History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I many times heard a version that the advances of the Ancient Greek culture were in fact borrowed from Egypt or the Middle East. I will not buy this. Classical Antiquity civilization had a lot of features which put it apart from any Asian or African civilization and which thus could not be borrowed. Such features include

  • extensive and realistic fine arts, especially sculpture

  • narrative literature of non-religious character

  • philosophical research based on logic, experiment and cross-references between authors

  • extensive deductive legal system and idea of the people as the source of power, idea of counter-balances and checks on the supreme power

and others.

Another idea, that these features were inherited from Proto-Indo-Europeans does not explain why other IE peoples did not exhibit similar culture.

It seems that proto-Classic civilization originated in the Balkans and encompassed several diverse peoples of IE origin (Proto-Greeks, Thracians (including Dacians), Illirians, Macedonians, Liburgians, Messapians, Paeonians, Bryges (later known as Phrygians), possibly also proto-Italians).

So my question is

  • What are the arguments pro and contra of proto-Classical civilization in the Balkans?

  • Are there any remains that point that such civilization existed?

  • Whether there are other theories of the origins of the Classical culture?

  • If proto-Classical culture existed, whether it played any prominent role in Europe such as playing a role of a cultural center?

share|improve this question
"I many times heard a version that the advances of the Ancient Greek culture were in fact borrowed from Egypt or the Middle East. " - can you please provide a reference to specific work stating that? Without an example of what was considered to be borrowed it's very hard to impossible to either confirm or disprove what did and didn't happen. – DVK Feb 2 '12 at 15:09
So Classical Antiquity is really meant to be Greco-Roman? I'm slightly confused on that. – MichaelF Feb 2 '12 at 16:48
Not only Greco-Roman but also including a range of natons that became less prominent in history. For example, Thracians who created things like these static.atlasobscura.netdna-cdn.com/images/place/… upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/… philipharland.com/Blog/uploaded_images/BendisPiraeus.jpg en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Reproduction_of_Thracian_tomb_2.jpg – Anixx Feb 2 '12 at 17:25
What is the time and place in history that you see Classical Antiquity as taking this theoretical quantum leap forward? The Mycenaean civilization, for example, seems fairly similar to the other Mediterranean peoples of that time, like the Phoenicians. So sometime between then and the golden era of Greek Philosophy? – user4139 Dec 5 '14 at 14:31
  1. Greeks came not on the empty space. There was older, Minoan and even more old civilizations on this place before them.
  2. I think, the very important influence was from the Crete civilization, that was very original. Look at their pictures.
  3. Of course, there was also infuence from barbarians. All waves of greek population were barbarians themselves sometime.
  4. Influence from the cultures and civilizations of smaller islands in Egeian sea could be important, too. Lesbos, for example.
  5. They sailed Mediterranian and surely, knew Etruscian civilization and Tartess, too.
  6. Herodotes starts his history also with tales on Lidian state. The first coins, Creusus and so on. Also there was Frigia andother states in Asia Minor. Before Persians they were with Greeks tha parts of one greater cultural entity. For example, they used the same Oracul.

All of these influences and their own work made what we know as classic Greek Civilization.

Protoclassical civilization - it was Greeks themselves. They built their culture for centuries.

share|improve this answer
Etruscans borrowed Greek religion, gods and writing. They cannot be the source of the Greek culture. – Anixx Nov 5 '13 at 8:44
@Anixx. Please, reread the question. We are talking on the CLASSIC Greek culture. It is younger than the Etruscian one. – Gangnus Nov 5 '13 at 14:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.