[[File:Etruscan civilization map.png|thumbnail|Τα αρχαία βασίλεια των Ετρούσκων στον ιταλικό βορρά. 8ος αι. ΠΚΕ.]]
''Classical antiquity'' is a broad term for a long period of cultural [[history]] centered around the [[Mediterranean Sea]], which begins roughly with the earliest-recorded [[Greek language|Greek]] poetry of [[Homer]] (9th century BC), and continues through the rise of [[Christianity]] and the [[fall of the Western Roman Empire]] (5th century AD), ending in the dissolution of classical culture with the close of [[Late Antiquity]].
Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many rather disparate cultures and periods. "Classical antiquity" typically refers to an idealized vision of later people, of what was, in [[Edgar Allan Poe]]'s words, "the glory that was [[Ancient Greece|Greece]], the grandeur that was [[Ancient Rome|Rome]]!" In the 18th and 19th centuries AD, reverence for classical antiquity was much greater in [[Europe]] and the [[United States]] than it is today. Respect for the ancients of Greece and Rome affected [[politics]], [[philosophy]], [[sculpture]], [[literature]], [[theatre]], [[education]], and even [[architecture]] and [[History of sex|sexuality]].