The Effect of Geography on Greek History

Topics: Greece, Mediterranean Sea, Turkey Pages: 2 (563 words) Published: April 15, 2003
How did geography affect Greek history? In what ways was Greek civilization molded by the land, the sea, and the weather of the Mediterranean area?
To answer this question I looked at a relief map of Ancient Greece. I saw how easily the land could be divided into city-states. Thinking about the geography of Greece; there is hardly a place where you cannot see the sea, and hardly a place where you can grow anything very easily. This, plus the prevailing winds in the Aegean and Adriatic seas, proved that trade and shipping was a natural outcome.

Greece is the South Eastern most regions on the European continents. It is defined by a series of mountains, surrounded on all sides except the north by water, and endowed with countless large and small islands. The Ionian and Aegean seas along with the many deep bays and natural harbors along the coast lines allowed the Greeks to prosper in maritime commerce and to develop a culture which true inspiration from many sources, both foreign and indigenous. The Greek world eventually spread far beyond Greece itself, encompassing many settlements around the Mediterranean and Black seas and, during the Hellenistic period, reaching as far east as India.

The mountains, which served as natural barriers in boundaries, and dictated the political characteristics of Greece, were rugged and dominated the mainland. They ran from northwest to southeast along the Balkan Peninsula. From early times the Greeks lived in independent communities isolated from one another by the landscape. Later these communities were organized into city-states. The mountains prevented large-scale farming and impelled the Greeks to look beyond their borders for new lands where fertile soil was more abundant. Only about 20 to 30 percent of the mainland was arable, thus raising cattle or horses on a large scale was impossible. When the Greeks learned agriculture they grew mostly barely but also has olive trees, and grapes. Natural...

Bibliography: Martin, Thomas. R. Ancient Greece: From Prehistoric to Hellenistic Times. New York & London,
Yale University, 2000.
McEvedy, Colin. The New Penguin Atlas of Ancient History. London, England, Penguin Books,
Oliphant, Margaret. The Atlas of the Ancient World., London, Ebury Press, 1992.
Scholastic Inc. Scholastic Atlas of the World. U.S.A., Miles Kelly, 2001.
Further information about the Greeks and Athens can be found at the following sites:
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