Dealings with opulent Asian civilizations were bound to produce disparities in wealth, and hence social conflicts, within the aristocracies of Greece.
One function of institutions such as guest-friendship was no doubt to ensure the maintenance of the charmed circle of social and economic privilege.
This system, however, presupposed a certain stability, whereas the rapid escalation of overseas activity in and after the 8th century was surely disruptive in that it gave a chance, or at least a grievance, to outsiders with the right go-getting skills and motivation.
Not that one should imagine concentration of wealth taking place in the form most familiar to the 21st century—namely, ; the crucial discovery was the excavation and scientific examination of the foundation deposit of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Anatolia.
The first objects recognizably similar to coined money were found there at levels most scholars (there are a few doubters) accept as securely dated.
Coinage did not arrive in Greece proper until well into the 6th century.
There were, however, other ways of accumulating precious metals besides collecting it in coined form.
Like Chalcis, which supervised sea traffic between southern Greece and Macedonia but also had close links with Boeotia and Attica, Corinth controlled both a north-south route (the Isthmus of Corinth, in modern times pierced by the Corinth Canal) and an east-west route. Corinth had two ports, Lechaeum to the west on the Gulf of Corinth and Cenchreae to the east on the Saronic Gulf.
Between the two seas there was a haulage system, involving a rightly famous engineering feat, the so-called , which was excavated in the 1950s, was a line of grooved paving-stones across which goods could be dragged for transshipment (probably not the merchant ships themselves, though there is some evidence that warships, which were lighter, were so moved in emergencies).
There is explicit information that the Bacchiadae had profited hugely from the harbour dues.
As the Greek world expanded its mental and financial horizons, other Corinthian families grew envious.
The result was the first firmly datable and well-authenticated Greek tyranny, or one-man rule by a usurper.