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Ways and Means - A Pamphlet On Revenues - III

1. I

2. II

3. III

4. IV

5. V

6. VI

At this point I propose to offer some remarks in proof of the
attractions and advantages of Athens as a centre of commercial
enterprise. In the first place, it will hardly be denied that we possess
the finest and safest harbourage for shipping, where vessels of all
sorts can come to moorings and be laid up in absolute security (1) as
far as stress of weather is concerned. But further than that, in most
states the trader is under the necessity of lading his vessel with some
merchandise (2) or other in exchange for his cargo, since the current
coin (3) has no circulation beyond the frontier. But at Athens he has a
choice: he can either in return for his wares export a variety of goods,
such as human beings seek after, or, if he does not desire to take goods
in exchange for goods, he has simply to export silver, and he cannot
have a more excellent freight to export, since wherever he likes to sell
it he may look to realise a large percentage on his capital. (4)

(1) Reading {adeos} after Cobet, or if {edeos}, transl. "in perfect

(2) Or, "of exchanging cargo for cargo to the exclusion of specie."

(3) I.e. of the particular locality. See "The Types of Greek Coins,"
Percy Gardner, ch. ii. "International Currencies among the

(4) Or, "on the original outlay."

Or again, supposing prizes (5) were offered to the magistrates in charge
of the market (6) for equitable and speedy settlements of points in
dispute (7) to enable any one so wishing to proceed on his voyage
without hindrance, the result would be that far more traders would trade
with us and with greater satisfaction.

(5) Cf. "Hiero," ix. 6, 7, 11; "Hipparch." i. 26.

(6) {to tou emporiou arkhe}. Probably he is referring to the
{epimeletai emporiou} (overseers of the market). See Harpocr.
s.v.; Aristot. "Athenian Polity," 51.

(7) For the sort of case, see Demosth. (or Deinarch.) "c. Theocr."
1324; Zurborg ad loc.; Boeckh, I. ix. xv. (pp. 48, 81, Eng. tr.)

It would indeed be a good and noble institution to pay special marks
of honour, such as the privilege of the front seat, to merchants and
shipowners, and on occasion to invite to hospitable entertainment those
who, through something notable in the quality of ship or merchandise,
may claim to have done the state a service. The recipients of these
honours will rush into our arms as friends, not only under the incentive
of gain, but of distinction also.

Now the greater the number of people attracted to Athens either as
visitors or as residents, clearly the greater the development of imports
and exports. More goods will be sent out of the country, (8) there will
be more buying and selling, with a consequent influx of money in
the shape of rents to individuals and dues and customs to the state
exchequer. And to secure this augmentation of the revenues, mind you,
not the outlay of one single penny; nothing needed beyond one or two
philanthropic measures and certain details of supervision. (9)

(8) See Zurborg, "Comm." p. 24.

(9) See Aristot. "Pol." iv. 15, 3.

With regard to the other sources of revenue which I contemplate, I
admit, it is different. For these I recognise the necessity of a capital
(10) to begin with. I am not, however, without good hope that the
citizens of this state will contribute heartily to such an object, when
I reflect on the large sums subscribed by the state on various late
occasions, as, for instance, when reinforcements were sent to the
Arcadians under the command of Lysistratus, (11) and again at the date
of the generalship of Hegesileos. (12) I am well aware that ships of
war are frequently despatched and that too (13) although it is uncertain
whether the venture will be for the better or for the worse, and
the only certainty is that the contributor will not recover the sum
subscribed nor have any further share in the object for which he gave
his contribution. (14)

(10) "A starting-point."

(11) B.C. 366; cf. "Hell." VII. iv. 3.

(12) B.C. 362; cf. "Hell." VII. v. 15. See Grote, "H. G." x. 459;
Ephor. ap. Diog. Laert. ii. 54; Diod. Sic. xv. 84; Boeckh, ap. L.
Dindorf. Xenophon's son Gryllus served under him and was slain.

(13) Reading {kai tauta toutout men adelou ontos}, after Zurborg.

(14) Reading { (uper) on an eisenegkosi} with Zurborg. See his note,
"Comm." p. 25.

But for a sound investment (15) I know of nothing comparable with
the initial outlay to form this fund. (16) Any one whose contribution
amounts to ten minae (17) may look forward to a return as high as he
would get on bottomry, of nearly one-fifth, (18) as the recipient of
three obols a day. The contributor of five minae (19) will on the same
principle get more than a third, (20) while the majority of Athenians
will get more than cent per cent on their contribution. That is to say,
a subscription of one mina (21) will put the subscriber in possession
of nearly double that sum, (22) and that, moreover, without setting
foot outside Athens, which, as far as human affairs go, is as sound and
durable a security as possible.

(15) "A good substantial property."

(16) Or, "on the other hand, I affirm that the outlay necessary to
form the capital for my present project will be more remunerative
than any other that can be named." As to the scheme itself see
Grote, "Plato," III. ch. xxxix.; Boeckh, op. cit. (pp. 4, 37, 136,
600 seq. Eng. tr.) Cf. Demosth. "de Sym." for another scheme, 354
B.C., which shows the "sound administrative and practical
judgment" of the youthful orator as compared with "the benevolent
dreams and ample public largess in which Xenophon here indulges."
--Grote, op. cit. p. 601.

(17) L40:12:4 = 1000 drachmae.

(18) I.e. exactly 18 or nearly 20 per cent. The following table will
make the arithmetic clear:--

6 ob. = 1 drachma 10 minae = 6000 ob.
100 dr. = 1 mina = 1000 dr.

600 ob. = 1 mina 1000 dr.:180 dr.::100:18 therefore nearly 1/5
3 ob. (a day) x 360 = 1080 ob. p.a. = nearly 20 per cent.
= 180 dr. p.a.

As to the 3 obols a day (= 180 dr. p.a.) which as an Athenian
citizen he is entitled to, see Grote, op. cit. p. 597: "There will
be a regular distribution among all citizens, per head and
equally. Three oboli, or half a drachma, will be allotted daily to
each, to poor and rich alike" (on the principle of the Theorikon).
"For the poor citizens this will provide a comfortable
subsistence, without any contribution on their part; the poverty
now prevailing will thus be alleviated. The rich, like the poor,
receive the daily triobolon as a free gift; but if they compute it
as interest for their investments, they will find that the rate of
interest is full and satisfactory, like the rate on bottomry."
Zurborg, "Comm." p. 25; Boeckh, op. cit. IV. xxi. (p. 606, Eng.
tr.); and Grote's note, op. cit. p. 598.

(19) = L20:6:3 = 500 drachmae.

(20) = I.e. 36 per cent.

(21) = L4:1:3 = 100 drachmae.

(22) I.e. 180 per cent.

Moreover, I am of opinion that if the names of contributors were to be
inscribed as benefactors for all time, many foreigners would be induced
to contribute, and possibly not a few states, in their desire to obtain
the right of inscription; indeed I anticipate that some kings, (23)
tyrants, (24) and satraps will display a keen desire to share in such a

(23) Zurborg suggests (p. 5) "Philip or Cersobleptes." Cf. Isocr. "On
the Peace," S. 23.

(24) I.e. despotic monarchs.

To come to the point. Were such a capital once furnished, it would be a
magnificent plan to build lodging-houses for the benefit of shipmasters
in the neighbourhood of the harbours, in addition to those which
exist; and again, on the same principle, suitable places of meeting for
merchants, for the purposes (25) of buying and selling; and thirdly,
public lodging-houses for persons visiting the city. Again, supposing
dwelling-houses and stores for vending goods were fitted up for retail
dealers in Piraeus and the city, they would at once be an ornament to
the state and a fertile source of revenue. Also it seems to me it would
be a good thing to try and see if, on the principle on which at present
the state possesses public warships, it would not be possible to secure
public merchant vessels, to be let out on the security of guarantors
just like any other public property. If the plan were found feasible
this public merchant navy would be a large source of extra revenue.

(25) Reading, with Zurborg, {epi one te}.

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