By the late eighth century BC, the archaic Greek world had become involved in an active trade network around the Aegean. It was this trade network that was the source of the orientalizing influence on Greek art in the early part of the archaic period. Meanwhile, to the west, trade between Corinth and Magna Graecia in Southern Italy and Sicily was booming.
The eastern trade mainly involved the Greek islands, with Aegina, for instance, acting as an intermediary between the east and the Greek mainland. East Greek states would go on to become extremely prosperous through the sixth century due to the trade with Asia and Egypt. Of the mainland cities, those on the coast were the biggest recipients of trade from the east, especially Corinth.
In the early part of the archaic period, Athens does not seem to have been particularly actively involved in this eastern trade, and very few examples of eastern imports have been found in Athens from the eighth or early seventh centuries. By contrast, nearby Euboea had trade-links with the east as early as the first half of the eighth century, and the earliest pottery from the Greek islands found at Al Mina in modern Syria is from Euboea.
By the sixth century, Greece was part of a trade network spanning the entire Mediterranean. Sixth century Laconian pottery has been found as far afield as Marseilles and Carthage to the west, Crete to the south and Sardis to the East.