- Robin Osborne
Extractthe territory of *Athens consisting in a triangular promontory some 2,400 sq. km. (930 sq. mi.) in area divided from the rest of the Greek mainland by the mountain range of *Parnes. Attic topography is extremely varied, with fertile upland valleys, waterlogged lowland valley-bottoms, more or less barren mountain slopes, and productive coastal and inland plains. Practically the whole peninsula falls below the 400 mm. (16 in.) isohyet, making agriculture a particularly precarious occupation. The rugged hills of southern Attica were a source of silver and lead, exploited from the bronze age (*Laurium), and the mountain ranges of *Hymettus and *Pentelicon were a source of fine quality *marble used from the 6th cent.The earliest human settlement belongs to the neolithic, when a considerable number of mainly coastal sites were occupied, and occupation seems to have extended to the whole area in the early bronze age. Attica has large numbers of toponyms of ‘pre-Greek’ form. It is not clear, even in the late bronze age, how Attica was organized politically and there has been much modern discussion about what period, if any, is reflected in the myths according to which *Theseus ‘synoecized’ Attica (see synoecism).
- Ancient Geography