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EMPO´RIUM (τὸ ἐμπόριον), a place for wholesale trade in commodities carried by sea. The name is sometimes applied to a seaport town, but it properly signifies only a particular place in such a town. Thus Amphitryo says (Plaut. Amph. 4.1, 4) that he looked for a person. “Apud emporium, atque in macello, in palaestra atque in foro,
In medicinis, in tonstrinis, apud omnis aedis sacras.”

(Compare Liv. 35.10, 41.27.) The word is derived from ἔμπορος, which signifies in Homer a person who sails as a passenger in a ship belonging to another person (Od. 2.319, 24.300); but in later writers it signifies the merchant who carries on commerce with foreign countries, and differs from κάπηλος, the retail dealer, who purchases his goods from the ἔμπορος and retails them in the market-place. (Plat. Rep. ii. p. 371 D; Protag. p. 313 C).

At Athens, it is said (Lex. Seg. p. 208) that there were two kinds of emporia, one for foreigners and the other for natives (ξενικὸν and ἀστικόν); but this appears doubtful. (Boeckh, P. E. p. 313=Sthh.3 1.382.) The emporium at Athens was under the inspection of certain officers, who were elected annually (ἐπιμεληταὶ τοῦ ἐμπορίου). [EPIMELETAE] (Hermann-Blümner, Privatalterth. p. 425.)

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hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Homer, Odyssey, 24.300
    • Homer, Odyssey, 2.319
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 41, 27
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