The history of ancient Greece is vast and influential in Western civilization. Here’s a general overview of the periods and highlights of Ancient Greece.

Historical Periods:

  • Archaic Period (c. 800 B.C. – c. 500 B.C.): During this time, the polis or city-states such as Athens and Sparta were established. It also saw the emergence of democracy in Athens and the militaristic system in Sparta.
  • Classical Period (c. 500 B.C. – c. 323 B.C.): This period is marked by the Persian Wars and the rivalry between Athens and Sparta, culminating in the Peloponnesian War. It was also a time of cultural and philosophical flourishing.
  • Hellenistic Period (c. 323 B.C. – c. 146 B.C.): Initiated with the death of Alexander the Great, this period saw the expansion of Greek cultural influence across the known world.
  • Roman Conquest (c. 146 B.C.): Greece fell under Roman rule, although its culture and wisdom were highly valued by the Romans.
  • Philosophy: Thinkers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle laid the foundations of philosophical and scientific thought.
  • Art and Architecture: The Greeks pioneered artistic and architectural forms that continue to be influential today.
  • Literature: Authors such as Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides contributed to the canon of Western literature.
  • Science and Mathematics: Figures like Pythagoras, Euclid, and Hippocrates made fundamental contributions in mathematics, geometry, and medicine.
  • Politics and Government: The innovation of democracy in Athens is one of Greece’s most enduring contributions to Western civilization.

Greek mythology and religion, with a pantheon of gods like Zeus, Hera, and Poseidon, played a central role in daily life and explaining the natural world.