home page
The face of Greece is a palimpsest bearing twelve successive inscriptions: Contemporary; the period of 1821; the Turkish yoke; the Frankish sway; the Byzantine; the Roman; the Hellenistic epoch; the Classic; the Dorian middle ages; the Mycenaean; the Aegean; and the Stone Age.
Pause on a patch of Greek earth and anguish overcomes you. It is a deep, twelve-leveled tomb, from which voices rise up calling to you. Which voice should you choose? Every voice, every spirit.
-- Nikos Kazantzakis, Journey to the Morea, p. 7.
There is no end to it in this city - wherever we walk, we set foot upon some history.
-- Lucius Cicero, 79BC, de Finibus 5.1

Books that cover the full scope of Greek history.
Eras of History

The history of Independent Greece

Greece Today Information on contemporary issues.

Rio Bridge
"Modern Greece" is the era of the independent nation-state of Greece, an eventful period including - just since WWII - a civil war, many government changes, the military dictatorship of "the colonels", democracy's restoration, and Greece's evolution into the economy of modern Europe and the Balkan scene - at least until the financial crisis hit.
Modern Greece 1828 - now

Rebelling against the centuries of Turkish occupation, and taking advantage both of the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the sympathy of classically trained European "philhellenes," Greeks waged a seven year war to win their independence. Conducted in the usual Greek style: fractious, heroic, and colorful.
War for Independence
1821 - 1828

A novel set in this time is The Greek Passion.
For several centuries, the country was part of the Ottoman Empire. Turkish overlords varied from enlightened to despotic but it was a time of suffering and taxation without services or representation. There was, in many places, considerable freedom to manage local affairs, and the Orthodox church was not suppressed.
Turkish Occupation
1453 - 1821

For a thousand years this provided the cultural matrix for the nation providing both a religion that shaped many aspects of life and also significant art. During this time Franks and Venetians were present in the territory.
Byzantine Empire 364 - 1453

The Romans admired and adopted Greek culture as their own. In this climate of Roman rule and Greek language the early Christian church was shaped with the early bishops and theologians using Greek ideas and philosophy to develop the foundational theological doctrines of the new religion.
Roman Empire
86 BCE - 364 CE

Alexander the Great seized control of his father's kingdom of Macedonia and in a decade of constant war journeyed as far as India before dying at the age of 33. His political kingdom did not survive his death, but he spread Greek culture through the middle east.

While Athens had lost its political power, it remained a center of learning especially for philosophy (Aristotle) and science.
Hellenistic Era
336 - 86 BCE

The Acropolis
Many other sections of this site cover this era.

The history of this era

The Parthenon; the plays of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes & Euripides; the history of Thucydides, Herodotus and Xenophon; the philosophy of Socrates and Plato; the leadership of Themistocles & Pericles; sculpture, architecture, poetry. Oh, yea - one other thing: they invented democracy.

And then -- they threw it all away in war with Sparta.

Classical Era
500 - 336 BCE

A temple at Corinth is from this era.

Learn more.
Before the miracle of the 5th century, there had been significant developments in math, science (Pythagoras) and poetry (lyric poets such as Sappho). The first philosophers are in this time as well. The first steps of the formation of the city-states and democratic reforms occur.

800 - 500 BCE

Ancient Greece of the classical era itself had an ancient history almost as long as the period from the classical period to now. Greeks of the Classical period looked past the centuries of the dark ages to sites so old they had no knowledge of how they came to be.
Dark Ages
1100 - 800 BCE


The Trojan war was perhaps 1200 BCE.
The stories told by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey were long thought to be pure fiction until the ancient cites of Mycenae and Troy (and others) were discovered in the 19th century. Now we know that there was a sophisticated empire based in Mycenae in the Peloponnesus region.
Mycenaean Era
1500 - 1100 BCE

The explosion at Santorini was, perhaps, 1628 BCE.
The discovery of the huge palace at Konossos led to our awareness of an empire based in Minoan Crete that was later overcome by the Mycenaens.
Minoan Era
2000 - 1500 BCE

More on Cycladic Art
Among the cultural artifacts from this area are a collection of art objects, known as "Cycladic," that in their geometric and abstract form look surprisingly modern.
Early Bronze Age 3000 - 2000 BCE

Settled agriculture has been found in Greece as early as 6,500BCE.
Neolithic Era

Last modified 4/23/14; posted 8/14/00 original content © 2014, 2000 John P. Nordin