mahendra’s greece

In October 2020, a ruptured muscle fibre in my left thigh left me recovering. I searched for a place that was close enough to avoid flying long-distance to Asia or America during the Covid days, but also combined abundant natural beauty – spectacular mountains and delightful beaches – with a rich cultural heritage. I decided to go to Greece to the area of Mt Olympus and to the monasteries of Meteora. It left me hungry for more.

The following spring, I returned to Greece for six weeks, this time to the southern part of the Greek mainland, the Peloponnese. I started to explore the nearby Mani peninsula. I came back many more times—each time further expanding my view on the evolution of human culture in Greece. The more I saw, the more I understood that the story of Greece is outstanding. 5000 years of human history have been preserved in countless ancient buildings, artefacts, written documents, and oral tradition—like nowhere else in the world. Scientists from around the world have done amazing work to reconstruct life as it was then. For me, the impressions from the single sites are added to each other to form a larger picture, growing slowly like a huge puzzle. The backbone of this larger picture is the following timeline, which serves as an introduction and reference for the visited sites shown in the photo stories below the timeline.

  • 3100 – 1100 BCE


    Minoan civilization

    A Bronze Age culture on the island of Crete, often regarded as the first civilization in Europe. First urban settlements. Often absence of fortifications. Linear A script. Various styles of pottery.
    Examples: Knossos (Crete)

  • 1750 – 1050 BCE


    Mycenean civilization

    Construction of fortified settlements like Mycene, Pylos and Tiryns – organized as city states. Cyclopean masonry. Geometric pottery. Linear B script. Shrines and cult centers.
    Examples: Mycenae, Pylos (Nestor’s palace), Nemea, Acropolis

  • Around 1150 BCE


    Bronze Age collapse

    Environmental change, mass migration and destruction of cities through natural desasters or invasions.
    Major sites like Mycenae, Tiryns, Thebes and Pylos are abandoned.
    Further information from the World History Encyclopedia: The Bronze Age Collapse

  • 1100 – 800 BCE


    Greek Dark Age (Iron Age)

    Widespread famine and depopulation, no large cities, no script, simple pottery. Not much archeological evidence.

  • 800 – 490 BCE


    Archaic Greece

    Expansion of the Greek culture through settlements in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor, the Polis (Greek city state), Greek alphabet, Homer, refined pottery decoration. Establishment of the key states Athens, Corinth and Sparta in the 8th century.
    Examples: Corinth, Olympia, Eleusis, Athens, Acropolis

  • 490 – 323 BCE

  • 323 – 146 BCE


    Hellenistic period

    Alexander the Great and the Diadochi, expansion of Greek culture, merging with Persian and Buddhist culture.

    Examples: Athens, Corinth, Ephesus, Eleusis

  • 146 BCE – 324 CE


    Roman Greece

    In the 2nd century BCE the Romans conquer Greece. Greece is divided into four Roman provinces. The Romans adapt many components of the Greek culture. From around 50 CE onwards Christian missionaries start conversions in the Roman empire. In the 4th century CE Greek religion is systematically eradicated. When the Roman empire is split into a western and an eastern part, the Greek provinces stay with the eastern part.
    Examples: Ephesus, Messene, Eleusis, Corinth

  • 324 – 1453 CE

  • 480 - 700 CE


    Invasions from the North

    Invasions by various non-Christian tribes like Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Slavs. They conquer large parts of the Greek mainland, but never take control over the whole country.

  • 1204 – 1797 CE

  • 1453 – 1821 CE


    Ottoman Greece

    Greece under the influence of the Ottoman empire. Many members of the orthodox church retreat into the mountains.
    Example: Palamidi, Meteora , Methoni, Monemvasia

  • Since 1821


    Modern Greece

    Independence since 1833

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