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[1348b] [1] at which he declared that the other party was offering him money if he would favor their pretensions; that he, however, preferred to receive from those now before him, and to entrust to them the administration of the city. On hearing this, they immediately contributed the money he asked, and gave it him. Thereupon he told the other party what he had received from them; and they in turn promised him at least an equal amount. Having thus taken the money of both factions, he effected a reconciliation between them.

He also observed that there were many law-suits pending between the citizens, and that they had grave and long-standing plaints against one another which had arisen in course of war. He therefore appointed a tribunal, and made proclamation that all who failed to appear before it within a stated period should lose the right to a legal decision of their outstanding claims. Then, by taking into his own hands the court-fees for a number of suits, and also those appeal-cases which involved penalties, and receiving [through others] money from both sides, he obtained altogether a very considerable sum.

The people of Clazomenae, suffering from dearth of grain and scarcity of funds, passed a resolution that any private citizens who had stores of oil should lend it to the State at interest; [20] this being a produce which their land bears in abundance. The loan arranged, they hired vessels and sent them to the depots whence they obtained their grain, <and bought a consignment> on security of the value of the oil.

The same people, owing their mercenaries twenty talents of pay and being unable to find it, were giving the leaders of the troop four talents of interest each year. But failing to reduce the capital debt, and committed to this fruitless drain on their revenue, they struck an iron coinage of twenty talents, bearing the face-value of the silver. This they distributed proportionately among the wealthiest citizens, and received from them silver to the same amount. Through this expedient, the private citizens possessed a currency which was good for their daily needs, and the state was relieved of its debt. Next, they proceeded to pay interest out of revenue to those who had advanced the silver; and little by little distributed repayment among them, recalling at the same time the currency of iron.1

The people of Selybria had a law, passed in time of famine, which forbade the export of grain. On one occasion, however, they were in need of funds; and as they possessed large stores of grain, they passed a resolution that citizens should deliver up their corn to the state at the regular fixed price,

1 Plut. Lycurgus speaks of an iron currency at Sparta, and Seneca De beneficiis of a leather one. These, not being exchangeable abroad, threw the nation upon its own resources and prevented the import of luxuries.

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  • Cross-references in notes from this page (2):
    • Seneca, de Beneficiis, 1.1
    • Plutarch, Lycurgus, 1.1
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