Literature Timeline

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  • c. 2500 BCE
    Beginning of literature in Sumerian.
  • 2285 BCE - 2250 BCE
    Life of Enheduanna, daughter of Sargon of Akkad, and world's first author known by name.
  • c. 2150 BCE - c. 1400 BCE
    The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh written on clay tablets.
  • c. 1900 BCE - c. 1600 BCE
    The poem "Descent of Inanna" is written.
  • c. 1900 BCE - c. 1600 BCE
    Composition of The Descent of Inanna.
  • c. 1640 BCE - c. 1700 BCE
    Written form of the Atrahasis Myth of the Great Flood.
  • 1345 BCE
    The world's first manual on training horses is written by the Mitanni horse trainer Kikkuli (found in Hattusa).
  • c. 1120 BCE
    Extant copy of the Sumerian Enuma Elish (creation story) is made from much older text.
  • c. 800 BCE - c. 700 BCE
    Homer of Greece writes his Iliad and Odyssey.
  • c. 700 BCE
    Greek poet Hesiod writes his Theogony and Works and Days.
  • c. 647 BCE - c. 629 BCE
    Extensive collection of clay tablets acquired known as Ashurbanipal's Library at Nineveh.
  • c. 500 BCE
    The Indian epic the Ramayana is composed by the sage Valmiki.
  • c. 400 BCE - c. 200 CE
    The Bhagavad Gita, part of the Mahabharata, is written at some point between 400 BCE and 200 CE.
  • 213 BCE
    The Burning of the Books and the Burying of Philosophers Period in China.
  • c. 205 BCE - 184 BCE
    Plautus writes his Roman comedy plays.
  • c. 200 BCE
    Plautus' comedy play Stichus is first performed.
  • c. 191 BCE
    Plautus' comedy play Pseudolus is first performed.
  • c. 100 BCE
    Buddhist sutras began to be written down in Pali.
  • 59 BCE - 17 CE
    Life of Livy.
  • 43 BCE - 17 CE
    Life of the Roman writer Ovid, author of Metamorphoses.
  • c. 30 BCE - c. 19 BCE
    Roman poet Virgil writes his Aeneid.
  • 23 CE - Aug 79 CE
    Life of Pliny the Elder.
  • c. 69 CE - c. 130 CE
    Life of Roman biographer Suetonius who wrote 'The Twelve Caesars'.
  • 148 CE
    An Shigao is the first Buddhist translator mentioned in Chinese sources who established a translation centre in the Chinese imperial capital, Luoyang.