The Classical Age is a time period associated with the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations that lasted from around 2000 BC to 500 AD. This Age followed the Prehistoric era and came before the Middle Ages. During this time period, the ancient Greeks and Romans contributed to the advancement of literature, the arts, science, philosophy, and other fields that still make an impact to this day. In this article, you will learn more about the Classical Age and some of the cultural players involved.
The start of the ancient Greek civilization is attributed to the Minoans, who great strides in many fields, such as the arts, science and agriculture. The Minoans lived on the Mediterranean island of Crete and were prosperous from around 3000 to 1450 BC. One of the most interesting accomplishments of the Minoans is that they created an advanced plumbing and drainage system that included toilets that flushed and showers found in the homes of royalty.
In agriculture, the Minoans raised cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats. Their fields were filled with wheat, barley, chickpeas, figs, olives, lemons, oranges and grapes. To cultivate the land, the farmers used wooden plows that were bound by leather to wooden handles to tend to crops. A pair of donkeys or oxen pulled the plows across the fields.
Ancient Greek storytellers love sharing tales about the ancient Minoans. They especially enjoyed sharing stories about the Minotaur , a mythical creature that was a blend between a man and a beast. It was believed that the creature lived on the island of Crete a long time ago.
Towards the end of the civilization, the people and capital city of Knossos suffered a couple of devastating earthquakes, as well as invasions from other cultures.
Following the Minoan civilization, the Mycenaeans took over Greece as the dominant civilization and culture. They learned a lot from the Minoans and expanded upon this knowledge. Cities that flourished during the time of the Mycenaeans included Argos, Corinth, Athens, Thebes, and Sparta.
One of the ways that the Mycenaeans differed from the Minoans (who were considered a peace-loving people) was that they didn’t place much emphasis in trade and focused on conquering other regions. A significant event associated with the Mycenaeans was the attack on Troy, which led to the lengthy and infamous Trojan War.
At the time of the Myceaneans, each city-state had a fortified palace that was surrounded by large defensive walls. The outer parts of the estate were comprised of farmland that was collectively owned. The free lower classes and slaves were at the lower rung of the society ladder.
The Myceaneans were skilled in metal working and earned a reputation for creating impressive gold and bronze pieces of art. Trading was important to the Myceaneans because Greece did not have a natural stockpile of precious metals , they had to rely on importing copper from Cyrus and tin from parts of central and western Europe. The Myceaneans increased their network of trade to include the Mediterranean basin. Because of this, new settlements were established along the western Mediterranean. When they were at their peak, the Myceaneans controlled an important strait called the Dardanelles, which linked the Aegean with the Black Sea.
The Myceaneans were dominant in Greece from around 1650 BC to 1200 BC.