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Significant Moments in Ancient Greek History II

As we continue to explore the world of ancient Greece, you will learn about some of the historical changes that took place during the Classical Period, as well as the outcome of the Greek Persian War. This article also touches upon Xerxes and the role he played in regards to times of war. Other historical characters explored include Sophocles and Euripides.

540 BC: The man who earned credit in penning the first philosophical treatise dies. Anaximander is also known for creating the first map that depicted the world as known at the time. This pre-Socratic Greek philosopher resided in Miletus, which was a city located in Ionia. Belonging to the Milesian School, he was able to follow the teachings of his master, Thales. Eventually, he would succeed him as the second master of the same school.

500-323 BC: Classical Period , This time period highlights the growing interest in many different disciplines, including architecture, art, philosophy, literature, and politics. Those dwelling throughout the Mediterranean are well aware of the strength and presence of Athens, which is revered as the center of activity.  

490-479 BC: The Greek Persian Wars break out. In 490 BC, the First Persian War begins, where Athens was able to defeat the Persians after winning a battle at Marathon. During the Second Persian War, which took place in 480 BC , Xerxes took control of the Persian forces and advanced to destroy Athens. However, during this time, Greek forces were able to win a major battle that took place at sea in Salamis.

468 BC: Sophocles wrote his first tragic victory at this time. When it comes to the three well-known ancient Greek tragedians of history, Sophocles marks the second of the trio whose work has been able to survive for us to admire in the present. His first plays are known as being written later than fellow playwright Aeschylus, but slated earlier than the ones created by Euripides. If you are interested in following some of his best known works, the tragedies pertaining to Antigone and Oedipus are highly regarded. Often times, they are called the Theban plays or “The Oedipus Cycle.”

461-446 BC: Sparta and Athens war with one another during this time, which is later viewed as the first of the Peloponnesian Wars that took place between these two great city-states.

441 BC: The first tragic play associated with Euripides is born. He is known as the last of the three respected tragedians linked to classical Athens. To this day, 18 plays written by Euripides have been lucky enough to survive in a complete form.

A highlighted characteristic associated with the works of Euripides is his way of reconstructing the barebones of traditional Attic tragedy. His women are primarily strong in his works and slaves showcase a high level of intelligence , something that was not commonplace in the writings of this time period. He even went as far as to satirize a great deal of heroes associated with Greek mythology.