The Greek culture of sailing and trading developed over thousands of years. The earliest Greeks had moved onto the Greek peninsula about 2000 B.C. Mycenaean Civilization The first Greek civilization was built on the Peloponnesus. It was named after its most important city, Mycenae (my•SEE•nee). A king ruled each city of Mycenaean Greece. The Mycenaeans were traders. Their culture featured writing, gold jewelry, bronze weapons, and fine pottery. Their civilization collapsed about 1200 B.C., perhaps because of invaders. After the fall of the Mycenaeans, Greek culture declined. People no longer kept written records. Without such records, historians know little about the period from 1200 to 750 B.C. New Advances in Greek Culture In time, Greek culture made advances again. One reason for this is that the Greeks learned from other people, such as the Phoenicians (fih•NISHSH•uhnz). They were another important trading people, who lived on the coast of the eastern Mediterranean. By trading with other people, the Phoenicians spread their system of writing. It used 22 symbols to stand for sounds. Such a system of symbols is called an alphabet .