The Hellenistic Economy in Greece

Various events unfolded during the Hellenistic age, particularly in the economic sector. The international trade has prospered, which caused the cities to be populated with people from different backgrounds (“Courtesans to Cleopatra,” n.d.). Agriculture was the main source of income. Many owned large estates, and many of them resorted to farming since most of the places are rural. Most of these farmers were independent (Guisepi, 1998).

But as time evolved, the cities grew bigger and trade was the new addition in the economy. Along with these changes were the effects they brought to the society, such as the complexity of the social structure and the inequalities (Guisepi, 1998).

However, some people resorted to trade because the mainlands were usually mountainous and rocky. In addition, slavery worsened by the advent of wars and colonization in areas. Guisepi (1998) added that the classical Mediterranean society resorted to slavery than the Indians or Chinese civilizations during the Hellenistic age.

During these times, there were new opportunities in trade, manufacture and banking. Alexander has also made “uniform economy” in areas surrounding Greece up to far countries such as Eqypt and the Northwestern parts of Africa. And as was common during the Hellenistic age, the economy was based on agriculture and stockbreeding. There were also products exported, such as timber, resin, flax, iron, copper and other products. The country also depended on their ports, such as the Thessalonike and Neapolis (“Economy of the Hellenistic Period,” n.d.).

According to Guisepi (1998), there has been progress in the growing trade in Greece. But the conservatives still have suspicions on merchants and made changes in terms of traditional austerity. Other changes took place in other cities. Spartans understated the importance of trade, although the city had fertile land. Moreover, since the Greek money was bulky, it discouraged commerce. And the aristocratic estate-owners wanted to operate a semi-slave population of farm workers.

Another problem in Greek economy during the Hellenistic age was that there were fluctuations in the economy, which caused unrest among the citizens. Despite the improvement in trade, its balance had effect in some areas. This effect showed that “Athens lost citizens, who in response to economic hardship, emigrated to other areas” (Ferguson, 1973).

Furthermore, there have been difficulties when it comes to agriculture. Farmers were forced to become tenants or laborers of their lands. Issues regarding their independence became the root for the many tensions between political parties. Problems also presented themselves in the form of soil conditions, which were not appropriate for growing grains. This resulted the failure of farmers to make their lands productive. They have also incurred debts, which forced them to sell their lands to aristocratic estate owners (Guisepi, 1998).

Although Greeks developed craft products and made way for advances in shipbuilding and navigation, the country did not pay much attention to the manufacturing technology because the Greeks were more concerned in science. The economy was also hindered by slavery, which restrained the country from being productive since the labor was cheap and coerced. Slavery was the main reason why Greeks were not interested in technological innovations for agriculture or manufacturing. Moreover, slave labor was abundant that they saw no need for effective production methods for food or manufactured goods. As a result, the Mediterranean society’s improvement was delayed in terms of production technology (Guisepi, 1998).