The Bronze Age civilizations of Greece flourished from about 3000 BC to about 1100 BC. While the Cycladic Civilization took root in the Cyclades Islands, the Minoan Civilization in Crete and Thera on mainland Greece was home to the rich Helladic Civilization. The civilization was named after ancient Greece, Hellas. The Helladic Period, therefore, refers to the era when the civilization flourished in Greece.
Helladic and Mycenaean Civilizations
In the later years (1900 BC to 1100 BC), the Helladic Civilization came to be known as the Mycenaean Civilization. This was entirely due to the rise of Mycenae, one of the many city-states that dotted Greece. Mycenaean King Agamemnon, the valiant hero of Troy, ensured that his kingdom was the most powerful in all of Greece.
The Helladic Period is further categorized into Early, Middle, and Late Helladic Periods. Each is differentiated by the distinct styles of pottery, evolving art, architecture, and culture.
Early Helladic Period
The Early Helladic Period started in about 3000 BC. A number of Indo-European nomadic tribes chose to settle down in central and southern Greece and took up agriculture and animal husbandry as their main occupations. Not much is known about the language and customs of these settlers. The native Greeks might have invaded them. At any rate, by 2000 BC there was much intermingling and the Greeks grew dominant.
Middle Helladic Period
The Middle Helladic Civilization lasted from 2000 BC to about 1550 BC. A number of city-states started to crystallize. The mighty warriors ruled and maritime trade decided the wealth of these city-states. The influence of the Minoan civilization led to development of social order in Greece.
Later Helladic Period
The Later Helladic Civilization, from 1550 BC, was dominated by the politics of Mycenae. The rich culture and traditions of this era formed the basis of Classical Greek legends.
The dwindling maritime trade was the most likely reason for the decline of the Helladic Civilization. There seems to have been a lot of internal strife as well. Toward 1100 BC, the ancient Greek civilizations disappeared, marking the commencement of the Dark Ages.