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by Archaeology Newsroom

Topography and development of the city-state in ancient Greece

The most outstanding city-states in ancient Greece are examined in this article according to their topography and town-planning as they have been revealed and interpreted by archaeology.

The classification of these city-states into four groups on the basis of their development in antiquity (population, prestige, wealth, colonies) and their symbolic significance in the course of history lead us to certain observations as regards their development and inertness in time and place. With the exception of Delos Island, which long ago has been treated as a museum in itself, the major cities continue to play an urban and political role. The under-developed cities have suffered more than the others from the decay caused by time. As regards topography, the cities of the advanced group are characterized by a regular micro- and macro-topography. They display low altitude and smooth slopes. Thus, topography seems to be related with the town-planning development of the cities through time. This relation between topography (definite and absolutely measurable) and development (hardly evaluated) still remains hypothetic. However, it can be verified if a larger statistic sample including all city-states and their continuation in time is studied, or if a survey of all the contemporary known locations and a search for their “roots” in the past is seriously undertaken and carried out.