What Happened When?

The timeline of the traditional schools of jurisprudence

500 bc to AD 500

428-347 BC Plato
384-322 BC Aristotle
332 BC Alexander the Great dies after subjugating Persian Empire
280-206 BC Chrysippus of Soli
106-43 BC Marcus Tullius Cicero
48 BC Julius Caesar establishes Roman dictatorship
44 BC Julius Caesar assassinated by Roman Senate, Antony and Octavian seize power
AD 330 Constantine move his capital to Constantinople (now Istanbul)
AD 453 Attilla the Hun dies on his wedding night

428-347 BC  Plato is renowned as one of the greatest Greek philosophers extant. Although early interested in politics, the death of his mentor Socrates and the defeat of Athens by Sparta sent him into philosophy.  His best known work, The Republic, is a description of his utopian government, but Plato apparently despaired of any human government reaching this ideal.  After a short visit to Italy, when he was forty, Plato returned to Athens and founded the Academy, which remained in existence until AD 529.  

384-322 BC  Aristotle was one of Plato's students, and is known for his continuance of Plato's philosophical arguments.  Unlike Plato, however, Aristotle beleived strongly that law and justice are moral in nature and derive from a divine source.  Aristotle also made use of the dialogue form that Plato used, but wrote very sparsely in this form.  His best known items are actually his lecture outlines, a series of carefully detailed courses on a large variety of subjects.  Historians believe that these outlines were collected and arranged by editors after his death.  

332 BC Alexander the Great was responsible for the explosive success and expansion of the Hellenistic Empire.  He was the first such emperor, but lived only a short time after the defeat of the Persian armies and the occupation of Egypt.  He was 33 years old at his death.  After his death, the empire was divided between Alexander's four principal generals, the best known of these being Ptolemy, who ruled in the Egyptian region.

280-206 BC  Chrysippus of Soli was a Greek philosopher and member of the Stoics.  Born in Soli, he made his way to Athens to study at the Academy (founded by Plato), but left the Academy to enter the Stoa Poikile.  He achieved distinction among the pupils of this school, and was later elected to head the school in 232 BC.  He held this position until his death.

106-43 BC Marcus Tullius Cicero is perhaps Rome's greatest orator and political figure prior to the rise of the Caesars.  He rose through the ranks of the politcal forums of the day, entering the Senate in 74 BC, and attaining to the ranks of consul and proconsul by 51 BC.  The upheaval of the Roman Senate and the eventual ascension of Julius Caesar to the throne put an end to Cicero's political ambitions for a short time.  Following the death of Julius caesar, Cicero supported Octavian (later Augustus Caesar) in the war against Mark Antony.  Unfortunately for Cicero, Octavian and Antony reached a truce, and Cicero was proscribed and killed by Antony's order.

48 BC Julius Caesar is well-known as one of the greatest generals of all time.  After a dispute with the Senate and the defeat of his erstwhile political ally Pompey, Caesar marshalled his army and crossed the Rubicon river, heading for Rome.  The Senate, unable to resist his advance, fled in disorder, and Caesar crowned himself king.  His reign was short-lived however. 

44 BC Julius Caesar, according to legend, entered the Senate chambers on some pretext.  Several of the Senators, who had entered with daggers concealed under their togas, surrounded him and stabbed him to death.  One legend states that one of these Senators was Brutus, a close friend of Caesar's who betrayed him.

AD 330 Constantine I, first emperor of the Byzantine Empire, ceded the city of Rome to the Vandals and Visigoths and removed to Constantinople, a city on the Black Sea that was built on the ruins of Byzantium.  The city of Rome was ultimatly left to the bishop of Rome following Constantine's conversion to Christianinty.  Canstantinople was later attacked during the Fourth Crusade and was finally sacked in 1453.  The modern city of Istanbul now stands upon the site.

AD 453 Attilla the Hun, known as the "Scourge of God" led a Hun army through the eastern portion of the European Continent.  Although his army appeared unstoppable, Attilla established camp so that he could get married before renewing his assault on the Byzantines.  He drank himself unconcious that night and drowned in his own blood after getting a nosebleed.  Following his death, the Hun army retired to their lands.

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This page last updated on 3 May 2002 by John Stradling
Copyright John Stradling 2002