Greek History 101

Greek history is a very complex history – just like the history of all countries. In general, the Greek periods of history are like this:
Paleolithic (circa 400,000 – 13,000 BC)
Mesolithic (circa 10,000 – 7000 BC)
Neolithic (circa 7000 – 3000 BC)
Bronze Age (circa 3300 – 1150 BC)
Cycladic (circa 3300 – 2000 BC)
Minoan (circa 2600 – 1200 BC)
Helladic (circa 2800 – 1600 BC)
Mycenaean or Late Helladic (circa 1600 – 1100 BC)
Dark Ages (circa 1100 – 900 BC)
Geometric (circa 900-700BC)
Archaic (circa 700 – 480 BC)
Classical (480 – 323 BC)
Hellenistic (323 – 30 BC)
Roman Greece (in between Hellenistic and Byzantine)
Byzantine Empire (4th century – 1453)
Ottoman rule (15th century – 1821)
Modern Greek state (from 1821 to now)

It is impossible to summarize the history of a country like Greece, so we suggest that you simply pick the period of Greece history you are most interested in and see whether your local library has a book about it. What we would like to focus on in this article is the history of ancient Greece and the contributions Greece has made to this world during its history.


This is the age of the legendary king Minos, who might or might not have been involved with minotaurs. The Minoans were quite developed when it came to arts and culture, however, they were not big when it came to fighting and war.


The Mycenaeans defeated the Minoans as the latter did not have much when it came to military. The trade with textiles was thriving and Greece was rather well off.

Dark Ages

The fall of the Mycenaeans is the beginning of the dark ages in which Greek culture was at a low. There are different theories of why the Mycenaeans fell. Some say it was Dorian invaders, others says that the Mycenaeans caused their own demise. We might never know. Fact is though that this was not a good time for the Greek people.


During this era, the Greek recovered from the dark ages and things like trade and colonization thrived. This is also the time of Homer (as is assumed by many). The Greek alphabet was developed, and the stories of Greek mythology receive their final state in this era.


The foundations of democracy are laid in the Archaic era, and sculpture and pottery achieve new heights in Greece.


The Classical Greek period sees Greek sculpture, art and philosophy at its height. This is also the time when Alexander the Great conquers many regions around Greece, so the Greek empire grows in strength and size. Pericles, in Athens, creates the first democratic government.


During this period, the Greeks have a great influence on the countries around them, and thanks to the conquests of Alexander the Great, Greek is at its biggest size (which would soon change once the Romans turned up).

Greek contributions to the world


Greece had the first, and some of the best, philosophers the world has ever seen. Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato are just the three most famous examples. Socrates taught us that a life unexamined is not worth living – and when you read today's self-help books, you might as well just read Socrates as he had many of those “new” ideas first.

The Olympic Games

The Olympic games are not something modern, they have been around for thousands of years, and in ancient Greece, the finest athletes went to Olympia (you can still visit the original site) to compete against each other every four years.


Athens was the first city to have a democratic government, and from there on, the world slowly gpt the idea that democracy is a rather interesting concept. More and more democratic states and countries followed once Greece set the first example of how democracy works. This contribution to world history is one of the most important influences from Greek history.

Dramatic structure

Aristotle's Ars Poetica can be seen as one of the most important steps in dramatic literature. Without the ancient Greek writers, literature might look very different today.


Greek Mythology has left its mark in the world, and as mentioned in the main article about Greek mythology, even the Romans “borrowed” from Greek mythology – why make up new gods and goddesses if you can just rename the ones that already exist? Many ideas from Greek mythology are normal part of our vocabulary these days, e.g. harpy, Pandora's box.

The Hippocratic Oath

Hippocrates was one of the first important people in medicine, and today doctors still have to take the Hippocratic Oath before they can start with their job.


The Greek were masters when it came to architecture. They were the first to built slanted roof which enabled the rain water to flow off the roof. Stadiums these days are also based on Greek designs. The Greek built temples for their gods before Christians even existed.