The Greek civilization started with a series of invasions. As the invaders settled, they developed their own culture in a rather hostile surrounding consisting mainly of dry mountains and sea.
This led them to develop commerce, marine activities and finally crafts.
They were never truly united but developed city states that spent a lot of time fighting each other, getting together only when great dangers threatened them (wars against Persians) or during the Olympic games.
They also experimented with different types of government, from autocracy to democracy.
The fundamental values of Western Civilization: humanism, individualism and human dignity were inherited from Greece.
The Greeks' point of view on the world is definitely anthropocentric: their gods resemble men and their art centers around the contemplation of man.
Four periods of evolution can be distinguished in greek art: archaic, severe, classic, and hellenistic.