Trade is as significant today as it was in ancient times; without it civilizations could not have thrived in the same way as they did with it. The concept might seem simple but people did not trade from the very beginning; the very first societies in the Paleolithic era were hunters and gatherers which meant that they constantly moved from one place to another in an attempt to find the resources they needed for survival. In the more developed Neolithic era our ancestors started living in an agricultural societies that allowed them to have settlements and agricultural surplus which meant they could use this surplus for trade. But why would they trade? Well the answer is simple, not every area that was inhabited by ancient people had the same amount and type of resources available so in order to establish a more complex society that would keep improving and growing, they had to trade. Trade does not only include material goods but can include knowledge as well. In this short paper I am going to discuss the significance of trade in ancient civilizations and how it helped to establish high societies or societies that were much more complex than the first small settlements that existed in the earlier stages of human development. First I am going to look at the Neolithic era as it all started there, then early Mesopotamia and continue with Egypt, Harappans, China, Olmecs, Persians, Greeks, Romans and the Byzantines. The time line that will be covered is roughly from 3500 B.C.E. to 1000 C.E.
Neolithic Era – Between 12 – 6000 years ago
It was in the Neolithic era that the life of Homo sapiens sapiens changed considerably; the transition from hunting and gathering communities that were small in size and mobile to bigger settlements with more complex societal principles. This was possible due to cultivation of various plants and domestication of animals. Agriculture emerged in different parts (Southwest Asia, Africa, Mesoamerica…) of the world at...