What Was Greece Known as in Ancient Times?

Greece, known for its rich history and culture, was once called by different names in ancient times. From the Minoan civilization to the Hellenistic period, let’s take a closer look at what Greece was known as in ancient times.

The Minoan Civilization

The Minoan civilization, which existed from 2600 to 1100 BCE on the island of Crete, was referred to as Keftiu. This name was mentioned in ancient Egyptian texts and is believed to be the origin of the word “caphtor” used in the Hebrew Bible.

The Mycenaean Civilization

The Mycenaean civilization flourished from around 1600 BCE until its decline in 1100 BCE. It was referred to as Achaea or Achaia by Homer in his epic poems “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey”. The term Achaeans also appears in later Greek literature and is used to describe the people of this time period.

The Archaic Period

During the Archaic period (800-480 BCE), Greece was known as Hellas. This name is thought to have originated from Hellen, a son of Deucalion who was a figure in Greek mythology. The term Hellas was used by Greeks themselves to refer to their country.

The Classical Period

During the Classical period (480-323 BCE), Greece continued to be known as Hellas. However, it was also referred to as Graecia by the Romans. This Latin term is believed to have been derived from Graikoi, an ancient Greek tribe that lived in Thessaly.

The Hellenistic Period

In the Hellenistic period (323–31 BCE), Greece was still known as Hellas but also as Macedonia after Alexander the Great’s conquests. The term Hellenistic is derived from Hellas and refers to the spread of Greek culture throughout the eastern Mediterranean world during this time period.


In conclusion, Greece has been known by various names in ancient times, each name reflecting different periods of its rich history. From Keftiu to Hellas, each name represents a different aspect of its cultural and historical significance that continues to fascinate people even today.