Chronology of Greek Literature

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The Beginning

Atlantis (from Timaus and Critias by Plato) by Solon
Begins in ~2000 BC, ends in 1628 BC

The Birth of the World

Theogony by Hesiod
Chronology from 1788-1173 BC.
Predominantly concerned with the period from 1710 to 1628 BC.

Library of Apollodorus
Chronology from 1788-1103 BC.

Metamorphosis by Ovid
Selected Chronology from 1750-30 BC.

The Reign of the Titans.

Covered in the Titanomachy now a lost work

The Rise of the Gods

Covered in Titanomachy now a lost work

The Affairs of the Gods.

Homeric Hymn to Hermes
Set in 1675 BC.
Hermes has just been born and is accused by Apollo of stealing his cattle.

The Tracking Satyrs by Sophocles (fragment)
Play is set in 1675 BC.
Covers the same story as the Homeric Hymn to Hermes but introduces the Satyr Silinus. Silinus and his family are promised gold and their freedom if they help Apollo find his stolen cattle. After following a suspicious trial of footprints pointing backwards Silinus sons are frightened by a sound they have never heard before coming from inside of a cave where they suspect the thief to be hiding. There Hermes is being looked after by Cyllene.

Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus
Play is set in 1667 BC
. Prometheus is taken to be chained to the Skythian rocks for stealing fire from the Gods and giving it to man. Prometheus is 43, Zeus is 38, Hephaestus is 20, Io is 16, Hermes is 8.

Pandora (story taken from Works and Days) by Hesiod
Takes place in 1654 BC.

The Heroic Age

The Suppliant Women by Aeschylus
Play is set in 1488 BC.

Homeric Hymn to Demeter
Takes place in 1409 BC.
Demeter spreads her worship from Crete to Eleusis while in search of her daughter Persephone who has been abducted by Aidonius.

The Bacchantes by Euripides
Play is set in 1398 BC
. Dionysus the son of Semele the daughter of Cadmus who claims Zeus as his father returns to Hellas from Phrygia. Everyone at Thebes except for Pentheus the son of Echion and Cadmus daughter Agave accept him as a God.

Cadmus is an old man of 70. Dionysus would have been 34 and Pentheus 18. Agave would be at least 51.

Euripides has taken the liberty of including Cadmus in the play even though events should really have occurred in 1380 BC after Cadmus was dead and when Pentheus was 52 and his mother 69. Cadmus could not have fathered Illyrus by Harmonia when she was 70 so must have set off for Illyria in 1415 BC at the latest. The anachronistic references to Pan and to Teiresius who belongs in the Oedepus saga can be put down to poetic licence unless in reality there were two or Pans and Teiresius’s.

Ion by Euripides
Play is set in 1350 BC.
Creusa the daughter of Erectheus marries Xuthus the son of Aeolus and after being courted by Apollo gives birth to Ion. Ion is now about 16, Creusa 32, and Xuthus 50.

Andromeda by Euripides (fragment)
Play is set in 1344 BC.
Fragments of Andromedas call for help are included in Arsitophanes Thesmophorae

Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo
Takes place in c.1310 BC.
Describes the birth of Apollo during the time that Macar(eus) the son of Aeolus was ruling over Lesbos. This hymn may have been derived from the epic poem the Minyad, described by Pausanius. If this dating is correct this Apollo may be the same Apollo who served Admetus for a year after the death of Asclepius

Amphitryon, or Jupiter in Disguise by Plautus
Takes place in 1286 or 1280 BC.
Describes the conception and birth of Hercules and Iphicles. Jupiter impersonates Amphitryon and lays with Alcmena while Mercury impersonates Amphitryon’s slave Sosia in order to prevent the real Sosia and the real Amphitryon from discovering Jupiter. Amphitryon suspects Alcmena of adultery but all is revealed by Jupiter at the end after the births of both sons together on the same day as the events take place.

Theseus by Plutarch
Biography covers lifetime from 1270-1206 BC.

Alcestis by Euripides
Play is set in 1253 BC.
Herakles brings back Alcestis from death while he is on his way to fetch to mares of Diomedes.   Admetus is 30, Alcestis is 30. Their children are 10.

Oedepus the king by Sophocles
Play is set in 1246 BC.

Herakles by Euripides
Play is set in 1246 BC.
Takes place after Herakles completes his labours when Lycus the son of Lycus has slain Creon and taken the throne of Thebes while Theseus is king of Athens. The events must occur during Oedipus exile before Etocles takes the throne and before the voyage of the Argo.

The Argonautica by Apollonius
Takes place in 1246 BC.

Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
Takes place in 1240 BC.
Aphrodite arrives in Troy and seduces Anchises who becomes the father of Aeneas.

Medea by Euripides
Play is set in 1236 BC.

Oedepus at Colonus by Sophocles
Play is set in 1236 BC.

Shield of Herakles by Hesiod
Takes place in 1235 BC.

The Trachiniae by Sophocles
Play is set in 1234 BC.

Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo
Takes place in c.1230 BC
Apollo travels around the Peloponnese during the time of Trophonius and Agamedes

Hippolytus by Euripides
Play is set in 1226 BC.

The Herakleidae by Euripides
Play is set in 1223 BC.

The Phoenissae by Euripides
Play is set in 1220 BC.

The Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus
Play is set in 1220 BC.

Antigone by Sophocles
Play is set in 1220 BC.

The Suppliants by Euripides
Play is set in 1220 BC.
Theseus recovers the bones of the Seven Against Thebes

The Hellenic Wars

The Cypria (fragments) by unknown author
Takes place in 1203 BC.

Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides
Play set in 1194 BC.

The Iliad by Homer
Takes place in 1184-1183 BC
. In the final year of the siege of Troy Achilles seeks vengeance for Agamemnon depriving him of his concubine.

Nestor is 64 and the oldest man present. Achilles is 33. Agamemnon is 39.

Rhesus by Euripides
Play set in late winter of 1184 BC.

Ajax by Sophocles
Takes place in late winter of 1184 BC.

Hecuba by Euripides
Play set in late winter of 1184 BC.

The Trojan Women by Euripides
Play set in late winter of 1184 BC.

The Fall of Troy by Quintus
Takes place in summer of 1184 BC.

Agamemnon by Aeschylus
Takes place on
January 13 1183 BC.

The Odyssey by Homer
Takes place from 1183-1173 BC
. Odysseus begins his journey home at the age of 40 and is blown of course.

The Cyclops by Euripides
Takes place at the beginning of 1183 BC.

Philoctetes by Sophocles
Play Set in 1178 BC

Helen by Euripides
Play Set in 1176-1175 BC.
Meneleus and Helen are at the palace of Theoclymenus son of Proteus king of Egypt who wages war on the Greeks and wants to take Helen as his bride.

Orestes by Euripides
Play Set in 1175 BC.

The Choephori by Aeschylus
Play Set in 1175 BC.
Orestes returns from banishment at the age of 20 to avenge his fathers murder.

Electra by Euripides, Sophocles
Play Set in 1175 BC.
Electra seeks revenge for her fathers murder.

Andromache by Euripides
Play Set in 1175 BC.
Peleus is 89, Molosos his great grandson is 8.

The Eumemdides by Aeschylus
Play Set in 1175-1173 BC.
Orestes is tormented by the Eirynes after murdering his mother

The Aenead by Virgil
Takes place in 1175 BC.

Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides
Play Set in 1170 BC
Orestes searches for his long lost sister Iphigenia who is now 30 years old.

The Spartan age

The Second Messenian War by Rhianus of Bene (summary by Pausanius)
Takes place in 682 BC Tells of the events after the battle of the Great Trench.

The Athenian Age

The Persians by Aeschylus
Takes place in c.480 BC.

Symposium by Plato
Takes place in c.423 BC.
Agathon has invited Socrates to a party in celebration of the performance of his first tragedy and a discussion takes place about the God Love (Eros). Aristophanes is also present at the event. The account was probably written down in 414 BC

The Clouds by Aristophanes
Comedy Set in c.420 BC after the events of Plato’s Symposium.
Aristophanes ridicules the Greek philosophers method of reasoning and its misuse using Socrates as a stereotype.

Symposium by Xenophon
Takes place in c.419 BC.
Reference is made to Agathon and the Syracusian entertainer alludes to the depiction of Socrates in Aristophanes Clouds which Socrates refutes.

The Thesmophorae by Aristophanes
Comedy Set in c.411 BC after the events of Plato’s Symposium.
Euripides fears the women of Athens will try to kill him so sends his father-in-law to the festival of the Thesmophorae disguised as a woman to find out what the women are planning after Agathon refuses to go in his stead. Quotes part of Euripides Helen and contains fragments of Euripides lost play Andromeda.

The Frogs by Aristophanes
Comedy Set in c.401 BC after the death of Euripides.
Dionysus and his slave go down to Hades to try to bring back Euripides to save Athens from disaster.

Greek Chronology

Extant Greek King Lists

The Origin of the Greek Gods
Biblical Chronology 


History of the Mycenaean’s

Linear-B inscriptions

Gods named in Linear-B

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last update 26-07-2005