The ancient Greek civilization continues to have an enormous impact on the world, even today. The terrain, marked and consistently demarcated by wars and invasions, was unique in its topography and cultural diversity. The invasion of what the world knew as the 'jewel of the Mediterranean' was roughly defined by the Dorians. They invaded the region in 1100 BC, from the north and extended the territory along the west coast.
Way back then, the geographical extent of Greece was defined according to its location in the Balkan Peninsula. The Greek islands lay to the southeastern corner of Europe and were segregated into two peninsulas - Peloponnesus and Attica. Athens, the capital, was located in the peninsula of Attica, while Sparta, a very famous city-state was within the Peloponnesus peninsula. In ancient times, Greece comprised mountainous terrain and a very rugged coastline. This added to the strategic importance of the place, since it offered the citizens natural protection from foreign invaders. However, this very aspect of ancient Greece also made it quite difficult for communication and trade.
The interdependence among the groups that made the land their home was largely vested with terrace farming and a dependence on the sea to provide all else. Its location in the Mediterranean Sea not only blessed the land with ideal climatic conditions, but also made it a popular trading center. Ancient Greeks capitalized on trade in olives and grapes. They made excellent sailors, shipbuilders, and traders. The ancient Mediterranean world was dominated by the Greek supremacy over the waters around. Between 500 and 336 BC, Greece was dominated by the small city-states. Each of these had its own capital city and vast surrounding countryside.
The earliest records of the geography were maintained by Herodotus, the 'Father of History', Thucydides and Xenophon. The geographical extent and boundaries have been mostly defined and understood from the study of temple ruins and unearthed sculpture and artifacts. Our understanding of the geography comes from archaeological findings that are still being uncovered. The dedicated segments of understanding on the region's geography comes from an insight on:
The Neolithic Age: This age was between 6800 and 3200 BC. At this time, the most inhabited regions were east of Greece. The region has been identified on the basis of facts unveiled on the pottery and animal husbandry practices. The landmass also comprised parts of Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, Sesklo and Boeotia. Knossos and Kythnos were the most extensively traveled routes to commute between the two peninsulas.
The Bronze Age: This early Helladic era lasted between 2800 BC and 1050 BC. The landmass was then dominated by trade routes around Crete and the Aegean islands. The information that is available today on Greece at the time comes mainly from the unearthed architectural styles and burial sites. The land attracted the people from Dimini, with the discovery of gold, silver, lead, and bronze. Excavation of the Lerna village has highlighted common lifestyles, burial systems, religious beliefs around the pantheon of gods and goddesses, and arts and crafts.
The Minoan Age: Between 2000 and 1400 BC, the Greek geography was largely defined by the expansion program adopted by the legendary King Minos. The geographical and political terrain sprawled across Peloponnese, Thebes, Pylos, Tiryns, Troy, Mycenae, Orchomenos and Folksier. Information about this era is highlighted by the study of the cultural amalgamation, palaces and citadels, beehive tombs and Cyclopean stonework style now evident in Greek ruins. The terrain during this era was famous for its fertile hillocks and plains, coastal sites, and abundance of water.
Ancient Greece was defined by a seminal culture that was believed to be the foundation of modern Western civilization and that in Southwest Asia and North Africa. The geographical boundaries of the region spread across the Mediterranean region and Europe and was influenced by commonalities of language, political and educational systems and ancient Greek architecture and art.