Geography of Ancient Greece
The ancient Greeks were fascinated by geography. In fact, the word geography was first spoken by these people. The word comes from two Greek words gaia, meaning "the earth," and graph, meaning "a drawing or a picture." The Greeks wanted to find out all they could about the "earth picture," or geography, of their land.
The Land of Greece
Present-day Greece occupies a large peninsula on the southern edge of Europe. This peninsula the Balkan Peninsula curves south and east into the Mediterranean Sea toward a part of Asia called Asia Minor, or "Little Asia." Today the country of Turkey fills Asia Minor. Turkey and Greece are separated by an island-dotted arm of the Mediterranean called the Aegean (ih»JEE»uhn) Sea.
West of present-day Greece is the Ionian Sea. To the south is the Mediterranean. These seas cut deeply into Greece, nearly splitting it in two. The southern part, called the Peloponnesus (peh«luh»puh»NEE»suhs), is connected to the rest of the mainland by a small strip of land, or isthmus (lS»muhs). Surrounding Greece are as many as 2,000 islands. The largest of these islands is Crete, located southeast of the Greek mainland.
Ancient Greek settlement was not limited to the land we call Greece today. Instead, early settlement spread across the Aegean, Ionian, and Mediterranean seas. Colonies thrived on several islands and on the coasts of northern Africa, Spain, Italy, and Asia Minor.
Where is Greece located?