Greece can be divided according to the now classic triple division: 1. Northern Greece; 2. Middle Greece or Hellas; 3. Southern Greece or Peloponnese. The Northern Greece, limited to N. by the mountains of Macedonia and to S. by that narrowing of the peninsula which is contained between the gulfs of Ambracia and Lamia, is divided vertically by the Pindus chain into two distinct regions: Thessaly and Epirus. Thessaly, crowned to the north by Olympus, on whose snowy peaks the ancients placed the seat of the gods, limited to the South. by the Eta massif and by Thermopylae, to the West by the Pindus, to the East. by the Aegean Sea, contains the he only great plain in Greece, rich in grains and meadows and crossed by the river Peneus, which then flows into the sea between Olympus and the Bones and forms that famous valley of Tempe that the ancient Greeks praised for its beauty. Thessaly can be distinguished in a real Thessalian region, surrounded by a territory of perieci (Perrebi, Magneti, Achaean Phthiotids), while the true Thessaly was in turn divided, but for military purposes, into four parts (tetrads), namely Thessaliotides, Estieotides, Pelasgiotides, Ftictides. Main cities were Larissa on the river Peneo, the enemy of Fere, the latter strong of the possession of Pagase on the homonymous gulf; Farsalo, who later became famous for the defeat suffered there by Pompey; finally we can remember Tricca in Estieotide, which was, apparently, the cradle of the religion of Asclepius. To the left of the Pindus, Epirus, a completely mountainous region, except for the plain on the Gulf of Ambracia around the mouth of the Extract, and inhabited by people (Caoni, Molossi, etc.) who for a long time lived in isolation and only at the end of the century. V felt the need to gather in the city. The spiritual center of the region was Dodona with its famous oracle, which many Greeks went to consult. There Average Greece or Hellas proper, narrow and long and in the lower part almost completely bathed by the sea, tilts gradually as it proceeds from the west to the east and ends in the east with that region, Attica, towards which it can be said they converged all the elements of Hellenic civilization to produce their most beautiful fruits there. To the West, separated from each other by the course of the mighty Achelous that descends from the mountains of Epirus, are Acarnania and Aetolia, mountainous and not much more civilized regions than the next Epirus, also inhabited by strong and rugged lineages (Agrei, Euritani, Apodoti, etc.). Only along the banks of the Acheloo and around the Trichōnís, Hýdra and Ouría lakes did the less wild nature allow the development of quite remarkable centers, especially from a religious point of view, such as Strátos and Thérmos, while on the gentle and fertile hills between Mount Aracinto and the sea, Calidone, full of legends, flourished. Further on, lying on the two banks of Hellas, the double Locride: the southern one (Ozolia) with Eanzia (Oiántheia), Anfissa and Naupatto, the northern one dominated by M. Knēmís (od. Fortána) with the cities of Scarfia, Tronio and with the strong Opunte which gave its name to that part of Locride. The small mountainous Doride is narrow between the two Locrids; then the Phocis that widens between the two seas, rising from the olive groves of Crisa, from Cirra and from Anticirra to the impervious yokes of Parnassus, among which the sanctuary of Apollo Delfico is hidden, and then descending to the irrigated plain of the florid Cefiso of cities (Elatea, Iampoli, etc.), while the heights of the Knēmís separate it from the sea of Euboea. Then Boeotia extends, flat in its northern part around the Copaide lake, which once occupied the whole plain, with Orchomenus famous for the memory of the Minî and with the more recent sanctuary of Apollo Ptoios, mountainous instead in the southern part dominated by the Helicon, the mount of the Muses, and furrowed by the course of the Asopus. A very varied region, known for its wealth and for the inclination of its residents (apart from the traditional insult) to the arts of the Muses, Boeotia was almost always dominated by Thebes, whose very happy position had given the way to emerge; and in those broad plains it almost inevitably had to be the scene of many famous battles of antiquity (Platea, Tanagra, Coronea, Leuttra, Cheronea). Mount Citerone, rich in myths, separates Attica from Boeotia, triangular region that easily extends towards the SE. and which by the festoon of the Cyclades is connected to Asia Minor. Dominated by the Parnete, the white Pentelicus and the Hymptus, Attica opens its highest plain towards the E., the Mesogea rich in grains, between the Hymptus and the silvery mountains of the Sunio; while to the West, separated from each other by the Egialeo chain, the famous valleys of Cefiso and Ilisso flow into the Saronic Gulf in which Eleusis and Athens respectively formed. In its northern part, the Diacria, Attica rises and on the rocky coast presents the opposite Euboea Oropo, always contended by Boeotia, and Ramnunte, while a little further to the East. opens the plain of Maratona, famous for its battle that was fought there in 490. On the whole, Attica is an arid and poor region. Southern Greece or Peloponnese fan-shaped its three peninsulas inhabited by Doric peoples: Argolis with the Inaco valley where Mycenae, Tiryns, Argos, famous in the epic of Homer, flourished, with Nemea more to N. famous for its games and for the legend of Heracles (which moreover animates the whole Peloponnese) and to E., beyond a large wild area, with the sanctuary of Epidaurus, with Trezene and Calauria; Laconia, where Sparta lay between the grandiose chains of Parnon and Taygetus in the flourishing Eurota valley, connected by maritime necessities to the port of Gizio (Gýtheion) and by religious sentiment to the nearest seat of Apollo Amicleo; Messenia, a very fertile land bathed by the Pamiso and dominated by the mighty Itome, a region coveted by the neighboring Spartans, with the city of Fere on the sea, with those of Messene and Andania in the interior. In the heart of the Peloponnese is Arcadia, the most isolated region of Greece, which in its alpine solitudes kept for a long time with incredible tenacity, in language and customs, the memory of more ancient Greek peoples who disappeared elsewhere. Here among the mountains dear to mythology (Partenio, Menalo, Liceo) we find the cities of Orcomeno, Mantinea, Tegea and, in S., the younger Megalopolis created in 368 by the synecism of several Arcadian centers; while in the northern part are Clitor, Phenaeus, Stymphalus, the latter known in the myth of Heracles. The river Alfeo born from the mountains of Arcadia descends towards the Ionian sea, bathing in its last stretch the wooded hills of Elis, which had as its spiritual center the venerated sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. It once included only the coastal plain between the Alfeo and the Peneo; later, however, it was enriched by Pisatide and Trifilia. The last region of the Peloponnese is Achaia, which, descending from the yokes of Arcadia, explains a fertile coast in the Gulf of Corinth, full of thriving cities such as Patras and Egio (Aígion); then there is Sicyon, famous no less for the fertility of the land than for the artistic ingenuity of the residents. A land largely open to the beneficial influence of the sea, Greece is crowned with islands, which in many places accompany the course of its coasts or connect them to other regions of the Mediterranean, and which greatly contributed to the development of Hellenic history and civilization. First and greatest of all Euboea, which extends from Thessaly to Attica, a very varied, rich, industrious land, with the main cities of Chalcis, Eretria, Caristo; then the “choir” of the Cyclades (Andro, Teno, Naxos, Paro, Amorgos, Tera, Melo, etc.) around that small island of Delos, which for centuries knew how to keep the Ionian lineages united with the common religion of Apollo of the Aegean; then Kythera, sacred to Aphrodite, in front of the Laconic gulf; then, in the Ionian Sea, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Lefkada and Corcira, the first and precious colony of Doric Corinth.
In ancient Greece a large part of the population was townspeople and another part was divided into villages. According to Beloch’s calculations, naturally very approximate, the density of residents in Greece of the century. II a. C. was 38 per sq. Km. and the total population some over three million, while in classical Greece it must have been about half a million higher. In the Hellenistic age, urbanism reached its peak in Greece and some cities, such as Athens and perhaps Corinth, exceeded 100,000 residents. From the century II a. C. onwards a decrease in residents begins to appear in Greece, which becomes more and more sensitive and accompanies, at the end of the Hellenistic age and throughout the Roman age, the progressive decay of the Hellenic civilization.