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In the first millenium B.C., the Phoenicians warehoused Egyptian linen to be traded all over the known world and may have even introduced flax into Britian and Flanders.


The Greeks concentrated on growing wool, although they did raise flax in the Peloponnesus.

  • Aeistophanes told of Greek women who adopted linen napkins as handkerchiefs even though some diehards stayed with their foxtails.
  • There was a fairly extensive household industry in the fifth and fourth centuries BC, but more linen was manufactured in Greek colonies than in Greece proper.


The situation was similar for ancient Rome. A little flax was raised, most of the industry was in the home, and the colonies furnished the largest quantites of linen.


Kathie Richardson
NDSU Library
Fargo, ND 58105

Last updated: 16.01.2008

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