History of Ideas Timeline

  • Period: 3500 BCE to 529 BCE


    Mesopotamia was the earliest human civilization, and the first to develop a system of writing, through the Sumerians.
  • 3100 BCE

    Cuneiform, Sumerian Writing

    The Sumerians were the first to invent a form of writing. They used a clay tablet called the Cuneiform.
  • Period: 3000 BCE to 30 BCE


    Egypt was the first empire. They were ruled by a hierarchy of power, starting with the Pharaoh. They had a rich culture, including a pantheon of gods.
  • Period: 2500 BCE to 3500 BCE


    In ten centuries, the rise and fall of India took place. They were dominated by a caste system and social hierarchy.
  • Period: 1750 BCE to 1111 BCE

    Shang Dynasty

    The Shang Dynasty is the earliest known dynasty of China. It would eventually be succeeded by the Zhou Dynasty.
  • Period: 1728 BCE to 323 BCE

    Babylonian Empire

    The Babylonian empire was located in the south of Mesopotamia. The Babylon city was the capital of the area for years, and the entire culture built around it has come to be known as Babylonia.
  • Period: 1438 BCE to 1532 BCE

    Inca Civilization

    Known for human sacrifice and other gruesome forms of honoring their gods, the Inca civilization was also known for their construction of roads and buildings. Machu Picchu was just one of their architectures. They were eventually conquered by European conquests. Located in present day Peru.
  • Period: 1345 BCE to 1521 BCE

    Aztec Civilization

    In the Aztec Civilization, human sacrifice was also common, but they were also able to make a calendar and written language. Like the Incas, they were conquered by European invaders. Located in present day Mexico.
  • 625 BCE


    Thales was one of the first Greek philosophers to the original substance of matter. He was the founder of the school of natural philosophy, investigating almost everything.
  • 580 BCE


    Pythagoras was the Greek founder of the Pythagoreanism movement. He made contributions of math, religion, and philosophy.
  • 551 BCE


    One of the most influential teachers in Chinese history and all time. He greatly influenced Chinese doctrines in ancient times.
  • 470 BCE


    One of the founders of western philosophy, Socrates was best known for his methods of asking questions. He was sentenced to death for corrupting the youth in Athens.
  • 460 BCE


    Democritus was one of the founders of atomic theory. He was known as the "laughing philosopher."
  • 450 BCE

    Twelve Tables of Rome

    The Twelve Tables of Rome was the Romans first attempt to codify a law. It was a set of laws that was binding to both the Patricians and Plebeians.
  • 427 BCE


    Taught by Socrates and teacher to Aristotle, Plato brought more depth to western thought. In some ways, the Academy he founded was the first university.
  • 384 BCE


    Aristotle is survived by his works which have influenced and shaped the western world. He was a Greek philosopher who made contributions to almost every subject.
  • 106 BCE


    Cicero was a great orator and leading politician. Though he was later murdered, he contributed to what is now seen as Classical rhetoric and philosophy.
  • 100 BCE

    Julius Caesar

    After the rise and fall of Julius Caesar, Rome became an Empire that flourished under the rule of Augustus Caesar.
  • Period: 100 BCE to 400

    Roman Empire

    At the Roman Empire's peak, it covered most of Europe, Britain, western Asia, northern Africa, and the Mediterranean islands. The western alphabet, calendar and romantic languages were developed, as well as Christianity as a major religion. The empire eventually fell after a few centuries.
  • 30

    Crucifixion of Christ

    A point of history never to be forgotten, the crucifixion of Christ marked the beginning of the hope of Christianity and victory over death.
  • 56


    Tacitus was a senator and historian during the Roman Empire. He wrote works that are informative of the times in which he lived.
  • 280


    Constantine became the Roman emperor in 324 AD. He issued the Edict of Milan that protected the Christians from persecution.
  • 354


    Famous author and philosopher, Augustine became a Christian convert later in his life that developed great works such as The City of God.
  • 455

    Sack of Rome

    Rome fell due to a number of reasons, such as the rise of Christianity as well as the invasions of nearby barbarians. It marked the end of the ancient world and the beginning of the Middle Ages.
  • Period: 500 to 1300

    Middle Ages

    The Middle Ages is the period between the fall of Rome and the beginning of the Renaissance.
  • 570


    Muhammed began a religion as well as a state. Founder of Islam, he also united the Arabs into one nation.
  • 742


    Charlemagne was a king who became Holy Roman Emperor. He united central and western Europe during the Middle Ages.
  • 1099

    First Crusade

    The First Crusade was just the beginning of a bloody war between Christianity and Islam. It consisted of a constant draw between the victory and defeat of certain cities, including Jerusalem.
  • 1224

    Thomas Aquinas

    An Italian philosopher and theologian, Aquinas was an authority in the Roman Catholic Church. He is considered one of the most influential thinkers of his time.
  • 1254

    Marco Polo

    Marco Polo was an Italian adventurer who established connections between Europe and the Mongol empire. He became an ambassador that traveled and established routes between the countries.
  • 1348

    The Black Death

    The Black Death was brought in by way of a Genoese trading post. 25-50% of the European population died from the epidemic that lasted close to twenty years.
  • 1398

    Johann Gutenberg

    Gutenberg was a German inventor who first invented the printing press that was to change the writing world forever.
  • 1451


    Columbus proposed a route to the Indies, but due to a number of miscalculations he ended up with his crew in the Americas. Columbus would never fully know what the land he had discovered.
  • 1452

    Leonardo Da Vinci

    Known for his great works of art, including the Mona Lisa, Da Vinci also studied many other scholarly subjects and was a great thinker of his time.
  • 1473


    Copernicus developed the heliocentric theory that said that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of the reverse. Because of it's heresy in the culture at the time, his ideas were not published until he was on his deathbed.
  • 1564


    Shakespeare was a playwright of the 16th century. His tragedies and comedies expanded the english language into unknown territory, transforming it forever.
  • 1564


    Galileo was a leading scientist in many areas, one of which was astrology. He developed the theory of a heliocentric system, and was forced to recant and placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.
  • Period: to

    Thirty Years' War

    The Thirty Years' War took place in Central Europe, where it took nearly 8 million lives through disease and military engagements. It was a religious war fought by inhabitants of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Newton

    Newton was a brilliant physicist who formulated the laws of gravity. He was also a mathematician who developed infinitesimal calculus.
  • Mozart

    Mozart was an Austrian composer, often times considered to be the greatest composer in Western music. He was the first composer to write in all genres of music of the time.
  • Robespierre

    A leader of the French Revolution, Robespierre was important during the era known as The Reign of Terror. He was eventually arrested and executed in 1794.
  • Napoleon

    Napoleon was a French leader and emperor who rose to prominence during the French Revolution. He made conquests and defeated many surrounding European nations before he was exiled to a remote island where he died.
  • American Declaration of Independence

    The Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson in 1776, just the beginning of America's conquest for freedom.
  • Charles Darwin

    Darwin was the scientist who originated the idea of evolutionary processes. At the time it was revolutionary, but quickly became the accepted theory among the scientific population.
  • Karl Marx

    Marx was a German thinker who published "The Communist Manifesto" which laid out the idea of socialism. He believed capitalism to naturally lead to disaster, and took part in the growing movement of international workers.
  • Sigmund Freud

    Freud originated psychoanalysis, a field that reached far into many other subjects. He presented a new perspective on how to view culture and society through his research on the human psyche.
  • Period: to

    Boer War

    The Boer War took place in South Africa. Fought between the Dutch settlers and the English, the English eventually won through burning the farms of the Boers and Africans.
  • Period: to

    World War I

    Incited by the assassination of the archduke of Austria, WWI was a war fought between the Central Powers and the Allied Powers. The war lasted 4 years.
  • Period: to

    World War II

    During a time period of six years, WWII would be the most devastating war. Hitler and the Nazis dominated the conflict, but would eventually lose the war.
  • Big Bang Theory

    Originally developed by Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias, the big bang theory states that the universe is expanding from a single point of density.