Early Bronze 2900-2000 B.C. Knives and swords began to be made of Bronze. Gold, silver and lead also were introduced during this period. Houses were made with stone walls. Persons or families were buried in pits carved into rock.
Minoean 2000-1400 B.C. This period is named after the legendary king Minos who ruled this region. The Minoans had advanced social organization, culture, art and commerce. Their lack of military culture may have led to their eventual downfall.
Mycenaean 1600-1100 B.C. The Mycenaeans defeated the Mineans to start this period. The region was prosperous. They traded widely, with textiles being especially important. They buried their dead seated rather than prone in large tombs; the richer classes were sometimes mummified.
Dark Ages 1100-900 B.C. This is the period between the fall of the Mycenaeans and the reintroduction of writing. Some think that this fall was caused by Dorian invaders from the north. Internal dissent and rebellion might have also caused the fall of the Mycenaeans.
The Geometric Period : 900-700 B.C.
During this period the Greek polis (pl. = poleis) or "city-state" develops, including Athens, Corinth, and Sparta. Archaeologically we see a greater, more developed, artistic output in the form of painted pottery and the rise of trade with other areas of the Mediterranean. Colonies are established in Italy and Sicily. The development of writing in the middle of the eighth century brings us out of the "Dark Ages" and into the historical period properly speaking. The epic poems of Homer, The Iliad and The Odyssey, are widely circulated around the Greek world.
The Archaic Period : 700-480 B.C.
Individual city-states and their colonies prosper, giving rise to centers of political, religious, philosophic and artistic development. Many of the Greek cities in the mainland, Aegean islands, and the Ionian coast are ruled by "tyrants", strong-willed men who rule, not by constitutional authority, but by popular support. Monumental sculpture, stone temple architecture, and civic building programs are among the achievements of this period. Greek cities in the eastern Aegean and Asia Minor come under the domination of the Persian Empire at the end of the sixth century. An unsuccessful revolt by the Greeks living on the Ionian coast leads to the invasion of mainland Greece by the Persians in 490 B.C. and again in 480 B.C. The Archaic period "officially" comes to an end (at least for modern historians) with the defeat of the Persian forces at the Battles of Salamis and Plataia in 480/79 B.C. In the years after the Persian defeat, Athens takes the lead in a league of Greek states (the "Delian League") sworn to pursue the war against the Persians.
The Classical Period : 480-323 B.C.
The acme of Greek civilization as viewed by many historians: literature, drama and the arts flourish throughout the Greek world. Athens enjoyed a period of wealth and power at the beginning of this period, successfully bringing the democratic form of government to the fore. Athens grows rich off its silver mines and the tribute paid by the Delian League which becomes, virtually, the Athenian Empire. This is the time of the great “ Kimonian” and “Periklean” building programs in Athens, which include the Parthenon and other famous temples on the Acropolis. Conflict with other Sparta and other Greek cities results in the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) and the defeat of Athens at the end of the fifth century. Subsequent decades see the rise of Macedonian power, beginning with Philip II, and culminating with the conquests (and death in 323) of Alexander the Great.
The Hellenistic Period : 323- 31 B.C.
Following the death of Alexander, his empire was divided into three parts: the Seleucids in Asia Minor; the Ptolemies in Egypt and the Macedonian (Antigonid) dynasty in Greece. The process of rule by kingship, common in the Near East, is established in the eastern area of the Greek world, including the Attalid dynasty in Pergamon. These 'Hellenistic Kingdoms' were centers of learning and artistic patronage; institutions such as the Libraries at Alexandria and Pegamon were responsible for the preservation and transmission of much of earlier scholarship and literature. Athens ceased to be an important political center, but was home to important philosophical schools.
The Roman Period in Greece: 31 B.C. - A.D. 323
The growing power of Rome eventually surpassed and engulfed the Hellenistic Kingdoms. With the defeat and subsequent deaths of Antony and Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemaic rulers, in 31 B.C., Octavian (Augustus) incorporated much of what had been Greece into the Roman province of Achaia. Centers of learning and the arts such as Athens and Rhodes, as well as the sanctuaries of Delos and Delphi, continued to flourish in the Roman period, particularly under the patronage of such philhellenic emperors as Hadrian (A.D. 117-38). Ephesos, Pergamon, and Aphrodisias were major Roman cities in Asia Minor.
The Byzantine Period in Greece : A.D. 323 - 1453
Constantine the Great created a new capital in the eastern half of the Roman empire, renaming the ancient Greek city of Byzantium "Nova Roma", the New Rome, more commonly known as the city of Constantine, "Constantinopolis" (modern Istanbul). His religious conversion and political recognition of the Christian faith paved the way for the continuation, in Christian form, of the Roman Empire. Henceforth, the "Eastern Roman Christian Empire" known in modern times as the Byzantine Empire, carried on the traditions of Greek culture. Following the sack of Constantinople in 1204 at the hands of Latin Crusaders, much of Greece came under Frankish or Venetian ownership. The Byzantine Empire finally came to an end with the capture of Constantinopolis by the Ottoman Turks in 1453.