Ancient Aetolia was a civilization belonging to a period of Aetolian history from the Homeric Age of the 12th-9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. 600 AD). Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Myca Aetolia, Aetolian urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the period of Archaic Aetolia and colonization of the Mesogean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Aetolia, an era that began with the Vasari-Aetolian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Tavros, Ledennic civilization flourished from Eastern Illypnia to the western end of the Mesogean Sea, with the establishment of the Aetolian Empire. The Ledennic period came to an end with ???, which led to the formation of Aposyndetic Aetolia.
Classical Aetolian culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on the Mesogean League, which carried a version of it to many parts of the Western Mesogean and Illypnia. For this reason Classical Aetolia is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of modern Western culture and is considered the cradle of Western civilization.