Interesting Happenings
From Around the World
900-1 BC

Linda Haas Davenport
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900 BC: First recorded mention of symbol for zero, in India. China has an organized postal service for government use.

850-800 BC: Timeframe of Homer's Illiad and Odyssey. Many scholars believe it is the oldest surviving work of literature in the ancient Greek language, making it the first work of European literature.

776 BC: First Olympic Games held in Olympia, Greece. The only competition is, according to the Greek traveler Pausanias, "the stadion race", a race over about 190 meters, measured after the feet of Hercules. The word stadium is derived from this foot race.

775 BC: Greeks develop a phonetic alphabet that is written from left to right.

753 BC: Time frame when "Romulus and Remus" found Rome.

750 BC: Caste system firmly established in India.

720 BC: Greek tradition of athletic nudity in the Olympic Games is first introduced, either by the Spartans (and Acanthus in particular) or by the Megarian Orsippus.

710 BC: In Assyria, at Khorsabad, an expensive wooden bolt is installed in the new palace of Sargon II. It is the world's earliest surviving lock.

700 BC: Iron begins replacing copper in Europe.

675 BC: Boxing added to Olympics.

644 BC: An Arabic document contains the first known reference to a windmill. (The man, who in this year, assassinates the Caliph Omar in the mosque at Medina is described as a "Persian builder of windmills".)

625 BC: Arion at Corinth produces named dithyrambic choruses - beginning of Greek plays.

624 BC: Horse racing added to Olympics.

620-650 BC: Aesop a slave and story-teller of Ancient Greece is credited with authoring Aesop's Fables.

600 BC: The Hanging Gardens of Babylon (also known as the Hanging Gardens of Semiramis) built by Nebuchadnezzar II for his wife Amytis of Media (near present-day Al Hillah in Iraq, formerly Babylon). (One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.) Chinese practice cultivating crops in rows and hoeing intensively. Coins used in Lydia (Turkey) - gives birth to modern western coinage.

585 BC: Greek scientist/philosopher Thales of Miletus predicts solar eclipse.

ca 563: Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism born.

551 BC: Birth of Confucius, Chinese philosopher.

500 BC: First record of use of bow and arrow in North America. Greek telegraph system: via trumpets, drums, shouting, beacon fires, smoke, signals, and mirrors in use. Chinese scholars write on bamboo with reeds dipped in pigment inks. First known use of zero by mathematicians in ancient India around this date.

550 BC: Dedication of The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (in present-day Turkey). (One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.) First Greek plays staged.

ca 483 BC: Death of Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhism, dies.

479 BC: Confucius, Chinese philosopher, dies.

460 BC: Socrates born.

455 BC: The Vandals sack Rome.

453 BC: Attila the Hun dies.

445 BC: Rome removes ban on marriage between patricians and plebeians.

432 BC: Famed classical sculptor Phidias in Olympia sculpts the Statue of Zeus at Olympia in Greece. (One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.) St. Patrick - an English pig farmer-turned-bishop who was carried off to Ireland as a slave dies. He introduced Christianity to Ireland. Legend has it he explained the concept of the Holy Trinity by holding up a shamrock with its 3 leaves combined in a single plant. The reason we celebrate St. Patrick's Day on Mar 17th is because of a dispute in the church over whether St. Patrick actually died on March 8th or March the church compromised by adding the disputed dates - 8th and 9th - and settled on March 17th St.

430 BC: Unidentified pestilence (or plague) hits Athens behind her walls and one fourth of population dies.

424 BC: Boeotians use flame-throwers against wooden walls of Delium - first reported use.

400 BC: Greek philosopher Democritus suggests the World is made up of tiny particles called atoms. Trace harness developed in China. Cast iron in use in China. Chinese write on silk and wood. Persians invent a special chilled pudding-like dish, made of rosewater and vermicelli which is served to royalty during summers - "iced cream".

399 BC: Socrates executed for being impious and contributing to the delinquency of minors.

390 BC: Gallic king Brennus sacks Rome and burns it. First known kite flown in China.

387 BC: Plato founds the Academy.

ca 384 BC: Aristotle born.

350 BC: The Tomb of Maussollos is completed at Halicarnassus (present Bodrum, Turkey). The finished structure is considered to be such an aesthetic triumph that it will be named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Temple of Diana (Artemis) at Ephesus - Turkey is under construction.

300 BC: Indian mathematician, scholar and musician Pingala first describes the binary number system (which is now used in the design of essentially all modern computing equipment).

285-247 BC: The Lighthouse of Alexandria on the island of Pharos in Alexandria, Egypt serves as that port's landmark, and later, its lighthouse. With a height variously estimated at between 115-150 meters (377-492 ft) it is among the tallest man-made structures on Earth (and will be for many centuries). (One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.)

280-292 BC: The Colossus of Rhodes is a colossus of the Greek god Helios, erected on the Greek island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos. Before its destruction, the Colossus of Rhodes stood over 30 meters (107 ft) high, making it one of the tallest statues of the ancient world. (One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.)

270 BC: Greek astronomer Aristarchus of the island of Samos in Greece, states the Earth revolves around the sun in his On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon work.

270-230 BC: Alexandrian mathematician, Ctesibius, invents the water organ, the water pump, the spring, and the valve.

255 BC: Roman fleet of 248 ships sink in storm off Cape Pachymus, losing 100,000+ men, fifteen percent of military age men in Italy.

250 BC: Greek mathematician, Archimedes states laws of specific gravity. Blowpipes for making glass invented.

240 BC: Latin literature widespread in Rome.

226 BC: Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, destroyed by an earthquake.

222 BC: Alexandria is center of science and learning, with 400,000 scrolls in its library, and a 200 foot lighthouse to guide folks to the library.

220 BC: Rebuilding of the Great Wall of China begins under first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang begins. Is considered on of the Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages.

218 BC: Hannibal crosses Alps with elephants during the Second Punic War.

206 BC: Crossbows in use in China.

200 BC: Iron horseshoes in use. Parchment in wide use. Stirrups in use in China. Tipao gazettes are circulated to Chinese officials.

200 BC-68 AD: Dead Sea Scrolls are written.

150 BC: Hipparchus of Rhodes compiles first star catalog. About this time Venus de Milo (Aphrodite of Melos) sculpted. Scholars believe by Alexandros of Antioch, Greece.

130 BC: List of Seven Wonders of the World devised, by poet Antipater of Sidon - Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria.

119 BC: Han dynasty in China nationalizes natural gas, cast iron, and salt industries.

100 BC: Hellenistic grammarian Dionysius Thrax publishes Art of Grammar. Chinese mathematicians first used negative numbers around this time.

73 BC: Gladiator Spartacus leads uprising of around 40,000+ fugitive Roman slaves.

59 BC: Acta diurna, a news gazette, published in Rome.

55 BC: Julius Caesar invades Britain. Roman legions introduce beer to Northern Europe.

50-1 BC: Rome and wars dominate the known history of the time.

50 BC: The Chinese are making paper first with short lengths of bamboo. Later adding cotton linen rags that are soaked in water and pounded into swollen pulp. This is then formed into sheets and dried. First known reference to adding rags to paper pulp. Glassblowing in Phoenicia.

47 BC: Part of the Library of Alexandria (containing the biggest collection of ancient literature) burned when Caesar set fire to a fleet of Cleopatra's ships - flames spread to the library.

46 BC: Caesar creates The Julian Calendar - 365 days, 12 months - sets the 1st of March as the beginning of a new year

44 BC: Caesar murdered. Cicero publishes his six philosophical books. Cleopatra has her brother, Ptolemy XIV, murdered.

36 BC: Virgil publishes the Eclogues, a collection of ten poems.

27 BC: The building of the Acropolis begins.

8 BC-4 AD: Scholars estimate Jesus was born between these years.

4 BC: The first decimal system based on 60s is introduced by the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, also credited with the invention of writing. They base their numerical system on powers of 60 subdivided into multiples of 10. It is from this system that Sumero-Babylonians developed the time system that we use today: each hour is divided into 60 minutes, which are divided into 60 seconds.

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