Greece history of entrepreneurship

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2nd Lykeion of Arta

2nd Lykeion of Arta

The history of entrepreneurship in Greece

Entrepreneurship is not a modern activity

Greek mythologyPrometheusHermes, the God of Gain

Very old times The Bronze Age (3000-1100 BC)Economy in the counties that were entepreneurially active parallelly to the Greek civilisations of the time

The Bronze Agein Mesopotamia trading was really developed, basically of private initiative

in Egypt trading was basically ruled by the Pharaohs

the Phoenicians were distinct for their entrepreneurial and navigation skills

Greek civilizations (3000-1100 BC)

the Cycladic civilization, that was developed in the islands of the Aegean Sea, was based on sea trading

In the island of Crete we have the powerful Minoan civilization

the Mycenaean, a mainland civilization

Greek civilizations (3000-1100 BC)

Ancient Greece (1100-323 BC)

Homeric period (1100-750 BC): a strict agricultural system whose unit was the oikos- the home. Archaic period (750-480 BC): better structured communities, called city-states. Economy now is based on agriculture, small industry and commerce. Money appears as a means for transactions.

Classic Era (480-323 BC) Greek city-states and especially Athens got to their highest peak of prime. The culmination of this progress is the Golden Age of Pericles

Classic Era State revenueDelian LeagueMoney penalties from trialsmetoikoiSponsoursImported product duties

Classic Era - Highlights of the timePiraeus became an important harborPericles paid salaries to the state archons (leaders)The state issued pensionsLand owners who cultivated their land were still venerable members of societyCraftsmen usually taught their sons the secrets of their tradeThe Macedonian Kingdom Played a tremendously serious role for the future of both Greece and the whole world. Philip II and his son Alexander the Great definitely changed the course of history. Had a different economical system resembling more to the old, mighty oikoi of the Archaic period (like Sparta, Athens enemy, or the Molossian kingdom where the people of Arta are supposed to descend from)

The Macedonian Kingdom Farming and agriculture were the solid ground of their economyPhilip invested in improving agriculture by following a policy of reformations and restructuring (he drained marshy areas, stopped river flooding and used the river waters to improve the micro climate of areas)He was interested in the development of animal farming (he encouraged nomads to have permanent settlements by making use of royal land) He cut golden coins or double-mineral coins (golden and silver) that would be found in the most important trade centres of the known world

Alexander the GreatAlexander continued his fathers agricultural policy He founded new greek cities from Egypt to India and contributed to the blooming of commerce. He brought tremendous changes to global economy He improved land roads (constructed bridges, ferries, canals, they installed signposts, stations and outposts)

Alexandria of EgyptRoman Time (1-3c AD)

Travelling and trading got even greater dimensions: People would go beyond the boundaries of the empire to what they called terra incognita. To the north they got as far as Scotland, to the west to the Canary Islands. As for the east merchants reached China and India.

Gradually, they sailed out in the sea and got as far as Malaysia, Sumatra and Java. Africa was also approached and they got to Zanzibar, Ethiopia and Sudan.

Byzantine period (330-1453 AD)

The Roman Empire little by little started to weaken and finally was divided in the eastern and western part. The roman emperor Constantine decided to transfer the capital from Rome to the east, on the site of the ancient greek city of Byzantium which was renamed Constantinople.The greek element, philosophy and culture were prominent

The Byzantine EmpireCity life and country life were intertwined, social status was measured by the size of land property (feudalism)Byzantium was actually a natural bridge between Asia and Europe, so it controlled all forms of tradingThe state had a very strict intervention in all forms of economy (imposed monopolies, determined prices, salaries etc)They achieved very high value of their currencyIt was not degrading for noblemen, even emperors to have mercantile activities Appearance of trade fairs for people to sell their productsEnterprising activities were organized in guilds (from the saxon verb gildan that means pay)

In 1453 Constantinople falls in the hands of the Turks and gradually all the territories of the empire get enslaved. Obviously, the previous splendor vanishes.

The Ottoman Occupation (1453-1821 AD)The Ottoman EmpireThe financial situation was downgraded and life became mostly agricultural Taxation was heavyWith the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the Turks granted a substantial part of commerce to the Greeks and the Jews by allowing them some privilegesAll trades people, merchants and craftspeople were united in sectional corporations (guilds) that were now called fraternities. They had very strict rules. Trade fairs, an institution of the previous era, revived and even evolved. Revolution against the Turks (1821) During the war there was a very busy commercial activity of some prosperous Greeks abroad aiming at sponsouring the fight against the Turks. So did some ship owners who used their ships for the same purpose. Sometimes even piracy (against the Turkish ships) was used to offer income for the cause.

Conclusion We can see that in the depth of centuries the entrepreneurial past of Greece was strongly related to the cultivation of land and sea trading. We cant say that this has changed much in modern times. Each time the historical, political and social conditions, the neighbouring peoples and the prevailing tendencies of the time would configure the exact manifestations of economical activities. Globalisation of economy, automatization and technological advancement make it more difficult for a people to stand out on the arena of entrepreneurial innovation. Yet, men will always attempt to advance further, to excel and to make the difference even outside the boundaries of their homeland.