previous next

War and the finances of Athens

The financial health of the city-state of Athens suffered during the Peloponnesian War from the many interruptions to agriculture and from the catastrophic loss of income from the state's silver mines1 that occurred after the Spartan army took up a permanent presence in 413 B.C. Work could thereafter no longer continue at the mines, especially after the desertion of thousands of slave mine workers2 to the Spartan fort at Decelea3. Some public building projects in the city itself were kept going, like the Erectheum temple to Athena on the acropolis, to demonstrate the Athenian will to carry on and also as a device for infusing some money into the crippled economy. But the demands of the war depleted the funds available for many non-military activities. The scale of the great annual dramatic festivals, for example, had to be cut back. The financial situation had become so desperate by the end of the war that Athenians were required to turn in their silver coins and exchange them for an emergency currency of bronze4 thinly plated with silver. The regular silver coins, along with gold coins that were minted from golden objects borrowed from Athens' temples, were then used to pay war expenses.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Laurion (Greece) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (1 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: