The Business Life of Ancient Athens


The Business Life of Ancient Athens is an informative book about
different aspects of Ancient businesses and Ancient ways of dealing with money.
This book first starts out by explaining the agricultural aspects of Ancient
Athens. Agriculture was not well for Athens, so they had to trade a lot. It is
recorded as early as the 6th century BC that grain was a very big part of an
average Athenian\'s diet. Therefore; much grain trade was necessary because
Greece land was very bad for agricultural purposes. Athens had grown
industrially and commercially within time, and this was also a problem:
overpopulation. Also, many Spartan tribes over and over attacked Greece and
destroyed any crops that might grow in the soil. Peasants were also sent to
work at farms but they lost care in their farms and found it better to live in
the city, living off small amounts of money that came from doing state services.
During this time, many people learned ways of math because they needed to know
how much grain is needed per person. Although these calculations are not
totally accurate, they are a start in banking and maybe even other ways of
mathematics. The Peloponnesian War also occurred- leaving Greece(Attica) with
nothing. Attica was forced by famine to go under Peloponnesian rule. By now,
trade had come in an uproar. Many people had found it easy to trade by sea. So
many merchants with not enough money would borrow money from rich people and
then buy cargo space on a ship. In most cases the merchant went on the ship to
get the goods to sell. Then on returning, the merchant would sell the goods,
and then pay off the lender, with a 22.5 percent interest rate. In many cases,
problems occurred, sometimes a merchant returned late, could not pay all of the
money back, or something or other. Therefore the idea of a collateral was
invented. Also, courts were established to rule these sorts of fights amongst
the people. These courts weren\'t used in the winter because of stormy weather
and so not to interrupt commercial business. Courts were required to solve a
case within 30 days, this procedure only applies to cases where and actual legal
documented agreement was made between the lender and the merchant. Many
merchants did not return, therefore the collateral was the lender\'s to keep.
But often the merchant didn\'t have anything good to start with so many lenders
lost money.
Next, the book talked about Banking and Bankers. Early banking dates
back all the way to Sumer and Akkad where many specialized in weighing things
and telling of precious metals. Banking was first found where coinage started,
in the middle of Asia Minor, around the 7th century BC. Coinage was also thought
to have started with Minoans, but they are not sure. It is thought that the
idea of banking may have started with the priests of Sumer and Akkad, priests
were always the "bankers" of temples and organizer of the money. The Greeks
took the information from these past priests and formed a banking system that
consisted monetary transactions. And they concentrated in dealing with strictly
money and giving out money. The Romans took this idea further and made what is
similar to modern 1980\'s bank situations(banking has progressed in the last
decade). With banking, the Greeks learned frugal manner and ways of living with
money, and not bartering.
Lastly, this book speaks about Mining in Ancient Athens. Around 500 BC.
Mining was introduced in Athens. If the ways of the mining business had not
come, Athens would have probably lost an oncoming war with the Persians, but
because of the mining, many new people joined Athens and Persia decided not to
invade. They feared it because it had become much greater in strength. If
mining had not come, there would have been no Athenian Empire, or an Age of
Pericles. So, in the scabrous hills of Laurium, silver struck. Everyone was
fascinated with this new idea. In present day Laurium, you can still see the
remains of the mining and see everything. Many things were not found out about
the mining, because not too many records were kept. But many modern engineers
and archaeologists have looked into the land of Laurium and have found remains
of apparatus, and from analyzation of cinder collections. However, it is not
known how silver was extracted from the stones, how they were crushed and how
they eventually made silver objects from the mined silver. The history of this
can not be reconstructed.
The way this author approaches this