The World of the Ancient Greeks

The term ancient Greece refers to the period of Greek history lasting from the Greek Dark Ages ca. 1100 BC and the Dorian invasion, to 146 BC and the Roman conquest of Greece after the Battle of Corinth. It is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western civilization and shaped cultures throughout Southwest Asia and North Africa. Greek culture had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Mediterranean region and Europe. The civilization of the ancient Greeks has been immensely influential on language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science, and the arts, inspiring the Islamic Golden Age and the Western European Renaissance, and again resurgent during various neo-Classical revivals in 18th and 19th century Europe and the Americas.

Prehistoric and Bronze Age civilization

The tribes which became the Greeks are believed to have migrated southward into the Balkan peninsula in several waves beginning in the Middle Bronze Age (roughly 2000 BC). The Proto-Greek language dates to the period just preceding these migrations, either to the late 3rd millennium BC, or to the 17th century BC at the latest. The Bronze Age civilization of the proto-Greeks is generally referred to as Helladic and preceded what is known as "ancient Greece".

The so-called Mycenaean civilization culminated in this period, which features in the famous epics of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. For reasons which are unknown, this culture collapsed spectacularly around 1150 BC, with cities being sacked and a massive depopulation. This Bronze Age collapse approximately coincides with the apparent arrival of the last group of proto-Greeks into Greece proper, the Dorians. The two events have traditionally been causally linked, but this is by no means certain. With the Bronze Age collapse, Greece entered into a period of obscurity or 'dark age'.

The so-called Mycenaean civilization culminated in this period, which features in the famous epics of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey. For reasons which are unknown, this culture collapsed spectacularly around 1150 BC, with cities being sacked and a massive depopulation. This Bronze Age collapse approximately coincides with the apparent arrival of the last group of proto-Greeks into Greece proper, the Dorians. The two events have traditionally been causally linked, but this is by no means certain. With the Bronze Age collapse, Greece entered into a period of obscurity or 'dark age'.

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Greek Dark Ages

The period from 1100 BC to the 8th century BC is known as the Greek Dark Ages following the Bronze Age collapse from which no primary texts survive and only scant archaeological evidence remains. Secondary and tertiary texts such as Herodotus' Histories, Pausanias' Description of Greece, Diodorus Siculus' Bibliotheca historica, and Jerome's Chronicon contain brief chronologies and king lists for this period.


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Ancient Greece, Rome, Persia & Egypt

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