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How did Greece's geography impact social, political, and economic patterns?

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The country now called Greece consists of an arid, mountainous section of the mainland of South-Eastern Europe, surrounded by a great many islands. Most of them are small, but one in particular, Crete, is both large and of great historical significance.

The mountains in the center of Greece had several effects on its development. They prevented Ancient Greece from ever becoming fully unified, despite the efforts of Mycenaean, Athenian, Spartan, and Macedonian rulers to build empires. They also prevented many Greeks from living far inland, ensuring that the Greek city states were close to the sea and that their prosperity and power depended primarily on their navies.

Finally, the relatively poor soil and scarce resources of Greece, together with the lack of unity among the states, meant that that Greek civilizations never became spectacularly wealthy, like Persia, Lydia, and later Rome. When we think of Greek civilization, we tend to consider Athens first, and the fame of Athens rests not...

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