple language. He tells people that virtue demands withdrawal from involvement with a world that is immoral and corrupt. But dropping out is meaningless to people trying to survive.

394 BCE: Rome, now grown to about thirty by twenty miles, responds to a request from the Etruscan city of  Clusium for help against an attack by a Celtic people called Gauls.

390 BCE: The Gauls attack and almost destroy Rome. Rome is determined to be stronger. They are to adopt new military weaponry, dropping the spear in favor of a two-foot long sword, adopting helmets, breastplates and a shield with iron edges. And they are to  reorganize their army.

387 BCE: The philosopher Plato turns forty. He returns to Athens from exile and starts his own academy. Plato dislikes democrats and the likes of Protagoras (the sophists). He is an aristocrat who dislikes the world around him, including aristocratic rule, and he favors of a society divided into classes and run by philosophers. He believes that abstractions are real unto themselves rather than representations, that words are absolutes rather than convention and representative of meaning. He understands nothing about the body allowing the brain to function. The heavens, he believes, are nothing but perfection, including perfect circles. He belongs to the Pythagorian tradition in philosophy. And like Socrates he is a monotheist.

380 BCE: Carthage has begun trading with Africans to their south, sending iron through the Sahara. Iron smelting has appeared in what we now call Nigeria. The use of use of iron is improving hunting and forest farming, which is helping to build population pressures that send Bantu speaking people migrating eastward.

371 BCE: Sparta has made a mess of policing other Greek city-states. Sparta is no longer the society it was a century before. It is defeated by Thebes. Greeks recognize that Sparta's domination has ended, and new coalitions form across Greece.

360 BCE: Jerusalem has been rebuilt and the power of Judaism's hereditary priesthood is firmly established. If a father finds his son rebellious and disobedient he can take him to the city elders and have him stoned to death. In a dispute that goes to court, a man judged wicked is whipped, but no more than forty times. Priest scribes have described the Hebrews as descendants of Noah, Noah's forebears as the first family of humankind and the god of the Jews as supreme above all other gods. Moses is described as living during the time of the kingdoms of Moab and Edom, and Abraham is described as living when the Chaldeans were in possession of Sumer. Jewish law permits slavery, but the enslavement of a fellow Jew is restricted to seven years.

350 BCE: Hindu stories, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, are being put into writing. They are from oral tradition, and, like Homer's Iliad, they focus on the power of the gods and praise the heroism and virtues of warrior-princes. The heroes of these sacred stories are devoted to truth, have a strong sense of duty and affection for their parents.

344 BCE: Aristotle turns forty. He had been a student of Plato. He dislikes Plato's utopia and believes more in empiricism than does Plato. His empiricism: If you do not believe that rivers begin as little streams in mountains, follow them upstream. He likes to categorize everything, including things biological. He believes in syllogistic logic -- consistency from the general to the specific. He believes in harmony and balance, that the best is between extremes, including a balance between state power and individual freedom. He believes in the god of Anaxagoras. He dislikes communism and supports slavery.  He is for a balance between individualism and a totalitarian enforcement of collective interests.

337 BCE: Philip II has created a strong and unified nation in Macedonia. He is devoted to Greek culture and has hired Aristotle to tutor his son, Alexander. He imposes unity on the divided Greeks city-states and creates the Hellenic League, which meets for the first time in  in the city of Cornith.

336 BCE: Philip II is assassinated. Alexander becomes king.

334 BCE: Alexander begins warring against Persia, he and his army moving through the Persian empire, from Asia Minor, to Egypt, across Persia, into the Hindu Kush and the Indus Valley.

323 BCE: Alexander returns to his new capital, Babylon. He wants cooperation and brotherhood across his empire and has plans for expanded commerce and extending his rule to Italy. Then he dies, at thirty-two. Myth is still the dominant way of considering the past, and many myths about Alexander are to develop.

322 BCE: Alexander's Persian wife, Roxana, gives birth to Alexander's child, Alexander IV. Alexander's generals have sworn to keep Alexander's empire together, but for some Macedonians it is unthinkable that their king should be the son of a barbarian Asian woman.

321 BCE: In India, competition between kingdoms produces one dominate power under Chandragupta Maura, founder of a new dynasty.

316 BCE: Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, has claimed rule in Macedonia, has raised an army and is supporting the legitimacy of Roxana's son, Alexander IV. Macedonia is overrun by her opponents and she is killed.

311 BCE: Alexander IV is executed, and his mother, Roxana, also dies. Former subordinates of Alexander the Great have been fighting each other and are dividing his empire. Alexander's former bodyguard, Ptolemy, is making himself king of Egypt.

305 BCE: A former officer in Alexander's army, Seleucus, considers himself emperor across Persia and into lands east of Persia. He attempts to recover lands taken by Chandragupta that had been a part of Alexander's Empire. Chandragupta turns back Seleucus' drive and Seleucus is forced to agree to peace terms. Chandragupta then conquers into the Himalayas and the rest of northern India.

301 BCE: Chandragupta abdicates in favor of one of his sons and withdraws with a Jainist sage to a religious retreat. There, while appealing to God for relief from a drought, he fasts to death.


300 BCE: Taoists scoff at Confucianism's veneration of early Zhou kings and reject Confucianism's striving for virtue, belief in ritual and governmental regulation. They expect society to continue to be driven by greed and lust for power, and they advocate withdrawal from social strife. For ending strife and greed they advocate an end to profits. The Taoists seek serenity in the beauties of nature and in surrender to the will of heaven. They have a saying not fashioned to encourage technological and economic growth: He who does nothing accomplishes everything.