1st millennium BC

The 1st millennium BC was the period of time between from the year 1000 BC to 1 BC (10th to 1st centuries BC; in astronomy: JD 1356182.51721425.5[1]). It encompasses the Iron Age in the Old World and sees the transition from the Ancient Near East to classical antiquity.

Overview map of the world in the mid 1st millennium BC, color-coded by cultural stage:
  Palaeolithic or Mesolithic hunter-gatherers
  nomadic pastoralists
  simple farming societies
  complex farming societies/chiefdoms
  state societies
Iron Age
Bronze Age

Ancient Near East (1200–550 BC)

Bronze Age collapse (1200–1150 BC)
Anatolia, Caucasus, Levant


Aegean (1190–700 BC)
Italy (1100–700 BC)
Balkans (1100 BC – 150 AD)
Eastern Europe (900–650 BC)
Central Europe (800–50 BC)
Great Britain (800 BC – 100 AD)
Northern Europe (500 BC – 800 AD)

South Asia (1200–200 BC)

East Asia (500 BC – 300 AD)

Iron metallurgy in Africa

Iron Age metallurgy
Ancient iron production

Ancient history
Mediterranean, Greater Persia, South Asia, China
Greek, Roman, Chinese, Medieval

World population roughly doubled over the course of the millennium, from about 100 million to about 200–250 million.[2]


The Neo-Assyrian Empire dominates the Near East in the early centuries of the millennium, supplanted by the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century. Ancient Egypt is in decline, and falls to the Achaemenids in 525 BC.

In Greece, Classical Antiquity begins with the colonization of Magna Graecia and peaks with the conquest of the Achaemenids and the subsequent flourishing of Hellenistic civilization (4th to 2nd centuries).

The Roman Republic supplants the Etruscans and then the Carthaginians (5th to 3rd centuries). The close of the millennium sees the rise of the Roman Empire. The early Celts dominate Central Europe while Northern Europe is in the Pre-Roman Iron Age. In East Africa, the Nubian Empire and Aksum arise.

In South Asia, the Vedic civilization blends into the Maurya Empire. The Scythians dominate Central Asia. In China, the Spring and Autumn period sees the rise of Confucianism. Towards the close of the millennium, the Han Dynasty extends Chinese power towards Central Asia, where it borders on Indo-Greek and Iranian states. Japan is in the Yayoi period. The Maya civilization rises in Mesoamerica.

The first millennium BC is the formative period of the classical world religions, with the development of early Judaism and Zoroastrianism in the Near East, and Vedic religion and Vedanta, Jainism and Buddhism in India. Early literature develops in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Sanskrit, Tamil and Chinese. The term Axial Age, coined by Karl Jaspers, is intended to express the crucial importance of the period of c. the 8th to 2nd centuries BC in world history.

World population more than doubled over the course of the millennium, from about an estimated 50–100 million to an estimated 170–300 million. Close to 90% of world population at the end of the first millennium BC lived in the Iron Age civilizations of the Old World (Roman Empire, Parthian Empire, Graeco-Indo-Scythian and Hindu kingdoms, Han China). The population of the Americas was below 20 million, concentrated in Mesoamerica (Epi-Olmec culture); that of Sub-Saharan Africa was likely below 10 million. The population of Oceania was likely less than one million people.[2]

Ancient history


Significant people

Some of the central figures of the Axial Age are legendary or semi-legendary, with no contemporary written records available (e.g. Solomon, Zoroaster, Gautama Buddha etc.)

Religion, philosophy, scholarship

Inventions, discoveries, introductions

Scythian gold plaque with panther (late 7th century BC)
The Parthenon, Athens (5th century BC)
The Victorious Youth (c. 310 BC), a preserved bronze statue of a Greek athlete in Contrapposto pose
"The Wrestler", an Olmec era statuette, dated roughly 1400–400 BC
Lamassu facing forward. Bas-relief from the king Sargon II's palace at Dur Sharrukin in Assyria (now Khorsabad in Iraq), c. 713–716 BC. From Paul-Émile Botta's excavations in 1843–1844.


Greco-Roman literature

Archaic period

Classical period

Hellenistic to Roman period

Chinese literature
Sanskrit literature
Other (2nd to 1st century BC)


Urnfield cultureEurope, Central1300–750 BCBronze Age Europe
Atlantic Bronze AgeEurope, Western1300–700 BCBronze Age Europe
Painted Grey Ware cultureSouth Asia1200–600 BCBronze Age India, Indo-Aryan migration
Late Nordic Bronze AgeEurope, North1100–550 BCBronze Age Europe
Villanovan cultureEurope, Italy1100–700 BCIron Age Europe
Greek Dark AgesGreece1100–800 BCDorian invasion
Iron Age IINear East1000–586 BCAncient Near East, List of archaeological periods (Levant)
Sa Huỳnh cultureSoutheast Asia, Vietnam1000 BC–AD 200
Woodland periodNorth America1000 BC – AD 1000List of archaeological periods (North America)
Bantu expansionSub-Saharan Africa1000 BC–AD 500
Middle Nok PeriodSub-Saharan Africa, West900–300 BCIron metallurgy in Africa
Novocherkassk cultureEurope, Eastern900–650 BC
Chavín de HuántarSouth America, Peru[9]1200–500 BC
Poverty Point earthworksNorth America, Louisiana1650–700 BC[9]
OlmecsMesoamerica1500–400 BC
Adena cultureNorth America, Ohio1000–200 BC[9]
Liaoning bronze dagger cultureEast Asia800–600 BC
Middle MumunEast Asia, Korea800–300 BC
Etruscan civilizationEurope, Italy800–264 BC
Paracas cultureSouth America, Peru800–100 BC[9]
Hallstatt cultureEurope, Central800 BC–500 BCIron Age Europe, Thraco-Cimmerian, Celts
British Iron AgeEurope, Britain700–50 BCInsular Celts
Zapotec civilizationMesoamerica700 BC – AD 700
Pazyryk cultureCentral Asia600–300 BCScythians, Saka, Pazyryk burials
Aldy-Bel cultureCentral Asia600–300 BCScythians, Saka
La Tène cultureEurope, Central/Western500–50 BCGauls
Pre-Roman Iron AgeEurope, North500–50 BCProto-Germanic
Northern Black Polished WareSouth Asia500–300 BCVedic period
Late MumunEast Asia, Korea550–300 BC
UreweSub-Saharan Africa400 BC–AD 500Iron metallurgy in Africa
Late Nok PeriodSub-Saharan Africa, West300–1 BCIron metallurgy in Africa
Nasca cultureSouth America, Peru100 BC–800 AD[9]
Calima cultureSouth America, Colombia200 BC–400 AD
Hopewell traditionNorth America100 BC–AD 400[10]
TeotihuacanMesoamerica100 BC –AD 550[10]
Ipiutak SiteNorth America, Alaska100 BC –AD 800[10]


Historical solar eclipses


Date Eclipse






Gamma Ecliptic







(Min & Sec)

899 21 Apr Annular 53 0.9591 0.8964 22:32:15 22:21:56 00:03:04 China's 'Double-Dawn' Eclipse
763 15 Jun Total 44 1.0596 0.2715 08:11:13 08:14:01 00:05:00 Assyrian Eclipse
648 6 Apr Total 38 1.0689 0.6898 08:24:05 08:31:03 00:05:02 Archilochus' Eclipse
585 28 May Total 57 1.0798 0.3201 14:25:41 14:22:26 00:06:04 Thales Eclipse (Medes vs. Lydians), firstly recorded in Herodotus History.
557 19 May Total 48 1.0258 0.3145 12:49:02 12:52:26 00:02:22 The Siege of Larisa, firstly recorded by Xenophon.
480 2 Oct Annular 65 0.9324 0.4951 11:56:54 11:51:01 00:07:57 Xerxes' Eclipse. recorded by Herodotus History.
431 3 Aug Annular 48 0.9843 0.8388 14:45:34 14:54:52 00:01:05 Peloponnesian War.
424 21 Mar Annular 42 0.9430 0.9433 07:43:30 07:54:29 00:04:39 8th Year of Peloponnesian War.

Centuries and decades

10th century BC 990s BC980s BC 970s BC 960s BC950s BC 940s BC 930s BC920s BC 910s BC900s BC
9th century BC 890s BC880s BC 870s BC 860s BC850s BC 840s BC 830s BC820s BC 810s BC800s BC
8th century BC 790s BC780s BC 770s BC 760s BC750s BC 740s BC 730s BC720s BC 710s BC700s BC
7th century BC 690s BC680s BC 670s BC 660s BC650s BC 640s BC 630s BC620s BC 610s BC600s BC
6th century BC 590s BC580s BC 570s BC 560s BC550s BC 540s BC 530s BC520s BC 510s BC500s BC
5th century BC 490s BC480s BC 470s BC 460s BC450s BC 440s BC 430s BC420s BC 410s BC400s BC
4th century BC 390s BC380s BC 370s BC 360s BC350s BC 340s BC 330s BC320s BC 310s BC300s BC
3rd century BC 290s BC280s BC 270s BC 260s BC250s BC 240s BC 230s BC220s BC 210s BC200s BC
2nd century BC 190s BC180s BC 170s BC 160s BC150s BC 140s BC 130s BC120s BC 110s BC100s BC
1st century BC 90s BC80s BC 70s BC 60s BC50s BC 40s BC 30s BC20s BC 10s BC0s BC


  1. Julian Day Number from Date Calculator (casio.com)
  2. Klein Goldewijk, K. , A. Beusen, M. de Vos and G. van Drecht (2011). The HYDE 3.1 spatially explicit database of human induced land use change over the past 12,000 years, Global Ecology and Biogeography20(1): 73–86. doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00587.x (pbl.nl). Goldewijk et al. (2011) estimate 188 million as of AD 1, citing a literature range of 170 million (low) to 300 million (high). Out of the estimated 188M, 116M are estimated for Asia (East, South/Southeast and Central Asia, excluding Western Asia), 44M for Europe and the Near East, 15M for Africa (including Egypt and Roman North Africa), 12M for Mesoamerica and South America. North America and Oceania were at or below one million.. Jean-Noël Biraben, "Essai sur l'évolution du nombre des hommes", Population 34-1 (1979), 13–25 (p. 22) estimats c. 100 million at 1200 BC and c. 250 million at AD 1.
  3. Zimmer 1952, pp. 182–183.
  4. mostly placed in the 7th or 6th century BC if historical, but sometimes also claimed to have lived in the 2nd millennium BC, see Zoroaster#Date.
  5. "Who Built it First". Ancient Discoveries. A&E Television Networks. 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-04-29. Retrieved 2009-07-24.
  6. Although disputed, some scholars see the emergence of monotheism proper in the context of the Babylonian exile, during which the Israelites adopted aspects of Babylonian religion, resulting in Second Temple Judaism by 515 BC. No Other Gods: Emergent Monotheism in Israel Also credited with early monotheism is Zoroastrianism, founded at roughly the same time. Zoroastrianism
  7. Temple 1986
  8. Temple 1986, pp. 15
  9. "World Timeline of the Americas 1000 BC – AD 200". The British Museum. 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
  10. "World Timeline of the Americas 200 BC – AD 600". The British Museum. 2005. Archived from the original on 2009-02-27. Retrieved 2009-07-25.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.