Greek and Rome
By: Ali Ramamni
Greece City States
Ancient Greece was not a country with a single government. Instead, ancient Greece was divided into hundreds of independent city-states (cities that acted like countries). These city-states usually included a city plus its surrounding countryside, farms and small villages. Each city-state had its own government, laws, and customs.
Most ancient Greeks were loyal to their own city-state. If asked where they came from, they would reply, "I am from Sparta," "I am a citizen of Athens," or "I come from Thebes." They would probably not say, "I am from Greece."
Greece is part of the Balkan Peninsula, which extends southward into the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Mountains divide the peninsula into isolated valleys. Beyond the rugged coast, hundreds of rocky islands spread toward the horizon. The Greeks who farmed the valleys or settled on the scattered islands did not create a large empire such as that of the Egyptians or Persians. Instead, they built many small city-states, cut off from one another by mountains or water. While mountains divided Greeks from one another, the seas provided a vital link to the world outside. With its hundreds of bays, the Greek coastline offered safe harbors for ships. The Greeks became skilled sailors and carried cargoes of olive oil, wine, and marble to parts throughout the eastern Mediterranean. They returned not only with grains and metals but also with ideas, which they adapted to their own needs.