Timeline – Classical Literature

3rd Millennium BCE
Hymns, codes, instructions and laments (Sumerian)
3rd Millennium BCE
Pyramid and coffin texts (Egyptian)
20th Century BCE
Original version of “The Epic of Gilgamesh” (Sumerian)
20th Century BCE
“The Story of Sinuhe” (Egyptian)
18th Century BCE
“Enuma Elis”“Atra-Hasis” and “Eridu Genesis” (Babylonian/Akkadian)
16th Century BCE
“Egyptian Book of the Dead” (Egypt)
16th – 11th Century BCE
“Rigveda” (Indian/Sanskrit)

11th Century BCE

“The Tale of Two Brothers” and “The Story of Wenamun” (Egypt)

11th – 9th Century BCE
“Yajurveda”“Samaveda” and “Atharvaveda” (Sanskrit/Indian)
11th – 6th Century BCE
“Avesta” of Zoroastrianism (Avestan/Persian)
9th Century BCE
“I Ching” manual of divination (China)
9th – 7th Century BCE
“Brahmanas” and the early “Upanishads” (Sanskrit/Indian)
9th – 6th Century BCE
Older parts of the “Old Testament” of the “Bible”, including the “Torah”(Hebrew)
8th Century BCE
Epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” of Homer and other Trojan War epic poems (Greek)
8th Century BCE
Didactic poetry of Hesiod, including “Theogony” (Greek)
8th Century BCE
“Mahabharata” of Vyasa (Sanskrit/Indian)
7th – 6th Century BCE
Lyric poems of Sappho (Greek)
6th Century BCE
“Fables” of Aesop (Greek)
6th – 5th Century BCE
“Four Books” of Confucius (Chinese)
5th Century BCE
Lyric poems and odes of Pindar (Greek)
5th Century BCE
Tragic plays of Aeschylus, including “The Oresteia” and “The Persians”(Greek)
5th Century BCE
Tragic plays of Sophocles, including “Antigone” and “Oedipus the King”(Greek)
5th Century BCE
Tragic plays of Euripides, including “Medea”“The Trojan Women” and “The Bacchae” (Greek)
5th – 4th Century BCE
Comic plays of Aristophanes including “The Wasps”“Lysistrata” and “The Frogs” (Greek)
4th Century BCE
“Ramayana” of Valmiki (Sanskrit/Indian)
4th – 3rd Century BCE
Comic plays of Menander (Greek)
3rd Century BCE
Epic poetry of Apollonius of Rhodes including The Argonautica (Greek)
2nd Century BCE
Comic plays of Plautus and Terence(Latin/Roman)
1st Century BCE
Lyric and elegiac poetry of Catullus (Latin/Roman)
1st Century BCE
Epic and didactic poetry of Vergil, including “The Aeneid” (Latin/Roman)
1st Century BCE
Lyric poetry and satires of Horace (Latin/Roman)
1st Century BCE – 1st Century CE
Didactic, elegiac and epic poetry of Ovid, including “Metamorphoses”(Latin/Roman)
1st Century CE
Tragic plays and satires of Seneca the Younger (Latin/Roman)
1st Century CE
Epic poetry of Lucan (Latin/Roman)
1st – 2nd Century CE
Satires of Juvenal (Latin/Roman)
1st – 2nd Century CE
Letters of Pliny the Younger (Latin/Roman)
1st – 2nd Century CE
New Testament of the Christian “Bible” (Greek)
7th Century CE
“Caedmon’s Hymn” (Old English/Anglo-Saxon)
7th Century CE
Traditional date for Islamic “Qur’an” (Arabic)
8th Century CE
Epic poem “Beowulf” (Anglo-Saxon)
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