HE VAST number of the Greek colonies, their wide-spread diffusion over all parts of the Mediterranean, which thus became a kind of Grecian lake, and their rapid growth in wealth, power, and intelligence, afford the most striking proofs of the greatness of this wonderful people. Civil dissensions and a redundant population were the chief causes of the origin of most of the Greek colonies. They were usually undertaken with the approbation of the cities from which they issued, and under the management of leaders appointed by them. But a Greek colony was always considered politically independent of the mother-city and emancipated from its control. The only connexion between them was one of filial affection and of common religious ties. Almost every colonial Greek city was built upon the sea-coast, and the site usually selected contained a hill sufficiently lofty to form an acropolis.
The Grecian colonies may be arranged in four groups: 1. Those founded in Asia Minor and the adjoining islands; 2. Those in the western parts of the Mediterranean, in Italy, Sicily, Gaul, and Spain; 3. Those in Africa; 4. Those in Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace.