Agricultural hydraulic works in ancient Greece

D. Koutsoyiannis, and A. N. Angelakis, Agricultural hydraulic works in ancient Greece, Encyclopedia of Water Science, Second Edition, edited by S. W. Trimble, 24–27, doi:10.13140/RG.2.1.2582.8084, CRC Press, 2007.



Agricultural development requires hydraulic works including flood protection of agricultural areas, land reclamation, and drainage. In addition, in a Mediterranean climate, irrigation of crops is necessary to sustain agricultural production and, at the same time, water storage projects are necessary to remedy the scarcity of water resources during the irrigation period. In modern Greece, irrigation is responsible for more than 85% of the water consumption and, to provide this quantity, several large hydraulic works have been built. Similarly, in ancient times, Greeks had to develop technological means to capture, store, and convey water and simultaneously to make agricultural areas productive and protect them from flooding. Agricultural developments in Greece, traced to the Minoan and Mycenaean states, were responsible for the increase of agricultural productivity, the growth of large populations, and the economic progress that led to the creation of classical civilization. Some examples of agricultural hydraulic projects of the ancient times chronologically extending from the Mycenaean to the Hellenistic period are discussed in this article.

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