Ancient Greece was one of the most influential and powerful civilizations of its time. Their culture and art were highly respected, and the ancient Greeks were known for their advances in science, mathematics, and philosophy. But how did this mighty empire come to be? And why was it so successful?

How did geography influence the development of Ancient Greece?

Today, Greece is home to a population of over 10 million people that are split between mainland Greece and Greek islands like Rhodes and Crete. However, it is no secret that geography played a huge role in the development of Ancient Greece. The location of Greece on the Mediterranean Sea allowed the Greeks to trade with other countries easily, which helped their economy grow. They also had access to many natural resources, which helped them build a strong military force. But perhaps the most important factor for Greece as a country was its climate. The warm weather allowed for crops to be grown year-round, which gave people plenty of food to eat.

So, let’s explore the role that geography played in the development of Ancient Greece in more detail.

Ancient Greece’s location on the Mediterranean Sea

Greece grew significantly in size during ancient times. The people who lived there had to expand their borders, especially because of how much they traded and how many different cultures were coming and going through their land. As mentioned above, Ancient Greece’s location on the Mediterranean Sea was, therefore, a major factor in its development.

The sea provided easy access to trade routes, which allowed the Greeks to import and export goods. The sea also allowed the Greeks to travel to other countries, which helped them learn about other cultures. Additionally, the sea was a barrier that protected the Greeks from many invasions. To this day, it is only in the north and northeast that Greece is bordered by other countries like Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. 

white classic greek architecture overlooking the ocean and an outcrop island.

What were the most important Ancient Greek cities?

It is important to know that the ancient Greeks were not one large empire. Instead, if you look at an Ancient Greece map, you can see that the Greeks set up colonies throughout the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Some of the most influential ancient Greek settlements were divided into the following powerful city-states:

  • Athens: the largest city in Greece and one of the oldest cities in the world.
  • Sparta: a leading force of the unified Greek military during the time of the Persian empire. 
  • Thebes: a major rival of Athens that appears in the Greek myths.
  • Corinth: halfway between Athens and Sparta, this city is mentioned in the New Testament.
  • Delphi: considered by Ancient Greeks to be the center of the world and home to the Temple of Apollo. 

The country’s many mountains and valleys

The many mountains and valleys of ancient Greece played an important role in the development of the country. The mountain range provided natural protection from invaders, while the valleys offered fertile land for farming. The mountainous landscape also helped to foster a sense of community among the people of Greece, as they were forced to work together to survive.

How these geographic features helped shape their culture and economy

The Greek mountains also served as a natural barrier between the different regions of Greece, which helped to create separate and distinct cultures. Additionally, the mountains were home to important resources, such as minerals and metals, which helped to spur economic development. Finally, the mountains provided a natural refuge for the population during times of war or conflict.

view of greek structures from a distance on a sunny day

How Ancient Greece’s geography has also shaped Western Civilization

Greek history has had a significant influence on western civilization. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that ancient Greece was one of the first civilizations in the world. This means that the Greeks were able to pioneer many concepts and ideas that would go on to shape the western world.

Additionally, the geographical location of ancient Greece played a role in their development. Their proximity to other civilizations, such as Egypt and Rome, allowed them to trade and borrow from these cultures. This helped contribute to the unique culture that developed in ancient Greece.

Finally, the political structure of ancient Greece also influenced the development of western civilization. The concept of democracy, which originated in ancient Greece, has been influential in shaping modern society.

The Ancient Greeks benefitted the geography of their country in unique ways

Geography has always played a significant role in shaping culture and the economy. For the ancient Greeks, their location as part of the Balkan Peninsula on the Mediterranean Sea allowed for extensive trade with other civilizations. This led to an influx of new ideas and technologies which helped contribute to the development of ancient Greece.

Additionally, the mountainous landscape of Greece shaped how the Greeks developed militarily and strategically. Ultimately, the geography of ancient Greece continues to influence western society today. 

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