Merchants

      Ancient Greece was famous for trading. City States like Athens and Corinth made tons of money off of trading. In these City States Wealthy merchants bought and sold goods for great profits. In this article I will teach you about the life of a merchant. Why People became merchants and the business of being a Merchant . The life of a merchant was mediocre and rivaled that of a farmer until 429 B.C.E after Peralciues of Athens died. 

   Because of Peracliouses death a new class  emerged: that of the wealthy owners and managers of workshops. In Athens and most of Greece only citizens could own land meaning that foreigners could not own land. These proved a problem for many people in Greece as farming was the biggest industry and over 70% of the population was in agriculture.Many  foreigners decided to become Merchants. These people traveled trading goods. The concept behind what merchants did was they bought goods in one place and transported them to another place and sold them. An example of this is in the Black Sea area. Athens alone imported over 4 million pounds of wheat each year. Merchants would go into the Black Sea Region buy Wheat with goods like olives(This bartering was done up until the invention of coinage) then the Merchants sailed or brought the goods over land to places like Athens and Sparta where they sold them for a profit.

    By trading many people became rich and City states like Athens also became wealthy for they charged taxes on good brought into the City State. In Greece almost anyone could become a Merchant. Financing was easy to come by since the return on Investment for many trading operations was in the double digits. Many people rented space on boats and brought goods from one place to another. 

   Merchants used cargo ships like this one

Cargo ship

 

These ships could carry over 400 tons of goods at a time. This meant that on one voyage to a foreign land, Greek merchants could sell thousands if not millions of dollars worth of goods.


    As I have shown, merchants in ancient Greece could be very succesful. With the advancements in boat building and coinage the Greeks had the upper hand when it came to trading. Merchants of all ages brought wealth,glory and ideas to Greece due to there long voyages trading goods across the Mediterranean.

 

 

 

Cargo  Boat
Credit: http://library.thinkquest.org/04oct/01723/G-Trade.htm