The period called Archaic Greece was preceded by the dark ages, which began with the collapse of the Mycenean civilization at the end of the thirteenth century and continued until the re-emergence of writing in the early eighth century: lack of writing is what makes the dark ages dark. So, although the Homeric epics were probably composed through the dark ages, they were first written down along with other Greek literature during the archaic period (roughly the eighth, seventh and sixth centuries). And the context in which they were written down was the new social, political and cultural organization known as the polis.