When Did Ancient Greek Civilization Began?

The ancient Greek civilization is one of the most fascinating and influential societies in the world. It has left an indelible mark on modern Western culture, particularly in areas such as philosophy, literature, art, and politics.

But when did this civilization begin? Let’s take a closer look at the history of ancient Greece.

Early Greece

The ancient Greek civilization began around 3200 BCE with the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete. The Minoans were renowned for their advanced art and architecture, including their palaces and frescoes. However, their civilization declined around 1400 BCE due to unknown causes.

The Mycenaeans

After the decline of the Minoans, another group emerged as a dominant force in Greece – the Mycenaeans. They built impressive fortified cities and were skilled warriors. The most famous Mycenaean site is probably Mycenae itself, which was ruled by legendary kings such as Agamemnon.

The Dark Ages

Following the collapse of the Mycenaean civilization around 1100 BCE came a period known as the Dark Ages. It was characterized by a decline in population, trade, and culture. However, during this time, iron became more widely used which led to increased agricultural production.

The Archaic Period

Around 800 BCE marked the beginning of what historians call the Archaic period in Greece. This period saw a resurgence of trade and population growth in Greece. It also saw the development of city-states such as Athens and Sparta.

The Rise of Athens

Athens became one of the most significant city-states during this period due to its strong navy and democratic government system under leaders like Solon and Cleisthenes.

The Classical Period

The Classical period began in 480 BCE with the Persian Wars. This period is often considered the peak of ancient Greek civilization. It was during this time that the Greeks developed their famous philosophy, literature, art, and architecture.

The Golden Age of Athens

The Golden Age of Athens occurred during the 5th century BCE under the leadership of Pericles. This was a time of great cultural achievements and included famous figures such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

The Hellenistic Period

The Hellenistic period began in 323 BCE after Alexander the Great conquered Greece and much of the known world. It was marked by a blending of Greek culture with those of other civilizations such as Egypt and Persia.

The Roman Conquest

In 146 BCE, Greece was conquered by Rome marking the end of ancient Greek civilization. However, Greek culture continued to influence Roman society and later Western culture.


In conclusion, ancient Greek civilization began around 3200 BCE with the Minoans on Crete. It went through various periods including the Dark Ages, Archaic period, Classical period, and Hellenistic period before being conquered by Rome in 146 BCE. The legacy of ancient Greece can still be seen today in areas such as philosophy, literature, art, and politics.