I explore the role of credit markets in ancient Athens, beginning with an analysis of the transition from archaic to classical Athens. By establishing the role of debt in archaic Athens, I allow for the analysis of the Solonic reforms in the City. The social, political and religious reforms that take place leading up to 5th century BCE all have significant impacts on the development of the Athenian credit market.
Contrary to what many might expect, credit markets in classical Athens were quite extensive, helping catalyze economic growth by increasing trade across the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The emergence of revolutionary lending instruments during this period increased bilateral trust making foreign trade more secure and thus more popular. All of these developments led the Agora and the Port of Piraeus to become the epicenter of the ancient economy. My study allows us to understand the fundamental underpinnings in a credit market, while also revealing the existing similarities that we share with the ancient Athenians in our own contemporary credit markets.