The Greece Gallery explores the ancient history and culture of Greece from the sub-Mycenaean period into the Hellenistic Age (3000 – 31 BCE) and is a part of the Classical World suite of galleries at the Penn Museum. Objects displayed in the Greece Gallery come from the Greek homeland, the early colony foundations of the Greeks, Etruscan tombs and outposts of the empire of Alexander the Great. The Greeks were pre-eminent merchants and their pottery represents the best archaeological evidence of the extensiveness of their trade and influence in the Mediterranean world. Highlights of the gallery include Attic Black Figure and Red Figure pottery vessels, marble and bronze sculptures, gold and silver coins, and architectural fragments.
During the height of Greek civilization their city-states dominated the economy of the entire Mediterranean region. The Greeks were also energetic colonizers. From as early as the 8th century BCE Greek emigrants founded new settlements in Italy, North Africa, southern France, Asia Minor, and the Black Sea region. Alexander the Great (d. 323 BCE) conquered the east as far as India. His successors brought about an unparalleled expansion of Greek civilization in which Greek language and culture became the koine, the most common and acceptable way of life.