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Mediterranean Hegemon of Ancient Greece – Chapter 371: Guests from Athens Bahasa Indonesia

Lysias fixed his gaze on a fleet of a dozen ships that appeared in his vision and were sailing ahead of him. And behind the fleet, one could faintly see two massive white breakwaters, like a pair of arms extending from both sides of the coast, as if it is holding back the Crati river from flowing into the sea.

“The current Thurii is completely a different Thurii…” Lysias murmured.

And the Athenian passenger ship finally entered the port and docked.

From the speculation of Isocrates, combined with the information he received about the Theonia Union, and with its location being far from any of the famous trade routes in the eastern and western Mediterranean and having no excellent natural ports, made Lysias believed that the port of Thurii’s maritime trade is mediocre. However, the sight he saw has overturned his idea.

Even though it is not as prosperous as the port of Piraeus, it still had exceeded his imagination, especially the enormous wooden cranes on each dock attracted his attention: Under the handling of a few labourers, they could easily hoist large cargos on the transport ship that usually need more than a dozen powerful men to lift, and then transfer it to the dock.

Isocrates, who was from Athens with its prosperous maritime trade, immediately realised that if they could use this device in the port of Piraeus, they could significantly improve the unloading capacity of the dock to the merchant ships.

Thus he went over to see the detailed structure of the device but was rudely warned by the operator of the crane, “Don’t get too close, else the patrol will detain you.”

Thus Isocrates could only return with resentment.

Suddenly, several burly men arrived in front of Lysias. Then the man at the lead said with a flattering smile, “Hello. I am Sperian, a porter at the port, and this is my number. Do you have anything we need to carry?” He then showed Lysias a small round piece of iron pinned to his chest.

Lysias, who hasn’t returned to Thurii for decades, was really curious. So he took a closer look and saw that the dark iron thing has a pattern of a scale and a string of strange symbols below.

“What’s the use of this thing?” He pointed to the iron thing and asked curiously.

Sperian then said with a bit of pride, “This can prove that I am a porter officially registered in the port management office. So if there are accidents such as cargo loss during our handling, you can complain to the port management office and report this number. After the management office personnel verify the situation, they will then punish me and compensate for your losses so that you can rest assured.”

“This is a number?” Lysias pointed to the strange line of symbols in surprise.

“Of course, but it is not Greek numerals.” Sperian became happy to show his superiority in front of this old man who looks like a scholar, “This is the numerals that our archon, Davos, invented. It’s easy to remember, and it is useful that everyone here uses it everywhere. The number engraved on it is 2410, do you remember?”

Lysias nodded, but his mind shook. It wasn’t because of this strange numeral as he was not a mathematician and is not very sensitive to it. What made him surprised is Thurii’s management of the port, just from the porters alone, the most common and lowest labour force in the port, they are already so meticulous. You could already see the ability of Theonia in managing their city, as even in Athens, there are no such measures to regulate the labourers in the port of Piraeus. Moreover, from this number, the knowledgeable Lysias could feel the busyness of the port of Thurii, which may be more than what he could see with his eyes.

‘It seems like the rise of Theonia in such a short time is not due to luck!’ Lysias became alert in his heart and then reminded himself to remain calm, “Alright, I will hire you to carry the goods. However, there are many potteries in the goods, so please be careful!”

“Rest assured, as I myself can’t even remember how many times I have handled goods such as potteries.” Sperian gave his promise and negotiated for a good price with the attendant of the Athenian envoys.

By this time, Isocrates also came back.

Afterwards, Sperian led the Athenian envoys out of the crowded place and onto the port road with a few men carrying the goods on a cart.

Isocrates then became even surprised that the road was even wider and smoother than the one leading from the port of Piraeus to Athens. He then looked at the things on both sides of the road, such as the gutter and pavements, showing the strict care the Theonians built their roads.

Seeing those made Isocrates a bit depressed at the thought that the Athenians could not compare to them as they focused more on participating in city-state affairs such as politics and courts.

Unable to stop himself, Isocrates crouch down and reach out his hand to touch the greyish-white material that held the stones together so tightly. He then taps on it and felt that the texture was still very hard.

“Isocrates, are you gonna change your profession?” Lysias understood the reason why he did so and could not resist making a joke.

“Is this your first time to Theonia?” Sperian was not surprised by his action, and he then proudly said, “In the territory of Theonia, such roads are everywhere, and they are even wider. And due to the increasing number of merchant ships coming to Thurii each year, this road has been rebuilt many times, leading to most of the surrounding warehouses being demolished. Yet even now, it still seemed a bit narrow.”

‘This is still too narrow?’ Lysias became speechless.

As most of the traffic on this road was wagons and the pedestrians were mainly walking on the pavement, so Sperian had to remind them, “Step back to the pavement and wait for a bit as I will go and bring the wagon. But I should clarify beforehand that the price I negotiated with you before was for delivering the goods only. The city of Thurii is more than 5 kilometres away from the port, so if you choose to walk, we will deliver the goods to the gate and wait for you, but if you choose to come with us and ride my wagon, then you have to pay a bit more.”

Lysias was not bewildered at the cunningness of Sperian. Even though he is a scholar, he has been making his living in Athens by writing defence statements on behalf of others. And because he is relatively poor, he is familiar with things such as bread and butter, “Isn’t there a wagon here for people to ride?”

“Naturally, there are a lot.” Sperian said truthfully, “After leaving the port, there are wagons dedicated to transporting people. However, even though they are much more comfortable than my wagon, their price is much higher, while I will only charge you for a small amount for our hard work.”

For the wealthy Athenians, money is not a problem. However, Isocrates was a bit exhausted and is afraid of trouble, so he still reminded, “We are five people. Can we all fit in your wagon?”

“No problem.” Sperian didn’t lie. As soon after, he brought two wagons.

After Sperian and his men carefully loaded the goods into the wagons, Lysias asked, “Are these the wagons you rented?”

“No, these are my wagons.” Sperian emphasised the word “My” and said proudly, “As a preparatory citizen, I can apply for a loan from the bank of Cheiristoya. Currently, I have already paid the loan and interest on one of the wagons, while I am also almost done with the other one.”

Soon, the two wagons move.

On the first wagon, Sperian accompanied Isocrates and Lysias. Their wagon was the kind that has no canopy, allowing them to have a panoramic view of the port road and its surroundings, which is just what Isocrates wanted. He then noticed that although there are many wagons and carts, they follow some rules, making it not chaotic. And if there is a problem due to congestion, a patrol would quickly arrive to clear it…

On the other hand, Lysias paid more attention to the wagons and carts because they were all pulled by horses. In Lysias’ memory, Thurii was not a city-state abundant in horses, however now, such a large number of horses could be seen in the port, so he asked, “How much is the price of horses here?”

“A mare cost 30 drachmae while a stallion is 22 drachmae.”

“How could it be so cheap?” Lysias was startled.

“Previously, the price of horses in Thurii was more than twice that of now, but ever since Theonia integrated Bruttii, the Bruttians has provided a large number of horses to Thurii’s market. Thus the price of horses has naturally decreased.” Said Sperian while patting the ass of the horse, causing it to neigh. Then he proudly said, “The Bruttian horses are good horses with great strength, stamina and temper. And now, even the Rhegians began buying horses from us, and I estimate that the price will rise in the future…”

While Sperian spoke, the wagon reached the exit of the port. However, the guards at the city wall need to check them before they could pass.

Initially, if Isocrates had indicated to the patrol ship that they were envoys of Athens when their ship entered the estuary of the Crati river, they wouldn’t need to enter the port at all as they would have been led by the patrol ship to the dock in the city of Thurii and directly into the Senate of Theonia. However, Isocrates had his own consideration, so he did not do so.

At this moment, he looked up at the tall walls that towered in front of the wagon, encircling the vast port. He could not help but sigh as he remembers that during the time Athens was powerful, there is also a great wall that protects the port of Piraeus that brought infinite wealth to Athens and connects it all the way to Athens. Unfortunately, after their defeat in the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans forced the Athenians to dismantle the wall. And now that Athens and Thebes joined forces to fight against Sparta, the people became uneasy and are afraid at the thought that the Spartans would break through the isthmus, turning the completely defenceless port of Piraeus into a piece of meat in the mouths of hungry wolves. Thus the ecclesia had proposed several times for the reconstruction of the wall. However, this was a huge undertaking, and with Athens being fully engaged in the war, there are undoubtedly many difficulties. Thus it was eventually shelved due to disputes.

‘The day we rebuilt the wall of the port of Piraeus will be the day Athens rose again!’ Isocrates had his own thoughts regarding this.


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