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 Time Line of Western Legal History

Professor Golash


4000 B.C.
  • Settlements of Sumer and Akkad in Tigris and Euphrates valley.
  • Egyptians settled in Nile valley.
  • First written records.
  • Development of agriculture

3000 B.C.

  • Sumerian cities of Ur, Kish, Erech, and Nippur founded.
  • Earliest phase of construction of Stone Henge
  • 2800-2200 B.C. Old Kingdom of Egypt.
  • Pyramids built


2500 B.C.
  • Sumer conquered by Sargon I of Akkad.

2000 B.C. -1700 B.C.
  • Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

[Egypt Mespotamia 1800 B.C.]
  • First Babylonian Empire
  • Code of Hammurabi
  • 1670 B.C. Hyksos conquer Egypt.
  • 1650 B.C. Hebrews move into areas controlled by Egypt.
  • 1580-1525 B.C. New Kingdom of Egypt
    • Book of the Dead

1500 B.C.
  • 1391-1350 B.C. King Akhenaten ruler of Egypt
  • 1350 B.C. King Tutankhamen ruler of Egypt
  • 1350-1115 B.C. Rameses Dynasty - Egypt
  • Mycenaean Period in Greece
  • Dorian invasion destroys Mycenaean civilization
  • 1250 B.C. Hebrews leave Egypt, establish religious state in Canaan (Israel) [Exodus]
  • 1200 B.C. Trojan War [Homer, Iliad] [Aeschylus, Eumenides]

1000 B.C.
Elgin marbles





[Greece 500 B.C.]
  • 800 B.C. Homer, Iliad
  • 776 B.C. First Olympic Games (traditional date)
  • 753 B.C. Foundation of Rome (traditional date)
  • 624 B.C. Draco's Code (Athens)
  • 593 B.C. Solon's Code (Athens)
  • Council of Four Hundred in Athens
  • 546-410 B.C. Age of Tyrants (Athens)
  • 509 B.C. Rome becomes a republic

  • 480 B.C. Greeks defeat Persian invasion
  • Socrates (469-399 B.C.)(Athens) [Plato, Apology, Crito]
  • 451-448 B.C. Laws of the Twelve Tables
  • 431 B.C. Pelopponesian War between Athens and Sparta
  • Plato (427-347 B.C.) Gorgias

400 B.C.

[Alexander's Empire]

  • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)
  • 370 B.C. Roman reforms give greater voice to plebeians
  • Alexander the Great (350-323 B.C.)

300 B.C.
  • Hebrew Law collected
  • 287 B.C. Hortensian Law (Rome): plebiscites become binding on senate
  • 264-202 B.C. First and Second Punic Wars (Rome v. Carthage); Defeat of Hannibal

200 B.C.
  • 146 B.C. Roman conquest of Greece
  • Destruction of Corinth & Carthage

100 B.C.

Octavian

  • 58-50 B.C. Julius Caesar's conquest of Gaul
  • 44 B.C. Assassination of Julius Caesar
  • 40-43 B.C. Cicero, De Legibus
  • 30 B.C. Suicide of Antony and Cleopatra
  • 27 B.C. Augustus Caesar named Emperor of Rome
  • 4-6 B.C. Birth of Christ
[Roman Republic 50 B.C.]


1 A.D.

Tiberius

  • 14-37 A.D. Tiberius Emperor of Rome
  • 43 A.D. Roman Conquest of Britain
  • 61 A.D. Queen Boadicea's Revolt
  • 70 A.D. Romans take Jerusalem
  • 79 A.D. Destruction of Pompeii by eruption of Vesuvius

100 A.D.
[Roman Empire 120 A.D.]
  • Plutarch
  • 117-138 A.D. Hadrian Emperor of Rome
  • 120 A.D. Institutes of Gaius

200 A.D.

300 A.D.
  • 313 A.D. Constantine recognizes Christianity as official religion of the Roman Empire
  • 330 A.D. Constantinople founded as capital of Roman Empire in East
  • 354-430 A.D. Augustine

400 A.D.
[Roman Empire 400 A.D.]
[Barbarian Invasions]
  • Western Europe invaded by Goths, Vandals, and Franks
  • 410 A.D. Sack of Rome by Alaric
  • 410-450 A.D. Withdrawal of Romans from Britain
  • 433 A.D. Europe invaded by Huns, led by Attila
  • 455 A.D. Sack of Rome by Vandals
  • Anglo-Saxon conquest of England
  • 476 A.D. End of Roman Empire in West


[Roman Empire 500 A.D.]
  • 529 A.D. Justinian closes Plato's Academy as pagan
  • 540 A.D. Institutes of Justinian

600 A.D.
  • 602 A.D. Earliest Anglo-Saxon code of law: Laws of Aethelberht

700 A.D.
  • Moslem invasion of North Africa, Spain, and France

800 A.D.
  • 800 A.D. Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor
  • 878 A.D. Defeat of Danish invasion of England by King Alfred of Wessex
  • 890-92 A.D. Laws of Alfred

900 A.D.
  • 924-39 A.D. Laws of Aethelstan


1000 A.D.
  • 1016 A.D. Canute of Denmark crowned King of England
  • 1042 A.D. Edward the Confessor crowned
  • 1066 A.D. William the Conqueror of Normandy invades and conquers Britain
  • 1086 A.D. Domesday Book
  • 1095 A.D. First Crusade

1100 A.D. Henry I King of England
  • 1147 A.D. Second Crusade
  • Henry II King of England
  • beginning of trial by jury
  • 1164 A.D. Constitutions of Clarendon
  • 1166 A.D. Assize of Clarendon
  • 1170 A.D. Murder of Thomas a Becket
  • 1184 A.D. Assize of the Forest
  • 1188 A.D. Saladin Tithe
  • 1189 A.D. Third Crusade
  • Richard the Lionhearted (1189-1199 A.D.)

1200 A.D.
  • King John (1200-1216 A.D.)
  • 1201 A.D. Fourth Crusade
  • 1212 A.D. Children's Crusade
  • 1215 A.D. Magna Carta
  • 1215 A.D. Fourth Lateran Council forbids priests to participate in trial by ordeal
  • Henry II (1216-1272 A.D.)
  • 1233 A.D. Inquisition established
  • 1274 A.D. Aquinas, Summa Theologica

1300 A.D.
  • 1336 A.D. Outbreak of Hundred Years' War between France and England
  • 1348 A.D. Outbreak of Black Death
  • Chaucer

1400 A.D.
  • 1429 A.D. Siege of Orleans
  • Joan of Arc (1412-1431 A.D.)
  • 1453 A.D. End of Hundred Years' War
  • Fall of Constantinople to Turks
  • 1455-85 A.D. Wars of the Roses
  • 1492 A.D. Columbus arrives in West Indies


  • 1509 A.D. Henry VIII King of England [A Man for All Seasons]
  • 1517 A.D. Luther, 95 Theses
  • Calvin
  • 1534 A.D. Church of England breaks from Rome
  •  Act of Supremacy
  • 1535 A.D. Queen Mary ("Bloody Mary")
  • 1558 A.D. Elizabeth I Queen of England
  • 1588 A.D. Defeat of Spanish Armada by Britain

1600 A.D.
  • 1603 A.D. James I King of England; asserts divine right of kings
  • 1628 A.D. Petition of Right
  • 1629-40 A.D. Charles I rules without Parliament
  • 1649 A.D. Trial of Charles I for treason; Charles beheaded
  • 1649-1660 A.D. Interregnum; rule of Oliver Cromwell
  • 1651 A.D. Hobbes, Leviathan
  • 1660 A.D. Restoration of Charles II
  • 1670 A.D. Bushell's Case
  • 1688 A.D. Glorious Revolution; James II deposed
  • 1689 A.D. Reign of William & Mary; English Bill of Rights
  • 1690 A.D. Locke, Second Treatise of Government
  • 1692 A.D. Salem Witch Trials

1700 A.D.
  • 1702 A.D. Queen Anne (1702-14)
  • 1714 A.D. George I (1714-1727)
  • 1727 A.D. George II (1727-1760)
  • 1760 A.D. George III (1760-1820)
  • 1776 A.D. American Revolution
  • 1787 A.D. U.S. Constitution
  • 1789 A.D. French Revolution; U.S. Bill of Rights


Last update:  10/19/99

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