Ancient Greece and Water: Climatic Changes, Extreme Events, Water Management, and Rivers in Ancient Greece

Here we present the ‘Abstract‘ of the corresponding paper by I. Mariolakos.


Climate change is not a phenomenon of our days, it is connected with the earth’s history as indicated by both scientific evidence and ancient mythologies. Water, although essential for the survival of human kind, often triggers disasters and causes victims, mainly because of its unpredictable and uncontrollable nature. Especially in a country with a great history and a very old and long prehistory like Greece, its inhabitants have lived and experienced the climatic changes of the last 18,000 years and their dramatic geo-environmental impacts, such as sea-level rise, shoreline displacement, emergence and disappearance of springs, evolution and desiccation of lakes, and evolution and submergence of river deltas. All these disasters, coupled with landscape evolution, related mainly to the climatic–eustatic changes, are depicted in the Greek Mythology as the deification of the rivers, the struggle between heroes and springs, etc. A geomythological analysis of Greek myths has revealed that Greek Mythology is very old and is not just a figment of imagination of the resourceful Greeks, but it conceals real events. After the climatic stabilization (≈6,000 BP) and the cultural development of the Greek society, the main issue, besides water supply, was the protection against droughts and floods. This issue was addressed with the use of advanced geotechnical methods and hydraulic works.


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