Antiquities are objects and artifacts from ancient times especially the civilizations of the Mediterranean: the Classical antiquity of Greece and Rome, Ancient Egypt and the other Ancient Near Eastern cultures. It is not a precise definition, and museum "Department of Antiquities" often cover a wider geographic range and later periods. Modern usage in the art trade is even broader: an English auction house "Department of Antiquities" covers objects "from the dawn of civilization to the Dark Ages, ranging from Western Europe to the Caspian Sea, embracing the cultures of Egypt, Greece, Rome and the Near East" while another uses a similar definition: "...4000 B.C to the 12th Century A.D. Geographically they originate from Egypt, the Near East and Europe ..."
Classical Antiquity refers to a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. Conventionally it begins with the earliest-recorded Greek poetry of Homer (8th–7th century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the decline of the Roman Empire (5th century AD). It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity (AD 300–600), blending into the Early Middle Ages (AD 600–1000).
The long history of collecting the relics of ancient times was revived during the Italian Renaissance with a particular emphasis on the remains of Greco-Roman antiquity—coins, gems, sculpture, buildings, and the classics of Greek and Latin literature.