One of the great paradoxes of history is that the next hesitant advance of European civilization - the development of the first city-states - took place not on the fertile open central European plains, but in a remote island to the south of the Aegean Sea which was completely lacking in metal resources. While the glittering mounted warrior-princes of central Europe dissipated their creative energy in warefare, a highly cultured yet peaceful society, built on trade and an agricultural surplus, emerged on Crete.
The history of Greece can be traced back to Stone Age hunters. Later came early farmers and thecivilizations of the Minoan and Mycenaean kings. This was followed by a period of wars and invasions, known as the Dark Ages. In about 1100 BC, a people called the Dorians invaded from the north and spread down the west coast. In the period from 500-336 BC Greece was divided into small city states, each of which consisted of a city and its surrounding countryside.