Modern Greece is well defined, with the minor difficulty over the sovereignty of Mount Athos. Ancient Greece is a different matter. In the early first millennium BC Greece was arguably not united by land but by the Aegean Sea. Greek cities surrounded the Aegean, lying on its shores. In the ninth century something peculiar happens. Euboea, an island close to Athens starts sending out waves of settlers. The set up a colony on the shores of Syria at a site now known as Al Mina (Boardman 1990). This is followed by the establishment of other far flung colonies. Near what is now modern Naples, the Euboeans settled the colony of Pithekoussai. Other colonies followed on the toe of Italy and on Sicily on the opposite side of the Straits of Messina. Other cities sent out other settler and colonies sprung up along the shores of the Black Sea as far away as Georgia and on the shores of France and Spain. Both modern Marseilles and Ampurias are built on Greek foundations.
These were not ventures into pristine territories. In every case there were already indigenous populations. The nature of relationships between the Greeks and the Natives is a contentious issue. It is agreed that Natives in contact with the Greeks appear to have become more Hellenic. How this occurred and how the change in archaeological finds should be interpreted is contested. Broadly speaking there are two camps.