Europe 500 BCE

The Iron Age Celts and their relatives dominate much of Europe, whilst in the Mediterranean lands a number of brilliant city-state civilizations, most notably the Greeks, now flourish.

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What is happening in Europe in 500BCE

This map shows the history of Europe in 500 BCE. The Iron Age has spread throughout the region, and has given rise to the brilliant civilization of the Ancient Greeks.

Iron Age Europe

Over the last few centuries the coming of the Iron Age to Europe has led to a large growth in populations throughout the continent, as well as great advances in culture.

Civilizing influences from the Middle East began again to be felt by the peoples of south-eastern Europe in the centuries after 1000 BCE. Phoenician merchants developed new trading networks across the Mediterranean Sea. They brought with them knowledge of the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt – and also an important new tool, alphabetic writing.

A brilliant new civilization

On the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean Sea – of Greece and the AegeanItaly and Sicily, the southern coasts of France and Spain, and north Africa – hundreds of city-states now flourish. The driving force behind this is the colonising activities of the Greeks.

The emergence of the Classical city-state in the Mediterranean world has allowed one of the most brilliant civilizations in all human history to develop, that of ancient Greece.

Most have rejected their old tribal kings and adopted a republican style of government. They provide a fruitful environment for advances in many branches of endeavour: artistic, intellectual and political.

This form of government is now spreading to other peoples in the Mediterranean region: it is about now that the small city of Rome, in central Italy, ejects its kings and becomes a republic.

In the north

To the north, the Celts now cover western Europe from Spain in the west to Britain in the north. Peoples closely related to them, both ethnically and culturally, dominate central Europe.

Next map, Europe 200 BCE

Dig Deeper

Ancient Greece: history of a civilization

The Rise of the Roman Empire

The Etruscans

The Celts

Ancient European History

Premium Units

Early Civilizations

Greece and Persia

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