History of the World in Objects and Art

20 000BC      
1200BC 800 1455 1820
700BC 1070 1500 1840
350BC 1205 1530 1868
200BC 1260 1600 1890
100BC 1290 1685 1910
30 1350 1755 1920
600 1400 1800 1950
History of the World in Objects and Art Timeline

After two periods of Persian rule, between the 6th and 4th centuries все, Egypt was conquered by Alexander the Great of Macedon in 332 все. One of Alexander's generals, Ptolemy, then founded a dynasty that governed Egypt until 30 все, when the Romans arrived.
Alexander spent six months in Egypt, where he founded the city of Alexandria, named after himself. Following his death in 323 все, Ptolemy seized Egypt. Although the Ptolemies were Macedonian, they presented themselves to their subjects as traditional pharaohs, even following the Egyptian royal custom of marrying their sisters.
Ptolemaic Egypt was a part of the Greek-speaking world of the eastern Mediterranean. Alexandria had a mixed population of Greeks, Jews, and Egyptians, with each group living in its own district. Ptolemy I built a famous library, and the city became a great center of learning, home to Euclid, the father of geometry, as well as the geographer Eratosthenes. Ptolemy also commissioned a lighthouse, which was completed by his son and became one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.


In the 1st century все, the Ptolemies allied with the Romans, who began to play an increasing role in Egyptian affairs. The last Ptolemaic ruler, Cleopatra VII, was drawn into a war between her lover, Mark Antony, and Octavian (the future emperor Augustus). Octavian won, and Egypt became a Roman province following the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra in 30 все.
Roman Egypt was an early center of Christianity—St. Mark's Gospel was written there in Greek in the late 1st century все. When Christianity became the official religion of the empire in the 4th century, the worship of Egyptian gods was banned. The knowledge needed to use hieroglyphs was also eventually forgotten.

Between 321 все and 554ce, three great empires rose in India under the Mauryans, the Kushans, and the Guptas. For the first time in history, India was united. The period also saw the rise of two new world religions-Buddhism and jainism.
The Mauryan Empire (321-185 все) was founded by Chandragupta Maurya. This empire expanded until the third emperor, Ashoka the Great, respected Buddhist teachings and called a halt to further wars of conquest. He then went on to spread Buddhism throughout India.

Another powerful empire was founded by the Buddhist Kushans (c.30-240ce), nomads from Central Asia who conquered northwest India and much of modern Afghanistan.
During this time, a new form of the religion called Mayahana Buddhism emerged.

From 320 to 554ce, the Gupta emperors provided stable rale. During this period, known as India's Golden Age, arts and sciences flourished. Indian mathematicians invented a decimal number system, that included the concept of zero. Buddhism thrived, but there was also a revival of Hinduism, promoted by the Guptas, who built temples to the Hindu gods.

In 221 все, six warring states were conquered and unified with a seventh under the rule of the King of Qin. He declared himself First August Divine Emperor of Qin. It is from Qin, pronounced "chin," that the name China is probably derived.
During a period known as the Warring States era (475-221 все), there were seven powerful kingdoms in constant conflict. The need to wage wars meant that these states mobilized resources on a great scale. Kings appointed civil servants to govern the states in place of rale by the hereditary nobility.

Between 230 and 221 все, King Ying Zheng of Qin gained control of all seven kingdoms and created a totalitarian state. Using forced labor, he built roads, canals, a great wall, and a vast tomb. Standard weights and measures, and a single currency and script were introduced.

The First Emperor's death, in 210 все was followed by widespread rebellions. In 206 все, one of the successful rebels, Liu Bang, founded the Han Dynasty, which lasted from 206 все to 220 ce. Literature, history, and philosophy flourished in the Han period and trade routes increased contact across Asia.
202 ВС
The Founding of the Han Dynasty

From 300 все, Japanese society changed radically after the introduction of wet-rice farming fed an increased number of settled, agrarian communities. Clan nations emerged and, by the 6th century ce, the Yamato had united the country.
Two new processes transformed Japanese society when they were introduced from the East Asian mainland in around 300 все. The method of growing rice in flooded fields and metal-working skills spread from the south to reach all of Japan. Society divided into classes and clan nations fought for dominance. Historians call this the Yayoi period, after a region of Tokyo where pottery from the time was first discovered.

The most powerful clan nation was the Yamato, which conquered all of Japan by the 5th century все. Yamato rulers claimed to be descendants of the Sun goddess, Amaterasu. They were buried beneath huge keyhole-shaped burial mounds, surrounded by moats, called kofun. Rulers had close links with China and Korea. The Korean kings sent missionaries to Japan, introducing Chinese script in 405 ce and Buddhism in 552 ce.

In the late first millennium все, sophisticated urban societies appeared across Mesoamerica. An important common feature was the building of temple pyramids. People worshipped similar gods and played a similar ritual ballgame. Mesoamericans also invented writing systems and complex calendars.
The first true city in Mesoamerica was Monte Alban, founded by the Zapotecs in about 500все. Like the Olmec, the Zapotec devised an early writing system, using glyphs (signs) to name sacrificed enemies portrayed on stone stelae. Later monuments name enemy places in and around the south Mexican Oaxaca Valley that the kings of Monte Alban defeated, to create an empire that lasted until с 700 ce.

The biggest city in Mesoamerica was Teotihuacan, founded around 100 все and lasting until the 7th or
8th century ce. The city may have begun as a sacred center. A cave beneath the Pyramid of the Sun was regarded as the place where humanity emerged into the world and as the entrance to the underworld. Some of the buildings were painted with mythical scenes. The ceremonial center of the city was the Avenue of the Dead, with the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon. The city of Teotihuacan was the center of a state that influenced the whole of Mesoamerica, including the Maya city-states. It was a great manufacturing center, importing raw materials and exporting jewelry, pottery, and obsidian tools.


From around 200 все, the Maya began to build temple pyramids in the rain forests of eastern Mesoamerica. They lived in city-states that were ruled by kings who were their mediators with the gods. Wars between rival kingdoms aimed to capture kings for sacrifice to the gods. The Maya also devised the only complete writing system used in Mesoamerica.

After the decline of Peru's earliest civilization, the Chavin, two regional cultures evolved: the Nazca, who made large, enigmatic drawings in the southern desert; and the Moche-northerners who created beautiful ceramics.
The Nazca civilization was at its height from around 200 все to 650 ce. The Nazca mummified their dead, dressing them in magnificent textiles woven from llama, alpaca, and vicuna wool. They also produced pottery decorated with motifs of animals and supernatural beings. The same figures appear in their geoglyphs—huge drawings made in the desert. These were discovered by the Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe while hiking through the region in
1927. From the 1940s, they were studied and preserved by the German mathematician Maria Reiche.

The Moche civilization developed later, lasting from around 200 to 800 ce. This society was ruled by warrior nobles who went to war to seize captives for torture and sacrifice. The Moche built large mud-brick pyramid tombs for their rulers and buried them surrounded by treasures. This culture is best known for its fine ceramics.