Mediterranean trade
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Mediterranean trade






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  • 1. IntroductionWine is among one of the earliest trading commodities and perhaps its journey through the ages tells a more interesting tale - from the beginning of civilisation when humans made the transition from hunting to farming, voyagers to far off lands, kings and spiritual leaders being born and trading wars beginning. Patrick McGovern says the history of wine is the history of civilisation. This is a short exploration into why wine was such an important trading commodity, the spread of viticulture and the changing needs of society with population growth and regional trade.2. The spread of wine with the spread of civilisationWherever new societies rose so did producing wine. Ancient texts depict cities centred around their vineyards. It is plain to see how the vine added prosperity to a culture assigning jobs for the farming of the vine, making the wine, leaders and merchants to establish trade relationships with neighbouring cultures. Once the populous had expanded there was a need for ships and armies as their wealth would have bred jealously (Johnson, 1989). Thucydides the Greek historian wrote at the end of the 5th Century BC “The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learnt to cultivate the olive and vine”. 3. The Importance of wineEvidence suggests the Mediterranean developed a separate indigenous Viticultural tradition by 2500 – 2000 BC. Wine held an important role in spiritual rituals and many civilisations worshipped gods who were specific to - wine Dionysus was celebrated by the ancient Greeks and Bacchus by the Romans. Many historians believe the vine represented fertility – and associate the vines growth cycle of ‘death and rebirth’ as a significant phase. Wines intoxicating effect could also have been interpreted as signs from the gods (Unwin, 1991). The Greeks were the first recorded society to mainstream wine and in doing so built a strong economy around this. There are many references to the medicinal part wine played in prehistoric times. However they seemed to be aware of the problems that came with intoxication as it is often referred to as the drink of ‘two faces’ causing improper behaviour. Wine was therefore watered down.4. TradeWine has been around long before the Greeks had become the most powerful wine merchants in the ancient world. It is believed the Mesopotamians introduced wine to Babylon, and the Persian Kings of Syria (Pellechia, 2006). Believed to have come from Asia Minor the Phoenicians settled in Byblos (Beirut, Lebanon). Their land could only sustain vines so in order to survive they traded wine from trading posts along Sicily’s coast and other Mediterranean islands – in return for grain and other vital necessities around 3000 BC. Phoenician and Carthaginian viticulture influenced the Egyptians – however their interest in wine had developed long before importing wine from Mesopotamia around 3000 BC. The Greeks acquired their taste of wine from the Phoenicians around 1300 BC. However they changed the way it was consumed, once only attainable to royalty and high priests was now a staple with every meal to all classes (Pellechia, 2006). Many historians praise the Greeks for being the earliest people to build large ships with sails. This enabled them to expand their rise in colonial power. Viticulture would travel with them to the Italic peninsula between 1000 and 8000 BC. They planted many vineyards throughout Europe – France, Italy, Portugal and Spain (Spiliotopoulos, 2012). Greek rise in the wine trade was due to their invention of larger boats with sails – many of the earlier traders had shipped wine in smaller boats with oars mirroring the shoreline (Pellechia, 2006). They were able to ship over 10,000 amphoras at a time, an amphora equally around 26 litres. The Greeks were strict on traffic control this ensured the exact source of the local wine and dealers paid hefty fine not following regulations. They were also forbidden from selling futures – fruit still on the vine (Pellechia, 2006). With these regimes a complex society was born and jobs were developed for administration and laws. 7. The spread of viticulture following explorationThe spread of viticulture was believed to hold a strong relationship with symbolic requirements for religion (Unwin, 1991) especially for the Pharaohs’ of Egypt. Many colonies would have taken vines/seeds with them as propagation and cultivation had been established by the Egyptians. By Phoenicians had established growing conditions and the Greeks had written texts on husbandry. Before the Greeks many colonies would have cultivated wild vines. Romans used wine to advance their empire and would send merchants to the tribes setting up relationships before the military would arrive (Johnson, 1989). Once they had colonised a region they would plant extensive vineyards worked on by slaves. Wines of Pompeii were famous throughout the Roman Empire (Unwin, 1991)10. Change in societies with commerce growthGrowth and trade was momentous for human interaction. Colonies which had once produced everything in order to survive could now trade in goods which were in short supply. With the increase in populations societies formed structure and after many wars between neighbouring countries over trade e.g. Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, democracy and laws were formed – where citizens were able to take part in city-state decisions - although vastly different from today’s democracy. Around 500 BC the government of Athens consisted of three major organisations (Ancient Greece and Rome and their Influence on Modern Western Civilisation, 2011).1.The AssemblyConsisting of all male citizens born in Athens. They were paid for their participation on issues of everyday life.2.The Council of 50050 citizens from 10 tribes of Athens were sent to attend on the council each year. They set the programme of the Assembly.3. The People’s CourtCitizens would sit as jury to hear crimes of fellow citizens and announce verdict of those found guilty. No women, slaves or immigrants were granted citizenship. 11. Influences today from ancient tradeThe Greeks and Romans established viticulture practices and winemaking process that are still used today. Many small Mediterranean Islands have used the same techniques used thousands of years ago. They had also become aware of suitable soils and climates to grow grapes – many roman sites are still present today around France and Italy. The Greeks left us with philosophy, medicine, taxation, currency and democracy. Romans left us republican laws, land routes that covered vast territories under Roman control, the acceptance of inequality – where patrons would support less fortunate citizens (Ancient Greece and Rome and their Influence on Modern Western Civilisation, 2011) and of course their winemaking techniques.

Mediterranean trade Mediterranean trade Presentation Transcript

  • Mediterranean Trade PrehistoryIntroduction to Wine Business Leyla Gilbert
  • Introduction• Wines importance with the spread and growth of civilisation around the Mediterranean• Viticulture and exploration of new lands across the Mediterranean• Societies and their commerce with population development, agricultural needs and regional trade
  • Wine’s Voyage • The emergence from barbarism to sophisticated people • Where ever new societies rose so did producing wine • The vine added prosperity to a culture through trading a valuable commodity
  • The Importance of Wine • Building trade relationships with other societies • Trading of metals, grain, dyes and other commodities • Spiritual ceremonies • Medicinal uses • Non perishable drink
  • Trade• Mesopotamians introduced wine to Egypt, Babylon and the Persian Kings of Syria• Phoenicians became the next powerhouse for wine trading, setting up trade posts along Sicily’s coast and other Mediterranean Islands.• The Greeks came into power around 1300 BC and dominated the industry for hundreds of years, before the Romans
  • • 3600 BC Mesopotamia • 3200 BC Egypt • 1000 BC Greece and Rome
  • Greek Trade Routes
  • The Spread of Viticulture • The use of propagation • Cultivating wild vines • Expanding empires
  • Empire
  • Change in Societies with Commerce Growth • Obtainable goods • Creation of urban environments • Structure and laws
  • Influences from Ancient Trade • Trade routes established • Wine regions, viticulture and winemaking developed • Laws, philosophy, medicine and other forms of society founded
  • ReferencesJohnson, H. (1989). The Story of Wine. D. P. Dian Taylor. London, Mitchell Beazley, International Limited: 35.Pellechia, T. (2006). The 8,000-Year-Old Story of the Wine Trade. New York, Thunders Mouth Press.Spiliotopoulos, K. (2012). "Greek Wine History." Retrieved 12/08, 2012, from, T. (1996). Wine and the Vine. London, Routledge.Winemakers, G. (2001). "Ancient Greece." Retrieved 30/07/2012, 2012, from