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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter 16 examines Athenian trade and credit based on Demosthenes’ speeches, suggesting that any information we take from Demosthenes' speeches about the nature of and attitudes to trade and traders must take the rhetorical context of the speeches into consideration. It therefore first considers commercial litigation as it relates to democracy in classical Athens, focusing on the speech Against Zenothemis, written by Demosthenes for his uncle Demon in support of a special plea he had lodged against a foreigner and merchant named Zenothemis. It then analyses the power politics surrounding maritime suits in fourth-century Athens, noting that when foreigners and slaves were involved, this could easily be exploited, but even more explosive were discrepancies in rhetorical skill. Legal disputes in the market were often caused by complex transactions between creditors, merchants, ship-owners, and middlemen. In the second part, it explores what we might be able to say on the role of trade in the Athenian economy.

Keywords: trade, credit, speeches, commercial litigation, democracy, Against Zenothemis, Against Phormion, maritime loans, maritime courts, power politics, Athenian economy

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