How did Ancient Greece’s Geography Affect its Civilization
Ancient Greece was mostly made up of many small and separated islands. Most people today know about the great Greek Philosophers, the Olympics, the battles, so most people should know at least a little of the history of ancient Greece. Many people don’t know how Greece came to be a great civilization though. I think that the reason why many democracies and civilizations fought for Greece was because of where Greece was located. Ancient Greece’s geography is the thing that helped most in developing ancient Greek’s civilization.
According to a map in the textbook, Greece was composed of a lot of little islands and they were all pretty spread out. It had a larger island more south and inland up north. Bodies of water surrounded Greece, except from the north where it bordered with Epirus and Macedonia. I think it would’ve been hard for others to attack them due to their location (Beck, et al. 121). The islands were fairly spread out but not far enough that they couldn’t communicate with each other. “They were close enough to each other that they rarely ever had to travel more than 85 miles to get to the inland or other islands around them” (Beck, et al. 123).
“Mountains covered most of Greece. Only about 70-80% of Greece was mountains, and only about 20% of the land could be used for farming. They tried to use the most of the land though, and they grew grain on the little amounts of open plains. They also grew olive trees around the edges of those plains. (Geography of Greece).” Olive trees grew easily in Greece because they are used to the soil there. “The mountains served as boundaries and natural barriers. The mountains separated Greece but it also gave them an advantage when they were being attacked. They acted as walls to the people attacking them. All the mountains caused the land to be so spread out, which caused Greece to be separated. They all lived in separate communities, and later they organized them to be city-states (The Land of Ancient Greece, 2002).” That’s why it was very hard to unite Greece under one government.
The sea formed Greek life just like rivers would form other countries and civilizations. Just the fact that the sea surrounded them already shows us that they most likely traded and used the sea a lot. Since they lived by the ocean they probably got used to fishing and traveling by the seas. Greece was made up of mostly mountains, so they lacked natural resources. “Since the seas surrounded them, they traded really easily to surrounding countries near the Mediterranean. Many cities also made settlements known as colonies (Ancient Greece-Geography).” They also probably used the sea to travel a lot because they couldn’t travel any other way since it must have been harder to travel through all those mountains.
Greece was located above the tropic of cancer so it really wasn’t ever too hot. “Their temperature rarely ever went below 40° F or above 80° F and the average yearly rainfall ranged from 25-50 inches a year (Greek Climate and Physical Geography, 2000).” The weather was almost always perfect. It was great weather to have competitions like races, or the Olympics. “The moderate temperatures supported an outdoor life, for the Greek citizens. A lot men spent their extra time at outdoor public events or just spent time outside. City-states would meet often and discuss public issues, exchange news, and take an active part in their civic lives (Beck, et al. 124).” I think that if it wasn’t for the climate people wouldn’t have interacted as much and there would’ve been more wars, and who know maybe even the Olympics wouldn’t exist today because of the climate.
I think that Greece is very interesting, and I would like to visit it one day to experience the wonderful weather. Greece had a huge impact on the Middle Eastern and Western civilizations, because of its geography, and I don’t think the world would’ve been the same if it weren’t for Greece. I have proven that Greek’s civilization was developed because of its geography.
- “Ancient Greece – Geography – The British Museum.” Ancient Greece – Gods and Goddesses – The British Museum, www.ancientgreece.co.uk/geography/home_set.html.
- “Ancient Greece.” 6th Grade Social Studies, USATestprep, nsms6thgradesocialstudies.weebly.com/ancient-greece.html.
- “The Ancient Greek World.” Ancient Greek World, Penn Museum, 2002, www.penn.museum/sites/Greek_World/land.html.
- “Classical Greece, 2000 B.C.-300 B.C.” World History: Patterns of Interaction, by Roger B. Beck et al., Holt McDougal/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, pp. 121–139.
- Rymer, Eric. “Greek Climate and Physical Geography.” History Link 101, 2000, historylink101.com/2/greece3/climate-geography.htm.