This verse became proverbial of an uneven exchange. cf. “ἀλλ᾽ ἀντὶ δόξης ἀλήθειαν καλῶν κτᾶσθαι ἐπιχειρεῖς καὶ τῷ ὄντι χρύσεα χαλκείων διαμείβεσθαι νοεῖς” Plato Symp. 219 a, habes ad omnia, non, ut potulasti, “χρύσεα χαλκείων”, sed paria paribus respondimus Cic. ad Att. vi. I. 22, aut si disparibus bellum incidat, ut Diomedi | cum Lycio Glauco, discedat pigrior, ultromuneribus mis sis Hor. Sat. i. 7. 16 ff.—Obs. the apposition of the second half-verse to the first.
ἑκατόμβοια: having the worth of a hundred cattle. Cattle were the standard of value in the Homeric times. A tripod might be worth twelve cattle (Od. 23.703), and a woman slave from four (Od. 23.705) to twenty cattle (Od. 1.431); while Achilles sold a captured son of Priam for one hundred cattle (21.79). cf. pecunia and ‘chattels.’—“ἑκατόν” and “ἐννέα” are round numbers. The inference that gold was worth only eleven times as much as bronze, would be unreasonable.