Where Is the Black Sea in Ancient Greece?

The Black Sea has played a significant role in the history of ancient Greece. It is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia, bounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. But where exactly was the Black Sea in Ancient Greece?

The Location of the Black Sea

The Black Sea was known to ancient Greeks as the Pontus Euxinus or “hospitable sea.” It is a large inland sea that lies between southeastern Europe and Asia Minor.

To the northeast of the Black Sea are the Caucasus Mountains while to its north are the steppes of Russia. The Danube River flows into it from the west while the Dnieper River flows into it from the east.

Ancient Greek Colonization

In ancient times, Greek colonization extended to various parts of the world including southern Italy, Sicily, North Africa, and even parts of modern-day France and Spain. However, one lesser-known area where Greeks established colonies was around the Black Sea.

The Greek Colonies around The Black Sea

During ancient times, several Greek colonies were established along the coast of what is now modern-day Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey. These colonies were established in an effort to expand trade routes and establish new sources of food production.

One such colony was Chersonesus which was founded by settlers from Heraclea Pontica (modern-day Turkey) in 421 BC. The city became a significant center for trade with cities such as Byzantium and Athens.

Another prominent colony was Olbia which was founded by settlers from Miletus (modern-day Turkey) in 647 BC. The city flourished as a center for grain production while also serving as an important trading port.

Trade and Commerce

The establishment of these colonies allowed for increased trade between Greece and the surrounding regions. The Greeks were able to export goods such as wine, olive oil, and pottery while also importing grains, fish, and raw materials for metalworking.

The Role of the Black Sea in Ancient Greece

The Black Sea played a vital role in the expansion of Greek trade and commerce. While it was not as significant as other bodies of water such as the Aegean Sea or the Mediterranean, it did provide an important link between Greece and the surrounding regions.

In addition to its economic importance, the Black Sea also played a significant role in Greek mythology. According to legend, Jason and the Argonauts sailed through the Black Sea on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Conclusion

In conclusion, while it may not have been as well-known as other bodies of water during ancient times, the Black Sea played a vital role in Greek colonization and commerce. The establishment of colonies along its coast allowed for increased trade between Greece and surrounding regions while also providing a link between eastern Europe and Asia Minor. Its significance is further emphasized by its appearance in Greek mythology.