Chronology of the Middle East (c. 5000 B.C. - 330 B.C.)

c. 5000 B.C.  Earliest evidence of human culture in Mesopotamia.

c. 4700 B.C.  Hassunah period: earliest pottery making culture.

c. 4400 B.C.  Halaf period: pottery culture with knowledge of metal.

c. 3900 B.C.  Ubaid period: first well-known culture from southern Mesopotamia; the Ubaids give the first evidence of temple and other sophisticated architecture.

c. 3600 B.C.  Warka period: first civilization after the Ubaid in southern Mesopotamia; the Warka period marks the beginning of the Protoliterate period in Mesopotamia.

c. 3400 B.C.  Gawra and Ninevite periods.

2900 B.C.  Pre-dynastic Sumerians.

2750 B.C.  First Sumerian dynasty of Ur.

2340-2125 B.C.  Sargon I begins the Akkadian rule in Mesopotamia.

2100-1800 B.C.  Third Sumerian dynasty of Ur.

1800-1170 B.C.  Old Babylonian period.

1728-1685 B.C.  Hammurabi, author of the first known Code of Laws.

1600-1100 B.C.  Staggered periods of Hittite hegemony over Mesopotamia.

1520-1170 B.C.  Periods of Kassite dominance.

1200-612 B.C.  Assyrian period.

714-681 B.C.  Reign of Sennacherib, whose conquest of Judah resulted in the first deportations of the Hebrews.

668-626 B.C.  Reign of Ashurbanipal, the most energetic of the Assyrian conquerors.

612 B.C.  Fall of Nineveh.

612-539 B.C.  Neo-Babylonian Period (Chaldean Empire).

c. 650-600 B.C.  Zarathustra, the founder of Persian Zoroastrianism.

605-565 B.C.  Reign of Nebuchadnezzar; his conquest of Judah and subsequent deportation of some Hebrew peoples mark the beginning of the Hebrew Exile.

539 B.C.  Fall of Babylon and the beginning of Persian dominance in Mesopotamia.

539-330 B.C. The Persian Empire dominates the Near East.

546 B.C.  Conquest of Lydia and the Greek cities of Asia Minor by Cyrus.

521-486 B.C.  Reign of Darius I; the Persian empire at its fullest extent, from Macedon to Egypt, Palestine to India.

499-494 B.C.  Rebellion of Greek cities against Persian rule.

490-489 B.C.  Darius I invades Greece on a punitive expedition against Athens; known in Greek history as Persian Wars.

480-479 B.C.  Invasion of Greece by Xerxes.

479 B.C.  Defeat of Persian armies by the Greeks.

c. 400 B.C.  Beginnings of Mithraism in Zoroastrianism.

334-330 B.C.  Conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great.

330 B.C.  Alexander enters Babylon; final fall of the Persians and Mesopotamian dominance over the region; beginning of Hellenistic period.