How did geography influence Greek history ?

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As others have already comprehensively accounted for the role of geography in shaping Greek civilization, let me discuss the political effects of that influence. As has already been established, Greece is very mountainous, has poor farmland, and has proximity to the sea. As a result of these factors, Greek civilization is actually more far reaching than the peninsula of Greece, as there were Greek cities and colonies across the Mediterranean world in places such Asia Minor, throughout the Aegean, as well as in Italy and north Africa, to give some examples.

This had profound political implications on the development of Greek history. For one thing, we can expect a significant element of cultural exchange and interaction between Greeks and other ancient cultures, as is attested to by the historical tradition. We can see, even beyond the case of Greece, the vast cultural debt which the Romans owe their predecessors. Furthermore, the Greeks themselves might have owed a similar debt to the Ancient Egyptians, considering that Pythagoras spent time learning from the Egyptians, and so too did other luminaries such as Plato.

In addition, there is the example of the famous Persian Wars (which had far-reaching effects on Greek History). The Persian Wars actually had their origins in the Greek colonies of Ionia, which had fallen into Persian rule. The Ionian city-states rebelled, and Athens sent assistance to aid in the rebellion. The initial battle at Marathon was actually a reprisal for Athenian complicity in that earlier rebellion. This, in a way, illustrates the connection between geographic context and political reality. Far from being merely a collection of colonies in Asia Minor, the Ionian city-states exerted a profound influence on Greek history.

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When looking at the development of civilization in Greece, one must note the significant role that geography played in the characteristics of Greek civilization. During the ancient period of Greece, barriers played a big role in the development of city states with differing cultural values. The most commonly cited barriers in Greek geography would be its mountainous terrain, as well as the fact that Greece consists of many islands. In ancient times, these barriers were not always easy to traverse, and thus contact between different Ancient Greek city states would be quite limited. While some characteristics were shared between different city states, there were also significant differences. This can most notably be seen in the different values of Athens and Sparta. Athens was focused more on arts and culture, while Sparta's primary area of focus was military.

Another area where we can see geography's impact on the development of Greece comes from its proximity to the sea. This location led to the Greeks, and their predecessors, to be known for their sailing skills. Proximity to the sea forced the Greeks to venture out into the water in order to fish for food and also to trade for goods.

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There are basically two geographical features of Greece that had a profound effect on how Greeks lived. The important geographical components are the seas and mountains of Greece. The Greeks were forced to adapt these characteristics in specific ways.

Mountains played a significant role in the development of Greece. The fact that the soil of Greece is rocky had a lot of implications. It limited the population because agricultural output was so low. It also caused the Greeks to look outside of its peninsula for colonies that possessed arable land. The mountains also worked as barriers to separate different areas. This created regionalism, meaning different cities developed independently of one another. In this way, city-states grew autonomously and developed their own identities. This would explain the marked contrast between the city-states of Sparta and Athens.

The Greeks, living on a peninsula, looked to the seas to expand their populations. The development of advanced shipbuilding techniques enabled the Greeks to travel. The Greeks, having improved their ability to navigate the seas, established colonies in far-away places in the Mediterranean. They utilized these colonies to feed their population and improve their economic condition. The culture and technologies of the Greeks were shared with the peoples that resided near colonies.

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