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ACS 103 Study Guide - Mycenaean Greece, Barter, Hoplite

Arts and Contemporary Studies
Course Code
ACS 103
Ron Babin

of 3
Survey of Greek Civilization #7
With the destructions of Mycenaean civilization the previous economic model (store house) was swept
away and was replaced by farm house economy
Farm house was similar to a free market economy
The house or Oikos was crucial to Greek society
Agriculture was the primary generator of values
Services would be secondary to agrarian society and serve them (i.e. blacksmith
provides tools to farmers)
In the early Greek state the economy was an exchange or barter economy with no
Very little wealth in the early Greek states only real lasting wealth was metal from
weapon and tools
Very little transportation so what the person had to trade was what they could carry on
their person
Only influx of wealth was from war after conquering another polis
greatest generator of wealth was war
Objective of trade was to get what you needed not acquire wealth ( if you needed food
trade for food, if you need timber trade for timber)
If you acquired wealth you were expected to use it on the community
This way of trade collapsed when the idea of acquiring more resources started to be
used to gather support
Some forms of corruption were acceptable in Antiquity like paying people to vote for
your ideas, etc
All public tasks assigned to 6000 richest men in the city
Land is always the desired form of wealth and brought prestige
o Working the land was an acceptable form of work for the upper class
Wealth tends to follow into land
Since land was so desirable estates were broken up between sons not just first born
When you have craftsmen producing things they didn’t produce a large industry
o Was a produced on demand way only when people would request something be
made would they be made
If you were to work for someone I.E make something for someone it demeaned you
Artisans have begun to become more popular because of the influx of wealth
Craftsmen would make what they needed for what they made (I.E. potters would dig
their own clay)
Largest craftsmen we know of was Cephalus
o Made shields
o Had about 120 slaves
Most businesses would be family oriented had little to no inventory because as soon as
they made them they would sell them
Shortage of skilled labour in classical Greece and lack of safe work
Majority of artisans didn’t have to money or resources to produce large amount of
articles and if they could couldn’t move them
When improvements to production are potential available they do not filter down to
Problems with resources is they only use resources on local customers so no need for
copious amounts
Only power was man power apart from sails which used wind
Lack of resources, market and power where why Greeks couldn’t become industrialized
Not to say Greeks couldn’t create machines just never used them towards trade
o Archytus apparently created an mechanical bird that could fly by wind pressure
Didn’t have cranks, may have had pulleys but didn’t use often
o However used levers
Basic steam engine designs were discovered
Within the Polis there were only paved roads in the main roads and the side roads
would be tiny alleys covered in garbage
o No roads in between polis
Hoplite solider had changed the nature of Greek warfare
o Equipped with 1 piece helmet that covered nose and cheeks
o Long stabbing spear
o Short sword
o Fit breast and back plate
o Metal greaves and metal skirt
Siege equipment ladders and battering rams
Most buildings were over built because of they didn’t know how much would be needed
to make it stable
One of the most impressing engineering works was on the island of Samus was a tunnel
that was 3500 feet long to a spring under a hill
o Spread with the expansion of coinage
o The market economy and the search for profit began with trade
o As the larger Greek city states grew used trade to create more profit
o Local agriculture was eventually to costly compared to what they could import
from elsewhere
o As Athens become more wealthy it could survive more crises like the
importation of cheaper agricultural goods