Bryn Mawr Classical Review 1999.06.16
Schaps on Hamel on Buck. Response to 1998.12.13
Response by David M. Schaps, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel
It has been six months since BMCR printed Debra Hamel's review of Robert J. Buck, Thrasybulus and the Athenian Democracy. The review got pushed to the bottom of the pile on my desk, but perhaps there is still room for a short bibliographical comment for the benefit of author, reviewer, and readers.
Prof. Hamel writes: "Three statements made by B. in his first chapter are to my mind problematic: (1) 'There was no deficit spending, since no one would be insane enough to lend money to a state, even to Athens' (p. 9) .... Would it in fact have been 'insane' for one Greek state -- or for an individual -- to lend money to another? The answer is not obvious to me, and I would be interested in reading here a more considered discussion of precisely why inter-state lending was apparently out of the question in a society in which military and commercial relationships between poleis were commonplace." A footnote notes Thuc. 6.46.3, with Dover's comment (in Gomme et al.) ad loc.
The book that Prof. Hamel wanted to read was Léopold Migeotte, L'Emprunt public dans les cités grecques (Quebec/Paris, '84), which collects and discusses all known loans to poleis from the ancient Greek world (few as far back as Thrasybulus, but the practice was surely not "insane"). Although the time for comments on Prof. Hamel's review has passed, it may not be out of place to mention this important book for the benefit of an Anglophone audience.