Solon orde­red in Athens that the body would no lon­ger be requi­red to secure civil debts.1 He took this law from Egypt : Bocchoris had made it, and Sesostris had rene­wed it.2 Though this law is very good for ordi­nary civil mat­ters,3 we are right not to observe it in mat­ters of trade. For inas­much as dea­lers are obli­ged to entrust large sums often for very short times, to pay them and reco­ver them, the deb­tor must always ful­fill his enga­ge­ments at the fixed time, which assu­mes bodily cons­traint.

In mat­ters that derive from ordi­nary civil contracts, the law should not allow a per­son to be held, because it gives prio­rity to one citi­zen’s free­dom over ano­ther’s conve­nience. But in conven­tions that derive from com­merce, the law must prio­ri­tize public conve­nience over a citi­zen’s free­dom, which does not pre­vent the res­tric­tions and limi­ta­tions that huma­nity and good public order might require.

Plutarch, in the treatise “That we ought not to borrow.”

Diodorus, book I, part 2, ch. iii.

Greek legislators were amiss in prohibiting taking a man’s weapons and wagon as collateral, and allowing the seizure of the man himself (Diodorus, book I, part 2, ch. iii).