Peace & Quiet
The Shaping of Athens
c3000 BC Evidence of first settlements around the Acropolis. 1400 The Acropolis becomes a royal fortress. 800-600 The first city-states emerge, including Athens. Kings are replaced by annually appointed 'archons' from leading families. 620 Draco formalises the laws of Athens and Attica; their strictness gives us the word 'draconian'. 594-3 Athens receives a new Constitution, created by the politician Solon. A 'Council of 400' is established, heralding the birth of democracy. 520-430 The Persian Wars. 490 The Battle of Marathon and the defeat of the invading Persians by the Athenians. 480 The Persians, led by Xerxes, gain their revenge at Thermopylae and take Athens, but the Athenians then win the Battle of Salamis. 479 The Persians are finally defeated. 461-429 The Golden Age of Pericles, the building of the Parthenon, the era of Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides. 429 Death of Pericles. 431-404 The Peloponnesian Wars result in the defeat of Athens by Sparta. 371 Sparta in its turn is defeated by Thebes. 338 Philip II of Macedon conquers and rules Greece. 336 The murder of Philip II and the succession of his son, Alexander the Great. 336-23 The age of Alexander the Great, who extends his empire throughout the Middle East, and the Mediterranean, reaching as far as India. 323 The death of Alexander the Great. 200 BC-AD 300 The Romans conquer and rule Greece, creating many of the city's fine monuments. AD 50 The Apostle Paul visits Athens to preach. 324 Emperor Constantine establishes Constantinople (formerly Byzantium) as the capital of the eastern part of the Roman Empire. 1204 Franks and Venetians take Constantinople and divide Greece between them. 1261-2 The Byzantine Empire re-takes Constantinople and much of mainland Greece. 1429 The Turks capture Thessaloniki. 1453 The fall of Constantinople (Istanbul) and the end of the Byzantine Empire. 1453-1821 Greece comes under Ottoman rule. 1821-9 The Greek War of Independence. 1832 Prince Otto of Bavaria elected the first king of the modern Greek state. 1917 Greece enters World War I on the side of the Allies. 1920-3 Greece continues a misjudged war against Turkey, ending in inevitable defeat. 1923 The exchange of populations, when over one million Greeks in Turkey return to their homeland, while 400,000 Muslims leave Greece for Turkey. Many of the immigrants settle in Piraeus. 1940 Mussolini demands access to Greek ports in World War II. The Greek General Metaxas gives a one-word answer, 'Óchi' (No). 1941 The Italian and German invasions lead to desperate food shortages in Athens, where an estimated 40,000 people die. 1944 Greece is liberated. Churchill visits Athens to show his support. 1951 Greece joins NATO. 1952 Greek women receive the vote. 1967 A military junta seizes power and King Constantine flees into exile. Rule of the Colonels, under Colonel Papadopoulos. 1974 The junta is overthrown in Athens and democracy returns. 1975 A new republican constitution means the final abandonment of the monarchy. 1981 Greece joins the European Community and Athens becomes a European capital. 1985 Athens becomes Europe's first Cultural Capital, an idea devised by the Greek politician and former actress, Melina Mercouri. 2004 Athens is to host the Olympic Games.