Each city's strong tendency towards independence and the cost of transporting products from the land led to the development of many small economic centres along the Aegean coast. The emporia or trading posts were created definitely in the 7th century BC, maybe even earlier, at the end of the 8th century, if we presume that the community of Al Mina in Syria belonged to this category. Trading posts supported, at least in the beginning, economic transactions in which price was not of a primary importance.

The most famous "emporion" was Naucratis, founded on the Nile Delta in Egypt, at the end of the 7th century BC (Strabo, Geographia 17.1.18). The Egyptian authorities allowed the development of the particular character of Naucratis, which was a privileged community in a developed country. They allowed and forced the Greeks to settle in this region only, probably to be able to control them more easily. Its merchants were taxed for importing greek products in the city, such as olive oil, timber, silver, golden and wooden objects. Goods that were produced in Naucratis by the inhabitants themselves were also taxed.

It should be noted that it differed from most Greek cities and was not related to one or more mother-cities, since it was not a founded colony. It is very likely that the Greek community in Naucratis consisted originally of merchants who came from different Greek cities. Later, they must have developed the city of Naucratis, separately from the trading community.
People in Naucratis were organized around the common Greek sanctuary Hellenion and the separate sanctuaries of the Milesians, the Samians and the Aeginetans. The Hellenion had been founded jointly by Chios, Teos, Phocaea, Clazomenae, Rhodes, Cnidus, Phaselis and Mytilene. On the whole, 12 cities shared the sanctuary (Herodotus, Historia 2.178-179). These sanctuaries were recognized by the Egyptians. Merchants from Miletus, Samos and Aegina controlled the market and trade in Naucratis and therefore trade in the entire Egypt.

Other trade stations were the "emporia" of Phocaea and Miletus along the coast of Asia Minor and the Aeginetan community of Cydonia in Crete, whose population included native Cretans as well. Furthermore, there were trade stations in Pontus and on the Black Sea.

The population of a trade centre consisted of permanent inhabitants and travellers who dwelled there for a short period of time. Due to population mobility, which is a general characteristic of trade stations, it is not feasible to outline precisely its population composition.

| introduction | agriculture | trade | state organization | Archaic Period

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