3. I shall now say something of the unrivalled amenities and advantages of our city as a commercial centre.In the first place, I presume, she possesses the finest and safest accomodation for shipping, since vessels can anchor here and ride safe at their moorings in spite of bad weather.  Moreover, at most other ports merchants are compelled to ship a return cargo, because the local currency has no circulation in other states; but at Athens they have the opportunity of exchanging their cargo and exporting very many classes of goods that are in demand, or, if they do not want to ship a return cargo of goods, it is sound business to export silver; for, wherever they sell it, they are sure to make a profit on the capital invested.  If prizes were offered to the magistrates of the market1 for just and prompt settlement of disputes, so that sailings were not delayed, the effect would be that a far larger number of merchants would trade with us and with much greater satisfaction.  It would also be an excellent plan to reserve front seats in the theatre for merchants and shipowners, and to offer them hospitality occasionally, when the high quality of their ships and merchandise entitles them to be considered benefactors of the state. With the prospect of these honours before them they would look on us as friends and hasten to visit us to win the honour as well as the profit.  The rise in the number of residents and visitors would of course lead to a corresponding expansion of our imports and exports, of sales, rents and customs.  Now such additions to our revenues as these need cost us nothing whatever beyond benevolent legislation and measures of control. Other methods of raising revenue that I have in mind will require capital, no doubt.  Nevertheless I venture to hope that the citizens would contribute eagerly towards such objects, when I recall the large sums contributed by the state when Lysistratus was in command and troops were sent to aid the Arcadians,2 and again in the time of Hegesileos.3  I am also aware that large expenditure is frequently incurred to send warships abroad, though none can tell whether the venture will be for better or worse, and the only thing certain is that the subscribers will never see their money back nor even enjoy any part of what they contribute.  But no investment can yield them so fine a return as the money advanced by them to form the capital fund. For every subscriber of ten minae, drawing three obols a day, gets nearly twenty per cent.—as much as he would get on bottomry;4 and every subscriber of five minae gets more than a third of his capital back in interest.  But most of the Athenians will get over a hundred per cent. in a year, for those who advance one mina will draw an income of nearly two minae, guaranteed by the state, which is to all appearances the safest and most durable of human institutions.  I think, too, that if their names were to be recorded in the roll of benefactors for all time, many foreigners also would subscribe, and a certain number of states would be attracted by the prospect of enrolment. I believe that even kings and despots and oriental governors would desire to share in this reward.  When funds were sufficient, it would be a fine plan to build more lodging-houses for shipowners near the harbours, and convenient places of exchange for merchants, also hotels to accomodate visitors.  Again, if houses and shops were put up both in the Peiraeus and in the city for retail traders, they would be an ornament to the state, and at the same time the source of a considerable revenue.  Moreover, I think it would be a good plan to take a hint from the state ownership of public warships, and to see whether it be possible to acquire a fleet of public merchant vessels and to lease them under securities, like our other public property. For if this proved to be practicable, these vessels would yield another large revenue.
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Ways and Means
1 The market at the Peiraeus. The functions of the Board alluded to are unknown, apart from what is implied in the text.
2 366 B.C.
3 361 B.C. Hegesileos commanded at the battle of Mantinea.
4 3 obols a day are to be paid by the state to every citizen, i.e., 180 drachmae a year, or nearly 2 minae, which is nearly 2 per cent. on 10 minae, and exactly 36 per cent. on half that sum.
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