Greece is a country truly rich in history. The birthplace of Western civilization, it has long been known for its ancient philosophers, doctors, and artists.
But did you know that there were civilizations that rose and fell in the area long before the “Ancient” Greeks trod here? Or that the history here didn’t stop when Socrates died, but continued uninterrupted to the contemporary age, through a blend of religious and political upheavals. This rocky coast and these Stoic, tough islands have long withheld the test of time.
Here’s a brief guide to the history of this incredible country.
2700-1500 BCE: The Minoan civilisation
This is Greece’s oldest civilization, and it flourished on the island of Crete. This island is still one of the country’s most important spots – for tourism now! – and it’s as appropriate for exploring the ruins as for sunbathing on the beach.
1600-1100 BCE: The Mycenaean civilization
Before you think it’s short-lived, realize that the USA has been around for less time. And this civilization’s influence may have been as important as the USA is today! The highlight here is a visit to the ruins of the capitol, Mycenae – which are remarkably well-preserved.
776 BCE (the first Olympic games) to 323 BCE (the death of Alexander the Great):
Ancient Greece. From Homer to Plato and Socrates to Alexander the Great, many of Greece’s most well-known history occurred in the millennium before the birth of Jesus. Relics from this period abound. From the Acropolis to the temples at Delphi, this was Greece’s golden age – and a main draw for many visitors.
276-146 BCE: The Hellenistic period
A dark age for this mighty power. The global influence of Greece declined, until…
126 BCE - 393 CE: Roman Greece
This was a resurgence, under Roman rule. Much of the Romans’ most famous attributes were copied from the Greeks, from their artwork to their religion. Despite occupation, this was a high point for Greece, and many Roman monuments remain.
4th – 15th century: Byzantine Greece
From the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Greece was part of the Byzantine Empire, one of the most powerful empires in history. Greek Orthodoxy developed, and many monasteries and churches were built.
15th century - 1821: Ottoman Greece
After the fall of the Byzantines, Greece fell (like most of Eastern Europe) under Ottoman rule. This was a crucial period of the country’s history, of which many artifacts remain, like the ones in Thessaloniki.
1821 onward: Modern Greece.
The re-emergence into the global sphere was rocky. The country had a revolution in 1821, followed by a kingdom, a dictatorship, occupation by the Axis forces, and finally the “Third Hellenic Republic”, which continues to this day.
As you can imagine, Greece has a long and varied history. But, fortunately, relics from every moment in this country’s past are still observable today. If you truly love history, you could spend decades coming back here!
Want to check it out in person? Let me know!