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Greek Drama: A Chronological Overview
compiled by John Porter, University of Saskatchewan


Notice: This text is the copyrighted property of the author and should not be reproduced without the author's permission.


This page presents a general chronology of events relevant to the study of Greek drama.


ca. 620-480 BC: Archaic Period

594: traditional date of Solon's archonship in Athens

561: initial rise of Pisistratus as tyrant of Athens

ca. 533: introduction of the City Dionysia at Athens (Thespis)

ca. 530: introduction of Attic red figure pottery

528/7: death of Pisistratus

ca. 525/4: birth of Aeschylus

508/7: establishment of the Athenian democracy by Cleisthenes

ca. 502: introduction of competition for composers of tragic productions at the City Dionysia; introduction of comic productions at the City Dionysia

ca. 499: Aeschylus' first dramatic production

ca. 496/5: birth of Sophocles

490: battle of Marathon

486: introduction of competition for composers of comic productions at the City Dionysia

ca. 485: birth of Euripides

484: Aeschylus' first victory

480: battle of Salamis

479: battle of Plataea

479-323 BC: Classical Period

477: foundation of the Delian League

mid- or late-470s: Aeschylus visits Sicily

472: Aeschylus' Persians

ca. 470: production of Attic black figure pottery ends

ca. 468: Sophocles' first dramatic production

467: Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes

463?: Aeschylus' Suppliant Women

462: reforms of Ephialtes

458: Aeschylus' Oresteia

456/5: death of Aeschylus

455: Euripides' first dramatic production

451/0: Pericles' citizenship law

449: introduction of competition for tragic actors at the City Dionysia

447-432: construction of the Parthenon

443/2: Sophocles serves on board of State Treasurers (Hellenotamiai)

443: introduction of comic productions at the Lenaea

ca. 442: Sophocles' Antigone

442: introduction of competition for composers of comic productions at the Lenaea; introduction of competition for comic actors at the Lenaea

441/0?: Sophocles serves as general in First Samian War

441: Euripides' first victory

ca. 440-430: introduction of tragic productions at the Lenaea

438: Euripides' Alcestis

431: 431: Euripides' Medea; beginning of the Peloponnesian War

ca. 430: introduction of competition for composers of tragic productions at the Lenaea; introduction of competition for tragic actors at the Lenaea; introduction of competition for comic actors at the City Dionysia

430-428: plague at Athens

429: death of Pericles

ca. 429-427?: Sophocles' Oedipus the King

ca. 429: Euripides' Children of Heracles

428: Euripides' Hippolytus

427: Aristophanes produces first play (The Banqueters — now lost)

425: Aristophanes' Acharnians

ca. 425: Euripides' Andromache

424: Aristophanes' Knights

ca. 424: Euripides' Hecuba

423: first production of Aristophanes' Clouds

422: Aristophanes' Wasps

422?: Euripides' Suppliant Women

421: Aristophanes' Peace;   Peace of Nicias

ca. 422-416: Euripides' Electra, Heracles

420/19: Sophocles serves as Athens' official representative at the induction of the god Asclepius

418?: production of preserved version of Aristophanes' Clouds

415: Euripides' Trojan Women; Athenian expedition against Sicily

414: Aristophanes' Birds

ca. 414: Euripides' Iphigenia among the Taurians

413: final defeat of Athenian expedition against Sicily; Sophocles serves as one of the ten commissioners (probouloi) charged with overseeing Athenian affairs

ca. 413: Euripides' Ion

412: Euripides' Helen

411: Aristophanes' Lysistrata (Lenaea?); Aristophanes' Women at the Thesmophoria (City Dionysia?)

Spring 411 - Spring 410: oligarchic rule (the rule of the "Four Hundred") at Athens

409: Sophocles' Philoctetes

ca. 409: Euripides' Phoenician Women

408: Euripides' Orestes

407/6: death of Euripides in Macedon

406/5: death of Sophocles

405: Aristophanes' Frogs

404: conclusion of the Peloponesian War

April 404 - September 403: rule of the "Thirty Tyrants" in Athens

401: Sophocles' Oedipus at Colonus (posthumous)

392 or 391: Aristophanes' Women in Assembly

388: Aristophanes' Wealth

386: first recorded instance of the revival of a fifth-century tragedy at the City Dionysia

ca. 386: death of Aristophanes

359: Philip assumes throne of Macedon

ca. 342: birth of Menander

338: battle of Chaeronea

336: death of Philip of Macedon; ascension of Alexander the Great

336-323: campaigns of Alexander the Great

ca. 330: official copies of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides compiled at Athens

323: death of Alexander

323-30 BC: Hellenistic Period

321: Menander's first dramatic production

318: Demetrius of Phaleron assumes tyranny of Athens

316: Menander's The Grouch

307: Demetrius of Phaleron expelled from Athens by Demetrius Poliorcetes

ca. 291: death of Menander

247-221: rule of Ptolemy III Euergetes, who "borrows" the Athenians' official copies of the plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides for the library at Alexandria


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These pages were designed by John Porter.
Last Modified: Friday, 31-Dec-2010 18:44:07 CST
Please send queries and comments to john.porter@usask.ca.