What Did Merchants Sell in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Greece, merchants played a significant role in the economy. They traveled far and wide to trade their goods, making Greek cities bustling hubs of commerce and culture.

But what exactly did these merchants sell? Let’s dive deeper into the world of Ancient Greek trade.

The Merchants of Ancient Greece

Ancient Greek merchants were known as emporoi and their main goal was to make a profit through buying and selling goods. They would travel by land or sea, using various modes of transportation such as donkeys, carts, or ships to transport their wares.

What Were the Goods Sold?

The Greeks were skilled in producing a variety of goods such as pottery, jewelry, textiles, and olive oil. These items were highly sought after by neighboring regions and beyond.

One of the most valuable commodities traded was olive oil. The Greeks used it for cooking, lighting lamps, and even in religious ceremonies. Pottery was also a popular item for trading since the Greeks were skilled in creating beautiful vases, amphorae (used for storing wine), and other pottery items.

Textiles were another important commodity traded by the Ancient Greeks. Their clothing was made from wool or linen fabric which was woven into intricate patterns that caught the eye of traders from all over the Mediterranean.

Who Were Their Trading Partners?

The Ancient Greeks had an extensive network of trading partners across the Mediterranean region. They traded with regions such as Egypt, Persia, Italy, Spain, and North Africa among others.

One of their most important trading partners was Egypt. The Egyptians traded wheat for Greek olive oil which they used as an important ingredient in their diet.

Another significant trading partner was Persia. The Greeks imported luxury items such as gold and silver while exporting goods such as wine and textiles.

The Role of Markets

Markets played an important role in Ancient Greek trade. They were often held in open-air spaces such as agoras where merchants would set up their stalls to sell their wares.

The agora was not just a marketplace but also a social center where people would gather to exchange ideas and engage in political discussions. It was a central hub of activity and commerce in Ancient Greek cities.


In conclusion, the Ancient Greeks were skilled merchants who traded a variety of valuable goods across the Mediterranean region. Their trading partners were vast and varied, and markets played an important role in facilitating this trade. Today, we can still see the influence of Ancient Greek trade in our modern economy.