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Phoenician glass - a face pendant of an African man. 400-200 BC

Iron Age economy: Phoenician glass – a face pendant of an African man. 400-200 BC

Traders in the Mediterranean

The rise of the Assyrian empire (in modern Iraq) and of the Phoenicians (in modern Lebanon) about 900 BC created a new economic boom in West Asia. The Phoenicians traded all over the Mediterranean Sea in ships, and established trading posts at Carthage and in Spain and Sicily.

Glass beads and perfume jars

They made glass beads and little glass perfume jars and glass jewelry to sell. And they also sold things that other people had made, like pepper and cinnamon from India, silk from China, wine from Greece, and ivory from Africa.

The Phoenicians traded these things around the Mediterranean for Spanish silver, and for enslaved people and wood and furs. They traded with the Etruscans, and then with the Romans. They also traded with the Egyptians.

The Assyrians and the Iron Age economy

The Assyrians were also active traders. They acted as middlemen between India and Iran and the rest of West Asia.

So, did you find out what you wanted to know about the Iron Age economy in West Asia? Let us know in the comments!

Learn by doing: make some perfume
The rise of the Silk Road
Parthian and Sassanian economy

Bibliography and further reading about the West Asian economy in the Iron Age:

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

The Assyrians, by Elaine Landau (1997). Easy reading.

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).

West Asian Economy – Parthians
More about West Asia home