What BC Was Ancient Greece?

Ancient Greece was a civilization that existed between the 8th century BCE and the 6th century CE. It was a time of great political, artistic, and cultural development in the region.

One of the most common ways to refer to dates during this time period is through the use of BC, or “Before Christ.” But what exactly does “BC” mean in relation to Ancient Greece?

What does “BC” stand for?

BC stands for “Before Christ.” It is a way of marking dates that occurred before the birth of Jesus Christ. This system was developed in the Middle Ages as a way to standardize historical chronology across different cultures and regions.

The use of BC in Ancient Greece

Although the BC/AD system did not exist during Ancient Greece, historians have retroactively applied these labels to describe events that occurred during this time period. The year 776 BCE is often considered the start of Ancient Greek history because it marks the first Olympic games.

  • 776-500 BCE: During this time, Ancient Greece experienced a period of expansion and colonization.
  • 499-479 BCE: The Persian Wars occurred during this time period, which included famous battles such as Marathon and Thermopylae.
  • 431-404 BCE: The Peloponnesian War took place during this time, which pitted Athens against Sparta.
  • 336-323 BCE: Alexander the Great rose to power during this period and conquered much of Greece and Asia Minor.

The use of other dating systems

While BC/AD is commonly used to describe dates from Ancient Greece, it’s worth noting that other dating systems were also used during this time period. For example, the Ancient Greeks used an Olympic calendar that was based on four-year cycles. Each cycle was known as an “Olympiad” and was named after the Olympic games that occurred during that time.

The importance of understanding Ancient Greek chronology

Understanding the dating systems used during Ancient Greece is important for historians and scholars who study this time period. It allows them to accurately place events within a historical context and make connections between different periods.


In conclusion, BC stands for “Before Christ” and is commonly used to describe dates from Ancient Greece. While other dating systems were also used during this time period, the use of BC/AD has become standard in modern times. By understanding these chronologies, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the rich cultural and political history of Ancient Greece.