Fire Ecology, 2015
Volume 11, Issue 3
Present Studies and History of Burning in Greece, with an Introduction by Vasilios P. Papanastasis
Author: Leonidas G. Liacos
Probably, the small size pine-tree grove, ideally matched with scattered columnar cypress and olive trees, which commonly constitute the frame that beautifies the ancient Greek landscape, do not prevent [readers] from wondering whether Greeks, being in an arid country, had no choice in selecting their building material.
However, all over the Greek territory, the climate, characterized by more or less long dry and hot summers (typical Mediterranean climate), is, in general, very favorable for the development of even dense forests.
No doubt, in prehistoric times Greece was totally covered with thick forests, with the only exception of the summits of high mountains, rising above the timber line.
The recently discovered bones, found in excavations near Pikermi a few kilometers east of Athens, belong to a prehistoric large and very robust animal, the habitat of which is confined to extent forest environment. That gives a very strong evidence that Attica was covered in unbroken forests.
Greek Mythology, on the other hand, says that Hercules killed the Kithaeronian Lion and the Elk of Artemis (Diana) in Peloponessos. This allows [one] to conclude that Peloponessos was covered with large forests, since lions and elk require a forest environment over large areas.
Moreover, Homer in his Odyssey calls the now bare Mount Noriton in the island of Ithaca “dense leaved” and the island Zakynthos “forest covered”.