The enduring legacy and power of trading

Trade and economy is an essential part to all countries and especially for governments, even if they are mucking it up. The concept of trading is not new. Before currency was invented, people bartered. The problem with bartering was getting something of equal value. That was a skill that required making a person believe they really wanted the object or livestock. Does this ring any bells? The early forms of sales and marketing. The Minoans, like other ancient civilisations, were industrious and traded various goods.

MinoanTradeRoutes1600-1400BC, Kommos Conservancy
MinoanTradeRoutes1600-1400BC, Kommos Conservancy

One of the Minoans major exports was timber, hard to believe today if you’ve seen the current landscape of Crete. Egypt, Syria, Cyprus, the Aegean islands and mainland Greece were their biggest importers of harvested timber. They also exported food, wine, grapes, olive oil, cloth, herbs and purple dye.

As big as their exporting was, they also imported goods, such as: precious stones, copper, ivory, silver, and gold. The trading business was extensive, all the way to Spain, Britain, central Europe and Iran, where tin was mined.

Minoan copper ingot, Wikipedia By Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons,
Minoan copper ingot, Wikipedia By Chris 73 / Wikimedia Commons,

The location of Crete enabled the rulers take advantage of the trade routes between civilisations from the Middle East, and Asia Minor to the western provinces. This strategic vantage allowed the Minoans to become a sea power, central to international maritime trade. The constant traffic between the trade networks fostered industrialisation, where taxes were imposed and goods manufactured. Specialised items such as bronze weapons and armour were forged due to access to raw materials—bronze and tin.

Bronze dagger from Malia, Wikipedia By Bernard Gagnon -
Bronze dagger from Malia, Wikipedia By Bernard Gagnon –

The trade of goods saw an expansion in the Minoan culture and the rise of palaces, and the construction of two and three storey homes. It appeared the Minoans found fortune with the export and import business. The development of bronze workers, wall painters, potters, and other artisans flourished in the burgeoning palace workshops; a centralised governing body who regulated the manufacturing and sales of goods produced. It would seem the proverb “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is never truer.

The impact of Minoan culture spread across the Mediterranean, along the coast of Asia Minor, to Italy and Sicily and on the Canaanites. However, significant impact was on the Mycenaean culture. Evidence of their influence can be seen in the wall friezes, pottery, dress and most notably, the palaces. A great documentary on Pavlopetri, a sunken city, was a coastal town on the southern fringes of the Peloponnese, shows how much the Minoans shaped the development of the township and of the artistry of the pottery, and goods.

Minoans trading, The Stream of Time,
Minoans trading, The Stream of Time,

It was a pity that an amazing and powerful civilisation such as the Minoans, did not endure, for I believe western civilisation would be very different today.

What do you think? If the Minoans hadn’t declined in power, how would you envision the West today?

Thank you for stopping by and reading. Your comments are always welcomed and read.

Further reading:
Geography and Economy of Crete, Ancient
The Minoans were the first Europeans to have literate civilization, Time Maps
The Minoans: International Trade, Colonies, and Shipping, The Stream of Time

Historical fiction novelist and a secondary teacher, Luciana Cavallaro, burnt out but not done… yet. Subscribe and receive free PDFs and more

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Add Yours
  1. timelessitaly

    I’ve always loved their art and wall frescoes, especially the bull jumping. And the ladies with long curly dark hair. Unfortunately, the Minoans did not reforest after harvesting trees for export. As you know, today Crete is quite barren. I loved my short time on Crete.


  2. Linnea Tanner

    Hi Luciana,

    Thank you for sharing this post on the influence of trading in Ancient Minoa. It is fascinating to know the influence that traders had, spreading goods, their cultural beliefs, and religious philosophies to other lands. I believe it is no coincidence that there are more similarities in beliefs than differences. The global economy, starting several centuries ago, has always been been a contributor of what is best about mankind–the need to discover other worlds and interact.

    Have a great week!

    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • cav12

      Hi Linnea,
      It certainly did lead to integration and exchanging cultural influences. The cross-pollination of beliefs, way of life and culture was prevalent in many of the ancient cultures. Benefits for everyone really. 😀
      Thank you, and you are so right.
      Have a great weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Linnea Tanner

    Reblogged this on Apollo's Raven and commented:
    This article was recently posted on ETERNAL ATLANTIS by Luciana Cavallaro @ClucianaLuciana. It highlights the influence of trading by the Ancient Minoans. This is a part of an ongoing series on the fascinating Ancient Minoan civilization. Beginning several centuries ago, traders greatly influenced other lands by spreading their goods, cultural beliefs, and religious philosophies . The global economy has always been been a contributor of what is best about humankind–the need to discover other worlds and interact.

    Please enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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