History of Athens



In the Athens Basin there were smaller settlements around 5000 years ago, the Acropolis was founded around 1500 BC. Attached. Athens was around 700 BC. A small state that ruled over Attica.  



620 BC

The thesmothet (legislator) Drakon introduces new laws to replace blood revenge and feuds. The severity of his punishments has become legendary.

511 BC

At the popular assembly, all male citizens of Athens can vote. This is the first democracy on the planet.

499 BC

During the Ionian uprising, the Greek colonies in Asia Minor rebelled against the Persians. Asia Minor belonged to the Persian Empire and was therefore subject to tribute. The Ionian uprising was ended by the victory of the Persians in 494 BC at Miletus.

490 BC

During the First Persian War, Athens was able to drive out the Persians in the nearby town of Marathon. The runner with the news of the victory ran the distance of around 40 kilometers to Athens and collapsed there.   

480 BC

During the Second Persian War the famous Battle of Thermopylae took place. The location was a bottleneck canyon on the way to Athens. In this battle, 300 Spartans defended the passage. They could long hold back the vast army of the Persians and inflict great losses on the forces of Xerxes. Despite heroic struggle, they were all killed and the Persians moved to Athens. Xerxes occupied the city and had the Acropolis destroyed. At the following Battle of Salamis, the Greek naval forces were able to defeat the overwhelming power of the Persians. The army of Xerxes finally withdrew from Greece after this decisive defeat.

477 BC

To defend against the Persian attacks, the Attic Sea League was founded. Athens is building a fleet and taking the lead in the federal government. Since Sparta does not participate in the League, Athens gains power.   

460 BC

Athens ventures a loss-making expedition to Egypt.

450 BC

Pericles built the Parthenon Temple and the Propylaea.   

430 BC

Pericles and a quarter of the people of Athens die of the plague.  

404 BC

Athens is defeated by Sparta and its allies in the Peloponnesian War and must replace democracy by oligarchy. In addition, Athens is demilitarized, the city walls demolished and all colonies had to be given up. That was the end of the great power of Athens. Sparta received financial support from the Persians in this war.  

387 BC

Plato founds his academy in Athens.  

338 BC

Philip II of Macedonia defeats Athens at the Battle of Chaironeia in Boeotia. In the following year the Corinthian League was founded, with the official name "The Greeks".    

323 BC

His son Alexander the Great  conquered Egypt and advanced with his troops to India. His goal was to smash the Persian Empire. He conquered the capital Persepolis and all the provinces of the great empire. Athens does not play a significant role here.       

148 BC 

The Romans conquer the Empire of Macedonia and thereby gain control over Greece. Athens becomes a provincial capital. 

63 BC

Athens rebels against Rome and is then devastated in a punitive action and loses all rights.   


Apostle Paul preaches in Athens.  


Athens belongs to the Eastern Roman Empire with the capital Byzantium.  


After the fall of the Eastern Roman-Byzantine Empire, Athens was controlled by various European powers.  


The Ottomans conquer Athens. The city benefits from sea trade in the Ottoman Empire.  


The sea power Venice conquers Athens, but cannot hold it for long. During the reconquest by the Ottomans, the powder store in the Parthenon explodes and destroys the temple.     


Greece declares its independence from the Ottomans.   


The Ottomans recognize independence under pressure from major European powers. Prince Otto of Bavaria is elected king and makes Athens, now completely insignificant, the capital of Greece. Athens then had only 4,000 inhabitants.   


After a popular uprising against King Otto, the monarch has to approve the constitution and share power with a prime minister.  


After an uprising in Athens, King Otto has to flee the country.


The first modern Olympic Games will be held in Athens.  


After the defeat in the war against Turkey, all Greeks must leave Asia Minor. Many of the approximately 1.5 million refugees move to Athens.   


With the help of the king, Ioannes Metaxas dissolves parliament and establishes a dictatorship.    


German troops occupy Greece. Over 50,000 people die of hunger in Athens.   


After the Germans withdrew, civil war broke out, which Great Britaininfluenced in favor of the National Guard.   


Military coup by the colonels who establish a tyranny under Papadopoulos.   


Student unrest and the military end the dictatorship and bring the country back to democracy.  


Around 3.5 million people live in the greater Athens area.  


The city of Athens has 772,000 inhabitants.  


The first subway line opens.  


The new airport opens.  


The Olympic Games take place in Athens.  


Due to the high debt of Greece there is serious unrest around Syntagma Square.  


Greece is on the verge of Grexit. Money traffic is restricted, banks remain closed for days. 


Around 650,000 people live in Athens. The Athens region has around 4 million inhabitants.





Travel Guide Athens