Classical Greek Economy
In the Classical period, about 500-400 BC, the population of Greece got even bigger than it had been in the Archaic period, and trade and fighting were even more necessary to the Greek economy. Greek mercenary soldiers fought for the Egyptians, who were trying to get free of the Persians, and they also fought for the Persians.
Because mainland Greece could not produce enough wheat to feed the people of Greece, Greek traders bought a lot of wheat from the area around the Black Sea, and also from Sicily, southern Italy, and southern France. In exchange, the traders sold wine and olive oil and fancy pottery vases.
During the Peloponnesian War, beginning in 441 BC, though, the Greeks were all busy fighting each other, and the economy suffered. Many people went hungry, and all Greeks became much poorer than they had been before.
More on the Greek economy (the
Or, check out these books about the economy of classical Greece from Amazon.com
or your library:
Trade & Warfare, by Robert Hull (2000). For kids ages 9-12.
The Ancient Economy by Walter Scheidel, Sitta Von Reden (2002). A collection of essays by different specialists, but written for the non-specialist.
Economy and Society in Ancient Greece, by Moses Finley (revised edition 1983)
Economic and Social History of Ancient Greece: An Introduction by M.M. Austin and P. Vidal-Naquet (1980)
The Ancient Economy, by Moses Finley (revised edition 1999). This has been the starting point for academic discussions of the Greek and Roman economy since it first came out thirty years ago.