Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Sea Around in Ancient Greece

The Sea Around
While the mountains separated people, the seas brought people together. Greece has many fine natural harbors, sheltered places with deep water close to shore. The ancient Greeks used these natural harbors to explore the seas.

The ancient Greeks first used the sea as a source of food. Later the Greeks traveled the seas to trade for resources they did not have at home. In time, the sea led Greek adventurers to new lands, where they started colonies. Across the sea, colonists found better farmland and new resources.

Through sea trade, the Greeks gained not only resources and products but also ideas. Phoenician traders probably introduced the Greeks to their alphabet, which became the basis for the Greek alphabet. Greek artists borrowed ideas from Egyptian sculpture. Many Greek ideas were also carried across the seas to distant lands.

Contact with people across the seas sometimes brought conflict. Over time, the ancient Greeks became skilled at fighting on the seas. In the late sixth century they began to make large fighting ships called triremes (TRY.reemz), borrowing the technology from peoples located near the eastern Mediterranean. Their skill at protecting themselves allowed their sea trade to grow.

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