Rise of cities

The presence of an urban culture and cities was there from as early as the Mycenaean period in which the great palace lords built palatial buildings, castles, temples with great art and architecture, markets places and even in many cases fortifications against enemies. Although there is a downfall in civilization and therefore its cities during the dark ages. It again returned with the Archaic age and formed the city-states in which a large number of polities came up with their own sovereign governments. They too achieved great prosperity and progress in urbanity.

This continuous growth in cities in such ancient periods is mainly due to its geographical location around the Aegean sea, which gave them easy access to the Mediterranean and in cities in such ancient periods is mainly due to its geographical location around the Aegean sea which gave them easy access to the Mediterranean that led to great prosperity through trade and commerce. Their relative isolation also led states to adopt maritime economic policies focusing more on trade. This prosperity allowed them to attain enough wealth to support a large nonagricultural urban population through trade and a little through their agricultural hinterland. The inferior quality of their lands also forced them to rely more on trade and thus cities rather than agricultural rural towns.

A brief description of the ancient Greek cities will help us understand the Greek civilization’s richness. The details on some of the ancient Greek cities are as follows:

Ancient Greek Cities


Sparta was one of the most powerful states in ancient Greece but very different from its rival state, Athens. Its focus was mostly on its military and had the best hoplite army in ancient Greece.

They are even called a military state where its free male population was bound to serve in the army and the entire polity was focused on the creation of good soldiers. It did not have the cultural highs like Athens and lived a rather frugal, harsh way of life despising weakness. Their poverty in natural resources was another reason for their military culture in which their capability to capture lands became their main source of prosperity.

Their victory in the Messenian wars gave them control of one of the fertile lands in Greece. Their population was enslaved and their population was called the helots who formed the basis of their rise in power.

They were the only state to give rights to women and gave them formal education, unlike other Greek states.

Although they had a popular council where their citizens could voice their opinion including women, they were ruled by an oligarchy and for certain periods by two kings at the same. Their military prowess won them the war against Athens and its allies but it also marked the beginning of the political downfall.


Athens was one of the richest states and most prominent states in ancient Greece. The inspirations and influence from their culture are seen even to date.

It was a maritime state with the most powerful navy which enabled them to build a great trading dominance and also establish many overseas colonies which gave them a great amount of tribute. This included the Declan diamond mines making them hugely prosperous.

Along with a thriving economy they built a great cultural environment and are credited with gifting the concept of democracy to the world where their people directly voted to decide the policies of the state.

Apart from democracy, they had a thriving culture of art, literature, music, dramas, and science. Athenian philosophers like Aristotle, and Socrates make up the fundamentals of modern western thoughts. Even their mathematicians like Pythagoras invented the Pythagoras theorem and other great mathematical achievements.

They played a prominent part in the Greco-Persian wars in which they successfully repelled the powerful army of Xerxes and even conquered parts of Asia minor making them one of the premier states in ancient Greece.


Aegina is an island city that is separated from the coastal area of ancient Greece. It’s a triangular city. This city is the site of various temples constructed during the 5th century BC. This city is the site of many tourist attractions.

Aegina was settled when the Dorians made their attack in the 11th century BC. This was an important center where commercial activities of the country were carried out successfully. But gradually, as Athens rose to prominence, the significance of this city subsided. This island was conquered by Athens later. After the Peloponnesian war, the natives were all expelled by the Athenians.

Ancient Greek Cities


Troy is an ancient city in Asia Minor. This city has been made famous by Homer’s epic poems. In the poems, Iliad and Odyssey, Homer describes the battle which the city fought for 10 years to recover Helen whom Paris abducted. This city serves as an excellent site for archaeological findings.

Most people, till the close of the 19th century, regarded Troy as a fictitious city. This city was relocated by a German scholar Hissarlic.

Ancient Greek Cities


This was an ancient city in Greece in the district of Boeotia. It is a very old city and its legendary hero is a part of Greek mythology. Mythology says that its founders were Cadmus and five warriors who were formed from a dragon. Thebes was a bitter rival to Athens and Sparta, being a major military power who had even sided with the Persians during the Greco-Persian War.

It was known to be a bustling industrial city famous for its commercial activities and silk production. It had a prominent literary culture being the Centre stage of stories like Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus, Hercules.

In the late 6th century BC, Thebes and Athens became foes. In 480 BC, a Theban force joined other Greek forces against Persians. But Thebes then supported Persia. Thebes and Sparta were united against Athens. After the triumph, Thebes and Sparta fell out. Sparta conquered Thebes


It is an island situated in the Ionian Sea. In Homers Iliad, it is the native land of Odysseus.

Ancient Greek Cities


This is the wealthiest and the most powerful ancient Greek city. According to legends, this was the native place of Agamemnon (the leader of the Greeks in their battle against Troy). These were some of the ancient Greek cities. It was also the seat of the ancient Mycenean civilization which also great heights .


They played a prominent part in the Greco-Persian wars in which they successfully repelled the powerful army of Xerxes and even conquered parts of Asia minor making them one of the premier states in ancient Greece.

Corinth was characterized by the monarchical of government. It was a cultural and trade center. The city-state of Corinth undertook public works programs, built large aqueducts and created its own coinage. Megara was a coastal city-state.

They had fine schools and a well-developed education system. Megara had beautiful temples, gorgeous statues, and open-air theatres. They also established new towns. Argos, a monarchy was the center of trade and commerce. They also had great sculptures.


Syracuse was a thriving metropolis in ancient times located on the south east coast of Sicily. It had a lot of temples dedicated to the Greek gods like Zeus, Apollo, and Athena which were funded by its rich aristocrats.

It had also established a democratic form of government attracting citizens from all over the Greek world. It had also built a theatre housing 15,000 which was adorned by Terrace and stone statues.


Megara was a very respected city in the Ancient Greek world. It was ruled by a monarch and even had public programs which generated employment. It was mainly a trading city based on a thriving economy famous for its richly colored and beautifully designed fabrics. They had a fearsome army that almost rivaled the likes of Sparta. It became very important just before the Peloponnesian war when Athens placed a trade embargo on Megara, probably the first of its kind in history which became one of the principle reasons for the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war between Delian league and the Peloponnesian league.