Dēmos · Classical Athenian Democracy · a Stoa Publication
→ Part 2.7.
Edward M. Harris, edition of March 22, 2003
page 14 of 15
Dareius next addresses Dionysodorus’ second argument that his other creditors accepted his proposal to receive the payment of interest only as far as Rhodes. He dismisses this argument on the grounds that the settlements reached with the other creditors are irrelevant to his own case (26). He insists on the terms of their agreement: either they show that the contract is not binding or abide by its terms (27). Dionysodorus probably intended to contrast the willingness of the other creditors to settle for a smaller amount of interest with Dareius’ own intransigence as a way of making him look greedy and stubborn. To counter this strategy, Dareius claims that these creditors did not yield part of their gains, but actually profited from their settlement since they immediately recovered their loans at Rhodes, then were able to lend out the principal again to the two men and receive interest from their subsequent trip to Egypt and back (28-29). Dareius’ counter-attack not only accuses the other creditors of acting solely out of a desire for profit but also charges them with lending money to ship grain to another port besides Athens. In reality, it may have been Dareius who was the greedy one. Whatever amount of interest the other creditors may have been earning, Dareius and his partner would have gained far more if they won their case since they were asking for double the principal or 6,000 drachmas.
Dareius devotes the longest reply to Dionysodorus’ argument based on the clause which required repayment only in the case that the ship arrived safely. Dareius interprets this clause narrowly and claims its only applied in the case where the ship actually sank. Dionysodorus appears to have interpreted the clause differently (38). To judge from Dareius’ brief summary of his argument, Dionysodorus was prepared to stress the clause in the contract that called for the ship to return to Athens. Since the ship suffered serious damage, it could not continue safely on its voyage and arrive safely in the Piraeus. In other words, Dionysodorus gave a broad interpretation of this clause, which he argued gave exemption to himself and to his partner not only if the ship sank, but also in the eventuality that it suffered damage and was unable to continue safely on its journey. Dareius’ reply to this argument is that Dionysodorus could have repaired the ship and continued on his voyage to the Piraeus. But Dareius’ reply may ignore the possibility that Pamphilus may have been forced to sell the grain in Rhodes.
page 14 of 15