Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith


  • Denise Demetriou
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_932


An emporion, usually translated into English as a commercial settlement, trading post, or port of trade, was a location where commercial exchange took place. Archaic and classical sources name 24 Greek emporia, and Hellenistic and Roman sources mention over 100 different sites that they call emporia. The sites can be found throughout the Mediterranean basin and the Black Sea region. Ancient sources do not provide a great deal of information on what emporia were, and few known emporia have been excavated extensively. Consequently, it has been difficult to define the term “emporion.”


The most comprehensive analysis thus far compares the language ancient sources used to describe emporia with what we know about these settlements from other literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources (Hansen 2006). This interdisciplinary approach has shown that an emporion was a coastal location where commercial exchange took place in self-governing poleis(city-states). When...

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Further Reading

  1. Bresson, A. & P. Rouillard. (ed.) 1993. L’emporion. Paris: Diffusions de Boccard.Google Scholar
  2. Tsetskhladze, G. R. (ed.) 1998. The Greek colonisation of the Black Sea area. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA