The Trial of Socrates: A Chronology
490 B.C.E. In the First Persian war, the great army of Persia led by Darius is stopped by the Athenians in the battle of Marathon.
480 B.C.E. In the Second Persian war, Xerxes leads a massive Persian army across Greece. Themistocles, commanding Athenian forces, lures the Persian fleet to defeat in the narrow Bay of Salamis, despite being outnumbered four to one
469 B.C.E.  Socrates is born.
460 B.C.E. Pericles rises to prominence as a leading statesmen of Athens.  Approximate date for the beginning of "The Golden Age of Greece": under Pericles'  leadership democracy and culture flourish and the Greek empire spreads.
449 B.C.E. Acropolis is rebuilt (after having been destroyed by Xerxes) and construction of the Parthenon begins.
445 B.C.E.  Aristophanes is born.  “Thirty Year Peace” is signed between Sparta and Athens.
443 B.C.E. Pericles main political rival (the leader of the oligarchs) is ostracized. Pericles becomes commander-in-chief, the most  powerful official in Athenian government.
432 B.C.E. Socrates participates in a battle against a defecting colony (Potidaea).  During the battle, he saves the life of Alcibiades, a former student who would later become known for his deceit and treason.
431 B.C.E. Peloponnesian War begins between Sparta and Athens.  Athenians retreat within their city walls in hopes that their navy  will win the war.  Socrates serves as a hoplite (a heavy infantryman armed with a shield, a spear, and a sword), winning praise for his bravery.
430 B.C.E. A terrifying plague begins in Athens.  It will last for about four years and kill over one-third of the population of Athens.  Pericles is blamed for the war and its resulting misery; he is deposed. 
429 B.C.E. Pericles is reinstated, but soon dies from the plague.  The political structure of Athens is in ruin. The plague seems also to have had a devastating effect on morals.  Cleon becomes leader of the  democratic party.
427 B.C.E. Plato is born.
423 B.C.E. Aristophanes's play Clouds, satirizing Socrates, is performed for the first time.
421 B.C.E. Peace of Nicias is signed between Sparta and Athens proposing fifty years of peace.
420 B.C.E. Alcibiades is named commander-in-chief.
416 B.C.E. Athenian forces besiege Melos.  When Melos surrenders, Athenian forces nonetheless kill all the men, enslave the women and children, and open the island to settlement by Athenians.  Socrates remains silent about this barbarism, perhaps because Alcibiades supported it.
415 B.C.E. Alcibiades leads an expedition to subjugate Sicily.  He is recalled to Athens to stand trial for mutilation of the statues of Hermes.  Alcibiades at first agrees to return to Athens, but then escapes to Sparta where he proposes to help them defeat the Athenians.
414 B.C.E. Aristophanes's play Birds is performed for the first time.  In the play, Aristophanes refers to pro-Spartan youth as "Socratified."  The Sicilian expedition of Athens ends in disaster, with the attacking Athenian fleet destroyed.
413 B.C.E. Sparta, supported by Persia, declares war on Athens.  Sparta claims the Athenians had repeatedly violated the Peace of Nicias.
411 B.C.E. Alcibiades, Socrates's favorite Athenian politician, is a prime mover in the overthrow of  democracy in Athens. The dictatorship of the Four Hundred takes  power.
410 B.C.E.  After four months in power, the dictatorship of the Four Hundred is deposed and replaced with a democratic regime: the Council of Five Thousand.
406 B.C.E. The newly rebuilt Athenian fleet defeats Spartan forces off the island of  Lesbos, but the crews of twenty five ships drown in a storm. Athenians prosecute generals thought responsible for the disaster in a single trial.  Socrates criticizes the decision to put the convicted generals to death, but they are executed anyway.  Alcibiades is exiled.
404 B.C.E. Athens falls to Sparta, led by Lysander, who imposes the harsh, oligarchic Rule of the Thirty. Critias, a former pupil of  Socrates, leads the Rule of the Thirty with an iron fist. Socrates and  four others are ordered to arrest Leon of Salamis, a democrat. Socrates refuses and simply “goes home.”  Leon is arrested and put  to death.
403 B.C.E. Democracy is restored in a violent overthrow of the Rule of the Thirty. The Amnesty of Eucleides is passed completely revising  Athenian law and pardoning all prior offenses.  All  legal accusations must now be based on the newly codified law
401 B.C.E. Another attempt (after the successful attempts of 411 and 404) is made to overthrow Athenian democracy.  This one, in which young men associated with Socrates play a prominent role, is beat back.
399 B.C.E. Socrates is charged with "corrupting the youth" of Athens and "not believing in the gods the state believes in, but in other new spiritual beings."  He is convicted on a 280-220 by a 500-person jury of freemen, then sentenced to death by hemlock by a larger margin.
394 B.C.E. Xenophon fights on the side of the Lacedaemonians against Athens.  Scholars suggest that this is the earliest possible date he could have written his Apology of Socrates.
367 B.C.E. Aristotle, at age 17, enters Plato's Academy and becomes his most illustrious student.
347 B.C.E. Plato dies.
345 B.C.E. The earliest recorded non-Platonic and non-Xenophonic reference to the trial of Socrates is made by Aeschines in a prosecution.  In it, Aeschines said the jury "put Socrates, the sophist, to death...because he was shown to have been the teacher of Critias, one of the Thirty who put down democracy."
529 C.E. Emperor Justian closes the Platonic academy and other schools of philosophy in Athens, ending a twelve-hundred year period of relative free thought.
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