PREHISTORY TO 501 B.C.
A note about this page and Expired Knowledge.
Prehistory 1,300,000 (c) Date of fossils found in the 1980’s near Benevento of Scipionyx samniticus. Living in the early Cretaceous, this dinosaur was a Maniraptor, a relative of the better-known Velociraptor. At the time this animal lived, the site was on a sandy, scrub-covered island with a few trees and surrounded by warm shallow lagoons. 1,000,000 (c) Lower Paleolithic site at Pineta di Isernia. One of the earliest Paleolithic sites in Europe, it contained remains linked to Homo erectus (aka Homo Aeserniensis (Man of Isernia)) (to 730,000 BC). 800,000 (c) Remains of Homo erectus (Homo cepranensis) dating from this period were discovered near Ceprano, in southern Latium, in 1994. Estimates of the age of the remains, a portion of the skull cap, range from 900 thousand to 750 thousand years. 700,000 (c) Humans (Homo Aeserniensis) at the site of Pineta di Isernia, near Isernia, become the world’s earliest known users of fire. (c) Evidence of Homo erectus in Calabria. 500,000 (c) Lower Paleolithic sites in the Abruzzi (Teramano, Maiella), Basilicata (Venosa), Puglia (Gargano), and Campania (Capri). (c) Evidence of early humans living in caves along the coast of the Cilento in southern Campania. (c) Human remains (female skulls) found in Agrigento area dates to this time period. (c) About this time the famous volcano, Mt. Etna, in eastern Sicily, begins to form. 350,000 (c) World’s oldest known human footprints are left in the volcanic ash of the Roccamonfina volcano. 150,000 (c) Volcanic island of Alicudi forms. 70,000 (c) Neanderthal Homo camaerotensis living in the vicinity of Camerota (SA) in the Cilento area of Campania (to c35,000 BC). 60,000 (c)Middle Paleolithic. Evidence of Neanderthals on the Italian mainland. Sites located on the coast of the Salento (Grotta Romanelli) and on the coast of the Gargano. 28,000 (c) Volcanic activity ends on Alicudi island. 20,000 (c)Earliest evidence of modern humans (Homo sapiens) on Sicily. 11,000 (c)A Paleolithic burial in San Teodoro Cave revealed an arrowhead embedded in the pelvis bone of an adult female. This burial is sometimes seen as evidence of violence among the population of Sicily at this time. 10,000 (c)Cave paintings in Levanzo, off the W coast of Sicily (to c8700 BC). 9500 (c)Date for the death of Romito 2, a teenage male dwarf whose remains were found in a cave in Calabria. He apparently suffered from a form of chondrodystrophy, which stunted his growth. At the time of his death at the age of c17 years, he stood only about 4 feet in height. His remains were found with those of an elderly woman, possibly his mother. The burial indicates that the community in which he lived was such that it cared for those members unable to fend for themselves. 8000 (c)Tool-makers at Grotta dell’Uzzo in Sicily (to c7000 BC). (c) Upper Paleolithic wall-art in the Addaura Caves on Mt. Pellegrino in Sicily. Its main scene depicts humans involved in what may be a circumcision or initiation (to c7000 BC). (c) Earth’s climate warms as the last Ice Age comes to an end. (c) Neolithic culture begins to replace the Palaeolithic. Events Elsewhere: (c) Permanent brick buildings are built at Jericho. 7980 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 500 yrs). 7900 (c) Volcanic eruption of Lipari Island. 7590 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 50 yrs). 7550 (c) Eruption on Ischia. 7500 Events Elsewhere: (c) The settlement of Çatalhöyük arises in Anatolia. 7370 Events Elsewhere: (c) Walled town of Jericho ends. 7050 (c) Possible eruption on Pantelleria Island 7000 (c)Neolithic settlers arrive on Malta from Sicily. Events Elsewhere: (c) Pottery-making begins in the Middle East. Ceramic industry established on Crete. Events Elsewhere: (c) Settlement of Lepenski Vir arises in the central Balkans. The rise of this town and other settlements marks the beginning of the Neolithic Old European Culture which will herald the first metal-based technologies. The peoples of this culture are pre-Indo-European and believed to have had a matrilineal system centered on an earth-goddess based religion. The people of the Old European Culture may have been the ancestors of the prehistoric Sikans and Elymians of Sicily, and perhaps of the Etruscans as well. 6650 (c)Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 100 yrs). 6550 (c) Possible eruption on Vulcano Island. 6490 (c)Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. 6350 (c) Eruption on Vulcano Island. 6300 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 50 yrs). 6190 (c) Mt Etna erupts (±200 yrs) 6130 (c) Eruption on Pantelleria Island. 6000 (c)Sikans arrive on Sicily. Their principal settlement was at Sant’ Angelo Muxaro, Sicily. (or 1500 BC). (c) Large landslide on Mt. Etna plunges into the sea, creating an enormous tsunami. Reaching a maximum height of about 130 feet, it traveled at an estimated speed of 450 mph. The wave first overwhelmed the southern Italian coastlands probably 15 minutes after the date. About a hour after the events, the inundated coasts and islands of western Greece. Only a half hour after hitting Greece, the wave reached North Africa where the modern city of Benghazi is located. About 3 and a half hours after the tsunami formed, it hit the shores of the eastern Mediterranean, inundating the coasts of modern Lebanon, Syrian, Israel and Palestine. Because this wave occurred at such an early date, little mention is made of it. Archaeology, however, reveals the existence of the disaster. This tsunami was probably significantly larger than the famous 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Events Elsewhere: (c) Decorative Wall-painting begins at Çatalhöyük. Events Elsewhere: (c) Cycladic culture arises in the Aegean Sea area. Events Elsewhere: (c) Copper Age (also called the Chalcolithic or Enolithic) begins in the Middle East. Events Elsewhere: (c) Earliest known wine is produced in prehistoric Persia. 5960 (c)Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. 5950 (c) Neolithic settlement at Capo Alfiere, near present day Crotone, Calabria. 5610 (c) Eruption on Pantelleria Island. 5600 Events Elsewhere: (c) Warm, dry climate begins to create the Sahara desert in North Africa. Migrating herdsmen, the ancestors of the ancient Egyptians, travel eastward and establish themselves the Nile valley and delta. 5140 (c) Mt Etna erupts (±150 yrs). 5000 (c) Obsidian trade begins on Lipari. Network stretches as far as western North Africa. (c) Agriculture spreads to Europe from the Middle East. (c) Cultivation of wheat spreads to the Italian peninsula. (c) Neolithic Ghar Dalam farming culture is established on Malta. It’s people are believed to have been Sikan immigrants from central Sicily.(to c4500 BC). 4500 (c) Neolithic agricultural communities near Catignano and Ripoli in the Abruzzi. 4150 (c) Mt Etna erupts (±150 yrs). 4100 (c) Renewed immigration to Malta from Sicily (to c3500 BC). 4050 (c) Eruption on Ischia. 3650 (c) Eruption on Stromboli. 3640 (c) Eruption on Pantelleria Island. 3600 (c) Development of the megalithic temple complex of Ġgantija (Gganthia) on the Maltese island of Gozo. Believed to have been dedicated to an Earth Mother goddess, these temples are both the world’s oldest free-standing structures and the oldest religious structures. 3580 (c) Eruption on Ischia. (c) Possible eruption of Vesuvius. 3550 (c) Eruption on Vulcano Island. 3510 (c) Mt Etna erupts (±150 yrs) 3500 (c)Piano Conte culture in southern Italy and Sicily (to 3000 BC). (c) Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. A Bronze Age settlement on the site of Pompeii is destroyed at this time by ash-fall from Mt. Vesuvius. Initial excavations done in 2005 have revealed remains of burnt wood and emmer wheat. Settlement at the site may have existed at a far earlier Neolithic period as well. (c) Bronze Age development in settlements near the future Neapolis/Naples. (c) Earliest known human settlement on Ischia. (c) First permanent villages in Calabria. 3390 (c) Mt Etna erupts (±50 yrs) 3300 Events Elsewhere: (c) Rise of the Indus Valley (Harappan) Civilization. 3200 (c) Eruption creates the caldera of the Campi Flegrei (Phlegraean Fields), in Campania, 15 kilometers west-southwest of Naples. (c) Tarxien phase begins in Malta (to c2500 BC). The Hagar Qim temple is built of a hilltop of the island of Malta. The alignments of the temple reveal an advanced knowledge of solar and lunar movements. 3150 Events Elsewhere: Egypt is united under one ruler (Pharaoh). First Dynasty under Narmer begins. The Egyptians begin to use hieroglyphics about this time. (alt. date c3100 BC). 3100 Events Elsewhere: (c) Earliest phases of Stonehenge in Britain. 3050 (c) Eruption on Ischia. (c) Possible eruption on Stromboli. (c) Mt Etna erupts (±150 yrs) (c) Stentinello Culture in Sicily. (c)Earliest use of copper on Sicily.
3rd Millennium – 2nd Millennium BC
3rd Millennium – 2nd Millennium BC The Gaudo Culture flourishes in Campania. Most of the evidence for this Chalcolithic culture comes from its necropoli consisting of chamber tombs cut into soft rock. These tombs were used for multiple burials and included grave goods of pottery and flint and copper blades. 3000 (c) Copper tools are in use in Sicily, probably brought to the island by non-Sicilian traders. (c) Neolithic settlement on the island of Filicudi. 2890 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. 2800 (c) Copper Age spreads through the Italian mainland (to 1800 BC). 2700 (c) Eruption on Ischia. 2640 (c) Eruption on Vulcano Island. 2580 (c)Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 50 yrs). 2500 (c) Bronze in use throughout Sicily. 2440 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. 2350 (c) Eruption on Ischia. 2330 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 150 yrs). (c) Mt Etna erupts (±100 yrs). 2300 (c) Sikel center established on site of modern Furci Siculo [ME]. 2200 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 50 yrs). 2150 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 500 yrs). 2080 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 75 yrs). 2040 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. 2000 (c) Enotian settlements in Calabria. (c) Indo-European Italic tribes (Latino-Faliscan) begin to enter Italy (to c1000 BC). They are credited with bringing the horse, the wheeled cart, and bronze-casting to the Italian mainland. (c) Bronze Age Castelluccio Culture develops in Sicily. The culture had a pastoral economy and developed a unique black-painted, red-slipped ceramic ware of long graceful jars decorated with complex linear patterns. (to c1400 BC). (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 150 yrs). (c) Egyptians begin to use papyrus for writing material. 1900 (c) Eruption of Vesuvius (±150 years). 1870 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 50 yrs). 1800 (c) Earliest use of bronze in Sicily. (c) Earliest known human settlement on Procida. (c) Eruption of Vesuvius (±200 years). 1780 (c) Eruption of Vesuvius destroys settlements 15 km to the NW of the volcano. Evidence found at excavations at Nola indicates that the inhabitants there were able to flee from the disaster in time. 1740 (c) Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. 17th Century (c) Ausonians in Italy. (c) Alicudi island, one of the Aeolian Islands, is first settled. 1650 (c) Eruption of the Campi Flegrei. (± 100 yrs). 1600 (c) Mycenaeans establish a trading colony on the island of Procida. It is uncertain what name they gave to the island. Its modern name derives from the Latin Prochyta. (c) Possible Bronze Age shrine to an unknown fertility goddess develops near modern Trinitanapoli, Puglia. The sanctuary included a large well into which sacrificed animals and offerings of corn and other plants were thrown. The site also included tombs. In 2005, archaeologists excavating at the site discovered the skeleton of a man from c1600 BC who stood 1.85 m in height, taller than the average modern man. 1500 (c) Sikans arrive in Sicily from North Africa or Iberia, according to some sources. An agricultural people, the Sikans spread quickly throughout the island. Living in a number of small villages, their principal settlement was at Sant’Angelo Muxaro, near Agrigento. Little is known of their language and a 6th Century BC “Sicanic” inscription found Sciri, near Caltagirone, was written in Greek letters. Containing words like nendas, tebeg, pra arei, pagosti kealte, inrubo, their language can’t be linked with certainty to any linguistic group. (alt date. 6000 BC). (c) Mt. Etna erupts (±50 years). (c) A settlement was established beside the river Sarno, about 6 miles NE of the site of Pompeii. It survived until the 6th Century BC when it was finally destroyed by a flood. The site remained hidden until 2002. (c) Earliest known settlement at the site of Bari in Apulia. (c) Ustica is colonized by the Phoenicians. 1430 (c) Eruption of Vesuvius (±300 years). 1400 (c) Sikel expansion in eastern Sicily pushes the Sikans further to the west. Although tradition claims that the Sikels previously had lived in central Italy, there is little archaeological evidence for them on the mainland. The earliest definite evidence for them in Sicily dates to c1400 BC. Some sources claim that they arrived somewhat later, perhaps 1st half of the 12th Century BC, and that they were to be identified with Shekelesh, one of the legendary “Sea Peoples” who unsuccessfully attempted to invade Egypt. Having been defeated by the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses III (r1182-1151 BC), the Shekelesh fled westward and settled on the island on Sicily. This identification of the Sikels with the Shekelesh does not, however, necessarily rule out the possibility that they had already settled on Sicily at an earlier date. It is clear that whenever they actually did settle in Sicily, they had little trouble in displacing the Sikans who were already living there. The earlier inhabitants gave up most of eastern Sicily to the newcomers. The Sikels appear to have been significantly more advanced culturally and politically than the Sikans but, once the initial invasion had been complete, both peoples lived in relative harmony with each other. The Sikels established a number of towns, many of which were on sites later occupied by the Greeks (e.g. Syracuse). Few examples of their language have survived but it appears they spoke an Indo-European tongue. The establishment of the Greek colonies in Sicily, beginning in the 8th Century BC, doomed the Sikan culture many managed to resist complete hellenization until the mid-5th Century BC. One aspect of Sikan culture that has been studied is their religion which was centered on a number of deities. The Palici (or Palikoi), the most important of their gods, were protectors of agriculture and sailors. They were male chthonic deities with a principal shrine at Palica (Palike), near Mt. Etna. Worshippers who came to the shrine seeking their judgment on a variety of issues were often required to offer up a blood sacrifice. Some evidence suggests that the victims of these rites included humans. The parentage of the Palici is uncertain. Some sources (notably Macrobius) say they were the off-spring of Zeus and Thalia, while others say they were the twin sons of Hephaestus and Aetna. A third possibility is that their father was Adranus, a fire deity often identified with Hephaestus. In his principal temple the Siculi kept a perpetual fire lit. Another important deity, either a god named Hybla or a goddess named Hyblaea, had a sanctuary at Hybla Gereatis. (c) Mycenaean Greeks begin to establish trading centers along the coasts of southern Italy and Sicily. Known Mycenaean settlements existed at Scoglio del Tonno [Taranto], Punta delle Terrare, Torre Castelluccia, Porto Perone (Leporano), Castiglione, Filicudi, and Lipari/Panarea. Mycenaean funerary monuments have been identified at San Silvestro (Giovinazzo), Santa Sabina, Agrigento, Buscemi Thapsos, and Matrenza/Cozzo del Patano. The Mycenaean settlements were primarily established as trading posts rather than as actual colonies like the later Greek cities and towns of Magna Graecia. When the Mycenaean civilization collapsed in the 13th century, these settlements were abandoned and most trade between the Aegean region and southern Italy was terminated. The Greeks did not, however, completely forget about the lands to their west. Remembrances of southern Italy and Sicily figure in a number of later Greeks myths and epics, most notably Homer’s Odyssey. Mycenaean settlements Mycenaean trading centers are established in Sardinia. 1360 (c) Múrika (mod. Modica (RG)) is founded in Sicily by the Sikels. 1300 (c) Possible eruption on Vulcano Island. 1270 (c) Ausonians migrate into Sicily from the Italian mainland. 1226 (c) Mt. Etna erupts. 1219 Sardinians (Shardana), Sikels (Shekelesh), Lucani (Lukka) and Etruscans (Teresh) join other “Sea-Peoples” in an unsuccessful attack on Egypt. 1200 (c) Elymi (Elymians [Eng]; Elymoi [Grk]) settle in the far western portions of Sicily. According to long-held tradition, as told by such ancient writers as Diodorus Siculus, Thucydides, and Cicero, the Elymi (Elymians [Eng]; Elymoi [Grk]) were associated with the Trojans and were considered kindred by the Romans. While there does exist some cultural and archaeological evidence linking the Elymians to Anatolia, there are also definite similarities with other Italic tribes. What is certain about this mysterious people is that within a century of their arrival on Sicily, they had established a number of thriving cities including Erice (Eryx), Egesta (Segesta), and Entella. (c) Illyrian (Messapic) tribes from the Balkans cross the Adriatic Sea and settle in southern Italy. (c) Dolmen of Bisceglie, Apulia constructed (to 1000 BC). (c) Osco-Umbrian tribes begin to settle in the Italian mainland. 1170 Mt. Etna erupts. 1149 Mt. Etna erupts. 1110 (c) Phoenicians begin their age of colonization. 1100 (c) Iron Age development among settlements near the future site of Neapolis/Naples. 1080 (c) Eruption on Pantelleria Island. 1050 (c) Mt Etna erupts (±75 yrs).
1st Millennium BC 1000
1st Millennium BC 1000 (c) Aurunci enter southern Italy. (c) Phoenicians to establish trading centers and colonies on Sicily and Sardinia. (c) Earliest Latin-speakers begin to migrate into Italy from their earlier homes near the Danube. (c) A Sikel settlement is established on the later site of Morgantina. It will survive until c450 BC. (c) Last known eruption on the island of Pantelleria. (c) The cult of Dionysus begins to spread through the Greek world. 930 (c) Eruption on Ischia.
9th Century BC (c)Iapygian Iron Age culture flourishes in Apulia. (c) Iron Age inhumation burials in rock-cut ditch graves ditches covered by tumuli near present day Altamura [BA](La Mena, Castiglione, Scalcione) (to 8th century BC). (c)Villanovan Culture expands into Campania. (c) Rise of Etruscan civilization in central Italy. (c) Ancient necropolis established on Isole d’ Alicudi off the coast of Messina. 900 (c) Evidence of a powerful eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. Dust and ash deposits laid down to the east of the mountain. (c)Sikans and Sikels both continue to establish farming settlements in central Sicily. The two groups apparently live side-by-side in peace. 890 (c) Eruption of Vesuvius (±100 years). 814 (c) Phoenician expansion into the central Mediterranean continues. According to tradition, Carthage (Kart-Hadasht = “new city”), destined to become one of the most important cities of the ancient world, is founded on the North African coast by colonists from Tyre, around this time. late 9th Century Ausonian settlements on Lipari island are burned
8th Century BC (c)Iron Age agricultural settlement on site of Pompeii. (c) Italic Ausones occupy the territory (Ausonia) from southern Lazio through Campania to the river Sele. According to Diodorus Siculus, the Ausones also settled on the southern tip of the toe of Italy in the vicinity of modern Reggio di Calabria. (c)Motya founded by Phoenicians on the west coast of Sicily. The colony was situated on a small island in a lagoon. (c) Bronze Age settlement establish on Filicudi island. (c) During the first half of the 8th Century, Greek settlements began to be planted along the valleys of the rivers Agri and Sauro, some near the sites of modern Aliano [MT] and Alianello [MT]. Of minor historical importance, they survived until the end of the 4th and beginning of the 3rd century BC. Italic settlements of an earlier date were already established in the same area. (c) Iron Age agricultural settlement on site of Pompeii. 800 (c) Ausonian site on Lipara is burned and not rebuilt. (c) Phoenicians begin to colonize Sardinia. 776 (June 22) 1st Olympiad 774 Metapontum is founded according to Eusebius. Most modern scholars consider this to be too early a date. 772 2nd Olympiad. 771 Traditional date for the birth of Romulus, founder and first king of Rome. 770 (c) Euboean Greeks (from Eretria, Chalkis, and Kyme) establish a colony on Pithekoussai (Pithecusae) (mod Ischia), a fertile island off the coast of Campania, according to some sources. Archaeological excavations have revealed that a Mycenaean trading post may have existed on the island of Ischia perhaps as early as 1400 BC. The Euboean Greeks who established themselves here were probably traders looking to establish a market-place rather than a colony in the true sense. Yet the settlement was also meant to be a permanent home as well. Some sources believe the settlers from Eretria were actually exiles, forbidden to return to their old homes. The decision to establish a settlement on Pithekoussai was due to the proximity of Etruria further up the Italian coast. For the Greeks, a trading station here could be vital for securing the iron, copper, and other metals the Etruscans could provide. Facilities were established at the colony to smelt the raw metal ore before shipping it on to Greece. In return, the Etruscans could receive foreign-produced goods and metals such as gold they lacked themselves. (alt date 760 BC). (c) Cultivation of olive trees and vineyards begins in southern Italy. Although the Etruscans had practiced such cultivations as early as the 11th century, the early Greek colonists are credited with their establishment in Magna Graecia and Sicily. 768 3rd Olympiad. 764 4th Olympiad. 760 5th Olympiad. 756 6th Olympiad. 753 (Apr 21) Traditional date for the foundation of Rome on the Palatine Hill in Latium. The ancient Roman calendar used this year as its starting point. Years were designated as AUC (“ab urbe condita” = from the foundation of the city). According to ancient tradition, Romulus becomes the first king of Rome. The “Rape of the Sabine Women.” Romans acquire wives from the neighboring Sabines. Despite the name usually given to the event, this “rape” was probably closer to a ritualized form of kidnapping. The fact that when the male kin of the abducted women demanded their return only to learn that victims wished to remain with their abductors also shows that this was not the violent affair that it is usually considered. The merging of Romulus’s men with the Sabine women created the original Roman people, related to both the Latins and the Sabellian-Oscan peoples of central and southern Italy. The bulk of the Sabines remain independent until the 3rd Century BC. 752 7th Olympiad. 750 (c) Eruption on Ischia. (c) Linguistic innovations in the Greek world as add vowel symbols are added to their alphabet. The earliest examples of Hellenic Greek appear at this time. (c) Etruscans begin to adopt much Hellenic culture from their contact with the Greeks of southern Italy. 748 8th Olympiad 744 9th Olympiad 740 10th Olympiad. 736 11th Olympiad (c) Greeks begin to colonize Malta. 735 (c)Possible eruption of Mt. Etna. 734 Naxos colonized in E Sicily by Euboean Greeks from Chalcis. The earliest Greek colony on Sicily, it was founded on the site of an earlier Sikel settlement. It was named Naxos in honor of Euboea’s ally, the Aegean island of Naxos. The colonists’ leader, Theocles, dedicated an altar to Apollo Archegetes (“the Founder”), at which it became a long-held tradition for sailors to visit and offer sacrifice to the god before setting out on voyages. (alt. date 741 BC). Greek Archaic Period begins (to 480 BC). 733 Syracuse (mod. Siracusa) founded on the SE coast of Sicily by Dorian Greeks from Corinth under the leadership of Archias. The original Greek colony, known as Sirako (=swamp, marsh) because of the proximity of a marsh, was centered on the small off-shore island of Ortygia. Some sources put the foundation date in 734 BC. Archais chose to found the new city on the small island of Ortygia, just off the coast. The site proved to be a fortuitous one for the future success of Syracuse. The large spring of Arethusa provided year-round freshwater in a defensible position. There was also easy access to a pair of excellent harbors that would eventually become home-port to one of the ancient world’s great merchant fleets. The mainland immediately opposite Ortygia was a fertile plain, well-watered by the river Anapus. There was also a convenient supply of cheap labor. The local Sikel population, who appear to have originally welcomed the Greeks, found themselves either expelled or reduced to slavery. Syracuse would grow to become the principal Greek city of Sicily, one of the largest and most prosperous in the entire Greek world. An aristocratic government is established (alt. dates 773 BC, 734 BC). According to tradition, Archais was a member of the Bacchiadae, the ruling family of Corinth, and one of the Heraclidae. One version claims that he was a murderer who agreed to go into voluntary exile. Strabo reports that Archias visited the famous oracle at Delphi seeking advice on the future of his planned colony. In answer to the oracle’s question of whether he would prefer health or wealth, he answered the latter. Many later attributed this story as the reason for Syracuse’s great wealth and power. Archias, together with his co-captain and fellow-Heraclidae Chersicrates, set out from Corinth with a large group of colonists. Stopping at the island of Corcyra, the two leaders separated. Chersicrates, with half the colonists, attacked and expelled the island’s Liburnian residents and settled there themselves. Archias and his group continued westward to Sicily, where they established themselves on the site of an earlier Sikel village. The small island of Ortygia, where the original colony was set down, became the core of Syracuse and was eventually connected to the mainland by a causeway. 732 12th Olympiad. 730 Zankle (mod. Messina) colonized by Euboean Greeks from Kyme and Chalcis on the NE tip of Sicily. Zankle received its name from the native Sikel word for “sickle”, so called because of the shape of its harbor. This harbor, in addition to three nearby fresh-water lakes, made the site ideal for a successful settlement. Archaeological evidence shows that the site had been inhabited as far back as the 5th millennium BC. According to Thucydides, the first Greeks who colonized Zankle were a group of pirates Kyme, the Euboean colony in Campania. These were soon joined by more settlers from cities on Euboea itself. (alt. date 756 BC). 729 Katane (mod. Catania) in E Sicily colonized by Euboean Greeks from Chalcis, under the leadership of Euarchus. An oligarchy is established at Katane which lasts until c500 BC. (alt. date 734 BC). Leontini (Leontinoi) (mod. Lentini) in E Sicily founded by Chalcidian Greeks as a daughter-colony of Naxos under the leadership of Theocles. 728 13th Olympiad. Megara Hyblaea in Sicily is colonized by Chalcidian Greeks from Megara (according to Thucydides). 725 (c) Kyme (Lat. Cumae) is founded in Campania on the Italian mainland by Greek colonists from Pithekoussai (Ischia) and Chalkis. The new colony, the earliest permanent Greek settlement on the Italian mainland, is situated on the site of an earlier Iron-Age settlement. Its name derives from the town on Euboea where many of the colonists originated. The root word is the Greek kyma (= “wave”), so-called because of the great waves which break along the peninsula where Euboean Kyme is located. 723 14th Olympiad. 722 Events Elsewhere: Assyrians conquer Israel. 720 15th Olympiad. Sybaris is founded on the eastern coast of Calabria by Achaean Greeks under the leadership of Is (Isus of Helice). The original colony at Sybaris also included a faction of Troezenians (from Troezen in the Argolis) who were soon expelled. The colony’s name is said to derive from that of a mountain in Achaea. Rhegion (Rhegium, mod. Reggio di Calabria) is founded on the “toe” of the Calabrian peninsula by Greeks from Chalcis and Zankle. (alt. date: 730 BC). According to tradition the settlers were told by a oracle to found their city “where a female and a male will hug together.” As the scouts neared the Punta Calamizzi promontory along the coast of the toe of Italy, they came upon a grape vine intertwined in a ficus tree. They determined that this fulfilled the prophecy and the city of Rhegion was founded here. (alt. date 730 BC). 717 Traditional date for the death of Romulus. 716 16th Olympiad. (c) Mylae/Mylai (mod. Milazzo [ME]), on the N coast of Sicily colonized by Greeks from Zankle. 715 Numa Pompilius (b. 754 BC) becomes the second king of Rome. (alt. date 717 BC) 712 17th Olympiad. 710 Kroton or Croton (mod. Crotone) founded in Calabria by Achaean Greeks (alt. date 708 BC). 708 18th Olympiad 706 (c) Taras (Tarentum) (mod. Taranto) founded in Apulia by Sparta. The original colonists of Taras, known as the Partheniae, were the sons of Spartan women and perioeci (a social class of free, but disenfranchised, men). These unions had originally been permitted by the Spartan government to increase there military ranks, depleted because of the Messenian Wars. When the children reached adulthood, however, the Spartans viewed them as a threat. Revoking their citizenship, they ordered the Partheniae to leave Sparta. The group’s leader, Phalanthus, consulted the oracle at Delphi for advice and was told to found a new city at a designated site in southern Italy. (alt. date 703) 704 19th Olympiad.
7th Century BC (c) Kleinias flourishes as ruler of Kroton. Elymian Ware manufactured in NW Sicily (to 6th Century BC). Despite its name there is much doubt that it had any connection to the Elymians. Motcya (mod. Modica) is founded by the Sikels in Sicily. 700 20th Olympiad (c) Illyrians cross the Adriatic and settle at Arpi, a Daunian town in Apulia. There, over time they mix with the local Oscan population. (c) Palaeopolis the forerunner of Neapolis, mod. Naples) is founded as a daughter-colony by Greeks from Kyme (Cumae). (c) Kaulonia founded as a daughter-colony by Greeks from Kroton (c) Tempsa (Temesa) founded as a daughter-colony by Greeks from Kroton. (c) Terina founded as a daughter-colony by Greeks from Kroton. (c) Laos founded as a daughter-colony by Greeks from Sybaris. (c) Poseidonia (Paestum) founded as a daughter-colony by Achaean Greeks from Sybaris. (alt. date 650 BC). (c) Metaponton (Metapontum, mod. Metaponto) founded by Greeks from Achaea (although some sources claim a date as early as c775 BC). (c) Pandosia founded by Greeks from Achaea and Elis (although some sources claim a date as early as c775 BC. (c) Seismic and volcanic activity on Ischia leads to the abandonment of the colony of Pithekoussai. (c) Helorus founded as a daughter-colony of Syracuse. (c) Phoenicians found Motya (mod. Isola San Pantaleo [TP]) on the W coast of Sicily (or as early as 800 BC). (c) Ziz (Panormus, mod. Palermo) in NW Sicily colonized by Phoenicians (alt. date 536 BC). (c) Cylonas flourishes as ruler of Kroton. (c) Greek merchants begin to settle at Pompeii. 696 21st Olympiad. 695 (c) Mt Etna erupts. 688 23rd Olympiad. Boxing competition is added. (c) Gela colonized by Dorian Greeks from Rhodes, Telos and Crete. (alt. dates 690, 689 BC). According to a legend, Gela had been founded at a much earlier date by a Rhodian named Antiphemos. He was said to have been the brother of Lacius, the founder of Phaselis in Anatolia. Both brothers were said to have been members of the company led by Mopsus through Cilicia soon after the end of the Trojan War. Its name derives from that of a nearby river. 684 24th Olympiad. 680 25th Olympiad. (c) Siris is founded about this time as a daughter-colony of Kaulonia (between 680 and 650 BC). Gela establishes a democratic government which survives until 505 BC. 676 26th Olympiad 675 An oligarchic government is established in Kroton which survives 510 BC. Earliest examples of Latin as a written language. 673 Tullius Hostilius becomes the third king of Rome. 672 27th Olympiad.. Daippos from Kroton is victor at boxing. He is the first known Olympic victor from the Western Greeks of Magna Graecia and Sicily. 670 (c) About this time Locri Epizephyrii is founded by Dorian Greeks from Opuntian (eastern) and Ozolian (western) Locri. The second name, Epizephyrii (of the West Wind), derives from that of a nearby promontory (alt. dates 710, 679, 673 BC). The great Greek law-giver, Zaleucus, creates a written law code for Locri Epizephyrii. It is the earliest such “constitution” in western history. 668 28th Olympiad. 664 29th Olympiad. Colonists from Syracuse found Akrai. (alt date: 662 BC). 663 Henna (Enna) is founded in central Sicily as a daughter-colony of Syracuse (alt. date 664 BC). 660 30th Olympiad 657 (c) Large numbers of Phoenicians immigrate to Carthage. From here some would move on to other Phoenician colonies including those on Sicily. 656 31st Olympiad 652 32nd Olympiad 650 Siris is founded by Greeks from Colophon. The town was probably founded on the site of an earlier native Italic settlement. Poseidonia (Paestum) is founded by Dorian Greeks from Sybaris. (alt date 700 BC). Himera is founded on the north coast of Sicily as a daughter-colony of Zankle and Mylai. It received its name from the nearby river Imera. (alt. date 648 BC). (c) Etruscans begin to colonize northern Campania. 648 33rd Olympiad. Lygdamis of Syracuse victor in the Pankration at the Olympian Games. Myron of Syracuse victor in the Tethrippon at the Olympian Games. 644 34th Olympiad 643 Colonists from Syracuse found Kasmenai (mod. Comisa). 641 Tullius Hostilius dies. 640 35th Olympiad. Ancus Marcius becomes the fourth king of Rome. 636 36th Olympiad 632 37th Olympiad. 630 (c) Selinus (or Selinunte) (modern Mazara del Vallo) colonized by Greeks from Megara Hyblaea. It is the westernmost Greek colony on Sicily. (alt. date 628 BC). 628 38th Olympiad. 625 (c) Hipponion (or Heiponion) (Lat. Vibo Valentia) is founded by Dorian Greeks from Locri Epizephyrii (between c625 and c600 BC). (c) Ekklesiasterion built at Metapontum. This meeting hall was constructed on the site of an earlier wooden structure. 624 39th Olympiad. 620 40th Olympiad 616 41st Olympiad Ancus Marcius dies. Lucius Tarquinius Priscus becomes fifth king of Rome. 612 42nd Olympiad 608 43rd Olympiad. 604 44th Olympiad.
6th Century BC (c) Pompeii is founded in Campania by Oscans. (c) Herculaneum founded by Samnites. It is soon taken over by the Greeks. (c) Charondas of Katane, an eminent lawgiver, flourishes. He provides law codes for a number of cities of Chalcidian Greek origin in Magna Graecia and Sicily. (c)The city of Rhegium (mod. Reggio di Calabria) produces two poets of note during this era: Anacreon and Ibycus. (c) The poet known as Stesichorus (=Choirmaster) flourishes. Originally named Tisias or Teisias, he was a native of either Mataurus, a city on the Italian mainland, or Himera, on the north coast of Sicily. It is known that he spent most of his life in the latter city. Stesichorus has often been referred to as the first literary celebrity in the Greek world. He was very prolific in the amount of works he produced during the first half of the 6th Century BC. He received his nickname by his invention of the choral “heroic hymn”. He was the first to add the epode to the Greek strophe and antistrophe. Writing in the Doric dialect, his style and subject matter shows strong influence from Homer. In turn, he had a profound influence on later writers like Aeschylus. 600 45th Olympiad. (c) Earliest known Latin inscriptions. (c) Romans construct the Cloaca Maxima, one of the world’s earliest municipal sewage systems. (c) Samnites begin their expansion through central and southern Italy. (c) The Etruscans, who had begun to expand southward into Campania, found the city of Capua. Over the succeeding centuries, Capua would flourish to become second in importance in Italy only to Rome itself. (c) Dorian Greeks from Locri Epizephyrii found Medma and Nikotera. (c) Temple C is built at Metapontum. The earliest temple built at Metapontum, the structure is so ruined that its dimensions are uncertain. There is some evidence that it was dedicated to Athena. (c) Temple C is built at Selinus (to 550 BC). Probably dedicated to Apollo, its stylobate measured 63.7 m x 24 m. It had 6 columns on each front and 17 on each side. The temple survived many calamities over the following millennia, finally being brought down by an earthquake during the 5th Century AD. (c) Eruption of Vesuvius. (c) Oscan settlement in existence on the site of later Surrentum (mod. Sorrento). 599 Kamarina is founded by Syracuse. (alt. date: 598 BC). 596 46th Olympiad. 592 47th Olympiad. 588 48th Olympiad. Glaukias (or Glykon) of Kroton is victor in the Stadion. 584 49th Olympiad. Lykinos of Kroton is victor in the Stadion. 583 Gela establishes an aristocratic republic form of government which lasts until 573 BC. 582 The Pythian Games, honoring the god Apollo, are established (traditional date). These contests, which are held at Delphi in August of the third year of each Olympiad, are open to all Greek athletes. This differs from the Olympics which is restricted to only the nobility. The Pythian Games survive until the 4th century AD. 581 (c) Akragas (mod. Agrigento) founded in Sicily by colonists from Gela. An aristocratic republic is established which lasts until 573 BC. (alt. date 580 BC). 580 50th Olympiad First war erupts in western Sicily between Elymian Segesta and Greek Selinus. It continues until 576 BC. (c) The Greeks make their first attempt to drive the Carthaginians off of Sicily with an unsuccessful attack on Lilybaeum in western Sicily. (c) Isthmian Games begin at Corinth. 579 Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, king of Rome, dies. 578 Servius Tullius becomes the sixth king of Rome. 576 51st Olympiad Eratosthenes of Kroton is victor in the Stadion at the Olympian Games. 575 (c) Lipara (mod. Lipari) colonized by Cnidian Greeks led by Pentathlos. They established their settlement on the site of the modern village Castello or la Cittade. (c) The Doric temple of Apollo (and Artemis?) built at Syracuse. 574 The capture of Tyre by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar ends Carthage’s connection with its Phoenician mother city. It can be supposed that surviving Tyrian refugees may have immigrated to Carthage at this time. 573 Phalaris “the Cruel” seizes power in Akragas and sets up a tyranny. Infamous for his extreme cruelty, he included among his instruments of torture a hollow bronze bull into which he would imprison his enemies. When a hot fire was lit beneath the bull, the unfortunate victim imprisoned within was literally cooked alive. Adding to Phalaris’s delight, as the prisoners were being roasted, their cries sounded like the bellowing of a real bull. His reign lasted until 554 BC (alt date 570 BC). 572 52nd Olympiad Tisandros of Naxos is victor in boxing at the Olympian Games. 570 (c)Theognis of Megara, poet, flourishes. His long career lasted until 490 BC. (c) Two great temples arise at Metapontum about this time. The first, Temple B, was constructed between 570 and 530 BC. Probably dedicated to the goddess Hera, it originally had 9 columns at each front and 17 per side. This was reduced to 7 and 15 respectively. Its original dimensions measured 19.85 m. x 38.40 m. but in its later phase its length was extended to 41.60 m. The temple was destroyed in the late 4th Century BC. (c) Another temple, this one dedicated to Apollo, was constructed at Metapontum between 570 and 540 BC. In its original form it measured c46.40 m. in length x c23.20 m in width (later altered to 52.50 m. x 22.60 (22.80) m). It had 8 columns on each front and 17 per side. (c) The wealthy city of Sybaris begins to construct a treasury at Foce del Sele, near the westernmost extent of its territory. The structure was still incomplete when Sybaris was destroyed in 550 BC. (c) Pythagoras, philosopher, born at Samos. 568 53rd Olympiad Tisandros of Naxos is victor in boxing at the Olympian Games. 565 (c) The temple of Apollo built at Syracuse. The earliest example of monumental stone architecture in Sicily, it measured ca. 21.57 x 55.33 m. It had 6 columns of each front and 17 per side. (c) Possible eruption of Mt Etna. 564 54th Olympiad Hippostratos of Kroton is victor in the Stadion at the Olympian Games. Tisandros of Naxos is victor in boxing at the Olympian Games. 560 (c) Etruscans occupy Nola. 55th Olympiad. Hippostratos of Kroton is victor in the Stadion at the Olympian Games for the 2nd time. Tisandros of Naxos is victor in boxing at the Olympian Games for the 2nd time. (c) The “Basilica” is built at Poseidonia (Paestum). Probably dedicated to the goddess Hera, it had 9 columns on each front and 18 on the sides. The stylobate measured c24.51 m. x c54.27 m. and the cella c13.38 m. x c41.99 m. It is the earliest of the great temples of that city. 556 56th Olympiad 555 (c) Temple of Zeus Olympios is constructed as Syracuse. It had a stylobate measuring c22.40 m x c. 62.05 m, with 6 columns on each front and 17 per side. 554 General Telemachus overthrows Phalaris and replaces him as tyrant of Akragas (to 550 BC). Phalaris, who achieved infamy by roasting his enemies inside a brazen bull, is executed by the same method. 552 57th Olympiad. 550 Carthaginians and Etruscans form an alliance against the Greeks in Sicily and Magna Graecia. Theron I takes power in Akragas. It is uncertain how long his reign lasted but he was eventually replaced by Pythagoras. (c) The theater at Syracuse is constructed. (c) Temple F is constructed at Selinus. Dedicated to either Athena or Dionysus, it measured 61.83 m x 25.33 m. and had 14 columns on each side. Akragas and Gela become separate states. The river Himeras is chosen to mark the boundary between their respective territories. Camerina frees itself from Syracuse. The Carthaginian general Malchus campaigns successfully against the Greeks in Sicily. He subsequently fails in his attempt to conquer Sardinia and is punished with banishment. Gathering a rebel army, Malchus attempts to march against Carthage itself but is captured and executed. King Servius Tullius builds the first permanent city wall around Rome. (c) Earliest known Messapic inscriptions in SE Italy date to this period. 548 58th Olympiad 544 59th Olympiad 540 60th Olympiad Milo (Milon) of Croton wins in Boys Wrestling at the 60th Olympics. Gelon I, future tyrant of Gela and Syracuse, is born at Gela. (c) Xenophanes of Colophon (b. 580 BC; d. c475 BC), poet and rhapsode, natural philosopher, settles at Elea. 536 61st Olympiad 535 (c) Alcmaeon of Kroton, one of the ancient world’s greatest physicians, scientists, and natural philosophers, is born. A student of Pythagoras, his impact on medicine was so great that he is often called the “Father of Greek Medicine” and the “Founder of Empirical Psychology.” He was especially interested in the study of the eye and is credited with performing the first successful eye operations. Despite the aversions held by the ancients towards autopsies, it was through such practices on animals (as well as possible human cadavers) that Alcmaeon discovered the optic nerve and the Eustachian tube (despite the latter being credited to Bartolommeo Eustachio [1520-1574]). Alcmaeon was also the first physician study the trachea and was the first to note the distinction between veins and arteries. He pioneered the science of embryology and was the first to suggest an origin for sperm. He also advanced the belief that the brain was the true center of intellect rather than the heart. He also believed that the eyes were connected to the brain through “pores”, a theory apparently shared by fellow-Pythagorean Empedocles and Atomist philosophers.. Alcmaeon also studied the nature of sleep and of the senses. He held to the belief that good health depended on the equilibrium of all the senses. Illness was the result of one sense taking precedence over the others. Alcmaeon wrote a now-lost volume on medicine. A few fragments of other works are extant. Phocaean Greek colony of Alalia, on the east coast of Corsican, is abandoned because of the threat from the Etruscans and Carthaginians. Some of the colonists moved to the city of Massalia (mod. Marseilles), while others moved for a time to Lipara, before landing on the coast of Campania and founding the new colony of Elea. Tarquinus Superbus (Tarquin the Proud) becomes the seventh and last king of Rome. 532 62nd Olympiad 530 (c) Pythagoras of Samos (born in c570 or 560 BC) settles at Kroton where he founds his famous school of Pythagorean philosophy and religion. The Pythagorean School will spread throughout much of the Greek world and have a long-lasting effect on western thought for centuries thereafter. The school centered on an inner circle of male and female initiates known as mathematikoi. This group lived permanently within the Society under the direct control of Pythagoras, renouncing all personal possessions and subsisting on a strict vegetarian diet. The majority of the Society consisted of an outer circle known as the akousmatics. Members of the outer group lived in their own homes and had access to the Society only at in the daytime. Unlike the mathematikoi, the akousmatics had no restrictions on their diet or behavior and could own personal possessions. Pythagoreanism was based particular principles: 1. True reality is based on mathematics. 2. Spiritual purification was attainable through the study of philosophy. 3. The soul can rise to union with the divine. 4. Certain symbols have hidden mystical meanings. 5. The mathematikoi must observe strict loyalty and obedience to the Society. The Society was devoted to the religious, political, moral and social reform of all society. (c) Epicharmus of Syracuse, poet, is born in either Megara Hybaea or Syracuse (though some sources claim the island of Cos as his birthplace). The author of over 50 plays, he originated Sicilian (Dorian) Comedy. He died in c440 BC. (c) The Etruscans continue their advance into Campania, taking control of Pompeii. (c) Dicaearchia (later Puteoli; mod. Pozzuoli) is founded by Samian Greeks on the coast of Campania. 528 63rd Olympiad 525 (c) Theano of Thurii, one of the earliest known female mathematicians and astronomers, flourishes. Born in Thurii, in southern Italy, she was the daughter of a physician called Brontinus. As a young woman she became the student, and then the wife, of the renowned Pythagoras, and earned great repute as a teacher of mathematics. After the death of her husband, she took over the leadership of the Pythagorean School. Aided by her three daughters, Damo, Myria, and Arignote (and possibly her two sons, Mnesarchus and Telauges, as well) she helped to spread Pythagorean ideas into Greece and Egypt. (c) Greeks at Morgantina begin to use Acroliths, or partial statues, for the first time. 524 64th Olympiad The rise of Greek power in northern Campania causes fear to spread among the Sabellian Dauni and Auraunci. They place themselves under the leadership of the Etruscans at Capua, who also recognize the Greeks as a threat to their security. This alliance launches an assault on the city of Kyme (Cumae) in hopes of stemming the Greek advance. During this crisis, the Greeks find an effective leader in Aristodemus, a man with the curious epithet Malacus (=effeminate). Aristodemus Malacus successfully defends the city and deals the attackers a severe defeat. As a reward for this accomplishment, the citizens of Kyme make him tyrant of the city. (alt. date 525 BC). 520 65th Olympiad (c) Tavole Palatine (Knights’ Tables) constructed at Metapontum (to 510 BC). This temple dedicated to Hera was built on a site considered sacred long before the structure was built there. The altar is definitely older than the temple. Its stylobate (stepped foundation) measures 16.06 m. x 33.30 m and its cella 23.82 m. x 8.20 m. 516 66th Olympiad 515 (c) Parmenides of Elea, philosopher, born. The founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy (named for the city of Elea in Magna Graecia), he was the first Greek to examine the nature of being. He believed that universal laws were stable and unchanging. What is perceived as change is only illusion. 512 67th Olympiad 511 Croton, led by Milo, defeats and destroys Sybaris (alt. date 510 BC). 510 Romans overthrow their Etruscan-controlled monarchy and found the Roman Republic. The Pythagorean Society at Kroton is attacked by a faction led by a noble named Cylon. Cylon sought revenge for being denied membership into the Society’s inner circle. Accusing Pythagoras and his followers of intending to seize power in the city, he aroused the citizens to attack the Society. Pythagoras was able to escape to Metapontum where he later died (possibly by suicide). Although many members of the Society were killed, Pythagorean philosophy survived and even grew in numbers of followers. After c500 BC it began to split into a number of different factions. The Doric Temple of Heracles (Hercules) is constructed at Akragas (mod Agrigento). The earliest of the great temples of Akragas, its stylobate (stepped foundation) measures 25.34 m x 67.00 m and its cella 13.90 m x 47.65 m with 6 columns running along each front and 15 on each side. The “Underground Shrine” is built at Poseidonia. It may have served as a center for a cult worship of a notable hero figure, perhaps the colony’s founder. Other theories suggest it was the shrine to a chthonic deity, possibly Hera/Kore, or to the nymphs, young female nature spirits. Some scholars believe it was a “heroon”, or shrine, for a notable political leader. Pythagoras, tyrant of Akragas, is overthrown. An aristocratic republic is restored there with lasts until 488. 509 L. Junius Brutus and P. Valerius Publicola becomes the first Consuls of Rome. 508 68th Olympiad Pantares of Gela becomes the first Siciliot Greek to gain a victory in chariot racing at the Olympian Games. Roman census taken: 130,000 citizens. 507 Possible first treaty between Rome and Carthage. This agreement laid out each city’s commercial sphere of influence with both Sardinia and Sicily being considered as Carthaginian. (alt date 509 BC). 505 (c) Aristodemus Malacus, tyrant of Kyme (Cumae) defeats the Etruscans at Aricia. This defeat so weakened the Etruscans that they were eventually lost control over the whole of Latium. The most significant result of the Greek victory at Aricia was that it eased the Etruscan threat to the fledgling Republic of Rome. (alt date 506 BC). Cleander becomes tyrant of Gela (to 498). He may have been the son of Pantares. 504 69th Olympiad 503 Roman census taken: 120,000 citizens.