Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ancient Rome and The Peninsula of Italy

Ancient Rome

Geography of Ancient Rome
After the death of Alexander in 323 B.C., control in the Mediterranean slowly shifted from the Balkan Peninsula to the peninsula of Italy. Over the centuries, many peoples had settled there, among them the Latins. The Latins migrated across the Alps from central Europe. These farmers and herders founded Rome in the eighth century B.C.

Geography of Ancient Rome

The Peninsula of Italy
The Italian peninsula lies just west of the Balkan Peninsula. It is shaped like a long, high-heeled boot. The peninsula is about 700 miles (1,127 km) long and only about 100 miles (161 km) wide for much of its length. The "toe" of the boot seems aimed to kick the nearby island of Sicily. Beyond Sicily, less than 100 miles (161 km) across the Mediterranean Sea, lies the northern coast of Africa.

Peninsula of Italy
Seas surround Italy on all sides except the north. The Tyrrhenian (tuh»REE»nee»uhn) lies to the west, the Adriatic to the east, and the Mediterranean to the south.

Along the northern border of Italy rises a range of snowcapped mountains called the Alps. The Alps separate the Italian peninsula from the rest of Europe. The steepest peak of the Alps rises as high as 15,771 feet (4,807 meters). Another range of mountains, the Apennines (A»puh»nynz), runs the length of the peninsula. Between these two high ranges lies an area of lower land called the Po Valley.

Peninsula of Italy
While some of Italy is made up of valleys and plains, most has higher elevations. However, the hills and mountains in Italy are less rugged than those in Greece. So land travel and trade were easier for the early people of Italy than for the early Greeks. Travel and trade by sea were more difficult, however. Although Italy has a long coastline, the peninsula has few good harbors. Because of this, the early people of Italy traded more with each other than with outsiders across the seas.

How did geography affect the way early people of the Italian peninsula traded?

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