Sassanian Economy - Sassanians and the Silk Road
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Sassanian Economy

Sassanian coin
Coin of the Sassanian king Hormizd V (ca. 593 AD?)

The most important part of the Sassanian economy, as in all other states in Late Antiquity, was farming - most people still were farmers, growing mainly wheat and barley. By this time most farmers didn't eat the food they grew anymore. They sold their wheat or barley to a mill and used the money to buy food in farmer's markets or in stores or restaurants, as farmers do today. Because of this constant trading, most people, even ordinary farmers in the countryside, needed to use money, and there are lots of Sassanian coins in all different values - gold, silver, and bronze.

The other important part of the Sassanian economy was, as in the Parthian Empire and earlier, trade along the Silk Road between India and China in the east and West Asia, Africa, and Europe to the west. The Sassanians didn't go to China themselves - they traded with the Sogdians and Gokturks to their east, and the Sogdians and Gokturks traded with China.

The Sassanians started up some new industries in West Asia that became very successful. In the 500s AD, they began to grow cotton to make locally produced cotton cloth.

Learn by doing: barley soup
Medieval Islamic Economy

Bibliography and further reading about the economy of the Sassanian Empire:

Find Out About Mesopotamia: What Life Was Like in Ancient Sumer, Babylon and Assyria, by Lorna Oakes (2004).

Ancient Mesopotamians, by Elena Gambino (2000). For kids, retellings of Mesopotamian stories and lots of context.

Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture, by William H. Stiebing (2002). Expensive, and hard to read, but it's a good up to date account.

Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, by Jean Bottero and others (2001).

Daily Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, by Karen Rhea Nemet-Nejat (2002).

Ancient West Asia
Quatr.us home


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 22 August, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT