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By Steven Johnstone

ISBN-10: 0226405095

ISBN-13: 9780226405094

Content material: Haggling -- Measuring -- conserving music -- Valuing -- participating -- Apportioning legal responsibility -- finding out -- universal greek weights and measures

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Extra info for A history of trust in ancient Greece

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But Greeks could trust abstract systems of standardized measurement in only a few situations; more often they had to rely on personal trust in others and on their own expertise. With grain, they had to develop through experience a sense of how good any batch was and how much might be in any phormos, a kind of estimating or eyeballing that particularized every transaction. This chapter, then, offers the history of practices, not objects; of measuring, not measures. Archaeologists and antiquarians have extensively documented the many standard measures from ancient Greece.

Archaeologists and antiquarians have extensively documented the many standard measures from ancient Greece. The names and sizes of the standards might vary from city to city, but generally all cities had standards of length, volume, and weight, with different volume systems for liquid and dry substances. 6 Greeks made coins, of course, in line with their systems of weights. 7 In this chapter I examine the trade in grain so as to understand when and how Greeks used standard measures and practical units.

It is a complex scene. Herodas uses the conventions of haggling to stage a buyer’s revenge fantasy. At the same time, because the buyer is a woman, we watch an act of awesome, uncontrolled female sadism. But finally, I should note, the scene makes the most sense if you understand Kerdon as a willing, even eager, participant in his own abasement, a man who enacts the haggling script not out of necessity (he says he’s already refused another customer for personal reasons [lines 99–104]) but so that he can extend to Metro an enigmatic invitation to join him later.

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A history of trust in ancient Greece by Steven Johnstone

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