The foundation of Cities

There are many reason why a polis would like to send off a portion of its citizens to go forth and found a new colony in a far off desitnation, some of the main reasons are:
-Overpopulation, including a way to remove from the city undesirables and political groups that may threaten the current resieme. Also, included here is if the polis can
reduce the populations, the polis does not need to spend addictional capital on infustructer, as in create wider and bigger roads, aquaducts and better services.
-Shortage of land and access to more cultivale land
-Open up new trade routes and emporiums

Shortage of land

The modern dictum is that a 'shortage of land' as in agricultural land for farming was the main reason why a polis would send forth their citizens to found a new colony.
The 'shortage of land' is explained by the fact that the sons of the family would inherit the land and so over time each families plot was constantly being
reduced, after a few generations or so the plots became small and put pressure on the polis. This ever increasing population of the times can be no doubt put down
to be true, there are constant indications and referals to it in ancient writings and modern discoveries all point to that conclusion. One example of this is in Attica a
unearth gravesite with datable graves show that there is a slight upward number from between the 11th to the 9th century. But compared to the 8th century the number
of graves increase by a factor of six. There can be other reason for this as well including, different burial practices, increase in death rates, natural disasters, famine etc. But,
combined with everything we know the most convincing interpretation seems to be a sudden growth in the population.
One of the reasons we don't put too much trust into the shortage of land arguments is because there are instances where a polis would find a new colony some
20 or 30 kilometres away from the mother polis, too close to one another if land was the number one reason for the expansion.

Water

However, we don't believe the argument of the 'shortage of land' reason was the 'main' reason behind it all. We believe the number one reaons is access to clean,
drinkable water. Today we take free flowing water for granted, it comes to our homes in pipes, and there in nearly in all the places you might go there would be access
to a tape for you to be able to gain access to water.
Hundreds of years before Christ, this was not the case, the population would have to wait their turn to access water via a well and carried (usually by a pot
on the head, due to the weight) back to the home to be used.
If we take as true that the population was always increasing, more and more people are wanting access to this water, the queues for this water become longer,
pressure on the water supply becomes greater, wells are not a bottomless pits of clean water, rain needs to fill these wells up again. The increasing population puts
upwards pressure on housing that would need to be built on the finges of the polis, these new houses would be further and further away from the main source
of water. Who would want to walk a kilometre every day to get a pot of water to their homes? Imagine now in a family household were, four or five pots might be
needed every day. The task becomes daunghting. Add to that the pressure on the agriculture for the polis whos supply of food needs to increase due to the polis increasing
in size. The population increases, housing estates increase the size of the polis, agricultural farmland gets pushed further and further away from the polis centre and
subsequently further away from the polis' water source and markets. We could argue further, but you can see where this is leading.
This would also explain better why a polis would have a new colony set up 20 or 30 kilometres away from the mother polis. Not because there was a pressure on
land and they wanted the colony close to themselves but because this was were the next main clean reliable drinking water was found.


 

City Name Name Greek Founded Date: Founded By: Part Of: Modern City Name:
Gela   688 B.C. Rhodes and Crete Magna Graecia, Italy Gela
Neapolis Νεάπολις (New City) c700 B.C. Kuma Magna Graecia, Italy Naples
Syracuse (1) Συρακούσαι 733 B.C. Korinth Magna Graecia, Italy  
Akragas   582-580 Β.C. Gela Magna Graecia, Italy Agrigento
Sybaris Σύβαρις 720 B.C.   Magna Graecia, Italy  
Taras - Tarentum Τάρας 706 B.C. Sparta Magna Graecia, Italy Taranto
Locri Λοκροί 680 B.C. Locrians and Lacedaemonians Magna Graecia, Italy Locri
Rhegion Ρήγιον c800 B.C. Messinia and Chalcis Magna Graecia, Italy Reggio
Kroton Κρότων c710 B.C. Archaea Magna Graecia, Italy Krotone
Thurii Θούριοι 452 B.C. Sybaris Magna Graecia, Italy Thurii
Elea Ελέα 540 B.C. Elea Magna Graecia, Italy Velia
Ancona Αγκων 390 B.C. Syracuse Magna Graecia, Italy Ancona
Massalia Μασσαλία 600 B.C. Phocaea France Marseille
Kyrene   c630 B.C. Thera North Africa Hero. 4.150-158
Naucratis     Halicarnassus, Mytilene, Rhodes Egypt Hero. 2.178
Kumae   750 B.C. Euboea Southern Italy  
Naxus   734 B.C. Chalcis Sicily  
Korcyra   733 B.C. Korinth    
Leontini   728 B.C. Chalcis    
Katana   729 B.C Chalcis    
Chalcedon   c.687 B.C. Megara Black Sea entrance  
Byzantium   c.660 B.C. Megara Black Sea entrance  
Kyrene   c.630 B.C. Thera (now Santorini) African coast  
Pithecusae Ischia c.775 B.C. Chalkis and Eretria bay of Naples  
Al Mina   c.800 B.C. Phoenicia, Cyprus and Euboea Syria  
Zancle   c730 B.C. Chalcis Sicily  
Mylae     Zancle    
Olbi   c.645 B.C. Miletus Black Sea  
Leucas   c.600 B.C Korinth    
Anactorium   c.600 B.C Korinth    
Ambracia   c.600 B.C Korinth    
Stageirus   655 B.C Chalcis and Andros Chalcidice peninsula  
Sane   c650 B.C. Chalcis and Andros Pallene, Chalcidice  
Acanthus   655 B.C. Chalcis and Andros Athos, Chalcidice  
Apollonia   c.600 B.C Korinth    
Epidamnun   c.600 B.C Korinth and Korkyra    

 

(1)
Syracuse [ Συρακούσαι ] in Sicily was founded in 733 B.C. by Greek settlers from Corinth, led by Archias, who called it Sirako, referring to a nearby swamp. The nucleus of the ancient city was the small island of Ortygia. The settlers found the land to be fertile and the native tribes to be reasonably well-disposed to their presence. The city grew and prospered, and for some time stood as the most powerful Greek city anywhere in the Mediterranean.

 


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