In Crete a Neolithic culture, related to that of Asia Minor, flourished for at least several centuries in the 4th millennium B.C. This was followed by a high Bronze Age civilization (with its center at Knossos), which has been divided into three major periods: Early Minoan, 30o0-220o B.C.; Middle Minoan, 2200-1600 B.C.; and Late Minoan, 1600-1100 B.c. Similar Bronze Age cultures have been reported from Melos and other islands of the Cyclades, namely: Early Cycladic, 2800-2200 B.C.; Middle Cycladic, 22o0-565o B.c.; and Late Cycladic,
565 -1300 B.C. On the mainland of Greece a third series of related cultures flourished in central Greece and the Peloponnesus: Neolithic, shortly before 2800 B.c.; Early Helladic, 2800-2500 B.C. Middle Helladic, 210o-x600 B.C.; and Late Helladic, 1600-5500 B.C. In Thessaly were two Neolithic cultures, with northern affinities: Thessalian I, before 26o0 B.C., and Thessalian II, 26o0-240o B.C., followed by two of the Bronze Age cultures: Thessalian III, 24005800 B.C.; and Thessalian IV, 180o-1200 B.C. In Cyprus the Neolithic began before 30o0 B.C., after which developed a series of Bronze Age cultures. During the latter half of the 2d millennium B.C. the so-called Mycenaean culture (Late Helladic), with its center in Mycenae in the Peloponnesus, spread throughout Greece and the whole Aegean area, with extensions to western Asia Minor, Cyprus, and Syria. The Iron Age in Greece began about 5000 B.C. with the Geometric period, the close of which marked the beginning of history in this area.