A History of Commerce

Cover of book A History of Commerce
Categories: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to www.million-books.com where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III GREEK


PERIOD 15. Greece, physical character and products. ? The mention of the Greeks at the close of the last chapter introduces us to a people who were, for a time, the leading merchants of the Mediterranean. The peninsular part of Greece has an area less than that of the State of Maine, little more than half that of the State of New York. It is, however, most richly diversified geographically, and no country in the world of an equal area, it is said, presents so many islands, bays, peninsulas, and harbors.' The coast line of this little country is longer than that of Spain. No point is more than a few miles from the coast, and there are few points on the coast from which an observer does not see an island. In the Greek sea, moreover, every island is in plain sight either of the mainland or of another island, and in the good season the winds are very regular. Favoring conditions such as these are of vast importance in the early days of navigation, when sailors faced real perils due to their inexperience, and perils of the imagination which were even greater. At home the Greeks inhabited a country which was not rich enough to support them without exertion, but was, on the other hand, not so poor as to force them to use all their ingenuity in finding the means of subsistence. They could easily produce a surplus of oil and wine, but found a deficiency of other products, especially grain and, in the early period, manufactured wares. 16. Rise of Greek commerce. Colonies. ? Though it would be hard to conceive a better nursery for the growth of commerce than existed under the conditions here described, the Greeks, when we first get knowledge of them, about 1000 B.c., were not yet ready to take advantage of their opportunities. There was some commerce, it is true, but...

A History of Commerce
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