In the beginning of the classic era, after the end of the Persian wars, more and more aristocracies turned into democracies. Athens victorious and all powerful, used the threat of its enormous fleet to coerce cities into becoming democracies.
As democracies multiplied in the Greek world, so did the basic personal rights. Individuals, now were not afraid of war or the whims of the aristocracy. It was in Athens were for the first time that private property was considered with an entrepreneurial outlook.
The philosopher Xenophon writes his book “Oeconomicus” about rational household management. In this book, he uses the word “economics,” probably one of the first recorded uses of the word. He defined economics as the rules concerning the household. The Greek word “ecos” means “household” and “nomos” means law.
This new outlook on private property is better portrayed by Plutarch in his work “The life of Pericles,” the Athenian politician who viewed his property as a business. To quote:
“During all these years he (Pericles) kept himself untainted by corruption, although he was not altogether indifferent to money-making; indeed, the wealth which was legally his by inheritance from his father, […]he set into such orderly dispensation as he thought was easiest and most exact. This was to sell his annual products all together […], and then to buy in the market each article as it was needed, and so provide the ways and means of daily life. For this reason he was not liked by his sons when they grew up, nor did their wives find in him a liberal provider, but they murmured at his expenditure for the day merely and under the most exact restrictions, there being no surplus of supplies at all, as in a great house and under generous circumstances, but every outlay and every intake proceeding by count and measure. His agent in securing all this great exactitude was a single servant, Evangelus, who was either gifted by nature or trained by Pericles so as to surpass everybody else in domestic economy.”