Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 18 April 2024

climatelocked

climatelocked

  • Ruben Post

Summary

The climate of the Mediterranean is defined by hot summers and mild, wet winters; high inter-annual variability; and strong seasonal winds. These characteristics impacted numerous aspects of life in the classical world, most notably agriculture and seafaring. The Greeks displayed a strong interest in climatic patterns beginning with Hesiod, and between the Archaic and Roman periods, Graeco-Roman intellectuals developed increasingly complex theories and models to explain them. Natural philosophers also posited that climatic conditions determined human characteristics, such as intelligence and behaviour.

The dramatic increase of interest in and evidence for pre-modern climate change in the 21st century has revolutionised our understanding of climatic shifts in antiquity. While the scope and nature of ancient climatic developments are disputed, some major trends and their possible societal impacts have emerged as topics of interest, most notably the late Bronze Age–Iron Age climatic downturn, the “Roman Climatic Optimum,” and the “Late Antique Little Ice Age.”

Subjects

  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

Updated in this version

Article rewritten to reflect current scholarship.

You do not currently have access to this article

Login

Please login to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription