The 5th century BC started the first day of 500 BC and ended the last day of 401 BC.
The Parthenon of Athens
seen from the hill of the Pnyx to the west. Location 23°43'35.69"E 37°58'17.39"N
This century saw the establishment of Pataliputra as a capital of the Magadha Empire. This city would later become the ruling capital of different Indian kingdoms for about a thousand years. This period saw the rise of two great philosophical schools of the east, Jainism and Buddhism.
This period saw Mahavira and Buddha spreading their respective teachings in the northern plains of India. This essentially changed the socio-cultural and political dynamics of the region of South Asia. Buddhism would later go on to become one of the major world religions.
This period also saw the work of Yaska, who created Nirukta, that would lay the foundation stone for Sanskrit grammar and is one of the oldest works on grammar known to mankind.
This century is also traditionally recognized as the classical period of the Greeks, which would continue all the way through the 4th century until the time of Alexander the Great. The life of Socrates represented a major milestone in Greek philosophy though his teachings only survive through the work of his students, most notably Plato and Xenophon. The tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, as well as the comedian Aristophanes all date from this era and many of their works are still considered classics of the western theatrical canon.
The Persian Wars, fought between a coalition of Greek cities and the vast Achaemenid Persian Empire was a pivotal moment in Greek politics. After having successfully prevented the annexation of Greece by the Persians, Sparta, the dominant power in the coalition, had no intention of further offensive action and considered the war over. Meanwhile, Athens counter-attacked, liberating Greek subjects of the Persian Empire up and down the Ionian coast and mobilizing a new coalition, the Delian League. Tensions between Athens, and its growing imperialistic ambitions as leader of the Delian League, and the traditionally dominant Sparta led to a protracted stalemate in the Peloponnesian war.
- 469 BC: Philosopher Socrates is born in Attica, Athens, Greece.
- 468 BC: Sophocles, Greek playwright, defeats Aeschylus for the Athenian Prize.
- 468 BC: Antium captured by Roman forces.
- 468 BC: King Zhending of Zhou becomes King of the Zhou Dynasty of China.
- 466 BC: Delian League defeats Persia at the Battle of Eurymedon.
- 466 BC: The Greek colony of Taras, in Magna Graecia, is defeated by Iapyges, a native population of ancient Apulia; Tarentine monarchy falls, with the installation of a democracy and the expulsion of the Pythagoreans.
- 465 BC: King Xerxes I of the Persian Empire is murdered by Artabanus the Hyrcanian. He is succeeded by Artaxerxes I, possibly with Artabanus acting as Regent.
- 465 BC: Thasos revolts from the Delian League.
- 464 BC: An earthquake in ancient Sparta, Greece leads to a Helot uprising and strained relations with Athens, one of the factors that lead to the Peloponnesian War.
- 464 BC: Regent King Artabanus of Persia is killed by his charge Artaxerxes I.
- 464 BC: Third Messenian war.
- 462 BC: The revolt of Thasos against the Delian League comes to an end with their surrender.
- 461 BC: Athenian politician Cimon is ostracized.
- 460 BC: Egypt revolts against Persia, starting a six-year war. An Athenian force sent to attack Cyprus is diverted to support this revolt.
- 460 BC: Cincinnatus becomes consul of the Roman Republic.
- 460 BC: Physician Hippocrates is born in Kos, Greece.
- 459 BC: Pleistoanax succeeds his father Pleistarchus as king of Sparta.
- 459 BC: Destruction of the Sicilian town of Morgantina by Douketios, leader of the Sikels, according to Diodoros Siculus.
- 459 BC: Ezra leads the second body of Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem.
- 458 BC: Greek playwright Aeschylus completes the Oresteia, a trilogy that tells the story of a family blood feud. The plays will have a great influence on future writers.
- 458 BC: Cincinnatus is named dictator of the Roman Republic in order to defend it against Aequi. Sixteen days later, after defeating the invaders at the Battle of Mount Algidus, he resigns and returns to his farm.
- 457 BC: Athenian statesman Pericles' greatest reform, allowing common people to serve in any state office, inaugurates Golden Age of Ancient Athens.
- 457 BC: Battle of Tanagra--The Spartans defeat the Athenians, near Thebes.
- 457 BC: Battle of Oenophyta--The Athenians defeat the Thebans and take control of Boeotia.
- 457 BC: Decree of Artaxerxes I to re-establish the city government of Jerusalem. See Ezra 7, Daniel 9 and Nehemiah 1 in Old Testament.
- 455 BC: A thirty years' truce concluded between Athens and Lacedaemon.
- 455 BC: Euripides presents his first known tragedy, Peliades, in the Athenian festival of Dionysia.
- 454 BC: Athens loses a fleet and possibly as many as 50 000 men in a failed attempt to aid an Egyptian revolt against Persia.
- 454 BC: The treasury of the Delian League is moved from Delos to Athens.
- 454 BC: Hostilities between Segesta and Selinunte, two Greek cities on Sicily.
- 453 BC: Taiyuan, a city in China, gets flooded.
- 451 BC: Athens makes peace with Sparta and wages a war against Persia.
- 451 BC: The decemviri come to power in the Roman Republic. They enact the twelve tables, the foundation of Roman Law.
- 450 BC: Battle of Salamis: Athenians under Cimon defeat the Persian fleet.
- 450 BC: Perdiccas II succeeds Alexander I as king of Macedonia (approximate date).
- 450 BC to 325 BC: Olmecs leave La Venta, and it becomes depopulated by 325 BC.
- 419 BC: The Peace of Nicias is broken when Sparta defeats Argos.
- 418 BC: The Spartans win a major victory over the Athenians in the Battle of Mantinea, the biggest land battle of the Peloponnesian War.
- 416 BC: The Athenians capture the island of Melos and treat the inhabitants with great cruelty.
- 416 BC: The Athenians adhere to a plea of help from Sicily and start planning an invasion of the island.
- 415 BC: The sacred Hermae busts in Athens are mutilated just before the expedition to Sicily is sent away. One of the culprits, Andocides, is captured and is forced to turn informer. He names the other mutilators, among them Alcibiades, who are sentenced to death in their absence.
- 415 BC: Alcibiades defects from Athens to Sparta after having learned about his death sentence.
- 414 BC: The Athenians try to make a breakthrough in their siege of Syracuse but are defeated by the Spartans.
- 413 BC: Demosthenes suggests the Athenians leave Syracuse in order to return to Athens, where help is needed. However, Nicias refuses and they are again defeated in battle by the Spartans. Both Demosthenes and Nicias are killed.
- 413 BC: Caria allies itself with Sparta.
- 412 BC: The Persian Empire starts preparing an invasion of Ionia and signs a treaty with Sparta about it.
- 411 BC: The democracy in Athens is overthrown and replaced by the oligarchic Council of Four Hundred. This council is itself soon defeated and order is almost restored, when the Five Thousand start ruling. Early next year, they are also overthrown and the old democracy is restored.
- 410 BC: Athens regains control over its vital grain route from the Black Sea by defeating Sparta in the Battle of Cyzicus.
- 409 BC: Athens recaptures Byzantium, thereby putting an end to its revolt against Athens and taking control of the whole Bosporus.
- 409 BC: The city of Rhodes is founded.
- 409 BC: The Carthaginians invade Sicily.
- 408 BC: The Persian king, Darius II, decides to aid Sparta in the war and makes his son Cyrus a satrap. However, Cyrus starts collecting an army to benefit his own interests, rather than his father's.
- 408 BC: Alcibiades returns to Athens in triumph after an absence of seven years.
- 407 BC: The Athenian fleet is routed by the Spartan one in the Battle of Notium, which gives Alcibiades' opponents a reason to strip him of command. He never returns to Athens again.
- 406 BC: Athens defeats Sparta in the Battle of Arginusae and the blockade of Conon is lifted.
- 406 BC: Sparta sues for peace, but Athens rejects this.
- 406 BC: The Carthaginians once again invade Sicily and return to Carthage with spoils of war, but also with the plague.
- 405 BC: The Spartan king Pausanias lays siege to Athens, which makes the city start starving.
- 405 BC: Dionysius the Elder rises to power in Syracuse. He signs a peace with Carthage and starts consolidating and expanding his influence.
- April 25, 404 BC: Athens surrenders to Sparta, ending the Peloponnesian War. Sparta introduces an oligarchic system, the Thirty Tyrants, in Athens.
- 404 BC: Egypt rebels against Persian rule.
- 403 BC: The Chinese state of Jin is divided into three smaller nations.
- 403 BC: Some exiled Athenians return to fight the Thirty Tyrants and restore democracy in Athens. They are, however, narrowly defeated by the Spartans in the Battle of Piraeus. After this, the Spartan king Pausanias allows democracy to be restored in Athens.
- 403 BC: Thrasybulus restores the Athenian democracy and grants an almost general amnesty.
- 403 BC: The Athenians adopt the Ionian alphabet.
- 401 BC: Cyrus the Younger rebels against the Persian king Artaxerxes II but is, however, eventually slain in battle.
- 400 BC: After Cyrus has been killed, his Greek mercenaries make their way back to Greece, where Sparta is so impressed with their feats in and march through Persia that they declare war on the Persians.
- 400 BC: The Carthaginians occupy Malta.
- 400 BC: The Egyptians successfully revolt against Persian rule.
- 400 BC: London has its origins as far back as this time.
- 400 BC: J?mon period ends in Ancient Japan.
- Agesilaus II, King of Sparta
- Alcibiades, Athenian general and politician
- Alexander I, King of Macedonia
- Aristides, Athenian statesman
- Artabanus of Persia, Regent King for Artaxerxes I
- Artaxerxes II, King of Persia
- Aspasia of Miletus, Mistress of Pericles of Athens
- Brasidas, Spartan general
- Marcus Furius Camillus, Roman statesman
- Cimon, Athenian statesman
- Cleon, Athenian statesman
- Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Roman statesman
- Gaius Marcius Coriolanus, Roman general
- Darius II, King of Persia
- Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse
- Ephialtes, betrayer of Greece at the Battle of Thermopylae
- Fan Li, Chinese advisor
- King Fuchai of Wu, King of the state of Wu
- King Goujian of Yue, King of Yue
- King Kao of Zhou, King of the Zhou Dynasty of China
- Leonidas I, King of Sparta
- Lu Ban, Chinese engineer and inventor
- Lysander, Spartan general and admiral
- Mardonius, Persian general
- Marquess Wen of Wei, Chinese ruler of the state of Wei
- Miltiades, Athenian general
- Pausanias, Spartan general
- Pericles, Athenian politician
- Pleistarchus, King of Sparta
- King Porus, King of Paurava, fought against Alexander at the Battle of Hydaspes
- Themistocles, Athenian statesman and general
- King Weilie of Zhou, King of the Zhou Dynasty
- Wu Zixu, Chinese general and politician
- Verginia, Legendary victim of the decemviri
- Xerxes I, King of Persia
- Xi Shi, Chinese beauty
- King Zhending of Zhou, King of the Zhou Dynasty of China
- Agatharchus, Greek painter
- Callicrates, Greek architect
- Douris, Greek red-figure vase painter and potter
- Euphronios, Greek vase painter and potter
- Hippodamus of Miletus, Greek architect
- Ictinus, Greek architect
- Kresilas, Greek sculptor
- Kritios, Greek sculptor
- Mnesikles, Greek architect
- Myron of Eleutherae, Greek sculptor
- Paeonius, Greek sculptor
- Parrhasius, Greek painter
- Phidias, Greek sculptor, painter and architect
- Polygnotus, Greek painter
- Polykleitos, Greek sculptor
- Zeuxis, Greek painter
- Aeschylus, Greek playwright
- Aristophanes, Greek playwright
- Bacchylides, Greek lyric poet.
- Cratinus Greek comic poet and playwright
- Critias, Greek author
- Diagoras of Melos, Greek poet and sophist
- Euripides, Greek playwright
- Isocrates, Greek orator
- Philoxenus of Cythera, Greek dithyrambic poet
- Pindar, Greek poet
- Simonides of Ceos, Greek lyric poet
- Sophocles, Greek playwright
Science and philosophy
- Anaxagoras, Greek philosopher
- Democritus, Greek philosopher
- Gautama Buddha, Indian philosopher and founder of Buddhism
- Gorgias, Greek sophist, philosopher and rhetorician
- Empedocles, Greek philosopher
- Eudoxus of Cnidus, Greek mathematician
- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
- Herodotus, Greek historian
- Hippias of Elis, Greek sophist
- Hippocrates, Greek physician
- Mozi, Chinese philosopher
- Panini, Hindu grammarian
- Parmenides of Elea, Greek philosopher
- Protagoras, Greek philosopher
- Prodicus, Greek philosopher
- Socrates, Greek philosopher
- Thucydides, Greek historian
- Zengzi, student of Confucius, wrote Great Learning
- Zeno of Elea, Greek philosopher
Inventions, discoveries, introductions
See: List of sovereign states in the 5th century BC.
Decades and years
- ^ Zhao, Dingxin (2004). "Comment: Spurious Causation in a Historical Process: War and Bureaucratization in Early China". American Sociological Review. 69 (4): 603-607. doi:10.1177/000312240406900407.