What Time Did Ancient Greece Start?

Ancient Greece, the birthplace of Western civilization, is a fascinating period in history that has captivated people’s imaginations for centuries. But when did it all begin?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you might think. In this article, we will explore the origins of Ancient Greece and discuss the various theories about when it all started.

The Origins of Ancient Greece

The history of Ancient Greece goes back thousands of years, to a time before written records were kept. The earliest evidence of human habitation in the region dates back to the Paleolithic era, around 11,000 BCE. Over time, various civilizations rose and fell in the area that would eventually become Greece.

The Minoan Civilization

One of the earliest civilizations in the region was the Minoan civilization, which flourished on the island of Crete from around 2700 BCE to 1450 BCE. The Minoans were known for their advanced art and architecture and were some of the first people in Europe to use a written language.

The Mycenaean Civilization

After the decline of the Minoan civilization, another civilization rose up in its place: the Mycenaean civilization. This civilization was centered on mainland Greece and lasted from around 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE. The Mycenaeans are perhaps best known for their epic poetry, including works like “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” by Homer.

When Did Ancient Greece Start?

So when did Ancient Greece actually start? There is no one answer to this question; different historians have different opinions on when Ancient Greece began.

The Dark Age Theory

One theory is that Ancient Greece began after a period known as the Dark Age. This was a period from around 1200 BCE to 800 BCE, during which many of the major Mycenaean cities were destroyed. The theory goes that after this destruction, the survivors banded together and created a new society, which eventually became Ancient Greece.

The Archaic Period Theory

Another theory is that Ancient Greece began during the Archaic period, which lasted from around 800 BCE to 480 BCE. During this time, the Greeks developed a system of government known as the polis, or city-state. They also began to produce some of their most famous works of art and literature.


In conclusion, while there is no one answer to the question of when Ancient Greece started, it is clear that it was a long and complex process. Over thousands of years, various civilizations rose and fell in the area that would eventually become Greece. Whether you believe that Ancient Greece started during the Dark Age or the Archaic period, there is no denying its enduring legacy in Western civilization.