Ancient History & Civilisation

CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE

As explained in the Introduction, not all of the plays of Euripides (and fewer still of Sophocles) can be firmly dated. This table shows all of the extant Greek tragedies for which we have fairly certain dates, and also lists most of Aristophanes’ surviving comedies and some major historical events to put them in context. Conjectural dates are given with question-marks, and are usually fixed by analysis of metrical technique: they may well be three or four years out either way.

Year BC

     

c. 535–2

Thespis competes in first tragic competition

   
   

490

Darius’ invasion of Greece

   

480–79

Xerxes’ invasion

472

Aeschylus’ Persians

   

468

Sophocles’ first victory, on his first attempt

   

467

Aesch. Laius, Oedipus, Seven against Thebes, Sphinx

   

463?

Aesch. Suppliants, Aigyptioi, Danaids, Amymone

c. 462

Radical democracy established at Athens

458

Aesch. Agamemnon, Libation-Bearers, Eumenides, Proteus

   

456

Death of Aeschylus

   

455

Euripides’ first competition; third prize

   

438

Eur. Alcestis

   

431

Eur. Medea

431

War begins between Athens and Sparta

c. 430?

Eur. The Children of Heracles

430

Great Plague of Athens

428

Eur. Hippolytus (surviving version)

429

Death of Pericles

   

427

Aristophanes’ first play (now lost)

425?

Eur. Andromache

425

Arist. Acharnians

   

424

Arist. Knights

pre-423?

Eur. Hecabe

   

423?

Eur. Suppliant Women

423

Arist. Clouds (original version)

   

422

Arist. Wasps

   

421

Arist. Peace; death of Cleon; peace of Nicias

c. 417–415

Eur. Heracles, Electra

416

Athenian massacre at Melos

415

Eur. Trojan Women

   
   

414

Arist. Birds

   

413

Athenian expedition to Sicily ends in disaster

pre-412?

Eur. Ion, Iphigenia among the Taurians

   

412

Eur. Helen

   

412 or later?

Eur. Cyclops (satyr-play)

   
   

411

Arist. Lysistrata, Women at the Thesmophoria Oligarchic revolution at Athens

c. 409?

Eur. Phoenician Women

   

409

Soph. Philoctetes

   

408

Eur. Orestes

   

406–405

Death of Euripides in Macedonia; death of Sophocles

   

after 406

Eur. Iphigenia at Aulis, Bacchae (posthumously produced)

   
   

405

Arist. Frogs

   

404

End of war, with Athens defeated

401

Soph. Oedipus at Colonus (posthumously produced)

   
   

399

Execution of Socrates

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