History of Greece (specifically, Athens) from Solon's Democracy to Alexander the Great

About 80 years, or in the case of the Battle of Marathon 60 years needs to be subtracted from each Greek year in order to reconcile with the Bible Timeline and Jewish history. In Athens, this affects the dates of Solon, and the "tyrants" Peisistratos, Hipparchus and Hippias. In Sparta where nearly 100 years needs to be subtracted for the Battle of Thermopylae, it affects the two kings Cleomenes and his half-brother Leonidas.

It is due to a somewhat "mysterious" historian named Herodotus (in annals at the time, no birth or death records), with a political decision to "create" a Golden Age of Greece. The account by Herodotus singularly failed to align with the account in Daniel 11:2 referring to the five Persian kings recorded by Josephus in Jewish history:- 1. Cyrus, 2. Cambyses, 3. Darius, 4. Xerxes — Artaxerxes in Nehemiah, 5. Artaxerxes II — the king in the book of Esther. It appears Herodotus lived about 90 - 100 years later than the period (484 BC - 425 BC) normally allotted to him, and thus when Alexander's teacher Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC) referred to Herodotus as a historian — and there appear no personal references to Herodotus's name prior to this — Aristotle was speaking of him as a contemporary.

An early record of the discrepancy may well have been seen in a Greek play called "The Persians", written by Aeschylus apparently in 472BC about the time of Daniel's prophecy Daniel 8:21, exalting Greece (Javan) as a coming world empire. In Daniel 7, Persia was portrayed as a bear eating three ribs, who would defeat three kingdoms — Babylon Lydia and Egypt — but no more. Adjustments to the play's script inevitably occurred after 420BC and the Persian king's return to Persia after his attack on Athens, with Herodotus subsequently made a contemporary of Aeschylus.

In the Hebrew scriptures, Javan was Noah's grandson via Japheth. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, this was the tribe of Ion or the Ionians in Greek history. According to Wikipedia, unlike the austere and militaristic Dorians (who settled Sparta), the Ionians were renowned for their love of philosophy, art, democracy, and pleasure – Ionian traits that were most famously expressed by the Athenians.

Click here for further details from Daniel's prophecy.

Solon: (c.558-478BC) laid the foundations for Athenian democracy. He repealed most of the "Draconian" laws that had been written by a prior lawgiver, Draco, which imposed the death penalty as punishment for even minor offences, such as stealing a cabbage, but he retained the death penalty for homicide (with malice aforethought). At the end of his life, he visited Croesus in Lydia and Ahmose II in Egypt, prior to their defeats by Cyrus. See more details about those two men at the bottom of the page.

Peisistratos: Tyrant in Athens after Solon c.481-447BC. Followed by his son.

Hipparchus: Tyrant in Athens c.447-434BC, jointly with his brother.

Hippias: Tyrant in Athens, jointly with his brother most of the time c.447-430BC. Forced out following a successful invasion of Athens by Cleomenes I of Sparta, and fled to Darius I in Persia, who then threatened to attack Athens if they did not accept Hippias back. Their refusal resulted in the Battle of Marathon, won by Athens about 430 BC. According to Thucydides in Book 1, Xerxes sent an armada from Persia ten years later, but they were defeated at the Battle of Salamis circa 420BC.

Themistocles: was the naval commander who is renowned for fortifying the Athenian harbour at Piraeus and rebuilding the fleet after the Battle of Marathon, and ten years later became a great hero at the Battle of Salamis. Praised by Thucydides for his "genius", Herodotus later records how jealous rivals caused him to be ostracised and persecuted. Fleeing for his life, he gained asylum and peace with the Persian king, settling at Magnesia near Ephesus where he died.

Pericles: Eulogised by Thucydides, Pericles was a prominent and influential Greek statesman, orator and general in Athens at this time. About 453BC he had moved the Delian League (an association of Greek city states that excluded Sparta) from the island of Delos to Athens. The 50 years circa 468BC - 419BC were referred to by Thucydides in Book One as the Penteconta-etia, covering the so-called "Golden Age" of Greece, reflecting Athens success in keeping the Persian forces at bay.

The thirty years that followed (circa 418BC - 388BC) included the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, and the Corinthian War, with the first twenty years documented by Thucydides. The second year of the war was the Plague of Athens with overcrowding and poor hygiene, in which Pericles' two sons, then Pericles himself died. His death was, according to Thucydides, disastrous for Athens.

Socrates: (470-399BC) was born at this time, followed by Plato: (427-348BC), then Aristotle: (384-322BC).

Socrates incidentally was adamant concerning the afterlife, also being loyal to his "daimonion", his deity, see the use of this word in Acts 17:18. In this he was at odds with the widely travelled philosopher Democritus (460-390BC), apparently the first to write about the "conscience" syneidesis in Greek, but who belittled the concept of the afterlife.
Click here for some notes.

Back to the Kings of Sparta during the Peloponnesian war

Pleistoanax: Reigned possibly jointly with Cleomenes I below.

Pausanias: Son of Pleistoanax. Reigned 408 BC to 395 BC.

Agesipolis: Son of Pausanias. Reigned 394-380 BC.

Cleomenes I: King of Sparta c.439-390BC.

Leonidas I: as the half-brother of Cleomenes I above, became King of Sparta, probably jointly with Agesipolis above. Famous for being the King of Sparta who perished at the Battle of Thermopylae (near modern day Lamia in central Greece) in the invasion by the Persians and their allies. Leonidas had a son, Pleistarchus: but this man shows virtually no history and no recorded children. Far more is known of Agesilaus II just below.

Incidentally this great Persian war followed a sortie by the Greek mercenary/historian Xenophon on Persian soil against Artaxerxes II. In response the Persian king with his allies, an army and navy numbering perhaps two million soldiers and sailors, surrounded and caused Athens (and Sparta) to submit to a famous peace treaty, the King's Peace c.387BC but with Sparta in charge.

Agesilaus II: (c.444-360BC) Became King of Sparta and reigned until 360BC, during most of which time he was, in Plutarch's words, "as good as though commander and king of all Greece," and was for the whole of it greatly identified with his country's deeds and fortunes.


Click here for Amyntas I and here for Amyntas III with both names most likely the same king. He was appointed to be Darius's vassal in Macedonia in 430BC, living to an advanced age and reigning conjointly with his first son Alexander, and his second son Perdiccas, both of whom outlived him, and towards the end having a third son Philip who became the father of Alexander the Great. Coins were issued with Amyntas's image. An earlier grandson of his, Archelaus, son of Perdiccas, was highly regarded by Thucydides in Athens before he was killed.

Philip of Macedon: (382-336BC) Reigned over the kingdom of Macedon from 359 BC, conquering Athens and Sparta until his assassination in 336 BC. Followed by Alexander the Great: (356-323BC) who conquered the Persian empire after the death of his father.

Croesus: Reigned in Lydia c.505-456BC till defeated by Cyrus. Note there is a 90 year discrepancy between Wikipedia and an estimate of these years.

Amasis II: a major Egyptian officer, who declared himself Pharaoh in 490BC following a civil war in Egypt after predecessor Pharaoh Apries had been defeated in 508BC by Nebuchadnezzar when helping Jerusalem. So, in Egypt, civil war, war with Babylon, Greeks also making financial inroads. No peace for the Jews who had gone to live there, as prophesied in Jeremiah. Amasis died in 446BC. Cambyses, son of Cyrus, then took control.

** End of Report