a brief timeline of western arts and ideas

Below is a timeline that includes some key events in pertinent to the history of the Western arts and ideas. This timeline is not anywhere close to complete, but attempts to provide a listing of significant events and movements that are referenced in arts and humanities history. This timeline provides a bit of grounding to references you may run across in arts and humanities courses.

Ancient Israel

  • C. 17th C BCE Abraham, Isaac & Jacob
  • C. 13th C BCE Moses leads Israel from Egypt
  • C. 13th -12th C Israelites settle Land of Israel
  • C. 1020 Saul, David, Solomon
  • 960 First Temple built in Jerusalem
  • 930 The Kingdom divided into Judah & Israel
  • 770-720 Israel crushed by the Assyrians
  • 586 Israel conquered by the Babylonians & the Temple destroyed
  • 538-515 Many Jews return from Babylon & The Temple rebuilt

Ancient Greece

  • 5th C & 4th C - Classical period
  • 427-347 Plato
  • 384-322 Aristotle
  • Hellenistic Period: 323-146 BCE (Alexander the Great and expansion of empire)
  • 63 BCE Jerusalem conquered by Rome

Ancient Rome

  • Roman Greece: 146 BCE - 5th C (fall of Western Roman empire) and 15th C (fall of Byzantium or Eastern Roman Empire)
  • 37 BCE - 4 CE Herod rules the Land of Israel (Roman province of Judea)
  • 20-23 Ministry of Jesus of Nazareth
  • 70 Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple
  • 313 Edict of Milan (Christianity legalized)
  • 392 Christianity official religion of Roman Empire
  • 395 Administrative split in church of east (Constantinople) and west (Rome)
  • 354-430 Augustine
  • 360 Hagia Sofia dedicated in Constantinople
  • 5th century: fall of Roman Empire
  • 529 closure of academy, first monastery opened by Benedict

Middle ages (500-1400)

Renaissance (1400-1600)

Baroque (1600-1750)

Enlightenment (Classical in music / Neo-Classical in visual art)


The 20th Century (Modernism / Postmodernism)