Nano quick update and Money!!

$ cat nano/Inaros_advancing_20051116.txt | perl wc.pl
W: 55809 (MP: 223.236, PP: 111.618), %: 46.5075

Thanks to flight companies, yesterday I had some unexpected 1+ hour waiting for a coleague on the airport, which I devoted to writing with a couple of coffees...

The main track of Part II is proving a bit changelling to write, as I won't have lots of action, I am forced to be more descriptive, and historical facts keep piling on the 'check-later' stack (which is about a parasang tall by the moment). Parasangs are easy, met them in Xenophon's Anabasis, but I cannot find out how much money a gold daric meant in those times, and I lost the web page with equivalences I found one year ago!

Thus, back to my trustworthy "vidience" (i.e. the visual equivalent of audience that you who reads me are): how much money would the King of Kings Artaxerxes I give to Megabazos to bribe the Spartans to attack Athens?

Personally, knowing that a temple in Judea cost (according to some Bible book which I don't recall at the moment --not that I would know, not even being Christian myself, but, hey!, a book is a book--) about 5,000 gold darics, I'd say not less than 100,000 gold darics.

That would mean, roughly, if 1 gold talent is 60 minae, and about 6000 drachmae, and one gold daric was about 2 drachmae, there was about 3,000 darics per talent (all in gold, ancient numismatic is really complex!), 5,000 darics would be, roughly, 1.66 talents of gold (about 2,500 Attic tretradrachmae). Considering a cow cost about 50 dracmae, I think to bribe Sparte one would need, at least several thousands of cow heads would be needed. Therefore, say 5,000 cows, times 25 gold darics = 125,000 gold darics, roughly 41.66 gold talents. Which it's not that much, considering Carthage must pay Rome after the First War the price of 3,200 gold talents in total over a period of 10 years (that's money!)

One million darics, however, do look too much, to carry around half a ton of gold wouldn't be healthy in a stealth, bribing operation... Carrying all this in silver would mean, at a 1/10 gold/silver ratio typical of the times, that about 1,881,702 silver darics, about 2 tons of silver... not an option, really... Therefore, it should be between 100,000 and 500,000 gold darics, roughly between 40 and 100 Kg of gold coins...

To give more perspective, the cost of a trirreme was roughly 6,000 drachmae, therefore 125,000 gold darics would produce about ten and a half trirremes. Would this be a lot or not? Contributions of 20 and 40 ships to the following battles against Athens were common, I'd say half or a quarter of your fleet is a good bribe! (Modern perspective: think of the trirreme as the nuclear powered submarine of nowadays, you'd be paying 10 subs!)

Sigh, the joy of historical research...


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