Life Style of Greeks during ‘Golden age of Greece’!
The Greeks were pioneers in many branches of knowledge. Their period is known as the ‘Golden Age of Greece’.
They borrowed many of the concepts of astronomy, geometry and mathematics from the Egyptians, Chaldaeans and Assyrians.
The Egyptian and Sumerian priests collected large number of observations on the position and movement of celestial bodies under the clear skies and fertile levelled plains.
The geographical knowledge in the earliest ages was, however, limited to the countries and Islands adjacent to Greece, and to the group of nations, surrounding the Aegean Sea. All beyond was vague and indefinite: derived from hearsay reports which would be mixed up with mythological fancies and fables.
The Greeks possessed philosophical and scientific aptitude, versatility of intellect, inquisitive nature and comprehensiveness of mind. These qualities of character enabled them to make acute observations to record the peculiarities of their country and parts of the world they visited. Moreover, by temperament, the Greeks were not secretive unlike Phoenicians who were given to obsessive secrecy.
The location of Greece, situated on both sides of the the Aegean Sea, was also conducive to geographical study The great diversity in its topography and physical features provided great impetus to the growth and development of geography. In fact, Greece is a hilly and undulating country. Many of its peaks become snow-clad in winter. Many of the rivers are mainly torrents which debouch from the hills into the coastal plains. There are numerous straits which penetrate in the land making the coastline highly indented. Such a coastline helps in the development of harbours and ports.
The capes project into the sea inspiring traders to go to the neighbouring islands and nations. The Greeks, living in such a physical setting, were able to make tremendous advancements in the knowledge of geomorphology, climatology and oceanography. Moreover, in the limestone topography of the mainland, many of the rivers would disappear emerging once again from the subterranean course. Greece, which lies in the weak zone of the earth, records tremors and earthquakes. These phenomena, the Greek scholars tried to study and explain. There are numerous hot springs and volcanoes which were considered by some of them as supernatural things while others tried to explain them with scientific reasoning.
Between the 5th and 3rd century B.C., the Greek colonies (Fig. 1.1) were established in different parts of the Mediterranean Sea and Euxine (Black Sea). In the 5th century B.C., Miletus, owing to its location and the colonies on the Euxine, became the main centre of geographical enquiry. The early expedition of Hanno along the western coast of Libya (Africa) and that of Alexander towards the east provided factual knowledge to the Greeks about distant lands and their people.
The establishment of the famous Library Museum at Alexandria provided an impetus to Greek scholars to know more about the phenomena of nature, places and people. The scholars exchanged their views and itineraries with the traders and navigators. It was at this Library Museum that Eratosthenes and Hipparchus made their scientific observations about the size, shape and circumference of the earth.