Timeline of Classical Mythology

This page was created by Marc Carlson
It was last edited 9 June 2004

(All dates given are estimates based on the internal evidence in the myths.  Age of the beginning of adult adventures, unless given specifically in the myths, is assumed to be about 20.  Duration of the reigns of kings of Alba Longa is assumed to be 30 years.  Again, these are approximations.  These are counted backwards from the foundation of Rome in 753 BCE.  Actual historical events are noted in Red)


Chaos is born into darkness from the Unknown.


Gaia ("The Earth") is emerges from either Chaos or the Unknown. Gaia separates heaven from the earth, water from the land, air from airless space.


From the depths of Gaia comes Tartarus and Eros.


Chaos gives birth to Erebus ("the Darkness of the Underworld") and Nyx ("Night").


Gaia gives birth to Uranus ("The Sky") and Pontus ("The Sea").


Uranus fertilizes Gaia with rains, and from Gaia spring the mountains, the water, the animals and plants. Gaia and Uranus give birth to the Hundred-handed Giants (Cottus, Braireus, Gyges), and the Cyclopes (Brontes, Steropes, Arges).


Erebus and Nyx give birth to Hemera ("Day"), Aether ("Upper Air"), Moros ("Doom"), Thanatos ("Death"), Hypnos ("Sleep"), Nemesis ("Retribution"), Eris ("Strife"), Keres, the Moirai.


Uranus, jealous of the Giant's strength, and angered by the arrogance of the Cyclopes, banishes them all into Tartarus.


Gaia and Uranus become the parents of the 12 Titans (Oceanus, Tethys, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Cronus). As they are born, Uranus thrusts these children back into the womb of the Earth.


Gaia devises a way to overthrow Uranus' tyrannical rule and fashions for him a sickle of iron. Cronus overthrows Uranus, slicing off his genitals, and tosses them into the sea.  Impregnated by the blood from this act, the Earth gives birth to the Erinyes, the Giants, and the "Ash Tree Nymphs".  Aphrodite is born from the foam created by Uranus' genitals on the surface of the sea.


During Cronus' reign many Gods are born. Hyperion and Theia give birth to Helius ("The Sun"), Selene ("The Moon") and Eos ("The Dawn"). Coeus and Phoebe give birth to Leto and Ateria.


Oceanus and Tethys give birth to 3000 rivers and 3000 Oceanids. Cronus and Rhea give birth to Hestia, Hades, Demeter, Poesiden, Hera, and Zeus -- but having been warned that he, too, would be overthrown by his children, swallowed each of these children whole.


The First race of mortal men of Gold are created, the Golden Age. They live in unending spring and abundance. Having no women they die off becoming the holy spirits of the Earth.


Rhea disquises a large stone for the infant Zeus, which Cronus swallows. The real Zeus is raised by Gaia in seclusion in a cave on Mount Dicte in Crete.


After a 10 year war, Zeus overthrows Cronus.


The Silver race of mortal men are created. After spending a century being cared for as babies, they offer no honor to the Gods, and Zeus destroys them. They become the spirits of the Underworld.


The Bronze race of mortal men are created from ash trees. They are warlike and soon kill themselves off.


An age of heros and demigods emerges from the mating of divine fathers and the (Bronze) mortal mothers. It is probably during this period that the remaining Olympians were born, and had their adventures, including the Wars with the Giants and against Typhon.


The current (Iron) age of mortals are created. Some are created autochthonously, others are created by the Gods from the elements, others are created by Prometheus from clay and water in the likeness of the Gods. As a punishment to Humanity, Zeus has Hephestus fashion women from the clay.  The first woman's name was Pandora.


Pandora's curiousity releases all the evils into the world.


Zeus tires of humanity, and sends a flood to destroy them. Prometheus warns his son Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha (the daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora. After nine day's flood, they land safely on Mount Parnassus. Zeus allows them to repopulate the world by throwing stones.

????/c1700 BCE or c31,270 BCE

During the debate over who should get what parts of the sacrifical bulls, Prometheus tricks Zeus into giving the meat and fire to mortal man. Zeus decided to withhold fire from humanity, and but Prometheus gave it to them anyway. Zeus condemens Prometheus to being chained to a mountain and having his liver daily eaten by a bird.


The new population begin settling in city states, including Athens, Thebes, Argos, and Corinth.

c1378 BCE

Thebes is founded by Cadmus after killing a dragon. Sowing the dragon's teeth, these sprout into the Spartoi ("Sewn men"), of whom five survive.

c1353 BCE

Cadmus's daughter is killed by Zeus's power while bearing the child Dionysius. Dionysius is carried to term in Zeus's thigh.
Cadmus's son Autonoe is ripped to pieces after seeing the Goddess Artemis in the nude.
Cadmus's son Polydorus marries Nycteis, and they have Labdacus.

c1348 BCE

Athamas is born to Aeolus, King of Thessaly.

c1338 BCE

Crethus is born to Aeolus of Thessaly.

c1333 BCE

Cadmus daughter Ino marries Athamas, king of Orchomenus. They have two sons, and they are carried off by a winged golden ram. Ino and her husband foster Dionysius, which causes Hera to curse them.

c1328 BCE

Labdacus fathers Laius.
Sisyphus is born to Aeolus of Thessaly

c1313 BCE

Zeus seduces Danae, daughter of Acrisius of Argo, fathering Perseus.

c1303 BCE

Laius marries Jocasta. They beget Oedipus, and, after it is  prophesied that he would kill his father, have him exposed. He is saved and presented to the the wife of Polybus, King of Corinth.

c1298 BCE

Sisyphus marries Merope, one of the Pleides.

c1293 BCE

Perseus fathers Electryon and Alcaeus.

c1288 BCE

Aeson is born to Tyro and her uncle Crethus. (c1288 BCE)
Heracles is born to Alcmene, wife of Amphytrion of Argos

c1283 BCE

Oedipus travels to Thebes. On his way there, he kills Laius, and after defeating the Sphinx, he marries Jocasta, his mother.
Jason is born to Aeson of Iolcus.

c1275 BCE

Heracles marries Megara, daughter of Creon of Thebes. In a fit of insanity, caused by Gera, he murders her and their children. to atone for this, he undergoes the "10 Labors"...

c1273  BCE

The Voyage of the Argo to find the Golden Fleece.
Theseus is born to Aethra, daughter of King Pittheus of Troezen.

c1270 BCE

King Minos of Crete defeats Athens and forces them to pay a tribute of 7 boys and 7 girls every 9 years to feed the Minotaur.

c1268 BCE

Jason divorces Medea for Glauce, daughter of Creon of Corinth.
Medea destroys Glauce and Creon's whole family. Medea travels to Athens where she marries King Aegeus.
Heracles frees Prometheus, who was imprisoned for either "30,000 years" or 13 generations (about 400 years).

c1263 BCE

A plague falls on Thebes. Creon travels to Delphi to learn what was causing the plague. Teiresias explains the Oracle, and the truth of Oedipus's heritage becomes known. Oedipus blinds himself and goes into self-imposed exile. Oedipus's sons become co-rulers of Thebes.

c1262 BCE

Polyneices, Oedipus's son is banished, and takes refuge in Argo.

c1256 BCE

Theseus travels to Athens.  He defeats the Minotaur, and returns to Athens to claim the throne of Aegeus.

c1251 BCE

Oedipus dies in Athens under the protection of King Theseus. Polyneices leads an army of Seven against Thebes. Antigone tries to bury the dead, and is condemned to death by Creon.  She secretly marries Creon's son Haemon.

c1250 BCE

Heracles completes his "12 labors" by freeing Theseus from the "Chair of Forgetfulness" in the Underworld.

1250 BCE

Aproximate date of the eruption of the eruption of Thera, damaging the civilization on Crete.

c1249 BCE

Heracles sells himself into slavery for a year to repay the heirs of Iphitus for his death at Heracles' hands.

c1248 BCE

Heracles kills the children of King Laomedon of Troy, except for the child Podarces, later called Priam. Heracles is stayed by the child's tears.

c124? BCE

Creon sees a young boy, a clear descendent of Antigone and Haemon, and has him killed. Antigone kills herself, and Haemon kills himself, effectively ending the line of Cadmus.

c1234 BCE or so.

Helen, Clytemnestra, Castor and Polydeuces are all hatched from eggs, children of Leda (or Nemesis).  Helen and Polydeuces are the children of Zeus, while Clytemnestra and Castor are the children of Tyndareus.

c1230 BCE

Paris is born to Priam and Hecuba of Troy.  He is predicted to cause the destruction of the city, so he is exposed at birth.  He survives by being nursed by a bear for 5 days.

c1223 BCE

Helen is carried off by King Theseus of Athens.  Her brothers, Castor and Polydeuces, the "Dioscuri" wage war on Athens to get her back.
Theseus is ousted from the throne of Athens by  Castor and Polydeuces.

c1219 BCE

Helen, foster-daughter of Tyndareus, is wooed by more than two dozen Greek princes. To avoid any chance that she might be abducted, her foster father makes the princes swear an oath to protect her and punish anyone who might steal her away. She eventually marries Menelaus of Sparta.

c1210 BCE

At the wedding of Peleus and the neried Thetis, three goddesses ask Paris, son of Priam (although he is also described as a shepherd), to determine who is the fairest of them.  They bribe him, and Aphrodite offers him Love. Paris chooses Aphrodite, and she sends him to Sparta to collect his prize. There he falls in love with Queen Helen of Sparta, and they flee, abandoning Helen's 9 year old daughter Hermione.

c1209 BCE

Achilles born.

c1194 BCE

Achilles and the former suitors of Helen (bound by the Oath of Tyndareus to support Menelaus) finally ally and sail for Troy.  To guarantee a safe trip, Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia.

c1184 BCE

The Fall of Troy. Odysseus leaves for Ithica. Aeneas leads a group of Trojans to found a new Troy. (Date is traditional).

c1183 BCE

Aeneas and his people settle in Latium along the the Albula river valley among the people of King Latinus. Aeneas marries Lavinia, daughter of Latinus.

c1174 BCE

Odysseus finally arrives home to find a number of suitors trying to win his wife Penelope.
Aeneas found the city of Lavinium. Ascanius/Iulus is born. Eventually the people merge into one under the rulership of the house of Aeneas.

c1168 BCE

Iulus founds Alba Longa and becomes its King.

c1138 BCE

Silvius becomes the 2d king of Alba Longa.

c1108 BCE

Aeneus Silvus becomes the 3d king of Alba Longa.

c1078 BCE

Latinus Silvius becomes the 4th king of Alba Longa

c1048 BCE

Alba becomes the 5th king of Alba Longa

c1018 BCE

Atys becomes the 6th king of Alba Longa

c988 BCE

Capys becomes the 7th king of Alba Longa

c958 BCE

Capetus becomes the 8th king of Alba Longa

c928 BCE

Tibernus becomes the 9th king of Alba Longa

c898 BCE

Tibernus dies by drowning in the Albula River, which is renamed Tiber in his honor. Agrippa becomes the 10th king of Alba Longa.

c868 BCE

Romulus becomes the 11th king of Alba Longa

c838 BCE

Romulus dies afer being struck by lightning. Aventinus becomes the 12th king of Alba Longa.

c808 BCE

Aventinus dies and is buried under the hill that bears his name. Proca becomes the 13th King of Alba Longa.

c778 BCE

Numitor becomes the 14th King of Alba Longa.

c773 BCE

Numitor is overthrown by his brother Amulius. Mars rapes Numitor's daughter, Rhea Silvia and begets Romulus and Remus.

c753 BCE

Romulus and Remus found the city of Rome.

Late 8th Century BCE

The Phoenocian character set lays the foundation for the Greek Alphabet.

late 8th -early 7th Century BCE

Hesiod composes the Shield, the Theogony and the Works and Days
Homer composes the Illiad and Odyssey


Thespis, Pratina and Phrynichus write plays.

5th Century

Theatre of Dionysius

c525/5 BCE

Aeschylus is born in Eleusis.

496 BCE

Sophocles is born in Colonus.

490 BCE

Battle of Marathon

c486/1 BCE

Euripides is born.

4?? BCE

Pindar the Theban writes odes to the Gods.

468 BCE

Sophocles beats out Aeschylus in the Grand Dionysia.

467 BCE

Aeschylus wins the Great Dionysia with plays that include Seven Against Thebes.

458 BCE

The Oresteia is staged.

456/5 BCE

Aeschylus dies. Euripides wins the Great Dionysia.

431 BCE

Euphorion, son of Aeschylus, wins the Great Dionysia.

408 BCE

Euripides goes into self exile from Athens, settling in Macedonia.

406 BCE

Euripides dies.

2?? BCE

Apollonius of Rhodes, Chief Librarian of Alexandria. writes the Argonautica. He may have also compiled the Homeric poems into the Illiad.