By Steven Johnstone
Content material: Haggling -- Measuring -- preserving music -- Valuing -- participating -- Apportioning legal responsibility -- identifying -- universal greek weights and measures
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Extra resources for A history of trust in ancient Greece
149 If the idea that sellers attempted to wrest even more from buyers by demanding a discount on authentic Athenian coins on the pretence they might be imitations remains hypothetical, it is still the best hypothesis to explain the emphasis in Nikophon’s law on the culpability of sellers. If the law had the effect of protecting sellers from questionable currency, its explicit provisions predicate sellers alone as the problem. Note, too, that even if you consider the conﬁscation of a buyer’s counterfeit currency as a punishment, the penalty for sellers refusing to accept a good Athenian coin was much greater (forfeiture of the day’s entire stock, plus ﬁfty lashes for merchants who were slaves).
19 Importers frequently sailed with their cargoes, sometimes in a ship they themselves owned. 21 If you sent someone else with your cargo, it was either a business partner (with congruent interests) or a trusted subordinate, sometimes a slave or former slave. In conducting trade in the classical period, merchants relied on personal trust and expertise; abstract systems tended to supplement, not replace, these, as evidenced by merchants’ use of writing. 22 Moreover, although Greeks kept lists of debts and copies of contracts, there is no evidence that they kept accounts of expenses.
87 In the game of bargaining in the agora, however ritualized, success depended on mastery of the conventions, especially the patter. Buyers and sellers negotiated, then, not (or not only) by exchanging numbers, which converged on the ﬁnal price, but by using gestures and language, both cunning and conventional, to cap and forestall each other. Buyers less experienced in the conventions of haggling might feel disadvantaged. ’ And ‘Buy the bonito in fall’—but now it’s spring. 92 Lynkeos’s text presents a complicated layering.
A history of trust in ancient Greece by Steven Johnstone