Saturday, April 7, 2012

How much expensive was life in ancient Greece


Until  600 BC the ancient Greeks were trading by using the barter system. From this year and later each city started to mint their own coins.Money was introduced in history by a kingdom in present day Turkey called Lydia.
the athenian drachma

The monetary system of Athens had as a base the Drachma of Attica which was consisted of silver that weighted 4.36 grams. Ovolos was the division of drachma. 6 Ovoloi made one drachma. There were also coins that were more worth than a drachma like the dekadrachmon(ten drachmas) the minae(100 drachmas) and the talanton(600 minae)
a stater



In order to eat a pork steak you would need 1 Athenian drachma, for a loaf of bread you would need to pay 1 ovolos.  1 drachma was also the daily salary of an unskilled  worker.Skilled workers like sculptors and doctors could make up to 6 six drachmas a day.

 To purchase land and a house in Amphipolis it would cost 12 staters. Staters were golden and weighted from 8.60 to 8.75 grams. If you just wanted to buy a house it would cost 2.800 drachmas.Generally house prices varied from 400 to 1000 drachmas


In Ancient Greece a slave would cost 200 or 300 drachmas.The prices of the male slaves during the Roman times had an escalating increase. In 14 BC a slave would cost 1.000 drachmas, in 5 AD 1.200 drachmas and during the years of Augustus 2.000 denars.


Hetaire a class of ancient greek prostitutes had a large income


Sometimes people say that the cost of prostitutes* shows how strong economy does a country have.
One hour with a temple prostitute in ancient Greece would cost the daily salary of a middle class worker.According to Aulius Gellius a hetaera could make up to 10.000 drachmas a night.


*The notion of prostitutes in the ancient world was different from now there were different categories of prostitutes. Check the institution of hetaire for more info.


About travel costs there is an interesting excerpt from a Socratic dialog called Gorgias:
Navigation is a modest art that knows her place; she does not put on airs or make out that she has performed some brilliant feat, even though she achieves as much as forensic oratory; she brings a man safe from Aegina for no more than two obols, I believe, and even if he comes from Egypt or Pontus or ever so far away the utmost she charges for this great service, for conveying in safety, as I said, a man and his children and property and womenfolk, is two drachmae when he disembarks at the Piraeus; and the man who possesses this skill and has accomplished all this lands and walks about on the shore beside his ship in a quite unassuming way





2 comments:

Elias J. Mános said...

Hello there from a fellow Greek. Congratulations on your amazing work also, and thanks for the nice info that you are sharing.
I noticed when I tried to steal your writings by copying them (at least I'm honest) that a message appeared. I would like to know if you please how you do this on blogger.
Many thanks in advance.
Elias.

bertil jensen said...

I really like this post but after reading this part i got a bit confused.

To purchase land and a house in Amphipolis it would cost 12 staters. Staters were golden and weighted from 8.60 to 8.75 grams. If you just wanted to buy a house it would cost 2.800 drachmas.Generally house prices varied from 400 to 1000 drachmas.

First what is the worth of a stater.
Second how did the prices of houses change form 2.800 to 400-1000

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