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600 - 500 BC

Solon Becomes Archon, Nebuchadnezzar Takes Jerusalem, Pisistratus Rules Athens, Cyrus The Great, Cyrus Captures Lydia, Jews Return To Jerusalem, Cyrus Captures Babylonia, Persians Conquer Egypt, Darius, Darius Invades Indus Valley, Roman Republic Founded, Athenian Democracy Established

 

594 BC Solon Becomes Archon - Athens was experiencing a period of social and political upheaval. To combat this, Solon, an esteemed Athenian, was appointed as ruler of Athens. He inaugurated a series of new laws to replace the laws of Draco. He canceled all land debts, outlawed new loans for which humans were used as collateral, and made other popular and successful reforms.
588 BC Nebuchadnezzar Takes Jerusalem- In 588 Nebuchadnezzar's Babylonian army breached the wall of Jerusalem, capturing it and destroying the temple. Many of the Jews of Judea were taken to exile in Babylon.
560 BC Pisistratus Rules Athens - Following the resignation of Solon, Athens was governed by a group of leaders. One of them was Pisistratus, who made three attempts to seize power, finally succeeding on the third attempt. Pisistratus ruled with a firm hand, but was nonetheless popular. He engaged in large-scale building campaigns, and maintained Athens in an unparalleled state of tranquility.
559 BC Cyrus The Great -Cyrus the Great deposed Astayges of Medea who had been King of both Medea and Persia, which the Medes had conquered. Cyrus had been at the court of Astayges. When he managed to escape to Persia where his father was king, Astayges followed with a great army. The army was many times the size of the Persian forces organized by Cyrus. Cyrus' army was attacked many times. After each encounter, the Persians were forced to give ground to the larger Medean army. Cyrus' father fell in one of those battles. Finally, as the Medes were camped near the Persian capital, Darius attacked. His surprise attack succeeded in defeating the Medes and enabled the Persians to capture the King. Cyrus then declared himself the King of both Persia and Medea. He was accepted as such by both peoples.
546 BC Cyrus Captures Lydia - Cyrus next attacked the Lydians. Theirs was the largest empire in Asia Minor, maintaining alliances with the Egyptians, the Babylonians and even the Spartans.
Cyrus approached Lydia and in Pteria fought the Lydian army led by its general, Croesus. The battle ended in a draw and Croesus, believing that Cyrus would not fight again until spring, returned to his capital city of Sardis, and disbanded a portion of his army. Cyrus followed and in a battle outside Sardis, Cyrus' army defeated the Lydians and forced them into the city. Cyrus then laid siege to the city. His men were able to scale the citadel, enter Sardis and lay waste to it. Croesus was captured and the Lydians were now part of the Persian Empire.
540 BC Jews Return To Jerusalem- Cyrus allowed the Jews who had been conquered by the Babylonians to return to Jerusalem after his defeat of the Babylonians. Cyrus' strategy was to befriend local populations. The Jews were allowed to rebuild the temple destroyed by Nebbechadnezzar seventy years before. This gesture on the part of Cyrus resulted in tremendous loyalty towards him on the part of the returning Jewish population.
539 BC Cyrus Captures Babylonia - Cyrus spent a number of years securing his eastern frontiers against invaders. In 539 B.C., he once again turned his attentions eastward. He attacked the city of Babylon. First, he defeated Babylonian forces outside the city. The Babylonians then divided their forces in two. King Nabonadius took his forces to Borisappa, hoping to divert Cyrus's attention. The tactic did not work and Cyrus invaded the city. Legend has it that Cyrus was successful in capturing the city by diverting the waters of the Tigris river.
525 BC Persians Conquer Egypt - The end of the New Kingdom coincided with the end of dynasty of the Ramesids. Egypt entered a long period of turmoil and foreign conflict.
521 BC Darius- Cyrus was succeeded by Darius I in 521 B.C. Darius spent the first years of his administration suppressing revolts that seemed to develop in every part of the Empire. Darius then reorganized the Persian Empire into separate provinces called satraps, each with its own governor and tax system. Darius improved communication within the empire by creating a series of 111 post stations with horses similar to the pony express system developed nearly two thousand years later in the United States. It became possible to send or receive messages anywhere in the Empire within two weeks.
Though Darius successfully quelled a revolt of Ionian Greeks in Anatolia, he failed in two attempts to conquer Greece proper.
516 BC Darius Invades Indus Valley- In 516 B.C., Darius invaded India capturing the Indus Valley. He annexed it to the Persian Empire. His hold on the region was tenuous and lasted less then ten years.
509 BC The Roman Republic Founded- 509 BC is the year that has traditionally been given as the founding of the Roman Republic. Junius Brutus and Taqrquinius were the first consuls of Rome.
508 BC Athenian Democracy Established By Clesithenes- Pisistratus was succeeded by his sons, one of whom -- Hipparchus -- was assassinated as a result of a private feud. The other son, Hippais, responded with such oppression, that he was overthrown and exiled by the nobles of the city.

Cleisthenes was appointed as ruler and enacted fundamental reforms that became the basis of the Golden Age of Athens. Cleisthenese divided Athens into 10 tribes, each of which was made up of a mixture of Athenians from all groups. The ultimate governing body of Athens became the Assembly made up of all male Athenians from all social classes. Each member had one vote. Daily control was left in the hands of the Council of 500, which was composed of representative selected from the ten tribes.