An Ancient Greek Economy Overview for Kids

Greece is one of the most important civilizations in our history even though it may not seem so important in today's society. It is vital that one remembers a country's past contribution, and sometimes failures, because it is important for the declaration of history. For this very reason, Greece is also known as the "Cradle of Civilization." Ancient Greece influenced all of Western culture. Thousands of years ago, the Greeks established traditions of justice and individual freedom which are the pillars of what democracy stands for today. Art, philosophy and science have become foundations of modern thought and culture.

Across the country there are splendid ruins that reflect the grandeur of this ancient civilization and portray past glories. Historic monuments and beautiful beaches give boost to tourism and they are consolidated as the main economic activity in Greece.

Mountainous country is located in southeastern Europe, as it is a bit rocky filled with fertile soil. About one fifth of the area is composed of islands. The mainland is located at the southern end of the Balkan Peninsula. Athens is the capital and is the country's largest city. What many do not know is that the Greek economy was the center and the mastermind that started the world's monetary system.

Why did the Greeks Start Trading?

The (Greek economy) was always a stable one. Greece was formed when people migrated to the Balkan Peninsula in several waves beginning in the third millennium BC from Eastern Europe. Immediately, inhabitants realized that they were sitting on a major transportation harbor and it was going to be a significant advantage to them if they were able to bring economics (the study of money) into the country. The Greeks needed some way of making the country enticing to other empires. They knew just how.

Greece would start trading pork and cheese from Sicily, perfumes from Arabia, glass, barley and wheat from Egypt, rugs from Carthage and ivory from Ethiopia. Greece would give these countries olives, olive oil, jewelry, pottery, fresh-water fish and wine in return. The dawn of the ancient Greece economy was born.

Minting Coins

In the seventh century BC, the first coins with the current characteristics of today were born. Small pieces of metal with weight and value were set and the impression of an official seal with the mark of who issued the warrant and its value were made.

These minted silver coins were designed in Greece and Lydia, and were designed as small oval ingots of an alloy made of gold and silver called electrum. This type of ancient Greek money reflected the mentality of a people and their times. They were observed as political, economical, technological and cultural currency. Impressions found on coins, like we have today, shown the effigies of personalities for centuries. Probably the first historical figure to have his effigy recorded on currency was Alexander the Great of Macedonia, around the year 330 BC. The ancient Greek economy was gaining steam and the world was soon going to pick up on it and change the course of history forever.

There were two major city-states in ancient Greece: Athens and Sparta. The comparison between the two offers us a picture of contrast that is very interesting. With this, we can understand the cultural and economical diversity found within this territory. The shapes of the design world, the roles played by social subjects, political institutions, values ??and traditions of these two peoples are very useful, and with this information, we can erase the impression that they were marked by the same Greek culture.

Despite being considered a "government of the people," those who participated in Athenian democracy corresponded to less than 20% of the population. Back in Sparta, political issues were of obligation to a set of 28 men, over 60, who formed the GerĂºsia. In addition, there were two kings, who formed the "Diarchy." The functions of these kings were linked to religious and military issues.

The role played by men and women in Athenian and Spartan societies also had their specificities. In Sparta, the women received a rigorous physical and psychological education. In addition, they participated in public meetings, sports competitions and ran the family estate. In contrast, the Athenian culture restricted women to their home. The docility and submission to her husband and father figures were transferred to Athenian women.

The differences between the experiences of Athens and Sparta were a severe contrast. Thus, the comparisons given here give us a small sample of the wealth of customs, traditions and stories involving the city-states of the Greek world. Even ancient Greek money was effected on a global scale.

Being Conquered by the Romans

The struggles against Rome during the Punic Wars had finally come to a head. For a number of years, the Romans had wanted Greece and every of territory in the world just like Greece had centuries earlier. Greece, Macedonia and areas throughout the Middle East were next on Rome's list of conquered territories. In a little more than thirty years, Macedonia, Greece, Syria and Palestine were under Rome's rule. Egypt was the last Mediterranean empire to be conquered and occupied by Roman troops, falling in 30 BC. Finally, with the victories of the armies of Julius Caesar's campaigns in Gaul, the picture of Roman conquests was complete.

Rome came to dominate the entire Mediterranean basin. It established its own administration in the conquered regions and put a governor (proconsul) in each province, appointed to the post for a year but, for the most part, remained for several years. The proconsul had absolute power, exerting both military and civilian functions. Rome, respected for its institutional and local customs, and the treatment given to each province varied greatly. The time of the Greeks had fallen but the level of economic greatness they provided to the world never will.