Environmental Determinism Related to Ancient Greece, Rome and Medieval Times

Topics: Ancient Greece, Sparta, Ancient Rome Pages: 7 (2789 words) Published: June 4, 2013
Environmental determinism essentially means where you live has a direct correlation with how you live. Countries that need to focus on hunting and gathering cannot focus on other aspects of their society like military power, religion, technology and education. Geographic luck is another factor of environmental determinism. Geographic luck means that people have strong advantages to their lives because of where they currently live. Environmental determinism allowed countries to grow their military power and allowed them to enhance their weaponry, which was shown during the Peloponnesian War, the Punic Wars and the Viking Invasions.

During the period of Ancient Greece, the Peloponnesian War showed military changes because of environmental determinism. After the Persian War, the Persian Empire was very weak ("Peloponnesian War."). The Athenians saw this as a great opportunity to attack and take control of some very important land. Some of the land that they wanted to capture was called the Fertile Crescent and was very rich with many resources such as very rich soil which is opportune for growing crops, as well as large rivers of water for drinking ("Fertile Crescent."). The Athenians were able to attack the Fertile Crescent because of environmental determinism. The land the Athenians were on allowed them to create a strong civilization early, which allowed them to grow their military power, which in turn also allowed them to defeat the Persians in the Persian War. Environmental determinism also allowed the Athenians focus on upgrading their navy to a high enough level that they could travel the long distance of attacking the weakened Persian Empire. Environmental determinism also factored into the primary reason the Peloponnesian War started. When the city states divided up between the Delian League and the Athenians, and the Peloponnesian League and the Spartans, in the agreement it stated that each side was to not get involved with the opposite sides affairs and the Athenians ignored that rule because of environmental determinism ("Peloponnesian War."). Corcyra and Corinth were in a small war of their own and it was a Peloponnesian League matter, however, Corcyra had a large navy and Athens was afraid of Corinth taking this navy because they were a part of the Peloponnesian League, while Corcyra was still undecided on which side it was on. Environmental determinism factors into this because Corinth was powerful enough because of their developed civilization to make Athens worried, and Corcyra had a powerful enough navy that Athens was willing to start a war with the Peloponnesian League to start a war. At the beginning of the war, environmental determinism seriously affected the Athenians. Pericles, the most important general in Athens, decided at the beginning of the war to take a defensive strategy by keeping the army within the Athenian walls ("Peloponnesian War."). He thought this would wear the Spartan army out to the point where they would retreat. The main problem with this strategy was that all of the Athenians crops were located outside of the Athenian wall. Athens still had a secret trade route which allowed them to eat, however they could not sell their crops and they had to keep buying crops so they were rapidly losing a large amount of money. The plan also backfired a second time, because the Athenians were hit with a plague which killed a third of their people in 3 years, including Pericles. Environmental determinism is shown because the crops had to grow there because the soil within the city was not rich enough and the Athenians could not grow crops outside the other side of the Athenian walls, because they were located right on the coast of the Aegean Sea ("Ancient Greece Map."). Athens was hit by the plague before the Spartans because of environmental determinism as well. They are closer to where the plague started, which was in Ethiopia, where it then moved through Rome and the Persian Empire. In...

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