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  • Print publication year: 2007
  • Online publication date: March 2008

17 - Hellenistic Greece and Western Asia Minor

from Part IV - The Hellenistic States


This chapter focuses on old Greece; the southern Balkans, the Aegean islands, and western Asia Minor. Greek-speakers had settled here many centuries earlier. The act of concentration in a new urban center created a new locus of demand for food and other essentials, and new markets. Agriculture remained the chief economic activity for most people in Greece. Outside of the northern kingdoms (Macedon, Epirus), this took place on land belonging to poleis. Many Hellenistic exchanges were mediated through money. States needed coined money to pay troops, war indemnities, and numerous other expenses. The Hellenistic world inherited from classical times a wide array of institutions that served central economic functions but subsequently also saw some changes. The chapter explores the changes to pre-existing institutions, and whether they reflect new economic conditions. Military technology is one area where the Hellenistic world saw major innovations, from siege warfare, to the use of elephants, to the construction of ever-larger ships.

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