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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
I. THE LANDS OF THE WEST AND THE RISE OF GREECE TO ABOUT 500 B.C.
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CENTRAL AND NORTHERN EUROPE
The almost unbroken mountain chain formed by the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Balkans, sharply separates the central land mass of Europe from the regions to the south. Central Europe consists, in general, of lowlands, which widen eastward into the vast Russian plain. Northern Europe includes the British Isles, physically an extension of Europe, and the peninsulas of Scandinavia and Finland, between the Baltic Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Twenty centuries ago central and northern Europe was a land of forests and marshes, of desolate steppes and icebound hills. The peoples who inhabited itóCelts in the west, Teutons or Germans in the north, Slavs in the east --were men of Indo-European race and speech. They were still barbarians. During ancient times we hear little of them, except as their occasional migrations southward brought them into contact with the Greeks and the Romans.
Southern Europe comprises the three peninsulas of Spain, Italy, and the Balkans, which reach far south into the Mediterranean. This great inland sea is divided into two parts near the center, where Africa and the island of Sicily almost touch each other across a narrow strait. The eastern part contains several minor seas, of which the one called the Aegean had most importance in Greek history.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy