Philosophy Timeline

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  • c. 1500 BCE - c. 500 BCE
    Indian scholars of the so-called Vedic Period commit the Vedas to written form; basic tenets of Hinduism are established.
  • c. 1500 BCE - 1100 BCE
    The Rig Veda written, mentioning the god Rudra (Shiva) and goddess Tara (among others) for the first time.
  • c. 610 BCE - c. 546 BCE
    Dates of Anaximander who develops the cosmic theory of the apeiron as the First Cause of existence.
  • c. 600 BCE
    Development of the Charvaka school of philosophy in India.
  • c. 599 BCE - c. 527 BCE
    Traditional dating of the life of Vardhamana, according to Jain tradition.
  • c. 585 BCE
    Time in which Thales of Miletus lived.
  • c. 570 BCE - c. 478 BCE
    Life of Xenophanes of Colophon; claim of One God as the First Cause of existence.
  • c. 563 BCE - c. 483 BCE
    The life of Siddhartha Gautama according to modern scholarly consensus.
  • c. 546 BCE
    Date of Anaximenes' work; air is claimed as the First Cause of existence.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Life of the Chinese Relativist Philosopher Teng Shih (probable date of death 522 or 502 BCE).
  • c. 500 BCE
    Probable life of the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu, founder of Taoism and author of the Tao-Te-Ching.
  • c. 500 BCE
    Probable life of Sun-Tzu, Military Strategist, author of The Art of War.
  • 492 BCE - 432 BCE
    Life of the philosopher Empidocles of Agrigento.
  • c. 485 BCE - c. 415 BCE
    Life of the Sophist Protagoras of Abdera; claim that "man is the measure of all things".
  • 470 BCE - 391 BCE
    Life of the Chinese pacifist philosopher Mo Ti, founder of Mohism.
  • c. 469 BCE - 399 BCE
    Life of Socrates.
  • c. 460 BCE - c. 370 BCE
    Life of Democritus, pupil of Leucippus; development of the concept of the atomic universe.
  • c. 450 BCE - c. 370 BCE
    Life of Antisthenes, found of the Cynic school of philosophy.
  • 440 BCE - 360 BCE
    Life of Chinese Hedonist Philosopher Yang Zhu.
  • 430 BCE - c. 354 BCE
    Life of Xenophon of Athens.
  • 427 BCE - 347 BCE
    Life of Plato.
  • 427 BCE
    Plato is born at Athens, Greece.
  • 407 BCE
    Plato meets Socrates, abandons aspiration to be playwright.
  • c. 404 BCE - 323 BCE
    Life of Greek philosopher Diogenes of Sinope.
  • 403 BCE
    Plato turns away from politics toward philosophy.
  • 399 BCE
    Trial and death of the philosopher Socrates, who taught in the court of the Agora.
  • 384 BCE - 322 BCE
    Life of Aristotle.
  • 380 BCE
    Plato founds his Academy outside of Athens.
  • 372 BCE - 289 BCE
    Life of the Confucian philosopher Mencius (Mang-Tze).
  • 367 BCE
    Plato's second trip to Syracuse.
  • 343 BCE
    King Philip II of Macedon summons Aristotle to tutor his young son Alexander (later 'The Great').
  • c. 336 BCE - 265 BCE
    Life of the philosopher Zeno of Citium.
  • c. 314 BCE
    Zeno of Citium is shipwrecked and stranded in Athens.
  • 213 BCE
    The Burning of the Books and the Burying of Philosophers Period in China.
  • c. 1 CE - c. 100 CE
    The Mahayana movement begins in India with its belief in bodhisattva - saintly souls who helped the living.
  • 89 CE
    Banished from Rome by Domitian with the other philosophers, Epictetus travels to Nicopolis and sets up a school there.
  • c. 108 CE
    The historian Arrian studies with Epictetus, records his teachings.
  • 26 Apr 121 CE - 17 Mar 180 CE
    Life of Marcus Aurelius.
  • c. 204 CE - 270 CE
    Life of Plotinus.
  • c. 380 CE - c. 418 CE
    Life time of Paulus Orosius.
  • c. 470 CE - c. 385 CE
    Life of the philosopher Philolaus, active in Magna Graecia.
  • c. 500 CE - c. 600 CE
    In India the Tantric expands the number of deities to include helpful demons, contactable through ritual.
  • c. 524 CE - c. 525 CE
    Boethius writes The Consolation of Philosophy while imprisoned by Theodoric in Pavia.
  • 617 CE - 686 CE
    Life of the Korean Buddhist philosopher Wonhyo.