Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ Part 2.3.
Edward M. Harris, edition of March 22, 2003
page 10 of 15
In the next part of his narrative Dareius presents a scandalous account of Parmeniscus’ activities once he reached Egypt (7-9). He accuses his opponent’s partner of conspiring with Cleomenes, the ruler of Egypt installed by Alexander the Great (Arrian Anabasis 3.5.2-5; Curtius Rufus 4.8.5) and helping him to raise the price of grain. He describes how these men had stationed their agents in various cities; these agents wrote to them indicating where the price of grain was highest and then sent their cargoes where they could reap the greatest profits. When Parmeniscus left Athens, the price of grain was high, but after he left the arrival of a large shipment from Sicily caused the price to fall. According to Dareius, it was this turn of events that caused Parmeniscus to ignore the terms of the contract and sail to Rhodes where he unloaded his cargo of grain and sold it (10).
Needless to say, there was another side to the story. Further on in the speech, Dareius predicts Dionysodorus will say that the ship suffered damage on its voyage back from Alexandria and was forced to put in at Rhodes (21). To prove that he was telling the truth, Dionysodorus would state that he hired some ship in Rhodes to transport some of his cargo to Athens. There were also other creditors who were willing to accept payment of interest only as far as Rhodes (22). Dareius claims that his opponents made up this excuse and that their true reason for unloading their cargo in Rhodes was to make a larger profit. Since we do not have Dionysodorus’ speech, it is hard to judge between the two accounts. But it is crucial to recall that Pamphilus had started his voyage to Egypt late in the sailing season so that he might well have encountered rough weather on his return trip to Athens.
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