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§ 8. An exposure of the transactions by which corn had become dearer. Cleomenes' people used to send off cargoes from Egypt, while these men either sailed with them, or stayed at home to watch the market and send off advices, so that the corn was always sold in the dearest mart.

ταῖς ἐμπορίαις ‘With the cargoes.’ The dative depends on the ἐπὶ, meaning that they were guardians and directors of them. So Or. 35 § 16 πλεύσεσθαι ἐπὶ τοῖς χρήμασι, and 32 § 12 παρ᾽ ἡμῶν ἐπιπλέων.

πρὸς τὰς καθεστηκυίας τιμὰς ‘According to the market prices,’ i.e. the ‘current prices’; die (wechselnden) Marktpreise (Thalheim is quoted in critical note<*> on Or. 34 § 39 διεμετρήσαμεν ὑμῖν τῆς καθεστηκυίας τιμῆς); § 10 τἀνθένδε [καθεστηκότα and τὰς τιμὰς τὰς ἐνθάδε τοῦ σίτου καθεστηκοίας. [The phrase does not imply that the price was fixed, permanent or settled, but merely that for the moment the opposing forces of supply and demand were at rest and balanced by the supply at such and such a price. Such an established or current price might remain ‘settled’ for a day, week or year, or might vary in an hour; it might be the ‘average’ price, or above or below it (T. E. Page)].

γράμματα ‘Letters of advice.’

τίμιος ‘Dear,’ opp. to ἄξιος, ‘cheap.’ Ar. Ach. 758 πῶς σῖτος ὤνιος; Μ. παρ᾽ ἁμὲ πολυτίματος, ᾆπερ τοὶ θεοί.

συνετιμήθη We should perhaps read ἐπετιμήθη, ‘the price was raised,’ as in Or. 34 § 39. The συν may have crept in from συνιστὰς just above, which some wrongly explained in the same sense. [συνετιμήθη, ‘the price of corn-imports was manipulated through such letters and complots,’ i.e. the price was managed by a conspiracy. Liddell and Scott unsatisfactorily say ‘Pass. to increase in value, rise in price’; a meaning which the passive can scarcely bear. Prof. Kennedy.] Mr Mayor (p. 251) suggests that ‘to price (or value) together’ may indirectly have meant to raise prices which had been kept down by artificial restrictions.

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  • Commentary references from this page (2):
    • Demosthenes, Against Phormio, 39
    • Demosthenes, Against Lacritus, 16
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