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William Davis, A Day in Old Athens

 

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Page 2

The Commercial Importance of Athens

 

    While the funeral mourners are wending their slow way homeward we have time to examine certain phases of Athenian life at which we have previously glanced, then ignored. Certain it is, most "noble and good" gentlemen delight to be considered persons of polite uncommercial leisure; equally certain it is that a good income is about as desirable in Athens as anywhere else, and many a stately "Eupatrid," who seems to spend his whole time in dignified walks, discoursing on politics or philosophy, is really keenly interested in trades, factories, or farms, of which his less nobly born stewards have the active management. Indeed one of the prime reasons for Athenian greatness is the fact that Athens is the richest and greatest commercial city of Continental Hellas, with only Corinth as a formidable rival.[1]

    To understand the full extent of Athenian commercial prosperity we must visit the Peiraeus, yet in the main city itself will be found almost enough examples of the chief kinds of economic activity.

 

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