Ancient Greece Timeline of Major Events Lesson for Kids

Instructor: David Wilson

David has taught college history and holds an MA in history.

The history of ancient Greece spans hundreds of years and ranges from Europe to India. Learn about the development of Greek civilization and the challenges it faced in this lesson.

Going Way Back

Just how ancient is ancient? It's a question with a lot of different answers. Maybe you think your grandparents are ancient, but they're probably younger than some buildings around town that are used every day. By comparison, ancient Greece stretches back over three thousand years in the past. The story of Greece's rise and fall takes place across a span of centuries.

Pottery with painting of ancient Greeks
Greek pottery

Greek Origins

While we can trace the history of humans living in Greece to over ten thousand years ago, the civilization we think of as ancient Greece can be said to have begun about 2700 years ago. Around this time, two very important events took place: the first Olympic Games and the epic stories of Homer. The Olympic Games were originally just a single race that was a tribute to the Greek gods, but later they were expanded to include events like wrestling and discus throwing. The epics of Homer, the Iliad and the Odyssey, are two of the oldest stories that have survived to the modern day and have inspired European literature for centuries.

Painting inspired by the Odyssey
Odyssey Painting

Around the same time, Greece began to create colonies, or settlements in new places, around parts of southern Europe, ranging from Italy to Spain. The ruins of many of these cities and buildings still survive to this day, incredible evidence of the skills of these Greek builders.

Archaic Period

The period of ancient Greece between about 2700 and 2500 years ago is remembered as the Archaic Period, meaning very old. During this time Greek culture began to develop and grow. The first poets emerged, becoming famous for their language and skills. It was also during the Archaic Period that the Athenian politician Solon developed the first idea of democracy as a form of government, making Athens the first democracy in history.

Sculpture of Solon, Athenian politician who introduced democracy
Solon sculpture

The Archaic Period came to a close with the Persian Wars, a series of conflicts fought between the ancient Greeks and the nearby Persian Empire. The Persians fought to bring Greece into their empire, while the Greeks fought to keep the Persians out. The Greeks won a famous conflict during these wars, the Battle of Marathon. Legend holds that a messenger ran all the way to Athens to deliver the victory, giving the marathon race its name.

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