Start of the Greek Archaic Period

The civilization that is often referred to as “Ancient Greece” began around 800 BC. The first part of this period is called the Greek Archaic Period. During this time, many Greek city-states began to form and gain power. Early Greek culture began to take shape including the development of Greek philosophy and theater.

  • During this period, poleis grew and expanded. Poleis were independent and had a small territory surrounding them, had their own political system and were self- sufficient.  Most of the poleis were rule as oligarchies which are the government of few people, mainly the richest families. The main poleis were Athens and Sparta but other important ones were Thebes and Delphi.
  • Poleis expanded creating colonial territories along the Mediterranean and Asia Minor. Greeks were forced to migrate because land in the Balkan Peninsula was not good for agriculture and land belonged to the wealthiest families. So by migrating small farmers could improve their living conditions. Colonies were founded in Italy, France, Spain, Egypt, around the Black Sea and Minor Asia.

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