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“Those Who Sail Are To Receive A Wage”: Naval Warfare And Finance In Archaic Eretria

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Chapter Summary

The institution of naval pay entails nothing less than a transformation of public finance, and if this occurred a generation or so earlier than is generally assumed, one need to reconsider the development of naval warfare and state-formation in Archaic Greece. Few studies of early Greek naval history mention the Eretrian law; if it is cited at all, it is usually dismissed as obscure. The Eretrian law thus entailed three important changes. The reward for military service in naval warfare was now fixed in advance, and surely equal for all members of the crew; it was no longer to be determined on an individual basis as a 'fair' reflection of each man's status, personal merit, and contribution to the campaign. The booty became 'public' revenue, sold off for the proceeds to be stored in a public treasury, instead of 'common' property, to be shared out by an army or community.

Keywords: Archaic Greece; Eretrian law; military finance; naval warfare; public finance



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