4th Century B.C. (The People's Chronology)
400 B.C.76 B.C.
400 B.C.: political events
Persia and Sparta go to war in a conflict over territory in Anatolia and the Ionian islands. The Persian satrap Pharnabazus persuades the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes II to organize a retaliatory strike by sea and begins construction of a new navy (see 394 B.C.).
400 B.C.: exploration, colonization
London has its origins on a rise above marshy wastes at the point where the Walbrook joins the Thames River. The Celtic king Belin rebuilds an earthen wall surrounding a few dozen huts and orders a small landing place to be cut into the south side of the wall, along the river front, where a wooden quay is built. The watergate cut in the wall to permit entry to the settlement from quayside will be called Belinsgate, a name that will be corrupted to Billingsgate (see 43 A.D.).
400 B.C.: everyday life
Greek mathematician-philosopher Archytas of Tarentum, 28, invents a rattle for children that the philosopher Aristotle will call useful "to give to children to occupy them, and to prevent them from breaking things about the house (for the young are incapable of keeping still)."
399 B.C.: political events
Sparta's Agis II dies after a reign of more than 25 years as war continues with Persia (year approximate). Having commanded his regular army throughout most of the Pelopennesian War that ended in 404 B.C., he is succeeded by the 45-year-old army commander Agesilaus, a member of the royal house of Eurypontid and son of the former king Archidamus II, who gains the throne with help from Lysander and will reign until his death in 360 B.C. as Agesilaus II.
399 B.C.: communications, media
The Greek philosopher Socrates is condemned for flouting conventional ideas and for allegedly corrupting Athenian youth with his impiety. Imprisoned at age 70, he is sentenced to death; a rich friend bribes his jailer and arranges for his escape, but Socrates chooses not to flout the law and obediently drinks a potion made from poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) while some of his disciples, Plato not among them, look on. Socrates has not written anything down, and although Plato has not been in the great teacher's inner circle it is he who will give wide currency to Socratic views and methods (see Plato, 387 B.C.).
396 B.C.: political events
Sparta's Agesilaus II sails to Ephesus, signs a 3-year truce with the Persians, and then proceeds to violate the agreement by conducting a raid on Phrygia.
The Etruscan city of Veii in southern Etruria falls to Roman forces after a 10-year siege as the Romans begin to end the Etruscan civilization in Italy (see 900 B.C.; 509 B.C.). Rome's patrician dictator Marcus Furius Camillus has conducted the siege, and the Romans annex all of Veii's territory (see Battle of the Allia, 390 B.C.).
396 B.C.: medicine
Smallpox strikes a Carthaginian army besieging Syracuse.
395 B.C.: political events
A coalition of Greek city-states (Thebes, Athens, Argos, and Corinth) goes to war in an effort to reverse the ascendancy of Sparta in a conflict that will continue until 387 B.C. and be remembered as the Corinthian War. The Athenian general and democratic leader Thrasybalus has induced his people to join the Theban League against Sparta.
Spartan forces rout a Persian army under the command of the satrap Tissaphernes at Sardis. Reinstated as satrap of Caria and Lydia after the death of Cyrus the Younger in 401 B.C., Tissaphernes has attacked the Ionian cities and is put to death at Colossae, Phrygia, by order of Artaxerxes II, who has been persuaded to do so by Cyrus's mother, Parysatis.
Sparta's great military commander Lysander leads a force of northern allies into Boeotia but is killed during an attack on Haliartus.
394 B.C.: political events
Sparta's Agesilaus II conducts another raid on Phrygia (see 396 B.C.), he is recalled to fight in Greece, and after his departure a large Persian naval force under the command of Pharnabazus and the Athenian admiral Conon destroys the Spartan fleet off Cnidus at the southwestern tip of Anatolia, gaining total mastery of the Aegean (see 400 B.C.; 388 B.C.).
The Battle of Nemea pits Spartan forces against a superior coalition army fielded by Thebes, Corinth, Athens, and Argos. Despite being outnumbered, the heavily armored Spartan foot soldiers (hoplites) circle the Athenians, crush them, and then defeat the other members of the coalition, but the triumph is of little consequence.
393 B.C.: political events
The Athenian admiral Conon restores the long walls and fortifications of Piraeus, the port city whose ramparts were destroyed by Sparta in the 27-year Pelopennesian War that ended in 404. But when Athens sends Conon on a diplomatic mission to the Persian court in an effort to counter behind-the-scenes dealings with the Spartans, he will be imprisoned and will die, probably in Cyprus.
The third and final king of Egypt's 29th dynasty begins a 13-year reign in the person of one Achoris, who will ally himself with opponents of Persia, build up his country's military and naval strength, hire an elite force of Greek mercenaries headed by the Athenian Chabris, and thwart a Persian invasion.
393 B.C.: theater, film
Theater: The Ecclesiazusae is a bawdy new comedy by Aristophanes.
390 B.C.: political events
The Battle of the Allia on a tributary of the Tiber River 11 miles outside Rome pits two Roman legions against a Celtic army that may number as many as 30,000 to the Romans' 10,000 (see 396 B.C.). The Celts (mainly Senones) have crossed the Appenines in search of plunder. They quickly turn the Roman flank and drive most of the legionnaires into the river, many of the survivors flee to Veii, and when the Celts arrive at Rome they find the gates open and the streets almost empty. They sack the city, bringing what will prove to be only a brief interruption to the city-state's rise to dominance in the Latin League. When the Celts hear that their Gallic enemies are overrunning their territories to the north they agree to leave on payment of 1,000 pounds of gold (see 381 B.C.).
389 B.C.: political events
Sparta's Agesilaus II fights coalition forces in Acarnania as the Corinthian War continues.
388 B.C.: political events
Athens revives her imperialist ambitions. The Athenian democratic leader Thrasybalus mounts a successful attack on Lesbos and sails to the south, but he is killed at Aspendus, whose citizens have resisted paying tribute to the Athenians. Persia's Artaxerxes II enters into an alliance with Sparta and relieves from his command the Persian general Pharnabazus, who has led the opposition to the Spartans.
388 B.C.: theater, film
Theater: Plutus is a new comedy by Aristophanes.
386 B.C.: political events
The Peace of Antalcidas ends the Corinthian War that began in 395 B.C. One clause in the treaty guarantees Greek city-states their independence.
386 B.C.: education
The Academy founded by the Athenian philosopher Plato will continue for 916 years (year approximate). Now about 40, Plato has opened the institute to pursue systematically the philosophical and scientific questions that have remained since the death of Socrates 12 years ago (see The Republic, 378 B.C.).
385 B.C.: political events
Persia's Achmaenid king Artaxerxes II sends an army to invade Egypt under the command of his general Pharnabazus, but the Persians are forced to withdraw.
381 B.C.: political events
Rome absorbs Tusculum by giving its people Roman citizenship (see 390 B.C.; 358 B.C.).
380 B.C.: political events
Egypt's last 29th dynasty king Achoris dies, his son inherits the throne as Nepherites II, but the new king lasts only 4 months before his throne is usurped by one of Achoris's generals, who will reign until 362 B.C. as Nectanebo I, founding the 30th dynasty that will rule until 343 B.C.
379 B.C.: political events
Theban liberation fighters under the command of Pelopidas gain support from Athenians who have been smuggled into the city wearing women's clothing and by early next year will have murdered the leader of the ruling junta, ousted the Spartan garrison, and established a new government along moderately democratic lines (see 378 B.C.).
378 B.C.: political events
Thebes reestablishes the Boeotian federal state under the leadership of Pelopidas and Epaminondas and reorganizes the Boeotian army with an elite hoplite regiment (the Sacred Band), whose 150 homosexual couples are under the command of Pelopidas (see 371 B.C.). A Second Athenian League is established at the behest of the Greek general Timotheus, who has been a commander in the war against Sparta and is elected strategus. A son of the famous general Conon, Timotheus wins over the Arcarnanians and Molossians with the aim of reviving Athenian imperial ambitions and will soon capture Corcyra, defeating the Spartans at sea off Acarnania (Alyzia) (see 373 B.C.).
The Republic by Plato is the first major European work of political philosophy. Plato quotes the late Socrates as having said, "Until all philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities [states] will never have rest from their evilso, nor the human race."
378 B.C.: medicine
Plato expresses certain medical beliefs along with his political philosophies. The heart is the fountainhead of the blood, says Plato, the liver mirrors the soul, and the spleen cleanses the liver. He introduces the word anaisthesia (see 1846 A.D.).
378 B.C.: environment
Plato urges temperance and bewails the changes in the Attic landscape since his youth. Green meadows, woods, and springs have given way to bare limestone partly because the planting of olive trees has led to the ruin of the land (see Solon, 594 B.C.).
375 B.C.51 B.C.
373 B.C.: political events
A 220,000-man Persian army under the command of Pharnabazus invades Egypt after engineering the recall of the Athenian Chabrias, who has built up a large mercenary army for the Egyptian king Nectanebo I. The Persians inflict heavy losses, but Pharnabazus and his Greek commander have a falling out over what strategy to pursue, the Nile overflows its banks, Nectanebo's forces regroup and outflank the Persians near Mendes in the Nile Delta, the Egyptians escape reconquest, and rebellions by Persia's satraps (provincial governors) will bar any further attempt to reconquer Egypt until 351 B.C.
The Greek general Timotheus wins acquittal on charges of negligence in connection with Athenian military and naval reverses (see 378 B.C.); he becomes a mercenary for the Persians but will later return to Athenian service (see 366 B.C.).
371 B.C.: political events
An 11,000-man army led by one of Sparta's two kings invades Boeotia northwest of Athens, a fertile, well-watered agricultural area that has long tempted Sparta but has been protected by Thebes as the leading partner of a confederation of city-states. The Battle of Leuctra 10 miles west of Thebes in July ends in victory for a 6,000-man Boeotian army under the command of Epaminondas, who uses novel tactics against the Spartan king Cleombrotus. Massing his men in much greater depth than usual, with a hoplite phalanx 50-man deep, Epaminondas leads the Thebans at a run against the heavily outnumbered Spartans, who have only 700 men plus about 1,300 helots (serfs) and mercenaries and have extended their line in an effort to outflank the Boeotians; Epaminondas breaks the Spartan ranks, Cleombrotus is killed, and the survivors ask for a truce that will permit them to bury their 400 Spartan dead and withdraw. It is the first admission of defeat by a Spartan army, and the loss begins a decline in the power of Sparta, whose heavily armored, full-time foot soldiers have for centuries dominated their neighbors (see 369 B.C.).
369 B.C.: political events
Sparta's allies begin to assert their independence in the wake of last year's Battle of Leuctra. Forced heretofore to support Sparta, they ask in late summer for Theban help, and the Theban Epaminondas leads an egalitarian 70,000-man army into the heart of Spartan territory, avoiding pitched battles and skirting the city of Sparta itself but laying waste the countryside, helping Spartan allies to the north fortify their cities, liberating 200,000 land-bonded helots (serfs), and helping them build the city of Messene from which they can defend their newly acquired freedom.
369 B.C.: science
The Athenian mathematician Theatetus dies at age 48 (approximate), having helped to revolutionize Greek mathematics with his contributions to the theory of irrational quantities. The inventor of solid geometry, he has also contributed to the construction of the regular solids.
367 B.C.: political events
The Greek mercenary Charideumus serves under the Athenian general Iphicrates at Amphipolis (year approximate); he will soon join the Thracian king Cotys against Athens, and when the Athenians capture him he will enter their service and receive citizenship, but he will be discharged in 362 B.C. (see 357 B.C.).
367 B.C.: science
The Greek mathematician Eudoxus of Cnidus observes that while 2 cannot be represented exactly by any single fraction it can be represented as a limit of a sequence of fractions, i.e. in the form of an infinite decimal: the square root of 2 = 1.4142, which virtually means specifying 2 as the limit of the sequence of decimal fractions (year approximate; see Pythagoras, 530 B.C.).
366 B.C.: political events
The Greek general Timotheus lays siege to Samos, which has been occupied by a Persian garrison (see 365 B.C.).
Persian satraps (provincial governors) in western Anatolia rebel under the leadership of one Ariobarzanes, who has ruled Phrygia since about 387 B.C.
365 B.C.: political events
Athenian forces under the command of Timotheus take Samos from its Persian defenders after a 10-month siege (see 366 B.C.). Timotheus captures several cities in the northern Aegean but his two efforts to take Amphipolis will both end in failure, and his aggressive policies will alienate Athens's allies (see Social War, 357 B.C.).
The Roman leader Marcus Furius Camillus dies, having ruled as dictator in 396, 390, 389, 368, and 367 B.C.
362 B.C.: political events
The Theban leader Epaminondas who crushed the Spartans in 371 B.C. is killed in the Battle of Mantinea, having built the city of Megalopolis to block Sparta's easiest means of access by land to the northern Peloponnese and having also built a new Boeotian federation.
Egypt's Nectanebo I dies after an 18-year reign in which he has founded the 30th dynasty and successfully resisted with help from a Greek mercenary army a major effort to reimpose Persian rule. He is succeeded by his son, who will reign until 360 B.C. as Tachos.
361 B.C.: science
The Greek philosopher Plato makes a third voyage to Sicily, is detained by Dionysius II, and writes to the mathematician-astronomer Archytas of Tarentum, who sends a ship to rescue him.
360 B.C.: political events
Persia's Artaxerxes II puts down the revolt of his satraps in western Anatolia and kills their leader, Ariobarzanes (year approximate).
Egypt's second 30th dynasty king Tachos loses his throne to a usurper who gains power with help from Sparta's aged Agesilaus II and will reign until 343 B.C. as Nectanebo II. The new king is almost overthrown at the outset of his reign by a rival pretender, but Agesilaus defeats the rival in battle.
Sparta's Agesilaus II dies in Cyrenaica at age 84 (approximate) after a 39-year reign in which he has expanded his city-state's interests at the expense of Hellenistic unity. He is succeeded by his son, who won a victory over the Arcadians in 367 B.C., was defeated by them 3 years later at Cromnus, helped defend Sparta against the Theban commander Epaminondas in 362 B.C., and will reign until 338 B.C. as Archidamus III.
359 B.C.: political events
The second son of Macedonia's late king Amyntas dies in battle, leaving his younger brother Philip as guardian of his own infant son. Philip, 23, makes himself king within a few months and will rule until 336 B.C. as Philip II, building up a powerful army and enlarging his realm as he develops its resources.
Persia's Artaxerxes II dies after a 45-year reign whose final years have been marked by revolts in the western half of his empire. He is succeeded by his son Ochus, who will reign until 338 B.C. as Artaxerxes III. The new king has most of his relatives put to death as a means of securing his throne.
358 B.C.: political events
Rome conquers some territory along the Volscian coast and establishes two more rustic tribes in the region (see 381 B.C.; First Samnite War, 343 B.C.).
357 B.C.: political events
Philip II of Macedonia captures Amphipolis as his phalanxes advance, using round wooden shields to protect them as their pikes and short swords savage all who resist. Philip has recruited archers from Crete and extended the length of his pikemen's spears from eight feet to 14 feet, he pays his soldiers, creating the world's first professional army, and he trains them all year round so that they can march up to 30 miles per day in full armor.
Athens goes to war against her allies in a conflict that will continue for 2 years and be remembered as the Social War (see Timotheus, 365 B.C.). Helped by the mercenary Charidemus, the Athenian general Chares regains the Thracian Chersonese (Gallipoli Peninsula) from the young Thracian king Cersobleptes, who became Cersobleptes's guardian following the murder of his father, Cotys (see 356 B.C.; Charidemus, 348 B.C.).
357 B.C.: commerce
Philip II of Macedonia sets the value of his gold coins at 10 times the value of silver ones, a departure from the clumsy Persian ratio of 13½ to one.
357 B.C.: agriculture
Philip II of Macedonia works to improve agriculture in his mountainous kingdom, whose various tribes are poorly fed and have been continually at war with each other. He encourages irrigation, canal building, land drainage, and flood control, thereby increasing the productivity of fields and helping to bring peace among the tribes.
356 B.C.: political events
Persia's new Achaemenid king Artaxerxes III orders the country's satraps (governors) to dismiss their mercenary armies.
Philip II of Macedonia takes Pydna and Potidaea, refounding the city of Crenides as Philippi and advancing into Thessaly. His 44-year-old general Parmenio wins a great battle over the Illyrians (see 336 B.C.).
The Athenian general Chares receives reinforcements under the command of Iphicrates and Timotheus in the Social War that began last year. A storm blows up in the Hellespont, Timotheus and the other Athenian fleet commanders fail to coordinate their actions, many Athenian ships are lost in a battle with rebel forces, Athens sends no further supplies, Timotheus is impeached and fined, he is unable to pay and withdraws to Chalcis, Chares will serve the Persian satrap Artabazus as a mercenary.
356 B.C.: sports
Philip II of Macedonia triumphs at the Olympic Games and gives his 19-year-old Epirot wife, Myrtale, the name Olympias.
356 B.C.: environment
The beautiful marble Temple of Artemis built at Ephesus in the mid-6th century B.C. is burned down July 21 by a certain Herostratus, who destroys one of the seven wonders of the ancient world in a perverted bid for immortality. The temple will be restored with magnificent works of art (but see 262 A.D.).
355 B.C.: political events
Persia's Artaxerxes III forces Athens to make peace and acknowledge the independence of her rebellious allies, thereby ending the Social War that began 2 years ago.
Thebes and Phoca go to war in a conflict that will continue until 346, with Sparta's Archidamus III supporting the Phocians.
354 B.C.: political events
The Greek general and statesman Timotheus dies at Chalcis, having been disgraced for his failure in the Social War that ended last year.
354 B.C.: architecture, real estate
A tomb enclosed by Ionic columns that will be called one of the seven wonders of the world goes up at Halicarnassus in the Anatolian kingdom of Caria for its ruler Mausolus, from whose name the word mausoleum will derive.
353 B.C.: political events
King Mausolus of Caria dies after a tyrannical reign in which he and his wife (and sister) Artemisia have taxed their people unmercifully. He is buried within the elaborate tomb that he has been building, and hundreds of animals are sacrificed at his funeral.
352 B.C.: political events
Athenian forces at Thermopylae erect defenses that discourage a threatened attack through the pass by Philip II of Macedonia (see Xerxes, 480 B.C.). Philip redirects his efforts to fighting the Thracians.
351 B.C.: political events
Persia's Artaxerxes III tries to subjugate the Egyptians, who have been independent since 404 B.C. (see 373 B.C.). The campaign is a failure, and the Egyptian success encourages the towns of Phoenicia and the princes of Cyprus to revolt, but Artaxerxes will try again (see 343 B.C.).
Caria's queen Artemesia dies; her body is buried alongside the remains of her late husband, Mausolus, in the great tomb that workers will bring to completion even though they have not been paid. Mausolus and Artemesia have exhausted the kingdom's treasury with their excesses.
350 B.C.26 B.C.
350 B.C.: science
The Greek mathematician-scientist-philosopher Archytas of Tarentum dies in southern Italy at age 78 (year and age approximate), having made Tarentum (later Taranto) a center of Pythagorean theory, which he has tried to combine with empirical observation. A friend of the philosopher Plato, Archytas has concentrated on scientific issues, solving the problem of doubling the cube by constructing a three-dimensional model and making significant contributions to musical acoustics.
350 B.C.: agriculture
References to wheat first appear in Greek writings as wheat suitable for bread is introduced from Egypt.
349 B.C.: political events
An Athenian army under the command of Chares fights Philip II of Macedonia but enjoys little success.
348 B.C.: political events
Philip II of Macedonia captures all the towns of Chalcidice, including Olynthus, despite efforts by the Athenian general Chares to resist him. The mercenary Charidemus has led some Athenian forces to Olynthus in a rebellion against Philip, but the Macedonians make short work of them. Now 34, Philip has been asked by the Thebans to help them in their "Sacred War" with the Phocians; he marches his phalanxes into Phocis, destroying her cities. Athens is determined to remain independent and sends a force to fight Philip's allies in Euboea; it escapes only through the tactical skills of the Athenian general Phocion, 54, who has served as a mercenary in the Persian Army (see 346 B.C.).
347 B.C.: education
The philosopher Plato dies at Athens at age 80 (approximate), having presided over the Academy since he founded it in 387 B.C. His friends have purchased a suburban grove for the school, which is dedicated to the god Academus; philanthropists bear all costs, and students pay no fees.
346 B.C.: political events
Philip II of Macedonia consolidates his military successes in Phocis and sends many of the country's inhabitants to colonize Thrace (see 348 B.C.). He invites ambassadors from the various Greek city-states to his court in the spring and prepares to sign an agreement of peace and alliance with them (but see 343 B.C.). The ambassadors include the Athenian orators Demosthenes, 38, and Aeschines, 44; the latter, who has urged a settlement with Philip, helps to conclude the Peace of Philocrates and will later be accused of having accepted bribes (see 345 B.C.). Philip's 10-year-old son Alexander entertains the guests after dinner by playing the lyre and debating with another boy.
345 B.C.: political events
Persia's Artaxerxes III gathers a large army and marches early in the year against the Phoenician city of Sidon, whose people have been in rebellion since 351 B.C. along with those of other Phoenician cities. Mentor of Rhodes betrays the city and thereby gains favor with Persia's eunuch general Bagoas.
The Athenian orator Aeschines, who delivers a speech against his rival Timarchus, faces charges of treason brought by his rivals Demosthenes and Timarchus for making peace last year with Philip II of Macedonia. Aeschines responds by indicting Timarchus on charges of gross immorality (see 343 B.C.).
344 B.C.: political events
Persian forces under the command of the eunuch general Bagoas invade Egypt with a large land force and naval armada (see 343 B.C.)
344 B.C.: science
The Greek biologist Aristotle travels from Athens to the Aegean island of Lesbos, where he will spend 2 years studying natural history, especially marine biology. Now 40, Aristotle was a follower of the late Plato, and his father is a physician to Philip II, king of Macedonia.
343 B.C.: political events
The Athenian general and statesman Phocion helps the city-state of Megara defend itself against Philip II of Macedonia (see 346 B.C.; 340 B.C.).
The Athenian orator Aeschines is tried on charges of treason and wins acquittal only by a narrow margin (see 339 B.C.).
Rome's first Samnite War begins 2 years of hostilities over possession of the rich Campania lands that supply the city with much of its food (see 358 B.C.). Probably an offshoot of the Sabines, the bellicose tribesmen allied themselves with the Romans against other Gallic tribes in 354 B.C. and now help them gain the town of Capua (see 340 B.C.).
The Battle of Pelusium in the Nile delta ends in victory for Persia's Artaxerxes III and his eunuch general Bagoas over the Egyptian pharaoh Nectanebo II, who is killed after a 17-year reign. The Persians tear down the walls of Egypt's cities, plunder her temples (it will be said that Artaxerxes himself killed the sacred Apis bull), and establish a Persian satrap (governor) to rule the country.
342 B.C.: education
Aristotle returns to Macedonia at the invitation of her king Philip II and begins 7 years of teaching. His pupils include Philip's son Alexander, now 14.
340 B.C.: political events
Philip II of Macedonia fails in a siege of Byzantium, whose sentries may have seen Philip's advance by the light of a crescent moon and thus have been able to save the city with help from the Athenian general and statesman Phocion. The Byzantines will adopt the crescent symbol of their goddess Hecate as the symbol of Byzantium (see Viennese bakers, 1217 A.D.). Philip also lays siege to Perinthus, but Persia's Artaxerxes III sends help to both cities, angering Philip (see 336 B.C.).
A Latin war that will continue until 338 embroils Rome with her neighbors (see 343 B.C.). The result of the hostilities will be an end of the Latin League, with virtually all of Latium receiving some degree of Roman citizenship and becoming Roman territory, although Praeneste and Tibur will retain nominal independence, becoming Rome's military allies, and the towns will retain their local governments (see 326 B.C.).
339 B.C.: political events
A council of the Amphictyonic League declares war against the Locrians at the town of Amphissa. The council has been convened at the urging of the Athenian orator Aeschines, who wants to give Philip II of Macedonia a pretext for entering central Greece. Philip has been a member of the league since 346 B.C., and it will appoint him commander in chief next year. A stray arrow has cost him his right eye and left his face horribly scarred, but Philip's prowess as a military leader is universally respected. The Athenians form a league with the Thebans to resist the military might of the council. It will later be said that when Aeschines spoke the people said, "How well he speaks"; but when Demosthenes spoke, they said, "Let us march!"
The 90-year-old Scythian chief Ateas falls in battle while fighting Philip II of Macedonia. Armed with double-curved bows, trefoil-shaped arrows, and Persian-type swords, the Scythian army has been constituted of freemen who receive food and clothing but no other compensation except what they share in booty after presenting the head of a defeated enemy. Many wear Greek-style bronze helmets and chain-mail jerkins, each has his own personal mount, and some own large strings of Mongolian ponies.
339 B.C.: education
The Greek philosopher Speusippus dies after 9 years as head of the Academy at Athens and is succeeded in that position by the philosopher Xenocrates, who will head the Academy until his death in 314 B.C. Both men studied under Plato.
338 B.C.: political events
The Battle of Amphissa in Locris ends in victory for Philip II of Macedonia over the Athenian general Chares.
The Battle of Chaeronea northwest of Athens in western Boeotia August 2 ends in victory for Philip II over a combined force of Athenians and Thebans in the last struggle for Greek independence (see exploration, colonization [Thessalonika], 315 B.C.). A "Sacred Band" of 300 homosexuals leads the Theban army; the Macedonian army's 30,000 men are divided into 16-rank phalanxes, versus eight to 12 ranks in the Greek and Theban armies; they use both hands to wield 21-foot spears, and they close on the 35,000-man allied force with deadly effect, but it is Philip's 18-year-old son Alexander, commanding 2,000 cavalrymen and contemptuous of his own safety, who carries the day, which ends with 6,000 Athenians dead and 2,000 captured (the 20,000-man Theban force is annihilated). Athens will never again regain its power. Philip of Macedon organizes the Greek states into the League of Corinth with himself as its general.
Sparta's Archidamus III leads a mercenary army to help the Italian city of Tarentum against attacking Lucanians, but he is killed along with most of his men at nearby Manduria.
Persia's eunuch general Bagoas murders the Achaemenid king Artaxerxes III and all but one of his sons. Bagoas has made himself rich by exploiting his position as trusted adviser to Artaxerxes, whose surviving son Arses he places on the throne (but see 336 B.C.).
337 B.C.: political events
Philip II of Macedonia marries a well-born young woman named Cleopatra (or Eurydice) although he is already married. His wife, Olympias (originally Myrtale), now 38, withdraws in fury to her native Epirus (see 336 B.C.).
336 B.C.: political events
Philip II of Macedonia sends his general Parmenio across the Hellespont in the spring to make preparations for an invasion of Persia, whose king Arses has refused to pay reparations that Philip has demanded for aid given by the late Artaxerxes III in 340 B.C. to the city of Perinthus, which had resisted Philip's siege. Now 64, Parmenio is accompanied by Amyntas and his son-in-law Attalus, but Philip is assassinated at age 46 after a 23-year reign by a bodyguard during the feast in July or August that celebrates the wedding of his daughter to her uncle Alexander, king of Epirus, in the theater of Philip's palace of Vergina at Aigai. Philip has been divorced from his Epirote wife, Olympias (see 337 B.C.), and she has probably conspired with the bodyguard Pausanius to kill her ex-husband lest her son Alexander be displaced as heir by Philip's newborn son by his seventh or eighth wife, the Macedonian woman Cleopatra (or Eurydice). Pausanius is caught and put to death, the infant son is killed as well, and Philip is succeeded by his son Alexander, now 20, who will carry out Philip's planned expedition against the Persians. "My father took you as nomads and paupers, wearing sheepskins, pasturing a few sheep on the mountains," says Alexander in his funeral oration, ". . . he made you inhabitants of cities and brought good order, law, and customs into your lives." Olympias returns to Macedonia and has Cleopatra and her infant daughter killed (see 334 B.C.).
Image Pop-UpPhilip of Macedon's assassination began the ascent of his son, who would be called Alexander the Great.
Persia's Achaemenid king Arses is murdered in June along with all of his children by the eunuch general and vizier Bagoas who placed him on the throne 2 years ago after killing his father and brothers. The young king has tried to have Bagoas poisoned, and Bagoas replaces him with a collateral heir, who will reign until 331 B.C. as Darius III.
The Athenian orator Aeschines brings a lawsuit against one Ctesiphon, who has proposed awarding a crown to the orator Demosthenes in recognition of his services to the city-state, calling such an award illegal (see 330 B.C.).
The Athenian orator Hyperides, now 54, delivers a speech "Against Philippides" as winter comes on.
335 B.C.: political events
Persia's Darius III asserts his independence from the eunuch general and vizier Bagoas, who tries to poison the new Achaemenid king; alerted to Bagoas's intention, Darius forces Bagoas to drink the poison himself (year approximate).
Macedonian forces under the command of their new king Alexander crush a rebellion in Thebes, and Alexander demands the surrender of the mercenary Charidemus, who led the rebellion at Olynthus in 348; he spares Charidemus's life, punishing him only by banishment, and Charidemus flees to Persia, where he will be executed in 333; the Athenian general Chares escapes to the Troad and will serve once again as a mercenary for the Persians (see 332 B.C.).
335 B.C.: science
Aristotle returns to Athens from Macedonia and opens a lyceum in an elegant gymnasium dedicated to Apollo Lyceus, god of shepherds. The lyceum contains a museum of natural history, zoological gardens, and a library.
Aristotle attempts to develop a deductive system as comprehensive as is possible with the scientific materials available. Primarily a biologist, he concerns himself chiefly with the anatomical structures of animals, their reproduction, and their evolution, and he founds the study of comparative anatomy in an effort to categorize animal life into biological groups.
335 B.C.: medicine
Aristotle describes various parts of the digestive canal in some detail, but his ideas of physiology are primitive in the absence of any chemical knowledge. Everything in life is subject to basic law, says Aristotle, but he believes that food is "cooked" in the intestinal tube and praises garlic for its medicinal qualities.
335 B.C.: population
Aristotle advises abortion for parents with too many children, and he writes in Politics that "neglect of an effective birth control policy is a never failing source of poverty which in turn is the parent of revolution and crime." But the Greeks (and later the Romans) will encourage large families lest they have a dearth of recruits for their armies.
334 B.C.: political events
Alexander of Macedonia crosses the Hellespont and invades Asia to avenge the Greek defeat by Persians 150 years ago; his second in command is his father's old general Parmenio, and his 18,100-man army (5,100 cavalrymen, 12,000 heavy infantry, 1,000 light infantry) includes 5,000 Greek and Thracian mercenaries. The opposing Persian army numbers at least 15,000 and possibly 40,000, including 10,000 cavalrymen and 5,000 Greek mercenaries. The two sides engage in May or early summer at the Granicus River. The Persians shower the invaders with javelins, but Parmenio commands the left wing of the Macedonian army and the Persians break before the onslaught of Alexander's phalanxes. Alexander kills two relatives of the Achaemenid Persian king Darius III, a Persian axman deals a heavy blow to Alexander's helmet but is killed by Alexander's cavalry commander Cleitus; Alexander's biographer Arrian will later write with considerable exaggeration that Alexander lost only 115 men while killing 4,000 of the enemy (the dead include 3,000 Greek mercenaries; the other 2,000 are captured); Alexander's men march toward Persepolis, with Alexander riding his horse Bucephalus at the head of the columns. Alexander's regent Antipater governs Macedonia in his absence, having frequent disputes with Alexander's mother, Olympias, now 41.
333 B.C.: political events
The Battle of Issus in October gives Alexander of Macedonia a great victory over the Persians, who have advanced to meet him but whose emperor Darius III takes flight, abandoning his mother, wife, and children. Assisted once again by his general Parmenio, Alexander loses only 450 of his 35,000-man army in defeating a force that may have numbered 90,000, including 30,000 Greek mercenaries. Darius has the former Athenian mercenary Charidemus put to death, allegedly for criticizing the preparations taken for the Battle of Issus, and writes two letters to Alexander, offering friendship in the first and, in the second, a large ransom, all of his territory west of the Euphrates, and his daughter's hand in marriage. Alexander rejects the offers and begins a 10-year march across vast deserts and high mountains in which his troops will cover 22,000 miles through the Middle East and down into India.
Image Pop-UpAlexander vanquished the Persian emperor Darius III at the Battle of Issus as he moved to conquer the East.
Alexander completes the conquest of Syria, gains the submission of Paphlagonia adjoining the Black Sea, and will be said to have chosen on his route south the site of Antioch (later Antakya, Turkey), which will soon be a bustling city (see 64 B.C.).
332 B.C.: political events
A Persian force under the command of the Athenian general Chares prepares to resist the Macedonians in Mytilene, but when the Macedonian fleet approaches Chares surrenders on condition that he be permitted to retire without being harmed.
Alexander of Macedonia lays siege to Tyre and captures the ancient Phoenician city after 8 months by building a stone breakwater from the mainland to the island. It will be said that he had a dream of a dancing satyr and was told by his dream interpreter, Aristander, that it foretold the conquest of Tyre. (Aristander has split the word Satyros into two wordsi>sa Turos, Greek for "thine is Tyre.") Alexander's army crucifies 3,000 of the city's survivors, sells 13,000 of its women into slavery, and Tyre will soon lose all of its importance. Alexander marches into Egypt in December and is welcomed as a liberator.
332 B.C.: exploration, colonization
Alexander lays out an Egyptian port city on the Mediterranean that will be called Alexandria, giving it a basic grid with a long, wide central avenue that will be called the Canopic Way to connect the Gate of the Sun at one end and the Gate of the Moon at the other (see lighthouse, 285 B.C.).
331 B.C.: political events
Sparta's Agis III raises a coalition in the Pelopennese and lays siege to Megalopolis. Supported by Persian money and 8,000 Greek mercenaries, he has tried to hold Crete in the absence of Alexander the Great, but Alexander's regent Antipater ends his war with the Thracians, marches south, and breaks the Spartan resistance in a battle near Megalopolis at which Agis is killed after a 7-year reign.
The Battle of Arbela (or Gaugamela) October 1 in northern Mesopotamia gives Alexander the Great a crushing victory over Persia's Darius III (see 332 B.C.). Alexander's 47,000-man force includes 7,000 cavalrymen. Darius has recruited the finest cavalry from his satrapies and has an army that far outnumbers Alexander's (200,000 infantry, 45,000 cavalry, 6,000 Greek mercenaries, 200 scythe-chariots, and 15 elephants). Alexander sustains heavy losses before the battle when he falls into a Persian trap and only barely avoids having his army annihilated, but he uses brilliant strategy to defeat the Persians at Arbela, with Parmenio once again proving his worth. Darius has cleared a broad flat plain of bushes for his chariots, placed himself at the center of his army, and surrounded himself with a double phalanx of his best infantrymen; his Bactrian satrap Bessus commands the cavalry on his left flank, Syrian and Median cavalry join with Bactrians, Scythians, and others to give him a formidable right flank, but Alexander outmaneuvers the Persians, finds an opening in the enemy line, and advances directly on Darius, who takes flight, leaving his army with no appetite to continue resistance. The Macedonians pursue the fleeing Persians, whose losses total perhaps 40,000 (see 330 B.C.). Using the 1,500-mile Persian Royal Road that was improved in earlier centuries by Cyrus II and Darius I, Alexander moves on to the ancient capital of Susa and becomes master of the Persian Empire, ending the Achaemenid dynasty founded in 550. His mother, Olympias, retires again to Epirus (year approximate).
331 B.C.: agriculture
Farmers grow wheat extensively in southeastern parts of what someday will be called the British Isles and thresh it under great barns, reports a traveler from the Greek colony at Massilia (later Marseilles); (see Lacydon, 600 B.C.; Pytheas, 325 B.C.).
330 B.C.: political events
Alexander the Great enters the Persian capital of Persepolis; his men burn the royal palace, having taken so much loot that 20,000 mules and 5,000 camels are required to carry it away. The defeated Persian king Darius III has reached Media but is stabbed in the chest by his Bactrian satrap Bessus in July and left to die beside a water hole after a 6-year reign. Bessus assumes the Persian throne as Artaxerxes IV and attempts to rally defenses against the Macedonian conqueror (but see 329 B.C.). Alexander gives Darius a royal funeral and goes on to capture the town of Merv, but he loses thousands of men who drink from the waters of the Oxus River. He has left his general Parmenio, now about 70, in Media to guard his lines of communication, and when Parmenio's son Philotas is convicted (probably unjustly) of having conspired to assassinate him and is put to death, he has Parmenio murdered.
Egypt's third 30th dynasty king Nectanebo II flees an invading army sent by Persia's Artaxerxes IV, going first to Memphis and then to Upper Egypt, where he disappears from history. Non-native kings will henceforth rule Egypt.
The orator Aeschines leaves Athens after his rival Demosthenes delivers a stirring speech "On the Crown" in support of the man who proposed awarding him a crown 6 years ago. Aeschines has lost his suit and relocates to Rhodes.
330 B.C.: science
The atomic theory postulated by the Greek philosopher Democritus says that all matter is composed of tiny atomic particles (the word atom will come to mean something unbreakable or indivisible; see Thomson, 1897 A.D.). Nothing happens through chance or intention, says Democritus (whose work includes ideas advanced by his late teacher Leucippus of Miletus); everything happens through cause and of necessity. All change is merely an aggregation or separation of parts, nothing which exists can be reduced to nothing, and nothing can come out of nothing. Democritus distinguishes between vertebrate and invertebrate animals, both of which he dissects.
330 B.C.: religion
Alexander the Great persecutes Zoroastrians, desecrating their temples, slaughtering their priests, and forcing their women to marry his Greek soldiers.
329 B.C.: political events
Alexander the Great's army overruns Samarkand (Maracanda), capital of Sogdiana in central Asia and captures Bessus, Achaemenid satrap of Bactria and Sogdiana, who murdered Persia's Darius III and has presumed to call himself Artaxerxes IV; he is put to death (see 330 B.C.; India, 327 B.C.).
327 B.C.: political events
Alexander the Great of Macedonia crosses the Hindu Kush and invades northern India, having gained ascendancy over all of Greece, occupied Egypt, and destroyed the power of Persia (see 326 B.C.).
327 B.C.: agriculture
Alexander finds bananas (Musa sapientum) growing in the Indus Valley (see 1482 A.D.).
326 B.C.: political events
Alexander the Great wins a brilliant victory in June near Jalalpur on the Hydaspes (later the Jhelum) River. The Indian king Porus opposes him with a 35,000-man army that includes 3,000 cavalry, 300 chariots, and 200 elephants. Alexander has only 25,000 men, including 5,300 cavalry and 14,000 infantry, but his general Craterus proves himself outstanding in the field. Alexander and his infantry commander Seleucus use diversionary tactics that enable their men to ford the river upstream from Porus, the Macedonians create havoc by blinding some of the Indian elephants, the animals rampage riderless through their own ranks, and while 950 of Alexander's men are killed his phalanx routs the enemy, killing 12,000 and capturing 9,000, including Porus himself, who is taken along with 80 elephants. Impressed by Porus's courage, Alexander spares his life and lets him keep his throne.
Alexander's exhausted Macedonians persuade him to abandon his plans for invading the Ganges Valley. He appoints Nearchus as admiral and places under his command everyone in the ranks with any knowledge of seafaring. Nearchus has Indian shipwrights build 800 vessels, some as large as 300 tons, and uses Indian pilots to guide his fleet through Persian Gulf waters to Babylon.
A Second Samnite War begins between Rome and her neighbors, who resist Roman efforts to colonize their territories (see 340 B.C.). Hostilities this time will continue off and on for 22 years, and the Romans will get the worst of it for the first decade or more (see Caudine Forks, 321 B.C.).
325 B.C.01 B.C.
325 B.C.: exploration, colonization
The Greek geographer Pytheas leaves Massilia (later Marseilles) on a journey of exploration that will take him far to the north, either traveling overland to the mouth of the Loire or Garonne, or (sailing by night to avoid the Carthaginian blockade of the strait dividing the Mediterranean from the Atlantic) by sea (year approximate). Now about 55, he studies the tides in what later will be northern Spain and by some accounts discovers that they are caused by the moon. Pytheas reaches Cornwall, studies the extraction and processing of tin, and finds that tides in what later will be called the British Isles can be very high. He records the local name of the islands in Greek as Prettanike, which a later writer will render as Pretannia, and some will theorize that the inhabitants call themselves Pretani, or Priteni, meaning painted or tattooed people. Pytheas reaches an island called Thule, goes on to an island (probably Helgoland) where amber is obtainable, and may visit the Baltic, but his report will not survive and all that later historians will know of him will come from references in other men's works.
325 B.C.: commerce
Trade between Gaul and the British Isles has become routine, and Gallic fishermen have for years been reaching the Orkneys, Shetlands, and Scandinavia.
325 B.C.: communications, media
The Persae by Timotheus of Miletus is the earliest papyrus written in Greek that will survive.
325 B.C.: agriculture
The first known reference to sugar cane (Saccharum officinarum) appears in writings by Alexander the Great's admiral Nearchus, who speaks of Indian reeds "that produce honey, although there are no bees." The word sugar (adapted from the Arabic sukhar that derives from the Sanskrit sarkara, meaning gravel or pebble) begins to appear frequently in Indian literature (see 300 B.C.).
325 B.C.: food availability
The poor of Athens exist mainly on beans, greens, beechnuts, turnips, wild pears, dried figs, barley paste, and occasional grasshoppers, with only sporadic welfare assistance.
324 B.C.: political events
Alexander the Great marches in early spring from Kirman to Pasargadae, scarcely 50 miles from Persepolis and visits the tomb of the late Cyrus the Great, which has been looted during Alexander's absence in Bactria and India. Alexander orders that it be repaired and safeguarded, marches on to Persepolis, and arranges supplies for his admiral, Nearchus, who has brought the fleet to the far end of the Persian Gulf. He has Persepolis put to the torch, by one account at the persuasion of the Athenian courtesan Thais but more likely for political reasons, and sets out for Susa, where he meets up with Nearchus and puts to death some generals who have plotted against him.
Alexander orders a mass wedding ceremony at Susa to implement his idea of uniting Macedonians and Persians. His infantry commander Seleucus marries Apama, daughter of the Bactrian satrap Spitamenes.
324 B.C.: theater, film
Theater: A "New Comedy" pioneered by the Athenian playwright Menander, 19, employs lighthearted humor rather than the virulent personal and political satire of the late Aristophanes and has realistic plots and characters based on the domestic life of ordinary citizens. Son of the rich Diopeithes of Cephisia, Menander will win his first dramatic prize in 316 B.C. but will win no more than eight prizes in all.
323 B.C.: political events
Alexander the Great dies of fever at Babylon June 10 at age 32, and his mourners recall that, unlike other men in an age when few people bathe or wash their clothes, he had no body odor when he perspired, but so violent and short-tempered has he been that he has killed his longtime lover in a drinking bout. All of his generals except for Seleucus repudiate their Persian wives, his 41-year-old general Perdiccas becomes regent (along with Craterus and Antipater) for the unborn child of Alexander's widow, Roxana, but six regional governorsntigonus in Phrygia, Seleucus in Syria, Ptolemy in Egypt, Eumenes, and Lysimachusontest control of the Macedonian Empire, which Alexander has enlarged to cover 2 million square miles. A 42-year struggle begins that will be called the Wars of the Diadochi (successors) (see 322 B.C.).
The Athenian orator Demosthenes goes on trial for embezzlement (he has been accused to taking 20 talents deposited at Athens by one Harpalus, a refugee from Alexandria). Rival orator Hyperides serves as one of 10 public prosecutors and delivers a speech against Demosthenes, but although the usual punishment for the crime is a levy of 10 times the amount embezzled, the court in this case levies of a fine of only two and a half times the amount. Demosthenes escapes from prison, making it impossible for him to return and raise the money needed to pay his fine. Hyperides then leads the patriotic party against the Macedonians while Demosthenese leads another party in what will be called the Lamian War. Supported by the Aetolian League, the Athenians field an army of 30,000 men in October, seize Thermopylae, and keep the Macedonian regent Antipater blockaded in that city (see 322 B.C.).
323 B.C.: education
The Museum of Alexandria is founded by Alexander's Macedonian general Ptolemy, who takes over Egypt as satrap (governor). Like Alexander, he has studied under Aristotle, and he will staff the museum with some 100 professors paid by the state. The Mouseion will be the leading Greek research center, maintaining and supporting scholars from all countries and encouraging them in their research into all branches of known science. Ptolemy will gain a reputation throughout the Mediterranean world for his patronage of astronomers, mathematicians, and other scientists (see Library, 284 B.C.).
322 B.C.: political events
The Macedonian regent Perdiccas conquers Cappadocia and installs Eumenes of Cardia, his most efficient and reliable subordinate, as satrap (provincial governor) (see 323 B.C.). His rival Antigonus flees to Europe, where he persuades Perdiccas's fellow regents Antipater and Craterus that Perdiccas must not be permitted to gain sole power over the empire (see 321 B.C.).
The Lamian War that began last year continues as Athens battles to free itself from Macedonian domination, but the Macedonian regent Antipater brings in reinforcements from Asia in the spring and forces the Athenians and their Aetolian League allies to lift their siege of Thermopylae. They surrender unconditionally in September after being defeated at the Battle of Crannon in Thessaly, Demosthenes is sentenced to death at the persuasion of his political enemy Demades (see 323 B.C.), he flees to the island of Calaureia and dies there October 12 at age 62, having swallowed poison to avoid being captured alive. Antipater captures the orator Hyperides, puts him to death at age 67, and forces the Athenians to accept a subservient, oligarchical government. The Athenian statesman Phocion has advised against the Lamian War and manages to have the city's indemnities reduced; now about 80, he is obliged to accept Macedonian occupation of the port of Piraeus and will rule Athens as Antipater's agent (see 319 B.C.).
322 B.C.: agriculture
Politics IV by Aristotle says, "When there are too many farmers the excess will be of the better kind; when there are too many mechanics and laborers, of the worst."
321 B.C.: political events
The Battle of the Caudine Forks (Caudium) brings defeat and disgrace to a large Roman army trapped by the Samnites in a narrow canyon near Beneventum in the southern Appenines of Italy's Campania (see 326 B.C.). The Samnites force the Romans to pass under the yolk (a horizontal spear placed atop two upright spears) as a symbol of submission. Compelled to surrender, the Romans sign a humiliating peace (see 315 B.C.).
The Macedonian regent Perdiccas marches against Egypt's satrap Ptolemy but is murdered at age 44 (approximate) by mutinous officers when he fails to cross the Nile (see 322 B.C.). The late Alexander the Great's general Craterus is killed while fighting the forces of Alexander's former secretary Eumenes of Cardia (see 319 B.C.).
319 B.C.: political events
The Macedonian regent Antipater falls fatally ill after a 2-year reign and names as his successor the aged Polysperchon, who invites the late Alexander's mother, Olympias, to act as regent for her grandson, Alexander IV. Now 56, she declines, and Polysperchon's authority is challenged by Antipater's son Cassander, 31 (see 321 B.C.). Cassander has the Athenian regent Demades executed and a power struggle ensues (see 318 B.C.).
318 B.C.: political events
The Athenian statesman Phocion is convicted of treason and executed at age 83 (approximate) as the people of the city-state struggle to restore democracy (see 322 B.C.). They soon vote to give Phocion a public burial and erect a statue in his honor.
317 B.C.: political events
The Macedonian politician Cassander places a dim-witted half brother of the late Alexander the Great on the throne as Philip III (Archidaeus); troops demand the return of Alexander's mother, Olympias. She complies with their request, and she has Philip III put to death along with his wife, Cassander's brother, and hundreds of his supporters. Cassander returns to Macedonia and blockades Olympias at Pydna (see 316 B.C.).
Armenia's Persian satrap Ardvates frees his country from Seleucid control (see 284 B.C.).
316 B.C.: political events
Macedonia's regent Polysperchon is defeated and overthrown by Cassander, who seizes the late Alexander the Great's mother, Olympias, and orders her execution (see 317 B.C.). His soldiers refuse to carry out the order, and she is killed at age 59 (approximate) by relatives of people whom she has had executed. Cassander marries Alexander's sister Thessaloniki, with whom he will rule until 297 B.C.
The Greek generals Eumenes and Antigonus, rivals to Cassander for control of Macedonia, meet in battle in Media, with Eumenes commanding a force of 36,700 foot soldiers, 6,050 cavalrymen, and 114 elephants against 22,000 foot soldiers, 900 horsemen, and 65 elephants for Antigonus. But cavalrymen sent out by Antigonus Monophthalmus Cyclops take advantage of cover provided by dust raised by the elephants and seize the baggage camp of Eumenes, whose cavalrymen desert. Antigonus offers to return the baggage camp and the wives he has captured if the enemy will desert and hand over Eumenes, who is put to death by his guard after a week's captivity.
315 B.C.: political events
Rome's Second Samnite War resumes after a 6-year hiatus and the city-state suffers another crushing defeat, this time at Lautulae (see 321 B.C.). Borrowing the strategy of their enemies, the Romans begin to develop a formation that is far more flexible than the hoplite tactics used by Etruscans and, up to now, by the Romans. Instead of massing in solid formations, they arrange themselves in a checkerboard pattern, alternating solid squares with empty square spaces.
315 B.C.: exploration, colonization
The Macedonian port city of Thessalonika is founded by Cassander, whose wife, Thessaloniki, was named by her father, Philip II of Macedonia, to commemorate his victory (niki) over Thessaly in 338 B.C.
314 B.C.: political events
Antigonus Monophthalmus (Cyclops) promises freedom to the Greek cities in a bid to gain support against Cassander. The Aetolians enter into an alliance with Antigonus; Cassander marches against them with his allies Lysimachus, Ptolemy, and Seleucus.
314 B.C.: education
The philosopher Xenocrates dies at Athens, where he has headed the Platonic Academy since 339 B.C. He has divided reality into three realms: objects of sensation, objects of true knowledge (e.g., Plato's "Ideas"), and objects of opinion, specifically the heavenly bodies that mediate between the other two.
312 B.C.: political events
The Battle of Gaza brings triumph to Ptolemy and Seleucus over the one-eyed Antigonus (called Antigonus Monophthalmos, or Cyclops), who is captured but immediately released. Seleucus reconquers Babylon with no more than a small army in August, and the conquest will be used as the starting date of the Seleucid era that will continue until 64 B.C. (see 305 B.C.).
The Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus assumes office and initiates a program of reforms that include admitting sons of freedmen into the Senate and distributing landless citizens among the tribes that constitute the city-state's fundamental political units. A patrician whom some historians will later call a demagogue, Appius publishes "methods of legal practice" ("legis actiones") and lists of court days, giving citizens ready access to legal remedy.
312 B.C.: transportation
The Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus begins construction of the Appian Way (Via Appia) that will serve as a great military and commercial highway to the southern provinces, making it possible in later centuries to cover the distance (it will eventually be calculated at 540 kilometers) between Rome and Brindisi in 13 or 14 days. The work will require leveling heights, filling in valleys, raising riverbanks, building bridges to span rivers, and using blocks of hard basalt to create a road wide enough (4.15 meters) to accommodate two passing chariots.
312 B.C.: everyday life
Syria's Seleucid empire adds an extra day every 4 years to the 365-day calendar that it has borrowed from the Egyptians (see 238 B.C.).
312 B.C.: environment
Rome gets its first pure drinking water as engineers complete an aqueduct into the city. Like the Via Appia, it will be named for the censor Appius Claudius Caecus (no other leader has ever been so honored).
310 B.C.: political events
Roxana, the late Alexander the Great's widow, is put to death along with her young son Alexander IV on orders from Cassander, who has kept her in confinement.
308 B.C.: political events
Egypt's Macedonian satrap Ptolemy is defeated in a naval battle off Cyprus by Demetrius, the 29-year-old son of Macedonia's one-eyed king Antigonus Monophthalmus (Cyclops), who was defeated with his father at Gaza in 312 B.C.
307 B.C.: political events
The Macedonian prince Demetrius liberates Athens from the Macedonian Cassander and lays siege to the island of Rhodes, employing 30,000 workmen to build siege towers and engines, including the tower Helepolis that requires 3,400 men to move and a 180-foot ram that is moved on wheels by 1,000 men. The siege will fail, but Demetrius will win the title Poliorcetes (the Besieger).
306 B.C.: political events
The Macedonian prince Demetrius Poliorcetes hands Egypt's Macedonian satrap Ptolemy a decisive defeat at Salamis (Cyprus).
Carthage signs a third treaty of peace with Rome, conceding all of the Italian peninsula as Rome's sphere of influence (see commerce, 300 B.C.).
305 B.C.: political events
The Seleucid Empire that will rule Babylon and Syria until 64 B.C. is established by Seleucus. Now about 53, he assumes the throne as king (basileus), takes the title Nicator, embarks on an expedition through eastern Persia, and begins a series of conquests that will extend his empire to the Indus River.
Egypt's Macedonian satrap Ptolemy makes himself king, beginning a reign as Ptolemy I Soter ("Savior") that will continue until 285 B.C.
The Macedonian prince Demetrius Poliorcetes lifts his long siege of Rhodes (see art [Colossus of Rhodes], 280 B.C.).
304 B.C.: political events
Rome ends her Second Samnite War, subdues the Aequi who have been a threat since before 450, and grants them the status of citizenship without voting rights (civitas sine suffragio) (but see 298 B.C.).
303 B.C.: political events
Syria's Seleucid king Seleucus I Nicator returns from India to support his Macedonian allies Ptolemy, Cassander, and Lysimachus against Antigonus Monophthalmus and Antigonus's son Demetrius (see 301 B.C.).
302 B.C.: political events
An uprising in Epirus dethrones the 21-year old Greek king Pyrrhus, who has reigned since age 12 (but see 297 B.C.).
302 B.C.: exploration, colonization
Romans establish the Latin colony of Carsioli in what has been Aequi territory and will extend the Via Valeria through the region, whose people will be Romanized (see 304 B.C.; Third Samnite War, 298 B.C.).
301 B.C.: political events
The Battle of Ipsus in Phrygia ends the ambitions of Antigonus Monophthalmus, who assumed the title of king 5 years ago, has invaded Egypt, but is killed at age 81 by the forces of Macedonia's Lysimachus and Syria's Seleucus I Nicator. They and their ally Cassander defeat Antigonus's son Demetrius and take much of his father's empire, but Demetrius maintains a foothold in Greece. The former king of Epirus, Pyrrhus, has fought beside Demetrius and is sent to Alexandria as a hostage under terms of a treaty between Demetrius and Egypt's Ptolemy I Soter; Pyrrhus will establish friendly relations with Ptolemy (see 297 B.C.).
301 B.C.: exploration, colonization
Nomadic tribes begin to occupy parts of northern China.
301 B.C.: energy
On Stones by the Greek philosopher Theophrastus mentions fossil substances "that are called coals, . . . found in Liguria and in Elis, on the way of Olympias, over the mountains . . . which kindle and burn like woodcoals . . .; they are used by smiths" (see 852 A.D.).
301 B.C.: science
History of Plants and Theoretical Botany by Theophrastus mention plant diseases such as rusts and mildews and describe "caprification" of figs.
301 B.C.: agriculture
The Chinese build a vast irrigation system to reduce the flooding of Sichuan's (Szechwan's) Red Basin.
301 B.C.: food and drink
Indigenous Chinese regard the dairy products of the nomadic tribes as unhygienic.
The Athenian philosopher Epicurus extols luxury and indulgence in eating and drinking. Pleasure is the only good and the end of all morality, says Epicurus, but a genuine life of pleasure must be a life of prudence, honor, and justice.