By Steven Johnstone
Content material: Haggling -- Measuring -- conserving song -- Valuing -- participating -- Apportioning legal responsibility -- finding out -- universal greek weights and measures
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Additional resources for A history of trust in ancient Greece
And ‘Buy the bonito in fall’—but now it’s spring. 92 Lynkeos’s text presents a complicated layering. It evokes Archestratus’s Life of Pleasure, which catalogued foods, especially ﬁsh, explaining where and when to get the best and how to prepare them exquisitely. ”93 Lynkeos snatches lines from a poem of praise and uses them to defame,94 and he changes the context from ﬁne dining to chaffering with ﬁshmongers. The subtle and complicated humor seems to depend on these inversions, on the absurdity of quoting epic verse in a sordid situation, and on the idea that this might actually get a ﬁsh seller to lower his price.
A drachma, the maker replied. Then he asked how much the statue of Hera cost. Even more, he answered. Then he saw his own statue, and ﬁguring that as the messenger of the gods and the god of proﬁt he would be highly valued, he asked the price. ”96 Buyers, too, could haggle about the quantity or quality of goods. Among his anecdotes, Machon recounts the following: Haggling 23 Chaerephon was once buying some meat. ”97 Although the verbal sparring here concerns not the price but the goods, it shows similar tactics.
First, the price is determined after the pupil has received his instruction, so that he has full knowledge. Second, the price is named by the buyer, not by the seller, an alteration not quite as drastic as it ﬁrst appears. When the seller named the price, the buyer still assented. But this points to the most fundamental change in the Protagorean practice: the buyer names the price unilaterally. 64 These stories reveal that buyers approached exchanges feeling disadvantaged by their relative ignorance of what was being sold.