Greece and Rome: Civilization and Society from Ancient to Classical
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Greece and Rome: Civilization and Society from Ancient to Classical

A brief history and timelines of GreeceÂ’s and RomeÂ’s civilization and society, from ancient to classical periods.

The period saw the rise of civilization in the Mediterranean, specifically the Aegean Sea. Developments in the Aegean were significant since these gave way to the Greek civilization in the first millennium BC, which eventually became the first European civilization to leave a distinct mark on the world history.

Ancient Greece Civilization

In the Bronze Age, around 3000 BC, there is evidence of metal tools. These included axes and daggers. Pottery was valued all over on the technical expertise of the Corinthian pottery workers. There were also innovations in the manufacture of pottery.

The houses were large, with the biggest ones a two-story. The use of baked clay tiles for roof tiling was found on the mainland. The Greeks also made huge advances in ceramics. Best known in the Western world were the Corinthian and Attic wares.  

On trading and transport, the use of seals, jewelry, and other metal working technologies were evidently borrowed from ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt, and follows that trading existed between the regions.    

The Acropolis was a citadel situated on high ground for defensive purposes. The one at Athens had buildings constructed on it, with Parthenon, the most famous of these buildings as a temple to Athena built in the fifth century BC.  

Western philosophical thought was almost totally derived from the works of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, famous of the ancient Greek philosophers.    

Ancient Rome Civilization

From around 300 BC, after the death of Alexander the Great, saw the rise of the Roman  Empire which lasted until the fifth century AD. The empire was governed by a form of democracy, that is, the period did not experience any revolutionary developments, however, public infrastructures were constructed.   

At Alexandria, the tradition of innovation was continued. Steam turbine and the water clock, among others, were developed along with improvements in the design of astronomical instruments.  Romans also improved the weapons like the crossbow and the catapult, handy for military purposes.

These improvements in the devices helped in the construction of buildings and monuments with the help of cogwheels, pulleys, levers and gears.

The Roman legacy is immense. Although there was a period of anarchy before Constantine in 324 AD, the centre of the empire that was moved by him from Rome to Constantinople gave rise to the Byzantine Empire. Among others, the scholars of Byzantine brought forward the legacy of the Greeks including mathematics, used in the construction of the sixth century’s Hagia Sofia.

Greece Timeline

3000-1100 BC.  Bronze Age, known for Minoan and Mycenean civilizations.

1100-800 BC.  The Dark Age. Dorians formed city states, including Athens and Sparta. Geometric schemes were used on pottery.

800-500 BC.  The Archaic period. First Olympics were held in 776 BC. Homer wrote the Iliad and Odyssey. Draco’s code of law was introduced in Athens. The use of coin currency started. Persia invaded Greek territories.   

500-330 BC.  The Classical period. Democracy in Athens was established. Greeks defeated Persian invaders and Athens became a powerful city. Famous Greek plays were written and the Parthenon was built. Sparta defeated Athens and Philip of Macedonia ruled Greece. Eventually, his son Alexander (the Great) "conquered" the world.

330-30 BC.  The period was known as the Hellenistic age. Greece became part of the Roman Empire.   

Rome Timeline

753 BC.  The Foundation of Rome.

509 BC.  Rome became a Republic.

450 BC.  First law code – The Twelve Tables.

378 BC.  The City wall was built.

312 BC.  The first aqueduct and first major road were built.

280 BC.  Coinage started.

200 BC.  Concrete was first used in Palestrina.

130 BC.  Rome conquered Greece and most of Spain.

85 BC.  Heating system was introduced.

122 AD.  The building of Hadrian’s wall was established.

324 AD.  Constantinople was founded.

455-476 AD.  Vandals destroyed Rome and the Western Roman Empire fell to Visigoths and Ostrogoths.

554-1453 AD.  Eastern Empire survived as Byzantine Empire.

Islam Timeline

600 AD.  The spread of Islam.

661-750 AD.  The Umayyad Caliphate.

750-935 AD.  The Abbasid Caliphate and the founding of Baghdad.

Related Article:

Mesopotamia and Egypt Civilization and Society from Ancient to Classical

Photo Courtesy: 

Parthenon (Kallistos), Wikimedia Creative Commons


Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991.

The Story of Inventions from Antiquity to the Present. Tandem Verlag GmbH, 2008.



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Comments (11)
Ranked #131 in History

Good article.

Ranked #31 in History

Good read, though I don't think Alexander conqured the whole world, not far off though :)

Ranked #19 in History

Thanks, Vicki!

Ranked #19 in History

Hi Auron, Great thought, probably a cliche. I'll have to put a quote now. ;) Thanks.

Ranked #8 in History

My favorite period in archaeology.

Ranked #19 in History

Hi Lauren, Thanks for dropping by. You're an expert in this subject and would know a lot more. ;)

Voted up. Great article

Ranked #1 in History

A very valuable an concise account of Classical history and archaeology.

Ranked #19 in History

Thanks, Michael. Appreciate your taking time to read classical history and archaeology. Tel

Impressive insight to understandinh history..Thanks Tel

Ranked #19 in History

Glad you like the piece, Abdel-moniem. Cheers!