Ancient Greek imports played an important role in the Greek economy. The quality of land around Greece was not very fertile. Because of this, most people of Greece worked hard at agriculture to produce the necessary crops. This also prompted the growth of trade during the ancient Greek period.
Athens became one of the leading trading states of Greece because of its great maritime prowess. The powerful navy which kept Athens well supplied with many imported goods made this city-state a strong force in the country.
Land routes of trade also developed, but the maritime trade continued to dominate the Greek economy during much of the ancient period. These trade relations developed with the various kingdoms of Asia Minor, South Asia, Persia, Africa and even parts of Europe and later, Rome.
The common Ancient Greek imports
Different accounts are available from where you can know about the trade and ancient Greek imports and exports.
1. Food grains were probably the most important of the ancient Greek imports. The land was not very arable and the produce was often not sufficient to support the growing population. So, food grains had to be imported. From the official documents, we can see that the import of food grains was controlled by the state.
2. Wheat was the chief food grain to be imported into Greece. It was brought from regions around the Black Sea, Egypt, Cyrenaica and even Italy. The Grecian colonies in South Italy like Magna Grecia and Sicily also supplied wheat.
3. Metals like bronze, gold and even iron were another important category of ancient Greek imports. They were used for a variety of purposes ranging from construction of weapons to creating artifacts. The precious metals were used to create coins as well as used as the medium of exchange.
4. Papyrus, probably from Egypt formed another ancient Greece import.
5. Several other objects were also imported. These include fabrics, textile, spices etc.
6. The import of fish was also not unknown.
7. The ancient Greece imports include supplies for shipbuilding. The naval nations like Athens were in particular need of these. These included timber, pitch, and even linen.
8. After the expeditions of Alexander the Great, closer trade relation was established between Greece and South Asia. Precious stones like emeralds, rubies, amethysts, and garnets begun to be imported in order to incorporate into Hellenistic jewelry.
Trade in ancient Greece Imports and Exports:
Of course, the ancient Greek states exported a number of commodities in order to finance these large imports, especially that of the food grains. The Athenian wine was one of the most important items of export.
Apart from this, Athenian pottery was also in great demand. Olive oil was another important product. Finally, marble was exported for creating fine works of art.
The brisk trade helped in the development of two major city-states of Greece. These were Athens and Corinth. They were strategically located and controlled the flow of trade. As a result, Athens is best known for being the receiving stations of many of the imports in ancient Greece.