The first Greeks to inhabit Greece from 6000 to 1177 B.C. were part of the prehistoric period known as the "Bronze Age." They belonged to several distinct cultures that gradually developed in the region. Here's a summary of some notable cultures during this time:
1. Neolithic Period (6000-3200 B.C.): During this era, various Neolithic settlements appeared in Greece, characterized by the transition from hunting and gathering to farming. Communities started practicing agriculture and domesticating animals.
2. Early Helladic Period (3200-2000 B.C.): The Early Helladic period saw the emergence of early Greek-speaking communities. These settlements were small and scattered across the region. They engaged in agriculture and trade, developing basic pottery and metallurgical skills.
3. Middle Helladic Period (2000-1600 B.C.): The Middle Helladic period experienced a growth in population and the establishment of more complex societies. Cities and towns developed, and trade networks expanded. The use of bronze became more prevalent, leading to advancements in technology and art.
4. Late Helladic Period (1600-1100 B.C.): The Late Helladic period witnessed the flourishing of the Mycenaean civilization. Mycenaeans built powerful fortified palaces and were skilled in warfare and trade. Their culture reached its peak during the late 14th and 13th centuries B.C.
5. Collapse (ca. 1200-1177 B.C.): Towards the end of this period, around 1200 B.C., the Mycenaean civilization collapsed, leading to a period of decline and instability in the region. The exact reasons for this collapse are still debated among historians, but factors such as invasions, internal conflicts, and natural disasters likely contributed to the decline.
Overall, the early Greeks in this timeframe evolved from small agricultural communities to more sophisticated societies, culminating in the Mycenaean civilization, which played a crucial role in shaping the history of ancient Greece.