Trade in Classical Antiquity

Historians have long argued about the place of trade in classical antiquity: was it the life-blood of a complex, Mediterranean-wide economic system, or a thin veneer on the surface of an underdeveloped agrarian society? Trade underpinned the growth of Athenian and Roman power, helping to supply armies and cities. It furnished the goods that ancient elites needed to maintain their dominance - and yet, those same elites generally regarded trade and traders as a threat to social order. Trade, like the patterns of consumption that determined its development, was implicated in wider debates about politics, morality and the state of society, just as the expansion of trade in the modern world is presented both as the answer to global poverty and as an instrument of exploitation and cultural imperialism. This book explores the nature and importance of ancient trade, considering its ecological and cultural significance as well as its economic aspects.

• Provides a comprehensive treatment of the role of trade in classical antiquity • Gives a new perspective on the long-running debate on the role of trade in ancient Greece and Rome by examining its ecological and cultural significance • Written in an accessible style suitable for students and non-specialists


1. Trade and the ancient economy; 2. Ecology and economics; 3. Commodities and consumption; 4. Institutions and infrastructure; 5. Markets, merchants and morality; 6. The limits of ancient globalisation.

Nøkkelord: Historie Antikk historie