TIMELINE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD

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1 DATE: January 20, 2006 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE TIMELINE TIMELINE OF THE ANCIENT WORLD LOS ANGELES The Getty Villa focuses on three civilizations that dominated the ancient Mediterranean world for over 1,000 years: Greek, Etruscan, and Roman. These cultures left behind remarkable examples of their art that can be studied and admired today in the galleries of the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa. The influence of these societies can be traced throughout history, forming the basis of various ideas and objects that are still in use in the contemporary world. The permanent collection of antiquities, together with changing and loan exhibitions, interactive installations, and a year-round schedule of scholarly and public programs at the Getty Villa help communicate the achievements of the ancient world and celebrate their artistic innovations. The Greeks, 1000 to 31 B.C. Ancient Greeks defined themselves by their common language, culture, and religion rather than by geography. They settled not only the mainland of present-day Greece and the islands of the Aegean, but also coastal sites around the Mediterranean and Black Seas. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek culture spread all the way to India. By 30 B.C., Greek territories had been absorbed by Rome. The Greeks are credited with developing democracy, philosophy, theater, and athletics, which remain important to Western societies. The Etruscans, 1000 to 27 B.C. The Etruscans lived in the central part of the Italian peninsula and were perfectly situated for trade and cultural exchange. In a land rich with mineral resources, they became expert metalworkers, fashioning gold, bronze, and copper into lavish jewelry, decorative

2 Page 2 reliefs, and cast figures. The Etruscans were avid students of Greek culture, which they adopted and made their own. Most evidence of Etruscan culture comes from tombs and temple sites. The Romans, 753 B.C. to A.D. 565 From humble origins as a small city-state in central Italy, Rome expanded into an empire that reached from Britain to the Near East. The Romans built upon elements of Greek culture to create distinctive traditions of art, architecture, law, philosophy, and literature. Their legacy, which includes Christianity the official religion of the empire by the end of the 4 th century continues today. Timeline 6500 B.C. The oldest object in the J. Paul Getty Museum, a terracotta Neolithic figurine, is dated from this period B.C. The potter s wheel is introduced into the Mediterranean from the Near East B.C. The Cycladic Civilization Small settlements dot the Cyclades, an archipelago of islands in the central Aegean Sea. People live in fortified towns and engage in fishing, agriculture, and trade. They make vessels and statuettes out of local marble B.C. Minoan Civilization A sophisticated culture thrives on the island of Crete. Minoan society was organized around large palace complexes. Monumental architecture, wall paintings, ceramics, metalwork, and stonework have been excavated at Minoan sites B.C. The earliest writing systems develop in Europe B.C. Mycenaean Civilization The Mycenaeans, a warrior society, dominate mainland Greece. Their walled cities and rich graves (filled with gold, silver, gemstones, and other precious materials) suggest a militaristic society, which later Greeks mythologized in art and literature as the Heroic Age B.C. Rise of the Greek and Etruscan Civilizations B.C. The Greek Geometric Period Interactions between Indo-European invaders and indigenous populations lead to a distinct Greek culture that revered a heroic

3 Page 3 past. Artistic styles and imagery of this period are based on abstract, geometric forms and repeated patterns. 776 B.C. Traditional date of the first Olympic Games. 753 B.C. Rome is founded by the mythical twins Romulus and Remus B.C. The Greek and Etruscan Archaic Age Independent city-states emerge around the Mediterranean. Trade and colonization lead to increased wealth and the development of painting and monumental architecture and sculpture. Greek archaic sculpture is recognized by formalized schematic representations of the human form. Etruscan large-scale figural sculptures feature Greek stylization of facial features but emphasize gesture and movement. 675 B.C. Etruscan pottery known as Bucchero ware is created. Intricate designs begin to decorate their metalwork. 600 B.C. Coinage is introduced throughout the Greek world B.C. Large-scale bronze casting develops in Greece. 530 B.C. Red-figure vase-painting technique, developed from the Black-figure vase-painting technique, is invented in Athens. 500 B.C. Etruscans build large-scale temples /300 B.C. The Greek and Etruscan Classical Age Although this period marks the beginning of Etruscan political decline, artistic production flourishes. The originality and vitality of their metalwork is renowned in the ancient world. The Greek victories in the Persian wars brings an optimism and confidence to the Greek world. Art, literature, and democracy thrive; Athens becomes the center of Greek power. Eternal poses and ideal figures are hallmarks of Classical Greek style B.C. The Peloponnesian Wars are fought between Sparta and Athens, leading to the decline of Athenian supremacy. 400 B.C. Etruscan bronze work reaches its height B.C. Romans expand into southern Italy B.C. Reign of Alexander the Great Alexander s empire reaches from Greece to India.

4 Page B.C. The Hellenistic Period Alexander s successors establish independent kingdoms in the eastern Mediterranean as Rome expands in the West. During this time, Etruscan art becomes increasingly violent as Roman invaders strike their cities, while Greek art becomes infused with drama and emotion inspired by contact with the East B.C. Six key Etruscan cities fall to Rome B.C. Romans conquer the Greek mainland B.C. The Rise of Rome Roman influence grows throughout the Mediterranean. 27 B.C. 312 A.D. Infusion of Greek Classical idealism transforms Roman art. Roman buildings and imagery carry imperial messages of autocratic military power. 27 B.C. Age of Augustus The Roman Empire is established, incorporating Egypt. Augustus ushers in a time of peace and prosperity, referred to as Pax Romana, which lasts until 180 A.D. A.D. 79 A.D. 117 A.D. 313 A.D. 395 A.D. 476 Mt. Vesuvius erupts, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum. Height of the Roman Empire Roman rule stretches from northern Britain to present-day Iraq. Edict of Milan allows Christians to worship freely throughout the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire Divided Rome becomes the capital of the Western Empire, and Constantinople becomes the capital of the Eastern Empire. Collapse of the Western Roman Empire. # # # MEDIA CONTACT: Tracy Gilbert Getty Communications Dept

5 Page 5 The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Visiting the Getty Villa The Getty Villa is open Thursday through Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Tuesday and Wednesday, and major holidays. Admission to the Getty Villa is always free. Advance, timed tickets are required for each individual. Tickets can be obtained online at or by phone at Parking is $7 per car. Groups of nine or more must make reservations by phone. For more information, call (English or Spanish); (TTY line for the deaf or hearing impaired). Additional information is available at Sign up for e-getty at to receive free monthly highlights of events at the Getty Center and the Getty Villa via , or visit for a complete calendar of public programs.

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