Demosthenes and Athenian Finance

Demosthenes and Athenian Finance

  • Case
Abstract

Demosthenes was one of the greatest public speakers of antiquity, and his writings are a key source of insight into the politics and finance of Greece in the fourth century BC.Demosthenes' oration 35, “Against Lacritus,” contains the only surviving maritime loan contract from the period. The contract demonstrates the existence of a commercial code that tied together the economic lives of people from all over the Greek world. Athenians and non-Athenians alike came to the port of Piraeus to trade freely: in “Against Lacritus,” the merchants borrowing money for the voyage were from a city on the southern coast of Asia Minor, and the lenders financing the voyage were from a city outside Athens and from another Greek city-state in the northeast, Boethia.

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