Date Philosophy/Rhetoric Person or Event General History Comment - These are things that I feel have affected Western thought and rhetoric URLs Map Link Other URL Extended Comments
800 BCE     Beginning of the 8th Century BCE        
c. 750 BCE Homer writes the Greek poems the Iliad and the Odyssey.   Some put Homer's writing a 100 or 200 years earlier. Whether Troy and Greece actually had an epic battle is unsure; however, if it happened, it was about 500 years before the writings of Homer. Linguistically, it's proven difficult to date Homer. The earliest mention may be the cup found in 1954 CE that was dated to 720 BCE. On the cup is the inscription "Nestor's Cup," which may be a reference to the cup of king Nestor in the Iliad. Homer may or may not have been a real person, and his writings may have been redacted from oral traditions handed down by the Homeridae [homer-id-ee] (descendants of Homer). World Population about 60 Million.      
700 BCE     Beginning of the 7th Century BCE        
600 BCE     Beginning of the 6th Century BCE        
c. 598 BCE Approximate mid-life point for Sappho (c.625 - c. 570). She was a poet.   She wrote on love. Her work was popular throughout the Roman period, but much of it was lost when the Church burned it for accusation of promoting immorality. Wiki      
592 BCE Mid-life point for Anaximander (b.  610 - d.546) [a-nax-ee-man-der] .He is 32 this year. He lived to be 64.   Anaximander was an astronomer and physicist who created ateleological explanations of nature and the universe. He spoke of physical forces versus mythos. He made contributions to geography, physics and cosmology.        
c. 586 BCE Mid-life point for Thales of Miletos (b.624 - d.547). He was 38 this year. He lived to be 77.   He is sometimes called the father of science. Thales believed water was the origin of all things. He was a theist. His idea of justice was “Do not unto thy neighbor what is hateful to thyself.”  He thought that men were better than women and Greeks better than barbarians.        
c.546  Death of Anaximander. He lived to be 64-years old.            
c. 535 Birth of Heraclitus [hair-a-cleye-tus] (b.535 - d.475 BCE), the Greek philosopher.   Heraclitus believed that permanence is an illusion and that things are in constant flux. He taught, "We cannot step in the same river twice."

Heraclitus is credited with establishing the term
"logos" in to Western philosophy. He taught that it meant "both the source and fundamental order of the cosmos." - Wiki.
c. 525 Pythagoras of Samos is credited with discovering the theorem which bears his name.    Pythagoras founded a religion that influenced Socrates, Plato and, to some extent, Aristotle.        
521 BCE   Darius the Great becomes Emperor of Media and Persia. He reigned until 485 BCE. His father was Hystaspes, who (it is believed) promoted Zoroastrianism in Persia.          
509 BCE   Beginning of Roman Republic, which was consider the Roman Kingdom until this year, with the expulsion of Lucius Targuinius Superbus and the end of his Monarchy.  It would remain the Roman Republic until Julius Caesar became virtual dictator, entering Rome into the period of the Roman Empire.        
500 BCE     Beginning of the 5th Century BCE World Population about 100 Million.  
499 BCE   This is the time of the Persian Wars between Greece and the great Persian empire.  There would be a back and forth victory and defeat for both sides. Persian-Greco Wars started in 499 BC and lasted until 448 BC.         
495 BCE   Birth of Pericles (495 - 429 BCE) [pear-a-cleez], Athenian statesman.          
495 BCE c. Birth of Anaxagoras (c.495 - 428 BCE) [an-nax-ag-or-us], Greek philosopher.   Part of the Ionian school of philosophy. He's mentioned in the Gorgias at 465d by Socrates. Only by knowing that Anaxagoras believed that all things existed initially combined as infinitesimally small units can you understand 465d. See also ideas in the Theaetetus.        
490 BCE   Battle of Marathon- King Darius I of Persia first attempt to conquer Greece and bring it into the Persian empire.          
490 BCE Approximate birth date of the Sophist Protagoras of Abdera (c. 490 - c. 410 BCE), who is the Sophist in Plato's Protagoras.    Protagoras is the originator of the line, "Man is the measure of all things." His values are all relative (but not as nihilistic as Gorgias), which contrasted dramatically with Socrates who constantly tried to pin sophists down to define virtue. Protagoras was friends with Pericles, who's relationship is discussed by Plutarch. There is a dialogue that has his name in Plato. He was agnostic about the gods. Wiki Sicily    
486 BCE   Xerxes I, son of Darius I and Atossa, the daughter of Cyrus the Great, ruled Persia from 486-465 BC          
485 BCE Pindar, a choral song writer, wrote of the "Homeridae" [homer-id-ee] (meaning children of Homer).    "In the same way as the Homeridae,
Singers of stitched words, usually
Begin with an address to Zeus ..."
Pindar, Nemean Odes 2.1-3.
485 BCE Birth of Gorgias (ca. 487-376 BC), Greek sophist, pre-Socratic philosopher and rhetorician, was a native of Leontini in Sicily.    Wow, he lived 111 years.        
c. 485 BCE Parmenides makes the ontological argument against nothingness.   Socrates would engage in the dialectic with Parmenides when Socrates was 18 years old. Plato allows Socrates to appear to be confounded by Parmenides (I know I sure was).        
480 BCE   Greece thwarts a Persian invasion.          
c.475 BCE Aeschylus (b.525 - d.456) [es-ca-luss], who is credited as being the father of tragedy, accepted an invitation from Hieron (the tyrant) to travel to Sicily to perform.            
470 c. BCE Birth of Socrates (c. 470 BC–399 BC)    Note that there is some controversy about the life of Socrates. Some have argued that he never really existed. This thought develops from the fact that Socrates never produced any writings of his own and Plato's later dialogues on Socrates mix his own ideas.         
470 c. BCE Birth of Aspasia (b.470 - d. 410 BCE), a notable contributor to the history of rhetoric. She lived 60 years. See War with Samian War of 440 BCE.   She would be a close companion to Pericles and would be notable for her expertise in politics and rhetoric. Socrates says that he learned rhetoric from her. Perhaps this is another reason he supported the education of women. Many scholars have argued that Diotima of Mantinea, portrayed in Plato's Symposium, was actually Aspasia.        
467 BCE Herrick, p.32 - A tyrant named Hieron [high-er-on] died and disputes arose over land that he had taken from families.    According to Herrick, People needed to plead their case, but they had no training in how to do this. A rhetorician named Corax began a systematic training. His approach to teaching oratory was copied by other teachers, and it was carried to Athens and other Greek cities by the Sophists.        
465 BCE   Artaxerxes I Longimanus, ruled Persia from 465-425 BC.          
465 BCE Birth of Prodicus (of Iulis or Ceos? - Seems to be the same person) (c. 465 - 415)   An early Sophist. He made linguistics prominent in his curriculum, and Plato focuses on this aspect in several dialogues.        
462   Pericles (c.495-429 BC) challenged the prime council of Athens (called the Areopagus [air-ee-op-o-gus] and became a political hero of Democracy in Athens.          
c. 460 Birth of Hippias. It's unknown when he died, but he lived at least to 61 years old to the death of Socrates in 399 BCE.   Plato has two dialogues on Hippias (in which he attacks Hippias' methods): Hippias Major and Minor. Hippias's contribution to rhetoric was the importance he gave to the fine definitions of words.        
c.456 BCE Birth of Aristophanes (b. 456 - d. 386). He lived 70 years.   He wrote many wonderful plays, only about half are extant. He wrote the Clouds, which mentions Socrates.         
450 BCE Herodotus of Halicarnassus (484 BC-ca. 425 BC) was an ancient historian. He lived 59 years.   He's called the Father of History. He is famous for his writings on the conflict between Greece and Persia, as well as the descriptions he wrote of different places and  people he met on his travels. Wiki      
450 c. BCE Protagoras arrives in Athens. He is 40 of 80-years old. Protagoras was an associate of Pericles, as documented by Plutarch. Protagoras may have been the first Sophist to charge for his teaching. Actually, he may have been the first Sophist. Wiki      
448 BCE   End of Greco-Persian wars- Negotiated peace by Pericles.          
447 BCE   Under the leadership of Pericles, the Parthenon begins being built in Athens. It would be completed in 432 BCE.  
445   Pericles (c.495-429 BC) negotiates a truce between Athens and Sparta.          
440 BCE   Samian War (4400 - 439 BCE) between Athens and Samos [say-moss] because the Samians will not cease agression against Milesians (Miletus). Samoa is an island located across the Aegean from Athens near Asia Minor (off the coast of Turkey) Plutarch believed that the war against the Samians was so that Pericles could "please Aspasia". Plutarch goes on to say, "…this may be a fit point for inquiry about the woman, what art or charming faculty she had that enabled her to captivate, as she did, the greatest statesmen, and to give the philosophers occasion to speak so much about her, and that, too, not to her disparagement." (See Plutarch, Pericles, XXIV) Link Map    
436 BCE Birth of Isocrates (b.436 - d. 338) [eye-sock-cra-teez]. He was a master of rhetoric. He lived to be 98-years old.   He studied under Gorgias. Later, he would write a book against the early Sophists, so some are hesitant to classify him as a Sophist, but his ideas on rhetoric place him as a Sophist.        
431 BCE    Peloponnesian War (431 - 404 BCE) between Athens and the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. Begins with the invasion of Attica by a Spartan army.        
431 BCE c. Birth of Xenophone, who became a soldier, mercenary who admired and wrote of Socrates.   One of the three writers (contemporary to Socrates) who mention Socrates, using Socrates as a literary device (the Sacratic Problem). The other two people are Plato and Aristophanes (The Clouds).        
430 BCE   The plague A plague, possible the bubonic, begins in Athens and continues through 428. It wipes out a quarter of the population of Athens.        
c. 430 BCE Gorgias arrives in Athens. He is 57 of 111 years old.   …at the same times as the plague, coincidence? Hmmmm (I jest). Gorgias studied under Empedocles, "a Sicilian orator, politician, philosopher and doctor…"

Gorgias had associations with Pericles. Plutarch mentions their acquaintance.
c. 429 Sophocles [sof-a-cleez] performs the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex, also known as Oedipus the King.   In the play, Oedipus is abandoned as a child, found by a shepherd, and he is raised in the court of the king of Corinth (Polybus). When he asks of the Delphic Oracles about his real parent, the Oracle ignores him and tells him he was destined to mate with his mother. He later unknowingly kills his father, Laius in a traffic dispute. He answers the Sphinx's riddle as "Man" to "What walks on four legs in the morning, two in mid day and three at night." Distraught, the Spinx throws himself off a cliff. Oedipus is awarded kingship, and the queen, of course, happens to be his mother.        
427 BCE Plato (b.427 - d.347) was born in Athens. He lived 80 years.   His father was Ariston. His mother was Perictione. Plato's father died when he was very young. Plato probably had no memory of him.        
423 BCE Aristophanes writes The Clouds.  He is 33-years old this year.   Aristophanes wrote a play called "The Clouds", in which he parodied the sophists. In the play, he accuses Socrates of being a greedy sophist. Some believe that this may have contributed to public opinion against Socrates which resulted in his arrest and death sentence.        
414 BCE c. Gorgias writes the Encomium of Helen [en-kome-ee-um]   See the audiobook I made of Gorgias' speech, The Encomium of Helen.        
411 BCE Aristophanes writes Lysistrata [lis-a-strot-a] (the name means "she who disbands armies" - wiki). He is 45-years old this year.   About a woman who led women from multiple Greek city-states in a campaign to withhold sex from their husbands until they ended the Peloponnesian war.         
410 BCE Death (or banishment) of Protagoras. He lived 80 years.            
410 BCE Democritus [da-mock-cree-tuss] (b.460 - d.370) Mid-life point. He turned 45 this year and lived to 90.   Democritus believed that everything was made of  individual, indivisible units which he called atoma (from which we get atom). He also believed in the existence of the soul. He was the first to recognize that the Milky Way was formed by distant stars.         
c. 407 BCE Plato becomes associated with Socrates, perhaps initially for political reasons. In this year, he is 20 of 80 years old.            
404 BCE   End of Peloponnesian war. In the treaty, Athens agreed to give up its land expansion. Sparta allowed Athenian sea supremacy. Corinth remained anxious and continued to paint Athens as a threat to Greek liberty. Athens continued to believe they were the natural leaders of the Greeks.        
404 BCE   Sparta places a handful of Athenian aristocrates in charge of Athens. They would become known as the Thirty Tyrants. Isocrates mentions the Thrity Tyrants in his dialogue "Against Euthynus". When they came to power, his friend, Nicias, fled for fear they would take all of his possessions. Nicias entrusted 3 talents of silver to a man named Euthynus. When Nicias returned for his silver, Euthynus returned only two talents of silver. Isocrates says that because Euthynus was not a trained speaker, he would defend.  Link      
400 BCE     Beginning of the 4th Century BCE World Population about 160 Million.      
399 BCE Death of Socrates. He was 71-years old.   Plato is 28 of 80 years old.        
390 BCE   Defeat of Rome by the Gauls. The Gallic invasion was the turning point from Rome the city to Rome the State. It halted Roman expansion and caused Rome to scramble to protect its cultural currency.  There was much Greek rhetoric about any defeat of non-Greeks (the barbarians).  The defeat of the Romans was trumpeted as an illustration of the triumph of civilization over barbarism.  The old, "We must be so good because you're so bad".        
390 BCE Isocrates founds the first rhetorical school in Athens. He is 46 of 98 years-old.   He became very wealthy from this school, charging 1000 drachmas to attend. A daily wage for the average man was 1 drachma. Isocrates was a native Athenian.  He was a pan-Hellenist, in other words, someone who believed in the expansion of Greece and Greek culture.        
387 Plato founds his Academy. He is 40 of  80 years old.   Around the time, Plato creates the early dialogues: Apology, Crito, Charmides [shar-meh-deez] about temperance, Laches [lay-chez] about courage, Lysis [lie-sis] about friendship, Euthyphro [youth-a-fra] about piety, Menexenus [men-ex-ee-nus], who was Socrates' son, Lesser Hippias, Ion [eye-on] about beauty.

Transitional dialogues from early to middle include: Gorgias about the manipulation of rhetoric, Protagoras- about whether virtue is teachable and Meno- about whether or not virtue is teachable
386 BCE Death of Aristophanes (comic playwright). He lived 70 years.            
384 BCE Birth of Aristotle (b.384 - d.322 BCE). He lived to be 62.   Aristotle was born In Stagira (sta-jeye-ra) on the Chalcidice (cal-sid-a-see) peninsula in NE Greece. His father was the personal physician to King Amyntas of Macedon. This Macedonian connection would land him the job to tutor Alexander the Great.        
382 BCE   Birth of Philip II of Macedone, who is the father of Alexander the Great.          
376 BCE Death of Gorgias. He lived to be 111-years old.            
c. 370 BCE Plato writes the Symposium (it could have been as much as 15 years earlier. This date is unsure).  Both the Symposium and the Phaedrus [feed-russ] are about love. He is 57-years old.   The Symposium is a discussion of the nature of love, both homosexual and heterosexual interactions are discussed. Socrates is presented as being beyond physical love. His love is a love of the soul. There are seven participants in the Symposium: Pausanias (paw-sane-ee-ous), the legal expert; Eryximachus (air-rick-sim-ic-kus), stereotyped physician; Aristophanes (air-is-stof-in-nees), the comedic playwright who wrote The Clouds (423 BCE); Agathon (ag-a-thon), who was the poet who won the playwright competition that resulted in the celebration that brought the 7 men together; Socrates, who describes love as taught by his teacher (wise woman) Diotima of Mantinea (may have been Aspasia); and Alcibiades (al-sa-bye-a-deez), who arrives late. His advise regarding the Sicilian Expedition may have contributed to the loss of the Peloponnesian War.  Most of the characters in the Symposium are also in the Protagoras.        
c. 370 BCE Plato writes the middle dialogues at around 57-years old.   Middle dialogues: Euthydemus [youth-ee-deem-us]; Cratylus [crat-ill-us]; Phaedo [fey-dough]; Phaedrus [fee-druss]; Symposium; Republic; Theaetetus [thee-a-tee-tuss]; and the Parmenides [par-men-id-eez].        
367 BCE Aristotle enters Plato's academy in Athens. He is 17 years old.   He would remain there for 20 years.        
367 BCE   Rule by councilship established in Rome.          
361 BCE Plato goes to Sicily for a couple of years.   His third trip. He's 66-years old.        
359 BCE   Phillip II comes to power as king of Macedon at the death of his two elder brothers. Macedon was the northern-most part of ancient Greece.        
c.357 BCE Plato writes his late dialogues around 70-years old.   Late dialogues: Sophist, Statesman, Philebus, Timaeus [tee-may-us], Critias [crit-ee-us], the Laws.        
354 BCE Demosthenes (b.384–d.322 BCE) [day-mos-thin-eez] gave his first public political speech.    He became a prominent Greek statesman and orator. He often worked as a logographer and wrote speeches for legal suits. He spoke out against Philip II of Macedon's dominance over Athens. Later, Antipater [ann-tip-it-ter], the successor to Alexander the Great, had him hunted down and killed.        
350 BCE Aristotle begins teaching rhetoric while still at the Academy. He is 34 years old in this year.            
348 BCE   Second treaty between Rome and Carthage. Carthage is located SW of Sicily across the Mediterranean.   LINK    
347 BCE Death of Plato at 80-years old.            
347 BCE Aristotle leaves the Academy. He is 37-years old   He left because he was not elected to be the head of the Academy. He left with Xenocrates and moved to reside in the court of Hermias of Atarneus in Asia Minor.        
347 BCE Aristotle marries Pythias [pith-ee-us]. He is 37-years old and she's about 18-years old.   Pythias was the adopted daughter of Hermias who ruled Assos. They had one daughter.         
344 BCE Aristotle leaves for near by island of Lesbos. He is 40-years old.   Lesbos is also called Mytilene [met-ill-ennie] a Greek island in the NE Aegean        
343 BCE   Aristotle become tutor to 13-yr old Alexander the Great.          
338 BCE   Battle of Chaeronea
[care-a-knee-a], led by Philip II of Macedon against the forces of Athens and Thebes. 
This battle established Macedonian rule over the Greek city-states. This crushed pan-Hellenism as warned by Isocrates (Herrick, 47)        
338 BCE Death of Isocrates. He lived to be 98-years old.   In the ancient world, Isocrates was the most famous rhetorician at the time.        
337 BCE Pythias [pith-ee-is], Plato's wife, dies. He is 47-years old.  Pythias was bout 28 when she died.            
335 BCE   Alexander the Great succeeds his father, Phillip II. He starts his world conquest almost immediately.        
335 BCE Aristotle founds the Lyceum. He is 49-years old.   The Lyceum was a competitor to the Academy. Its building was an old gymnasium located just outside of Athens.        
333   Alexander the Great defeats the main army of the Persians led by Darius III and reigns as emperor until his death in 323. Alexander's army crossed the Cilician Gates and met and defeated the main Persian army under the command of Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. Darius fled this battle in such a panic for his life that he left behind his wife, his children, his mother, and much of his personal treasure.        
332 BCE     Beginning of the Hellenistic Age (332 - 37 BCE)        
326 BCE   Alexander the Great's empire reaches India.          
323 BCE   Death of Alexander the Great, which resulted in the break up or division of his empire. Aristotle received much support from his Macedonian connections. At the death of Alexander, there was a good deal of anti-Macedonian sentiment in Athens. Trumped up charges were brought against Aristotle, and, unlike Socrates the martyr, he flees the city. He moved to Chalcis (cal-sis) on the island of Euboea (you-bee-a), which is a Greek island in the W Aegean Sea. He lived in Chalcis until his death in 322 BCE.   Map of Euboea    
322 BCE Death of Aristotle in Chalcis [cal-sis]. He lived to be 62-years old.            
306 Epicurus (341 BC, Samos – 270 BC, Athens) founded his school in Athens. He called it The Garden. He was a student of Lampsacus, who was a student of Democritus.   Like many of the early rhetoricians, Epicurus was agnostic about the gods (or, at least he downplays the supernatural in his epistemology). He once said,
"Is god willing to prevent evil but not able - then he is not omnipotent
Is god able but not willing then he is malevolent
Is god both able and willing then whence commeth evil
Is he neither able nor willing then why call him god?"

I was taught in college that Epicureanism was demonized in the New Testament when the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:32, "If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." However, I've not found this idea in Epicureanism. Instead, Epicurus seems to eschew hedonism and promotes moderation to find happiness. (see Epicurus' Letter to Menoeceus).
300 BCE      Beginning of the 3rd Century BCE        
300 c. BCE  Euclid of Alexandria [you-clid] was at his height.   Considered the father of geometry. Taught in the school of Alexandria, Egypt. He may have studied in Plato's Academy.         
291 BCE Stoicism school of philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium (Cyprus) when he was 42 years old.   He began by finding the works of Socrates in a bookstore and wanted to study further.        
200 BCE     Beginning of the 2nd Century BCE World Population about 150 Million (it went down)      
c. 150 BCE Hermagoras of Temnos developed rhetorical theories that are no longer extant.   See Herrick, p.101. "He classifed judicial arguments according to what he called "issues." His three type, recorded in the later Roman rhetorical treatise, the Rhetorica ad Herennium are: (1) conjecture, (2) legal, and (3) juridical issues."        
130 BCE The Roman Senate began publishing a "newspaper" in Rome called the Acta Diurna (Daily Resolutions).            
133 BCE   Rome reaches a population of
One million people.
106 BCE Birth of Cicero (106 - 43 BCE). He lived 63 years. Cicero was born January 3, 106 BC in Arpinum, a small town just south of Rome. Cicero would eventually be invited by Julius Caesar to be part of his Triumvirate in 61 BCE. "Famous canons of rhetoric and his concern for the preparation of the orator/leader" Herrick, preface.        
100 BCE     Beginning of the 1st Century BCE        
85 BCE Cicero writes De Inventione.     This was basically a guide of Greek rhetoric for Roman readers. It contained his famous "Five Canons of Oratory". Cicero was 21 years old. This work was very popular.         
78 BCE   Rome: Sulla dies. The revolt of Lepidus is defeated by Pompey, who will rule with Crassus.          
70 BCE   Pompey is elected Consul of Rome (highest elected office of the Republic), serving with Crassus. This is is the birth pains of the Roman Empire from the Republic, which would come to fruition when Caesar crosses the Rubicon.        
64 BCE   Pompey removes all Syrian kings and annexed Syria as a Roman province.          
63 BCE   Jerusalem (Judea) captured by Roman general, Pompey.          
63 BCE   Cicero was elected Consul (highest elected office of the Senate). He's 43 years old.        
61 BCE   Julius Caesar invited Cicero to the be fourth member of his existing partnership with Pompey and Marcus Licinius Crassus.          
58 BCE   Cicero is exiled from Rome on charges of executing a Roman citizen without a trial. His property was taken.  He fell into depression and nearly committed suicide.        
57 BCE   Cicero returns from exile to a cheering crowd. Later, the Senate returned his property.