How Did Trade Affect Ancient Greece?

Trade played a significant role in the development and growth of ancient Greece. The geographical location of Greece, with its many islands and coastal areas, made it a natural hub for trade and commerce. Greek traders traveled long distances by sea to establish trading relationships with other civilizations such as Egypt, Persia, and Phoenicia.

Early Trade in Ancient Greece

The earliest form of trade in ancient Greece was barter. People exchanged goods for other goods without using money.

However, as the economy grew and became more complex, the use of coins became more prevalent. Greeks began to produce their own coins in the 6th century BCE.

The Impact of Trade on Greek Society

Trade had a profound impact on Greek society. It helped to create a wealthy merchant class that made significant contributions to the economy and culture of ancient Greece. Merchants were able to accumulate wealth by importing exotic goods such as spices, silk, and ivory from distant lands.

The importation of new ideas and technologies also contributed to the growth of Greek civilization. Greeks adopted new styles of art, architecture, and clothing from other cultures they encountered through trade.

The Role of Athens in Ancient Greek Trade

Athens was one of the most important cities in ancient Greece when it came to trade. The city-state was located near the Aegean Sea, which made it an ideal port for ships traveling between Europe and Asia.

Athens also had an excellent harbor known as Piraeus that could accommodate large merchant ships. The city-state became a major center for trade during the 5th century BCE when it established colonies throughout the Mediterranean region.

The Importance of Olive Oil in Ancient Greek Trade

Olive oil played a crucial role in ancient Greek trade. It was one of the most valuable commodities produced by Greeks due to its many uses such as cooking oil, fuel for lamps, and a base for cosmetics. Greeks exported olive oil to other civilizations in exchange for goods such as wine, metal, and pottery.

The Influence of Trade on Greek Mythology

Trade also had a significant impact on Greek mythology. The Greek god Hermes was the patron of trade and commerce. He was believed to protect merchants and travelers on their journeys.

The story of Jason and the Argonauts is another example of how trade influenced Greek mythology. The story tells of a group of heroes who set out on a quest to find the Golden Fleece, a symbol of wealth and prosperity. The journey required them to navigate treacherous waters, encounter mythical creatures, and establish trading relationships with other cultures.


In conclusion, trade played a pivotal role in the development and growth of ancient Greece. It helped to create a wealthy merchant class that made significant contributions to the economy and culture of Greece.

Trade also brought new ideas, technologies, and commodities that enriched Greek society. The legacy of ancient Greek trade can still be seen today in the art, architecture, and cultural traditions that continue to inspire people around the world.