Ancient Greek colonization began at an early date, during the so-called Geometric period of about to B. The Greek alphabet, inspired by the writing of the Phoenician sea traders, was developed and spread at this time.

Greece is a country surrounded by water, and the sea has always played an important role in its history. The ancient Greeks were active seafarers seeking opportunities for trade and founding new independent cities at coastal sites across the Mediterranean Sea. By the seventh and sixth centuries B. Regional schools of artists exhibited a rich variety of styles and preferences at this time. The major Ionian cities along the coast of Asia Minor prospered They cultivated relationships with other affluent centers like Sardis in Lydia Indeed, by this time, the eastern Greeks controlled much of the Aegean Sea and had established independent cities to the north along the Black Sea.

This region, in particular, opened up further trade connections to the north that gave access to valuable raw materials, such as gold. Trading stations played an important role as the furthest outposts of Greek culture. Here, Greek goods, such as pottery The Greeks established trading enclaves within existing local communities in the Levant, such as at Al-Mina.

In the Nile Delta, the port town of Naukratis Likewise, well-established maritime trade routes around the Mediterranean basin enabled foreigners to travel to Greece. In the seventh century B.

trading in ancient greece

After the unprecedented military campaign of Alexander the Great r. These new trade routes introduced Greek art to cultures in the East, and also exposed Greek artists to a host of artistic styles and techniques, as well as precious stones. Garnets, emeralds, rubies, and amethysts were incorporated into new types of Hellenistic jewelrymore stunning than ever before. In the ensuing centuries, the Greeks continued to live in these eastern regions, but always maintained contact with the Greek mainland.

East Greek artists also emigrated to Etruriawhere they settled at Caere, an Etruscan city on the Italian coast On the other hand, the Greek colonies in Sicily and southern Italy, a region known as Magna Graecia, comprised politically independent entities that maintained religious ties and trade links with their mother cities. Up until the mid-sixth century B.

For the most part, it exported Corinthian vases Some city-states, such as Syracuse and Selinus in Sicily, erected major temples that rivaled those in the eastern part of Greece. Unlike the Aegean islands and mainland Greece, where marble was plentiful, Sicily and southern Italy had few local sources of high-quality marble.Ancient Greeks thought that the success of an individual, assuming a level playing field, also meant success for the community.

Today, this idea can be seen in the work of philanthropists who share their wealth with others. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit.

The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society.

Slavery in ancient Greece

Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society. For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection natgeo.

If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please visit our FAQ page. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website.

You cannot download interactives. The economy is the system of production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. There are different types of economies: command, traditional, market, and mixed. Each varies in their ideals and systems of controls. Economies are not borne in a vacuum. These controls, or regulations, are established by norms or laws put into place by those in power--usually a government--and they apply to individuals, industries, and governments alike.

Select from these resources to teach your students about economies. Ancient Greek politics, philosophy, art and scientific achievements greatly influenced Western civilizations today.

trading in ancient greece

One example of their legacy is the Olympic Games. Use the videos, media, reference materials, and other resources in this collection to teach about ancient Greece, its role in modern-day democracy, and civic engagement. The ancient Greeks were the original economists. They believed in good strife, which encouraged competition to be the best craftsman and developed the cult of the individual.

Understanding how the Ancient Greeks lived can give us unique insights into how Greek ideas continue to influence out own lives today.

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Learn about how the ancient Greeks viewed the sharing of ideas as an important part of learning. Skip to content. Overview Vocabulary. Media Credits The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit.

Media If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. Text Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. Interactives Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website.The economy of ancient Greece was defined largely by the region's dependence on imported goods.

Ancient Greece: Ships for Trade and Naval Warfare (478 - 336 BC)

As a result of the poor quality of Greece 's soilagricultural trade was of particular importance. The impact of limited crop production was somewhat offset by Greece's paramount location, as its position in the Mediterranean gave its provinces control over some of Egypt's most crucial seaports and trade routes.

Beginning in the 6th century BC, trade craftsmanship and commerceprincipally maritimebecame pivotal aspects of Greek economic output. The olive tree and grapevine, as well as orchards, were complemented by the cultivation of herbsvegetablesand oil-producing plants.

Husbandry was badly developed due to a lack of available land. Sheep and goats were the most common types of livestock, while bees were kept to produce honeythe only source of sugar known to the ancient Greeks. Agricultural work followed the rhythm of the seasons: harvesting olives and trimming grapevines at the beginning of autumn and the end of winter ; setting aside fallow land in the spring; harvesting cereals in the summer ; cutting wood, sowing seeds, and harvesting grapes in autumn.

In the ancient era, most lands were held by the aristocracy. During the 7th century BC, demographic expansion and the distribution of successions created tensions between these landowners and the peasants. In Athensthis was changed by Solon 's reforms, which eliminated debt bondage and protected the peasant class.

Nonetheless, a Greek aristocrat's domains remained small compared with the Roman latitudinal. Much of the craftsmanship of ancient Greece was part southern west of the domestic sphere. However, the situation gradually changed between the 8th and 4th centuries BC, with the increased commercialization of the Greek economy.

Thus, weaving and bakingactivities so important to the Western late medieval economy, were done only by women before the 6th century BC. After the growth of commerce, slaves started to be used widely in workshops. Only fine dyed tissues, like those made with Tyrian purplewere created in workshops.

On the other hand, working with metalleatherwoodor clay was a specialized activity that was looked down upon by most Greeks. The basic workshop was often family-operated. Lysias 's shield manufacture employed slaves; Demosthenes ' father, a maker of swordsused After the death of Pericles in BC, a new class emerged: that of the wealthy owners and managers of workshops.

Examples include Cleon and Anytusnoted tannery owners, and Kleophonwhose factory produced lyres. Non-slave workers were paid by assignment since the workshops could not guarantee regular work. In Athens, those who worked on state projects were paid one drachma per day, no matter what craft they practised.

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The workday generally began at sunrise and ended in the afternoon. The potter's work consisted of selecting the clay, fashioning the vase, drying and painting and baking it, and applying varnish. Part of the production went to domestic usage dishes, containers, oil lamps or for commercial purposes, and the rest served religious or artistic functions. Techniques for working with clay have been known since the Bronze Age ; the potter's wheel is a very ancient invention.

The ancient Greeks did not add any innovations to these processes [ citation needed ]. The creation of artistically decorated vases in Greece had strong foreign influences. For instance, the famed black-figure style of Corinthian potters was most likely derived from the Syrian style of metalworking. The heights to which the Greeks brought the art of ceramics is, therefore, due entirely to their artistic sensibilities and not to technical ingenuity.

What to Know About Trade in Ancient Greece

Pottery in ancient Greece was most often the work of slaves. Many of the potters of Athens assembled between the agora and the Dipylon, in the Kerameikon. They most often operated as small workshops, consisting of a master, several paid artisans, and slaves.

Deposits of metal ore are common in Greece.We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. Trade in ancient greeceDuring the archaic and classical periods roughly to BCancient Greece rose as a major trading power in the Mediterranean, building vast commercial networks and a series of trade- and agriculture-oriented colonies throughout the region. When the archaic period began, the Greeks initially traded mainly the few goods they could produce in abundance for those they could not.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Fine pottery, jewelry, and other costly items also competed well in the international luxury trade. In return, [the Greeks] imported things lacking in Greece, such as copper, tin, gold, ivory, amber, dyes, and spices, as well as foreign varieties of items that they did have. The olive proved to be a nourishing food, and its oil remained the principal edible fat in the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years.

By the classical period, the Greeks had expanded their trade to include the Black Sea region, shipping wine, oil, and pottery in exchange for hides, cattle, wax, chestnuts, iron, fabric, and even slaves.

Early on, they traded extensively with the Phoenicians, who lived along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean in what are now Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, eventually supplanting them as a major commercial and military power. By the classical period, the Greeks had formed colonies in Sicily, southern Italy, and southern France, and they maintained strong commercial relationships throughout the Mediterranean. They expanded beyond those shores during this period, broadening the range of commodities they traded as well.

Greek traders obtained perfumes from Arabia and rugs from Persia, and purchased much-needed metals from Spain, Tuscany, and Cyprus. Also, Greek merchants sought wood from regions surrounding the Mediterranean; lacking adequate supplies and varieties of wood themselves, Greeks sought cedar, fir, pine, and oak — all used both in building and in the shipbuilding trade on which Greek commerce so heavily depended.

By the end of the classical period, Greek trade had expanded to the British Isles, northern France, the regions bordering the Black Sea, and the entire Mediterranean basin. Named for the fifty oars that most had, pentekonters boasted bronze rams on the prows, making them effective for piracy and warfare.

Indeed, piracy affected Greek maritime trade throughout this period but was considerably worse during the early archaic period. By the sixth century BC, though, Greek merchants had adopted the pentekonter as their ship of choice for its durability and sleekness.

Around BC, Greek traders began adopting the trireme, named for its three tiers of oars; with the additional manpower, the trireme was up to 30 percent faster than the pentekonter, though the latter ship was still widely used throughout the Mediterranean.

They were used only for the transport of building materials and grain. For triremes. The keels of the merchantmen are made of pine. If the latter have to be hauled out an underlayer of oak is fitted. The ancient Greeks created colonies throughout the Mediterranean, motivated by a thriving trade throughout the region.Written by GreekBoston.

When looking at some of the major Ancient civilizations of the world, such as the Egyptians and Persians, they had the benefit of fertile land and a reliable water source.

Historians believe that this is one of the contributing factors as to why they prospered. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

As a result of this, they were able to develop trade relationships with all the major ancient civilizations, and this was part of the reason why Ancient Greece prospered. Once the Ancient Greek people realized that the land in which they lived had a tendency to be inhospitable, they turned to the seas to help them. Although some parts of Greece do contain fertile soul, it is difficult to grow and cultivate the land in many of its areas. Since most of Ancient Greece is accessible to the sea, it made sense that it became a major part of the economy.

Today, modern Greeks almost take it for granted. After all, they know that it has been part of the economy for thousands of years.

trading in ancient greece

They also know what the sea means to their culture because it plays a part in their food supply, tourist trade, and even their industry. This legacy all began with the Ancient Greeks and the fact that they used the waters to help them earn a living. Evidence that the Minoans, the first civilization in Greece, and the Egyptians had been in contact with one another is present in archaeological sites in both places.

Also, archaeologists discovered obsidian, which came from the island of Milos, on mainland Greece. By traveling by sea to other lands, they were able to establish colonies and also trade their goods for other items that the people need to survive. Because of the wealth brought in by this trade, the people not only survived, but also thrived.

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They traded items like wine, olives, olive oil, pottery, etc. This included items like obsidian from the island of Milos, unique art and crafts, such as sculptures and pottery, wine, olive oil, and their metalworking. In fact, it is the metalworking that seems to have made the biggest difference. Over time, the items were also traded for coin once the world switched to using currency.

trading in ancient greece

In fact, it is because of the trade industry that Ancient Greece truly began to thrive. Many of the items that were typically traded to other ancient cultures were highly coveted, which made trading them so much easier. Wikipedia — Economy of Ancient Greece. Categorized in: Ancient Greek History. Like this article? Please share below:.As the birthplace of civilization in Europe, the colonization of ancient Greece took place during the Geometric period, which lasted from about to B.

During this time, many modern elements of Greek society were formed, including active trade markets that sprung up along the seacoast, where citizens could barter for pottery, olive oil, wine and precious metals.

In Ancient Greece, olive oil was not just used for cooking and for nourishment. The oil was used as a cleanser, a medicine, a basis for ointments and perfumes, and a prize for the winners of the Panathenian Games, which were held every four years. As such, it was considered a valuable commodity for trade and sale with merchants from Phoenicia, Crete and Egypt.

Around B. Wine was another important commodity and essential element of daily life in ancient Greece. From religious celebrations to intellectual symposiums, the Greeks integrated the consumption of wine into nearly all of their social gatherings.

Wine could be used to barter for metals, leather and even slaves, and evidence uncovered from ancient shipwrecks shows that the Greeks traded their wine with countries all throughout the known world. Ancient Greeks used pottery for everyday life, including for drinking, storage, and the transport of water, olive oil and grain.

As such, pottery was a valuable product to be bought and sold during this time period, and was often exchanged for exotic raw materials that could be used by Greek craftsman.

For instance, trading with the countries of Asia Minor influenced the oriental-style paintings with flowers and vines, while Corinthian art reflected a more abstract style.

In ancient Greece, precious metals, especially bronze and silver, were used to produce tools, weapons, jewelry, art, coins and elaborate drinking goblets for the wealthy. Although certain metals, such as silver and gold, could be mined or panned for in the river, other raw materials needed to produce metal-based items were not readily available in ancient Greece, necessitating long-distance trade.

Metals such as iron, copper, tin, gold and silver were available for trade at marketplaces called agorai, and the coinage crafted from these raw materials led to the evolution of Greece's first monetary system. Jennifer Brozak earned her state teaching certificate in Secondary English and Communications from St.

Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. A former high school English teacher, Jennifer enjoys writing articles about parenting and education and has contributed to Reader's Digest, Mamapedia, Shmoop and more. About the Author.Civilizations throughout time have used this trade of goods to survive and thrive.

As early as Homer and Hesiod, we can see written evidence of the existence of trade and merchants to buy and sell goods. This simple form of exchange is at the heart of business all over the world. Ancient Greece relied heavily on imported goods. Their economy was defined by that dependence. Agricultural trade was of great importance because the soil in Greece was of poor quality which limited crop production.

However, some food items could be produced in the Mediterranean climate such as olives, olive oil, figs, honey, meat, cheeses, and wine. These items were traded domestically among the various city-states in Ancient Greece. These could also be exchanged for other necessary items from other countries. In addition to food, Greek pottery was also valued. Some popular imports at the time were salt fish, wheat, papyrus, wood, glass, and metals such as tin, copper and silver.

The drachma was a silver coin used by the ancient Greeks. One drachma was valued to be equal to a handful of arrows. By the 5th century BC, the Athenian drachma became the preferred version of the coin and the monetary unit used throughout the Hellenistic world. Eventually, the drachma evolved into other types of coins and currency types.

The government was not heavily involved in the trade business of ancient Greece except when it came to grain.

Economic Success in Ancient Greece

Grain was vital to the survival of the Greek people and was controlled by purchasers known as sitones. Officials ensured the quality of the grain that went to the markets to be sold and prices were regulated. Taxes were a part of the ancient Greek business system. They were imposed on the movement of goods through road and transit taxes. Levies were placed on imports and exports at the seaports. Special courts were established and private banks were able to perform currency exchanges and protect deposits.

Taxes in Ancient Greece were progressive. This means the taxes were imposed on the wealthy who were the most able to pay them. They thought of taxation as a matter of ethics.

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Income was not taxed. Taxes were, for the most part, voluntary. This idea had its roots in mythology. Prometheus created humanity and was its greatest benefactor. The Goddess Athena gave the olive tree to be a symbol of prosperity and peace. The idea was that the rich should absorb the expenses of the city such as improvements to infrastructure or for military spending. Those that gave the funds for a project received honor and prestige.

Sometimes, they competed to be the most honorable, resulting in many new buildings constructed while the wealthy sought these accolades.


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