CLA237H5 Chapter 2: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2
Greek Geography, Climate and Agriculture
-90% of Greeks lived within walking distance of Mediterranean Sea
-best farmland close to sea
-homeland around Aegean Sea, world of small coastal plains, cut up by hills, backed by mountains
-plains heavily cultivated
-after Alex’s conquest, Greeks settled in Egypt and Mesopotamia where farming depended on harnessing rivers thru irrigation (Nile,
Tigris, Euphrates)
-in north Mediterranean, farmers relied on rain to water crops
-rain in plains low (rain in mountains more) and unpredictable
-Mediterranean environment made Greek civilization possible but limited what could be done
-Small plains prime grain-growing areas, but thinner soil on hills supported olives and vines
-Mountains supported few crops and used by herdsmen leading flcoks of sheep and goats b/w high summer pastures and lowland
winter grazing
Demography
-No government records to consult facts of life (life expectancy, health, population etc.) and educated Greeks who produced
surviving literary texts weren’t concerned with these matters and wrote philiosophy, tragedies, legal speeches not statistical reports
-Demography: study of biological aspects of human societies: their size, distribution, growth, rates of birth and death, marriage and
disease
-High infant mortality: lots of infants and young children buried inside cemeteries
-High mortality demanded high fertility (women had to average 4 or 5 live births)
-Bearing and rearing children dominated women’s lives (died mid-to-late thirties)
-Death of adolescents and young adults from natural causes wasn’t common (“the untimely ones”)
-Skeletons show most adults died in their thirties or early forties, few reached 60, many had arthiritis
-Upwards trend in adult life expectancy across stone and bronze ages, decline during Dark Age, peak in classical and Hellenistic times
-If adult women live thru more of their fertile years, potential for population growth (did happen)
-What caused these long term changes? Migration, Disease and Nutrition
Migration
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Document Summary

Tigris, euphrates) in north mediterranean, farmers relied on rain to water crops rain in plains low (rain in mountains more) and unpredictable. Mediterranean environment made greek civilization possible but limited what could be done. Small plains prime grain-growing areas, but thinner soil on hills supported olives and vines. Mountains supported few crops and used by herdsmen leading flcoks of sheep and goats b/w high summer pastures and lowland winter grazing. No government records to consult facts of life (life expectancy, health, population etc. ) and educated greeks who produced surviving literary texts weren"t concerned with these matters and wrote philiosophy, tragedies, legal speeches not statistical reports. Demography: study of biological aspects of human societies: their size, distribution, growth, rates of birth and death, marriage and disease. High infant mortality: lots of infants and young children buried inside cemeteries. High mortality demanded high fertility (women had to average 4 or 5 live births)

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