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Article

Dominic W. Rathbone

In the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, centred as they were on the Mediterranean, maritime transport was far more practical than land transport for long- and even medium-distance trade. Most ships seem to have been of medium size (around 70 tonnes burden) and to have been owned and run by a shipper who both carried goods as freight and traded on his own account. There were also many individual merchants who hired shipping as needed for their ventures. Then as now, the major expense in trading was the investment in purchasing goods; roughly, one cargo of wheat was worth as much as the ship. Hence a merchant, whether or not also a shipowner, often needed third-party finance, for which, because of the peculiar risks involved, a special type of loan was used. This was the maritime loan—nautikon daneion in Greek, nauticum faenus or mutua pecunia nautica in Latin.The maritime loan is first attested in 4th-century bce Athens, in four speeches attributed to Demosthenes, of which the most informative is the prosecution of the brother of a pair of merchants for fraudulent default on a loan (Dem.

Article

Aeschines was an Athenian politician and orator. He came from a respectable family but was not a member of the wealthy elite. He worked as a secretary for the Council and Assembly, then as an actor. He participated in the embassies that negotiated the Peace of Philocrates with Philip II and argued for its ratification. After the Second Embassy to Philip, Demosthenes and Timarchus accused Aeschines of treason. Aeschines convicted Timarchus of being a homosexual prostitute, which discouraged Demosthenes from bringing his accusation to court until 343/342. Aeschines was acquitted by a narrow margin, but lost influence. He defended the Athenians against the charges of the Locrians at a meeting of the Amphictyons in 339. He accused Ctesiphon of proposing an illegal decree of honours for Demosthenes in 336, but he lost the case by a wide margin at Ctesiphon’s trial in 330.Ancient critics consistently included Aeschines in the canon of the ten great Attic orators. Cicero ranked him second only to .

Article

Erichthonius is one of the original, legendary kings of the Athenians. In his myth, he was born directly from the soil of Attica, after Hephaestus attempted to rape Athena, but instead cast his seed upon the ground. Athena conceals the child in a basket and entrusts the child to the daughters of Cecrops with a command to never look inside. Some (or all) of the daughters disobey this command and, in response, Athena forces them to jump off of the Acropolis. This sequence of events suggests that his existence was heavily tied to aitiologies of the cults and cult buildings of the Cecropides on the Acropolis, as well as the Arrhephoria ritual, which seemingly recreates this narrative sequence. As a king, he was thought to have created the Panathenaea festival. In general, although his earth-born origin means that he is sometimes connected to the development of Athenian autochthony in the 5th century bce, he is not particularly prominent in myth or cult.

Article

Though he had many detractors, Demosthenes was often ranked in antiquity as the greatest of the Greek orators. Demosthenes lost his father at an early age, and his estate was mismanaged by his guardians, whom he later sued in an attempt to recovery his inheritance. He began his career in the assembly in 354 bce, speaking about public finances and foreign policy, and wrote several speeches for important public cases. Starting in 351 he warned the Athenians about the dangers of Macedonian expansionism. Even though he helped to negotiate the Peace of Philocrates, he later attacked the treaty and contributed to the breakdown in Athenian relations with Philip II which led to the battle of Chaeronea in 338. Despite this defeat, he remained popular and was able to defend his reputation against the attacks of Aeschines at the trial of Ctesiphon in 330. Later convicted of bribery in the Harpalus affair, he went into exile. He subsequently returned but fled abroad again and committed suicide to avoid capture by his Macedonian pursuers.

Article

Ben Akrigg

The demography of Greece is a very difficult subject to investigate because of the shortage of relevant statistical data. Ancient authors did not write any books about demography and give hardly any figures for population sizes, and none at all for vital rates. Owing to the emphasis on war in ancient historiography, most ancient demographic estimates relate to the size of military forces or to the manpower available for military purposes—i.e., to adult males only. Total population sizes must be extrapolated from such information because women, children, and slaves were usually not enumerated at all. Moreover, literary authors were prone to exaggeration—with respect to the size of Persian armies, for example—although Thucydides (2) was a notable exception to this rule. Even in Classical Athens, for which the sources are relatively abundant, it seems unlikely that there was a central register of hoplites in addition to the deme registers. In general, Greek states did not have taxes payable by all inhabitants that would have required the maintenance of detailed records for financial purposes, and censuses of citizens were rare in the ancient Greek world. It is certain, however, that both mortality and fertility in ancient Greece were high by the standards of modern developed countries. Human mobility, whether voluntary or involuntary, was also an important factor in the population history of individual cities.

Article

Ugo Fantasia

The Peace of Callias was a mid-5th-century peace treaty, presented by most sources as fully advantageous to Athens, that ended the wars between Athens and Persia. Its historicity is disputed, chiefly because Thucydides (2) does not mention it explicitly. The date of the peace is also controversial, because some evidence points to c.449 BCE while other sources suggest the 460s; this may mean that the c.449 BCE agreement was a renewal of an older peace, but the former date seems to be the likelier one for the conclusion of a single peace.

Callias (1) son of Hipponicus, brother-in-law of Cimon, is reported by Herodotus (7.151) to have led an Athenian embassy, whose purpose is not specified, to the Persian king Artaxerxes (1) I, probably shortly after his accession to the throne in 465 BCE. Demosthenes (2) in 343 BCE provides the earliest evidence (19 [De falsa leg.

Article

Adam Rappold

Erechtheus was both one of the ten tribal (phyle) heroes of Athens and a mythical founding king of the city. Originally born from the very land of Attica (gēgenēs / γηγενής), his myths served as a symbol of the developing concepts of autochthony, with his birth demonstrating that the Athenians were the original inhabitants of Attica, and of nationalism, with the Athenians referring to themselves as the “sons of Erechtheus.” His most important myth, as exemplified in Euripides’ fragmentary Erechtheus, has him sacrificing one of his daughters to preserve Athens from the armies of Eumolpus. As a cult figure, in the classical era, he was associated with the Athenian worship of Athena and Poseidon, his name sometimes functioning as an epithet of Poseidon, and he had a major cult in the Erechtheum on the Acropolis. The scholarship on Erechtheus has primarily been concerned with whether or not he was originally combined with another earth-born Athenian king, Erichthonius, albeit with inconclusive results.

Article

Those who owned property in the Greek world enjoyed all the basic rights and duties recognized in all legal systems. They had the right to security against arbitrary confiscation and theft, the right to enjoy the fruits, the right to alienate, the right to manage, and the right to pass on their property to their heirs. Their property could also be seized by the state as a penalty or to pay for fines or by private lenders in satisfaction of debts or other obligations. Property could be owned by private individuals, by private groups, by the state or by subdivisions of the state. In certain cases women had the right to own property, but their rights might be restricted by law. Most Greek communities only allowed citizens to own land unless they obtained permission to acquire land from the Assembly.

Secure property rights are crucial for economic prosperity.1 If owners of land cannot rest assured that their control over their property will not be threatened, they will have no incentive to build or make improvements. If they fear that someone may take their land at any moment, there will be no reason to invest in crops such as olives that will not produce immediate returns. If their title to the land is not secure, lenders will not be willing to accept the farm as security for a loan. If the threat of arbitrary confiscation hangs over owners, it becomes impossible to make any plans for the future. Finally, if the state does not protect the rights of owners, it is very difficult for individuals to buy and sell movable and immovable property in ways that lead to a better allocation of resources.

Article

Sandra Boehringer

Sexual and amorous relationships between females constitute, as a heuristic category, an illuminating field of research for the construction of sexual categories in antiquity, as well as for the prevailing gender system of the time. In Greece and Rome, sexuality did not have the identity function that we attribute to it today: in these societies “before sexuality,” the category of female homosexuality, like those of heterosexuality or homosexuality in general, did not exist per se. Yet we have access to over forty documents (containing both substantial treatments and brief mentions), along with the terms hetairistria and tribas, associated with this semantic field.In Archaic Greece, the privileged expression of erotic desire between women can be found without ambiguity in the verses of Alcman and Sappho. In this community context, the force of eros is celebrated, and the joys and pains generated by its power are sung without differentiation based on gender categories. In Classical and Hellenistic Greece, the sources become rarer: female homosexuality disappears from our evidence for the possible configurations of eros, with the notable exception of Plato’s account (Symposium, Laws).