History Of A Nation: The Cycladic Civilisation

My criteria for inclusion in this is rather weak. I’m saying this now because when we get down to 500 BC or so I will probably want to include what we know about so-called ‘barbarian’ tribes, but I don’t want to do a whole post to every archaeological culture where we know so little about each individual one – I’m really missing doing countries where we know who ruled them, hence I can’t wait to get back to Egypt in a sense. I think the Cyclades, who potentially could have had a civilisation culture, are close enough, at least on the same level as Norte Chico, that I feel justified in doing them. Also, they were sort of before the Minoan civilisation according to some – for this and future timelines, in the BC era it doesn’t matter so much if they are slightly out of order because that is within the margin of error we have for this part of history anyway, and, this will be relevant for some nations more than others at this point, legendary early starting dates may not be the best point to come in on a nation per se. If I had done the entirety of Ancient Egypt in one post I’d be neglecting that area of the world for a long old time to come. Hence most long-lasting nations will be split along dynastic or otherwise major political changes. Just creates more posts for me to keep this going.

c. 3200 BC – c. 2000 BC

Time And Location

Anyway, I put all of this in this post because this will be a pretty short one. As I said, the Cyclades were arguably a civilisation, and the main reason we do currently consider there to have been an early civilisation there is that marble idols from there have been found all around the Mediterranean. It’s alleged to be older than the Minoans and that the people of the Cyclades influenced the Cretans, I’m unsure on the validity of that claim myself, but there is evidence supporting it with Minoan finds that imitate Cycladic sculptures. Similar things have also been found in Attica. If correct, then it was the Cyclades where Greek culture first originated. And that is important.

I’ve marked some of the key islands there, Delos because of its importance later in history and Naxos because it was likely the centre of the Cycladic culture. The people of the Cyclades would have held all of the Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea for most of their history. We don’t know much about any system of government. They were very good traders and sailors, as you might expect from an island nation, and probably dominated the Mediterranean for a long time, competing with the Minoans to the south. Eventually, at about 2000 BC, the Minoans occupied them and they got passed around other Greek powers but never regained their independence as an island group, at least not for very long. But all that, Duchy of Naxos and the like, is way in the future, for now, this first hint of Greek civilisation coming under the sway of other Greek states is a sign of more powerful civilisations in this area to come.


As I’ve said, the main thing we know about the Cyclades is their marble that got exported, often in the form of female head figurines, like so. It’s not the most detailed thing you could think of but that is truly an ancient piece, all with the marble that these islands are famous for. And pieces like that were being spread all around the local area. Which is very incredible, at around 3000 BC and in the centuries that followed, these islands were one of the centres of human culture. At the time.

There were artisans to go with the traders and merchants but we don’t know if there was any form of economic system to go with the trades these artisans plyed. There was commercial exchange but it may have been through barter.

And finally, militarily, they probably had nothing. Because they got conquered by the Minoans, hardly the picture of military themselves. It’s 2000 BC, there’s very little in the way of weapons technology. Though of course, that will soon change…


Yes, a rather short post. If there are great discoveries on the Cyclades I will spruce this post up a bit.

But what I want to do is a first for the History Of A Nation series. It started out as a way to chronicle the history of every nation and by extension, the entirety of recorded history. I have made it bigger than I planned to be, so what I will start doing is, when I cover a state that occupies the land of the same modern state that I’ve already done, I will collect together links to all of the blog posts for that modern nation. If that was a bit confusing, here’s what I mean:

History Of Greece (so far)

Minoan Crete

Like a see also for all the other nations that have existed on the territory of the state.

Oh, and since the next nation I am doing starts after 3000 BC, here is the world at 3000 BC:

(while we’re at it, all credits for the maps either go to freely available Wikipedia maps or similarly available maps on d-maps, to get the outlines of the nations, that I then personally attempt to draw rough border outlines on. I’m sure people figured that out)


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