|The economy of the Dark Age and Geometric period appears quite different, in terms of its
structure and function, in comparison to that of the Mycenaean age. The decline of the
Mycenaean centres and the migration of certain Greek tribes into areas with a
Mycenaean past, caused the total collapse of the economic organization
created around the palace. In contrast to the centralized structure and bureaucratic
system of the palace, in this period a status of individual property is created
and economy acquires a household character.
|During the 11th, 10th and even 9th centuries BC, a considerable lack of material
remains is observed in the greatest part of Greece, a fact that led many researchers
to express the view that it was due to desolation and demographic decline. Yet, there are
some centres which had either not been affected that much by the new conditions,
such as Athens, or managed to preserve the Minoan/Mycenaean tradition,
such as Crete.
first changes which marked the beginning of a new era are observed around the
mid-11th century BC, with the renewal of contacts with Cyprus, via which
the knowledge of ironworking had probably reached Greece. The gradual restoration
of contacts with the East is one of the main factors of development in the Greek mainland
and the Aegean islands during the Dark Age. Around the mid-9th century BC,
an initial prosperity is observed both in the commercial and cultural relations
between regions of the Aegean and the exchanges with the Near East.
The genuine Renaissance, however, began from the second quarter of the 8th
century BC, with the increase of population growth. This encouraged a series of
social and economic changes, such as greater labour specialization and the
need for new agricultural land. The intensive cultivation of land
created reserves for trade, which were exported to markets abroad. At the same time,
the scarcity of land and the formation of a sort of landowners' elite turned
those who did not possess lots to trade. The growth of trade created opportunities for contact
with other peoples and facilitated cultural interaction between them.
|The data we possess about the study of economy of that period are mainly
archaeological. Information derives from the Iliad
and the Odyssey
by Homer, who lived around the 8th or 7th century BC, and also from
Works and Days and the Theogony by Hesiod.
This information must be used with caution and reservation as it refers
not only to the economic and social structure of the poets' times but also to
earlier times. Thus, due to scarcity of literary sources, research is mostly based
on the study of material remains, for an attempt at reconstructing economy.