Chronology of Ancient Philosophers
The following list includes all of the more significant ancient philosophers.
Rather than attempt to produce extended glosses for every name, instead
I have included links to entries in the Internet
Encyclopedia of Philosophy. These have been supplemented with links
to the McTutor
History of Mathematics which also includes a number of useful entires.
Dates generally follow those in the OCD, may not correspond exactly to
those cited in linked articles, and in many cases are uncertain.
|fl. 6th century BC
(620-546 BC), traditionally the first Presocratic philosopher.
(610-540 BC), Ionic Presocratic, the first to write a philosophical
(fl. 6th cent. BC), Ionic Presocratic, possibly a pupil of Anaximander.
(540-480 BC), Presocratic philosopher of flux.
(570-497 BC), philosopher-mathematician based in Italy.
- Theano (fl. 6th cent. BC), female philosopher, pupil of Pythagoras
and later his wife.
(570-475 BC), Presocratic philosopher-poet pre-empting the Eleatic
- 585 BC: Thales predicts eclipse.
|fl. 5th century BC
(510-440 BC), Eleatic philosopher of being.
(500-428 BC), Presocratic, the first philosopher known to have
been based in Athens.
of Apollonia (fl. 5th cent. BC), Ionian Presocratic philosopher.
(493-433 BC), Presocratic philosopher and cosmologist.
of Elea (fl. 5th cent. BC), Eleatic philosopher famous for
his paradoxes of motion.
(fl. 5th cent. BC), Presocratic philosopher, founder of atomism.
(485-415 BC), Sophist famous for his relativism.
(485-415 BC), Sophist.
(483-376 BC), Sophist and teacher of rhetoric.
(480-411 BC), Orator and Sophist (if these two are in fact the
same person), fragments of whose treatise On Truth were
discovered at Oxyrhynchus.
- Aspasia (fl. 5th cent. BC), female philosopher and rhetorician,
companion of Socrates.
- Socrates (469-399 BC), Athenian philosopher, put to death on
charges of corrupting the youth.
(fl. 5th cent. BC), Sophist contemporay with Socrates.
(460-370 BC), famous atomic philosopher.
of Megara (450-380 BC), associate of Socrates and founder
of the Megarian school.
- 423 BC: Aristophanes' Clouds first performed, a satirical
attack on philosophers in general and Socrates in particular.
|fl. 4th century BC
(445-360 BC), companion of Socrates, often associated with the
later Cynic movement.
(435-356 BC), companion of Socrates, traditionally the founder
of the Cyrenaic school devoted to hedonism.
(429-347 BC), younger associate of Socrates, founder of the Academy,
teacher of Aristotle.
- Xenophon, (427-355 BC), historian and philosophical author,
famous for his accounts of Socrates.
- Speusippus (407-339 BC), pupil of Plato who succeeded him as
second head of the Academy.
of Sinope (400-325 BC), Cynic philosopher.
(396-314 BC), follower of Plato and third head of the Academy.
(384-322 BC), pupil of Plato, founder of the Lyceum and the
- Arete of Cyrene (fl. 4th cent. BC), daughter of Aristippus and
his sucessor as head of the Cyrenaic school.
(380-300 BC), Megarian philosopher, influenced by Cynicism and
an influence on Stoicism.
(370-288 BC), pupil of Aristotle and his successor as head of
(365-275 BC), founder of the scepticial philosophy named after
- 399 BC: Trial and Death of Socrates.
- 387 BC: Opening of Plato's Academy.
- 335 BC: Opening of Aristotle's Lyceum.
- 327 BC: Pyrrho travels with Alexander to India and meets Indian
- 323 BC: Death of Alexander marks the beginning of the Hellenistic
- 305 BC: Epicurus founds his Garden school.
- 302 BC: Zeno starts teaching in the Painted Stoa.
|fl. 3rd century BC
(341-270 BC), atomist and hedonist philospher, founder of school
named after him.
- Zeno of Citium (335-263 BC), founder of the Stoic school.
(331-232 BC), second head of the Stoic school.
- Aristo (fl. 3rd cent. BC), Stoic philosopher, a pupil of Zeno,
focused primarily on ethics.
(320-230 BC), sceptical philosopher, pupil of Pyrrho.
(316-242 BC), head of Plato's Academy, perhaps responsible for
its turn towards scepticism.
(fl. 250 BC), Cynic philosopher and famous as a satirist.
(280-207 BC), third (and probably most important) head of the
|fl. 2nd century BC
- Diogenes of Babylon (240-152 BC), Stoic philosopher, member
of the famous embassy of philosophers to Rome.
(214-129 BC), head of the Academy and founder of the 'New Academy',
memder of the famous embassy of philosophers to Rome.
- Panaetius (185-109 BC), Stoic philosopher with eclectic tendencies,
pupil of Diogenes of Babylon and Antipater, influence upon Cicero.
- Philo of Larissa (160-80 BC), head of the Academy, teacher of
of Sidon (150-70 BC), Epicurean philosopher.
- 155 BC: Embassy to Rome by the philosophers Carneades, Critolaos,
and Diogenes of Babylon.
|fl. 1st century BC
(135-51 BC), Stoic philosopher and historian, often characterised
as an eclectic representative of the 'Middle Stoa'.
- Antiochus of Ascalon (130-68 BC), pupil of Philo of Larissa,
head of the Academy turning it away from the scepticism of the
'New Academy' and back to the 'Old Academy'. An important influence
- Philodemus (110-40 BC), Epicurean philosopher, many of whose
works were buried at Herculaneum.
(106-43 BC), Roman philosophical author.
(fl. 1st cent. BC), sceptical philosopher who attempted to revive
(94-55 BC), Epicurean philosopher-poet.
- 45 BC: Cicero produces his principal philosophical works in
a single year.
- 30 BC: Roman victory over Egypt marks the end of the Hellenistic
era and the beginning of the Imperial period.
|fl. 1st century AD
of Alexandria (30 BC - 45 AD), Jewish Hellenistic philosopher
and prolific author based in Alexandria.
- Seneca (4 BC - 65 AD), Latin Stoic author, onetime tutor to
the Emperor Nero.
- Musonius Rufus (30-100 AD), Stoic philosopher-preacher.
- Plutarch (45-120 AD), biographer and author of an important
collection of philosophical essays, the Moralia.
(55-135 AD), Stoic philosopher, pupil of Musonius Rufus and founder
of a school in Nicopolis.
- 74 AD: Expulsion of philosophers from Rome by Vespasian.
- 79 AD: Eruption of Vesivius buries Herculaneum and preserves
the Villa of the Papyri containing numerous philosophical texts,
including works by Philodemus, Epicurus, and Chrysippus.
- 94 AD: Explusion of philosophers from Rome by Domitian.
|fl. 2nd century AD
(fl. 2nd cent. AD), Cynic philosopher, pupil of Epictetus.
- Diogenes of Oenoanda (fl. 2nd cent. AD), author of Epicurean
inscription at Oenoanda.
- Alcinous (fl. 2nd cent. AD), Platonist and author of the Handbook
Aurelius (121-180 AD), Roman Emperor and Stoic philosopher.
- Galen of Pergamum (129-199 AD), philosopher-doctor influenced
by Platonism, physician to Marcus Aurelius, and prolific author.
- Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD), Christian Church Father
heavily influenced by Greek philosophy.
Empiricus (fl. 200 AD), sceptical philosopher and author.
- Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. 200 AD), Aristotelian commentator.
- Julia Domna (170-217 AD), female philosopher and wife of the
Emperor Septimius Severus, included Galen and Philostratus in
her philosophical circle.
- 176 AD: Marcus Aurelius founds four chairs in philosophy at
Athens, one for each of the major schools.
|fl. 3rd century AD
Laertius (fl. 3rd cent. AD), famous biographer of ancient
(205-270 AD), Platonic philosopher and founder of Neoplatonism.
(233-309 AD), Neoplatonist, pupil and biographer of Plotinus.
- Iamblichus (242-327 AD), important Neoplatonic philosopher.
|fl. 4th century AD
- Calcidius (fl. 4th cent. AD), Platonist and author of an important
Latin translation and commentary on the Timaeus.
- Themistius (317-388 AD), Aristotelian commentator based in Constantinople.
(354-430 AD), Christian philosopher and Church father, influenced
(370-415 AD), famous female Neoplatonist based Alexandria and
murdered by a Christian mob.
- 312 AD: Conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity under
- 324 AD: Foundation of Constantinople.
|fl. 5th century AD
(411-485 AD), Athenian Neoplatonist and head of the Academy.
- Ammonius (440-521 AD), Alexandrian Neoplatonist, a pupil of
Proclus and teacher of Damascius and Simplicius.
- Damascius (462-540 AD), Neoplatonist and head of the Athenian
(475-524 AD), Latin Neoplatonist and translator of Aristotle.
- 476 AD: End of the Roman Empire in the West.
|fl. 6th century AD
(490-560 AD), Aristotelian commentator, pupil of Damascius.
- John Philoponus (490-570 AD), Christian Aristotelian commentator
based in Alexandria, pupil of Ammonius.
- 529 AD: Justinian closes the schools in Athens. Damascius and
the last Neoplatonists flee to visit the Persian king Chosroes.
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