Greek debt – remember the goats
Greece’s creditors have essentially let it off the hook by overwhelmingly agreeing to take a 74 percent loss. So what better time to remember one of the first times Athens got in trouble with paying its debts.
In 490 BC, the bucolic plains before the town of Marathon were the site of a bloodbath. Invading Persians lost a key battle against Greeks, who were led by the great Athenian warrior Kallimachos, aka Callimachus.
The trouble is, Kallimachos shares some of the difficulty with numbers that modern Greek leaders appear to have. Before launching himself upon the Persians, he pledged to sacrifice a young goat to the Gods for every enemy that was killed.
His troops slaughtered some 6,400 invaders. Unfortunately the Athenians didn’t have that many young goats. So they had to spread the repayment and legend has it that it took them a century to honour the pledge.
Apparently, Zeus and the other Gods had not heard of the Institute of International Finance and were unwilling to take a 74 percent cut in goats.