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Map of Greece

Greek weather and environment: a map of Greece

Weather changed with the seasons

The weather in ancient Greece, like the weather in most places, changed with the seasons. Greek weather also depended on whether you were in Northern Greece (near Thermopylae) or in Southern Greece (near Sparta).

Why do the seasons change?
Effects of climate change
All our ancient Greece articles

Spring weather in Greece

In the spring, it would be pretty rainy, especially in Northern Greece, and the plants would get green and leafy. The temperature would generally be in the 60s Fahrenheit (10-20 degrees Celsius).

Measuring temperature
Why does it rain?

Greek beaches are sandy and beautiful, and the water is warm!

Greek beaches are sandy and beautiful, and the water is warm!

Summer in ancient Greece

Then in the summer, it would be hot and dry. Farmers would harvest the wheat at the beginning of the summer, in June. It hardly rains at all in Greece in the summer, especially in Southern Greece.

Where does wheat come from?
Thunder and lightning

In Northern Greece sometimes there are thunderstorms in the summer. In Northern Greece it would generally be in the 80s or 90s Fahrenheit (about 30 degrees Celsius), during the day but in Southern Greece it could get up over 100 pretty often (over 40 degrees Celsius).

Fall weather in Greece

In the fall, around October, it would begin to rain again, and there would be storms. The autumn temperature would drop into the 70s and then into the 60s Fahrenheit (25-10 degrees Celsius). This would be the time to plant the wheat and barley.

Planting wheat and barley

Snow in Athens (thanks BBC!)

Snow in Athens (thanks BBC!)

Did it snow in the winter?

Winters in southern Greece are chilly and rainy, but not really cold. It’s pretty unusual for it to snow as far south as Sparta, though it does happen once in awhile.

Where is Sparta?
What is snow made of?

Most of the time in Southern Greece it would be in the 50s during the winter (about 10 degrees Celsius). You would need a cloak to be comfortable outside, but you wouldn’t need mittens.

In Northern Greece, it would be colder, and there would probably be snow several times in a winter, though you wouldn’t have snow on the ground continuously. You would need a warm cloak, and boots, and mittens, to keep warm outside (In ancient Greece they didn’t have sweaters, because knitting hadn’t been invented yet).

Climate change in ancient Greece

There were many small changes in the climate in Greece between the Stone Age and today. Some of those changes may have been natural, like the Little Ice Age, and others may have been caused by things people did, like farming, making charcoal, or cutting down trees to burn to make iron. Today with global warming, like everywhere else on Earth, Greece is getting warmer.

Climate change and deforestation
Greek Dark Ages
The Little Ice Age

Learn by doing: compare the weather in Greece to your weather for a few days
More about the Greek environment

Bibliography and further reading about the environment in ancient Greece:

Greece the Land (Lands, Peoples & Cultures), by Sierra Adare (1998). Geography, climate, and more.

Ecology of the Ancient Greek World, by Robert Sallares (1991). Not easy going, but very interesting.


More about the Greek environment
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