4406 entries. 94 themes. Last updated December 26, 2016.

Timeline Outline ViewEra: All Eras   |   Theme: Fiction / Science Fiction / Drama / Poetry


Circa 1,900 BCE – 1,700 BCEDiscovery of the "Ark Tablet": Decoding the Story of the Flood Circa 1,800 BCEProbably the Earliest Surviving Recipe for Making Beer Circa 1,700 BCE – 1,100 BCEThe Rigveda Circa 1,300 BCE – 1,000 BCE
One of the twelve tablets--of the 1200 discovered by Austen Henry Layard in Ninveh--upon which the Epic of Gilgamesh was recorded. (View larger)
The Epic of Gilgamesh, Probable Source of Aspects of Biblical and Homeric…
Circa 750 BCE
Standardization of the Homeric Texts Possibly Begins
Circa 750 BCE
The "Fatal Letter" in the Iliad: Introduction of Written Language to the…
Circa 500 BCEThe First Known Description of a Binary Numerical System Circa 400 BCE
The Pronomos Vase from Naples shows the performers of a Greek satyr play. (View Larger)
The Pronomos Vase: Pictorial Evidence for Theatre in Ancient Greece
Circa 350 BCEProbably the Earliest Surviving Papyrus of a Greek Text Circa 280 BCE
Fragments of the Odyssey, most likely copied in Alexandria.
Philology Probably Begins at the Royal Library of Alexandria
Circa 275 BCEA "Wild" or "Eccentric" Papyrus of the Iliad Circa 250 BCEThe Beginning of Latin Literature Circa 200 BCE
A digital recreation of the Library of Alexandria.
The Origins of Bibliography
Circa 70 BCE – 100 CEDetails of the Roman Book Trade Circa 50 BCE – 25 CEThe Oldest Surviving Manuscript of Latin Poetry 42 BCE – 19 BCE
Virgil Composes the Ecologues, the Georgics and the Aeneid
Circa 50 CE – 200 CE
Hero of Alexandria
Automata Invented by Heron of Alexandria
79 CE – 2015Discoveries of Greek & Roman Papyri in the Library of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum, the Only Library Preserved Intact from Graeco-Roman Times 84 CE – 86 CE
A portrait of Martial.
The First Mention of Literary Works Published in Parchment Codices
Circa 150 CE
Recto of papyrus containing lines from Homer's Illiad, found at Hawara. (View Larger)
The "Hawara Homer"
Circa 150 CEThe Bankes Homer: One of the Best Preserved Papyri of Homer Circa 175 CEPollux's Onomasticon, the Oldest Specimen of Encylopedism Surviving from Antiquity Circa 350 CE – 450 CEThe Oldest Surviving Manuscript of the Comedies of Terence Circa 350 CE
One of the four leaves of the Vergilius Augusteus that resides in the Vatican Library.(View Larger)
The Earliest of Two Surviving Examples of Codices Written Entirely in Roman…
Circa 350 CEThe Largest Papyrus Codex and the Earliest to Use Red Ink for Titles Circa 380 CE
Vergilius Vaticanus
Herald of Christianity and Magus: One of the Oldest Surviving Illustrated…
391 CEEarly Christians May Have Destroyed What Remained of the Alexandrian Library Because of its Pagan Contents Circa 450 CEThe Codex Mediceus of Virgil 493 CE – 508
Achilles sacrificing to Zeus from the Ambrosian Iliad. (View Larger)
The Only Illustrated Homer from Antiquity
Circa 520 – 585An Archive of Papyri, Including the Oldest Surviving Poems Written by a Known Poet Circa 750
The oldest known historiated initial, found in the St. Petersurg Bede, also known as the Leningrad Bede.
The Earliest Known Example of an Historiated Initial and One of the Earliest…
Circa 790"Very Little That Was Recopied in the Crucial Ninth Century Was Subsequently Lost" Circa 800
The Rök Runestone, believed to be the earliest Sweedish writing, makes reference to Ostrogothic King, Theodoric the Great.
The First Written Swedish Literature
Circa 810
One of the most outsanding illumated manuscripts of De luadibus sanctae crucis, preserved in the Vatican Library, depicting Christ. (View Larger)
Carmina Figurata Word Pictures
Detail of folios 4v/5r of the Vaticanus Latinus 3868.  Please click to view entire image.
"The most ingenious and expressive work of narrative art known from all of Late Antiquity"
Circa 850The Fables of Phaedrus October 20, 879The Earliest-Known Manuscript of the Arabian Nights Circa 880One of the Two Oldest Manuscripts of Ovid's Ars Amatoria 930 – 960"The Junius Manuscript": An Illustrated Codex of Old English Literature Circa 950
A portrait of Luke on Folio 29v of the Book of Deer. (View Larger)
Possibly the Earliest Surviving Manuscript Produced in Scotland
Circa 950
Folio 12r of Venetus A. (View Larger)
The Most Famous, and Most Significant Manuscript of the Iliad
Circa 950
Folio 30 of suppl. gr. 384, belonging to the Bibliothèque Nationale.
The Palatine Anthology of Greek Poetry
Circa 960 – 990The Exeter Book: The Largest Original Collection of Old English Literature Circa 975The Vercelli Book, One of the Four Old English Poetic Codices Circa 1000
The first page of the Beowulf manuscript. (View Larger)
Beowulf: Known from a Unique Medieval Manuscript
Circa 1000
The reconstructions of three Norse buildings are the focal point of this archaeological site, the earliest known European settlement in the New World. The archaeological remains at the site were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978.
The First Conclusive Proof that Norsemen Reached North America
1167 – 1185
Plate 8 of the Englehardt facsimile of the Hortus delicarum. In the centermost circle, Philosophy rests upon a queenly throne, holding a banner that says 'All wisdom comes from God, only the wise can do what they want.' Directly below sit Socrates and Plato, at abutting desks. In the surrounding orbs stand the Seven Liberal arts: grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy. (View Larger)
Written and Illuminated by the Nun Herrad of Landsberg
1190 – 1215Layamon's "Brut", the Earliest Source of the Legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Circa 1230 – 1275
Folio 1r of Fr. 1573 at the Bibliotheque Nationale, the earliest extant copy of 'Le Roman de la Rose.' (View Larger)
Le Roman de la Rose: A Medieval Best Seller
Circa 1230
Folio 1r of the 'C' manuscript of the Nibelungenlied. (View Larger)
The Song of the Nibelungs
Circa 1240Perhaps the First Grammar of a Romance Language Circa 1250The Black Book of Carmarthen, Probably Earliest Surviving Manuscript Written Entirely in Welsh 1278 – 1325The "North French Hebrew Miscellany": More a Library than a Book 1299 – 1301The Planudean Anthology as Basis for the Anthologia Graeca 1307
A scene from Rashid al-Din Tabib's 'Jami al-Tawarikh' in which the Ghazan Khan is converted to Islam. (View Larger)
Islamic History Containing the Earliest Notice of Chinese Printing from…
1308 – 1321
A statue of Dante at the Uffizi. (View Larger)
Dante Alighieri's "Divina Commedia"
1315 – 1323
Arthur versus the Saxons as depicted in the Rochefoucauld Grail. (View Larger)
The Rochefoucauld Grail
Circa 1345The Chantilly Illuminated Manuscript of Dante's Inferno Circa 1350Writing Zilbaldone Circa 1380
The opening leaf of the Hengwrt Chaucer. (View Larger)
Both of the Earliest and Most Authoritative Manuscripts of Chaucer's Canterbury…
December 15, 1423The Largest and Finest Collection of Greek Texts before Bessarion's 1444 – 1450The Yates Thompson MS 36 of Dante's Divine Comedy 1469 – 1470
Detail of page from Sweynheym and Pannartz's edition of the Opera of Virgil at Rome. (Please click on image to view the entire page.)
The First Printed Editions of Virgil
1472The First Three Printed Editions of Dante's Divine Comedy 1488 – 1489The Editio Princeps of Homer: The First Printing of a Major Greek Work in its Original Language February 11, 1494Sebastian Brant's "Book Fool", and Others April 1501The Aldine Virgil: the First Book Completely Printed in Italic Type and the First of Aldus's Pocket Editions of the Classics, Model for the Portable Printed Book Format 1502Aldus Manutius Publishes the Editiones Principes of Thucydides, Sophocles, and Herodotus Circa 1535Bronzino Paints a Portrait of an Elegant Young Man Mishandling a Book Circa 1591 – 1596The Only Manuscript Pages Thought to be in the Hand of William Shakespeare May 20, 1609Thomas Thorpe Issues the First Edition of Shakespeare's Sonnets 1611Jacques Bongars Issues the First Collection of Chronicles of the Crusades 1623Preface to the First Folio Edition of Shakespeare’s Plays by Henrie Condell and Iohn Heminge 1630Francesco Stelluti Issues the First Book Containing Images of Organisms Viewed through the Microscope 1633George Herbert Publishes Some of the Earliest Printed Examples of Concrete or Shaped Poetry 1701 – 2012Popol Vuh, The Book of the People, Known from a Single Manuscript 1726Jonathan Swift Creates a Fictional Device that Resembles a Modern Computer January 1731Edward Cave Founds "The Gentleman's Magazine," the First General-Interest Periodical and the First to Use the Word "Magazine" to Indicate a Storehouse of Knowledge 1759Voltaire Issues "Candide, ou l'Optimism" Anonymously and Secretively 1759 – 1767Laurence Sterne's "Tristram Shandy": Philosophical and Comedic Digressions and Innovative Illustration Techniques October 6, 1759 – 1760The First Book Printed Entirely on Wove Paper 1795Friedrich August Wolf Argues that the Poetry of Homer Shoud be Studied as a Product of Oral Tradition 1796 – 1819Alois Senefelder Invents & Develops Lithography Circa 1800Maillardet's Automaton 1815The First Literary Magazine is Published in the United States 1820"The Book of Life: A Bibliographical Melody" December 1822The First Indigenous Arabic Press in Egypt 1828The First "Livre d'Artiste," Illustrated by Delacroix 1835The First Complete Printed Edition in Arabic of the Thousand and One Nights 1843 – 1865Possibly the First Book Written During Hand Typesetting Rather than on Paper 1847 – 1965Aspects of Concordance Production Before and During the Early Years of Computerization June 13, 1863Samuel Butler's "Darwin among the Machines" 1871 – 1873Heinrich Schliemann Discovers the Ancient City of Troy 1872Samuel Butler Novel "Erewhon" Describes Artificial Consciousness 1873 – 1950Anthony Comstock Founds the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice and Lobbies for Passage of the "Comstock Law" June 22, 1878 – October 2012Listening to the Earliest Surviving Recording of a Musical Performance 1883Imagining a Library 100 Years in the Future 1884Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions 1887First Use of the Term "Credit Card" 1887 – 1901Thomas C. Mendenhall Issues One of the Earliest Attempts at Stylometry May 1897Mallarmé: Experimentation with the Relationship Between the Word and the Printed Page January 14, 1898Lewis Carroll Wrote or Received 98,000 Letters 1901The Earliest Fictional Account of a Universal Library, Foreshadowing the Virtual Library on the Internet 1901L. Frank Baum's "The Master Key" Imagines a Kind of Augmented Reality January – February 20, 1909"The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism" November 1909An Early Sci-Fi View of the Internet and Virtual Reality 1912 – 1914Incunable of Poetic and Typographic Experimentation of the 20th Century May 11, 1913Marinetti's Manifesto of his Typographical Revolution 1920Introduction of the Word "Robot" 1927The Literature and Culture of Suicide September 11, 1928The First Broadcast of a Play by Television 1930 – 1931Bob Brown: Visionary of New Reading Machines and Changes in the Process of Reading 1932Marinetti's Metal Book: "Parole in Liberta . . ." 1935"Pygmalion's Spectacles," Probably the First Comprehensive and Specific Fictional Model for Virtual Reality 1938La Réalité virtuelle October 30, 1938Mass Hysteria Induced by Electronic Media 1939Fantasies of an All-Encompassing Archive or "Universal Library" 1941Borges' Universe as a Library, or Universal Library or Archive March 1942Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics + the Zeroth Law August 1942"Waldo" : Imagining Remote Manipulators and TeleRobotics 1945"From Script to Print. An Introduction to Medieval Literature" 1946Humphrey Bogart and Dorothy Malone Appear in Probably the Most Famous Bookstore Scene in Movie History 1949Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" is Published June 27, 1952"A Sound of Thunder": Famous Science Fiction Story; Dubious Film 1953 – November 2011Ray Bradbury's Early Dystopian View of Books: "Fahrenheit 451" October 1954The First Use of a Computer to Write Literary Texts December 12 – December 14, 1954One of the Earliest Surviving British Television Dramas November 1955One of the First Fictional Depictions of Autonomous Machine Self-Replication 1956"Nineteen Eighty-Four" Filmed 1957The Movie "Desk Set", Satirizing the Role of Automation in Eliminating Jobs, and Librarians 1959The First Digital Poetry 1959Stephen Parrish's Concordance of the Poems of Matthew Arnold: the First Computerized Literary Concordance 1961Arthur C. Clarke Publishes "Dial F for Frankenstein," an Inspiration for Tim Berners-Lee 1961The IBM 7094 is The First Computer to Sing 1962Alvar Ellegård Makes the First Use of Computers to Study Disputed Authorship 1962Spacewar, the First Computer Game for a Commercially Available Computer 1963Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin' " 1963Julio Cortázar Issues the First "Hypertext" Novel, Before Hypertext July 16 – July 27, 1963
Detail of cover of Printing and the Mind of Man.  Please click to see entire image.
The Printing and the Mind of Man Exhibition
September 9 – September 11, 1964Arader, Parrish & Bessinger Organize the First Humanities Computing or Digital Humanities Conference 1968Stanley Kubrick & Arthur C. Clarke Create "2001: A Space Odyssey" 1968Philip K. Dick Imagines Replicants August 2 – October 20, 1968Cybernetic Serendipity: The First Widely-Attended International Exhibition of Computer Art 1973 – 1978John B. Smith's Early Attempts at "Computer Criticism" of Literature 1978 – 1979Fictional Vision of the Electronic Book and the Internet 1980 – 1983Umberto Eco Publishes "The Name of the Rose" 1982"Blade Runner" July 1982William Gibson Coins the Word Cyberspace January 1983The Earliest Fictional Treatment of Word Processing by a Prominent Literary Author 1984"Cyberspace" Popularized 1984
Detail from cover of The Policeman's Beard is Half Constructed, the first book written by a computer program.  Please click on image to see image of entire cover of book.
The First Book Written by a Computer Program
1985The Perseus Digital Library Project at Tufts University Begins 1986Probably the Best Book History and Library Film Set in the Middle Ages 1987John Burrows Founds Computational Sylistics 1987 – 1990The First Hypertext Fiction: "Afternoon, a story" June 1992Visions of a Metaverse 1993The Electronic Beowulf 1993Jurassic Park, the First Film to Integrate CGI and Animatronic figures into Live Action Scenes 1999The Matrix: Referencing Cyberpunk and Hacker Cultures 1999"The World Wide Web is the only thing I know of whose shortened form takes three times longer to say than what it is short for." 2000Stephen King's "Experiment in Alternate Forms of Distribution" March 14, 2000 – 2010The First Mass-Market E-Book + A Video Interview 2001
Steven Spielberg
The Film: "A. I. Artificial Intelligence"
Steven Spielberg
"Minority Report": The Movie
Author Hao Qun, known by the pen name Murong Xuecun
Working Around Chinese Censorship of Literary Works
The codex form of a Japanese cell phone novel.
The First Cell Phone Novel
2003The First Attempt to "Establish the Geneology of the Computer as an Expressive Medium" in a Single Volume October 5, 2005
J.K. Rowling
300,000,000 Printed Copies of Harry Potter
December 10, 2009The Film "Avatar" and Visions of Reality, Virtual and Otherwise December 9, 2010Bestsellers on eBook Readers: Romance Novels February 25, 2011The Second Best-Selling Book in America Priced Like an App (99 Cents) June 2011"Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out": The New York Public Library Buys the Timothy Leary Papers June 24, 2011"Distant Reading" Versus "Close Reading" November 11 – November 30, 2011Action Comics #1 Superman sells for $2.16 Million April 30, 2012What Makes Spoken Lines in Movies Memorable? May 12, 2012How eBooks Are Changing Fiction Writing and Publishing September 25, 2012The World's Smallest Book Requires a Scanning Electron Microscope to be Seen December 2012Silvia Hartmann's Novel, "Dragon Lords," Cloud-Sourced with 13,000 Collaborators December 22, 2012"The Life of Pi": Computer Graphic Animation Indistinguishable from Nature January 26, 2013Jane Austin and Walter Scott Were the Two Most Influential Novelists of the 19th Century: A Discovery Made Through Digital Humanities Research October 31, 2013Writers Explain How New Information Technologies Have Changed Writings December 2013Mainstream Publisher Simon & Schuster Launches Erotica Social Media Site to Promote Books January 29, 2014"Sensory Fiction": A Kind of Virtual Reality E-Book Reading Experience February 22, 2014Growth of Audiobooks Parallels Growth of eBooks February 27, 2014PHEME: A Social Media Lie Detector September 13, 2014An Anthology to be Published on Paper in 2114