Overview of Ancient Greece


Greek civilization went through a number of distinct periods.  The early period included the rise and fall of the Mycenaean civilization.  This is the age that Homer wrote about in The Iliad and The Odyssey.  Homer lived during the so-called Dark Ages.  During this time, Greece began to recover from the destruction wrought by the Mycenaean’s. 

The Lyric Age was the period during which the city-states of Sparta and Athens came to prominence.  The Greeks began to colonize the Mediterranean basin.  It was a time of the flowering of lyric poetry, and the development of philosophy and science.
The Classical Period was one of growth for the Athenian Empire.  Both the Persian Wars, in which Greece successfully defended itself from Persian invasion, and the Peloponnesian Wars, in which Sparta and Athens fought each other, occurred during this era.  The Classical Period was also when the great Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle created their masterworks.  The period ended with the conquest of Greece by Philip of Macedonia.