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Grain For Athens

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Chapter Summary

Athens was the largest polis in the Greek World in the classical period and imported grain from various suppliers, mainly Egypt, the Black Sea and Sicily. The greater part of the evidence regarding the Athenian grain supply concerns the fourth century, mainly because of the existence of multiple lawcourt speeches relating to the grain trade. In the fifth century, Athens imported a variety of foodstuffs from around the Mediterranean. An average import of 800,000 medimnoi of wheat would mean that between 100,000 and 200,000 people were fed with foreign grain. Several laws regulated the import and dissemination of grain in Athens, targeting mainly Athenian citizens and metics. The intervention of the government was pervasive in most aspects of import, including prices and profit margins.

Keywords: Athenian grain; Greek World; medimnoi

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