The Greek Colonization of the Ancient Mediterranean,
By the 10th – 9th century BC Greece began to emerge from the dark ages resulting from the Bronze Age Collapse, resulting in the re-founding of city states across the country. The Greek city states quickly became prosperous, with a bountiful blossoming of culture, art, trade, agriculture, and a quickly growing population. By the 8th century many Greek city states began to look upon the horizon for new opportunities. Thus began a mass colonization effort by the Greeks to set up colonies across the Mediterranean. Between the 8th and 5th century BC the Greeks founded around 500 colonies, settling in remote lands in the Balkans, Turkey, the Black Sea regions, Egypt, Libya, Italy, Southern France, and as far away as Spain. Many of these new cities would become so prosperous and wealthy that they would rival or surpass that of their founding city. Most colonies would eventually become independent of the home country.
Greek colonization rivaled and surpassed that of the Phoenicians, resulting in the “Hellenization” of the Mediterranean as Greek culture would influence the people and lands around them long before the conquests of Alexander the Great. By then 40% of Greeks lived outside of Greece. In Southern Italy Greek culture was so strong that the Romans and Etruscans referred to it as “Magna Graetia” or “Great Greece”. Speaking of the Romans, Roman culture would be heavily influenced by Greek culture as a result of Greek colonization of Italy. By the time of the Roman Empire, Greek was a second language spoken by many Romans. As far away as Spain Greek was being spoken. The Roman carving below (yes I know it is a penis grow up) was uncovered in Spain and dates to the 2nd century, but features Greek inscriptions.