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Grain: Prolegomena

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Chapter Summary

Grain, mainly wheat and barley, was the main staple in the Greek diet, as well as the main bulk commodity in Greek trade. The trade of grain was a major political concern, at least for those poleis with a permanent, or usual, deficiency of local supply. The climate of the region is diverse but generally characterised by large variability of rainfall, which causes the crop yields to fluctuate widely from year to year, at times up to 50%. The microclimates are one of the main causes of the regime of estate fragmentation common in the Greek world and the modern Mediterranean. The agricultural conditions in the Mediterranean result in lower yield ratios than in other parts of Europe or in the Near East.

Keywords: agricultural condition; grain trade; Greek diet



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