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By Norman J. G. Pounds

The valuable subject of this ebook is the altering spatial development of human actions over the past 2,500 years of Europe's historical past. Professor kilos argues that 3 components have made up our minds the destinations of human actions: the surroundings, the attitudes and varieties of social association of the numerous assorted peoples of Europe and finally, the degrees of know-how. in the extensive framework of the interrelationships of surroundings, society and know-how, a number of vital subject matters pursued from the 5th century BC to the early 20th century: payment and agriculture, the expansion of towns, the improvement of producing and the position of alternate. Underlying each one of those topics are the discussions of political association and inhabitants. even supposing the publication is predicated partly of Professor Pound's magisterial 3 volumes An ancient Geography of Europe (1977, 1980, 1985), it used to be written particularly for college kids and readers drawn to a normal survey of the topic.

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Extra resources for An Historical Geography of Europe (Soviet and East European Studies, 79)

Sample text

But the few Greek settlements in the western Mediterranean were similar to those in the Aegean, a naturally defended site within easy reach of good farmland. Urban civilization was restricted to the Mediterranean basin, and even here was developed only where Greeks, Etruscans, and Carthaginians had settled. Beyond its limits were settlements, built by the Iberians or Celts, which were urban in size but not in the sophistication of their construction and public buildings. Some may have had few permanent inhabitants and may have served primarily as refuges.

4. The loess soils of Europe Foremost among these lighter soils was the loess. This was a windblown deposit. It derived from the drying clays left by the melting ice and was laid down as a thin deposit over much of the lowland of central and eastern Europe. It combined the chemical qualities of a rich soil with a lightness of texture which made it easy to work (Fig. 4). Its importance to early human settlement and agriculture was incalculable. It guided migrations and provided almost the only habitat for the Neolithic farmers of central Europe.

It appears to have been generally the case that both Celts and Germans were pressing in the direction of better soil and less harsh climate. In the fifth century the Slavs were beginning to appear as a distinct people. Their homeland is likely to have been the plains of what is today southeastern Poland and western Ukraine. From here they were probably advancing very slowly into the steppe and the forest of European Russia. They were, in the main, a settled, agricultural people. They were exposed to invaders from the steppe, of whom the most important and powerful at this time were horse-riding Scythians.

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