- "He's a loyal friend. I don't want his family to starve."
- ―Markos about Duris to Kassandra, 431 BCE[src]
Duris was a merchant who lived in the town of Sami, Kephallonia during the 5th century BCE. He was a friend of Markos, another local who had raised the Spartan exile Kassandra when she was a child. Because of their friendship, Duris often relied upon loans from Markos to provide food for his family.
An friend of Markos and the misthios Kassandra, Duris often borrowed money from the former only to fail to pay him back unless threatened by Kassandra. Nonetheless, his family depended on the loans to survive.
In 431 BCE, he once again owed money to Markos, but Markos himself was in debt to not only Kassandra but the Cyclops of Kephallonia. While the former would not harm Markos and Duris, the Cyclops was a notorious thug who held an iron grip on the Kephallonians with his bandits and mercenaries. The drachmae Markos borrowed from the Cyclops was used to purchase a vineyard for himself in the hopes that the newfound income would quickly allow him to repay all debts; it was a gamble that Duris believed was foolish but which endangered Markos' life if he did not cover his debt by paying him back in turn.
When Kassandra arrived one day at Duris's stall to collect the money, which Markos had assured her would be credited towards her portion of his debt, Duris refused her, explaining that Markos had doubled his debt with interest. This rendered him unable to deliver the full sum in a timely manner without impoverishing himself. Under pressure by the mercenary, Duris responded by deriding Markos for taking a loan from the Cyclops, news that Markos had kept hidden from Kassandra. Thereupon, the mercenary either forced Duris to immediately pay back his debt by destroying his wares or dropped the matter, recognizing that a talk with Markos about his recklessness was more important. If Kassandra had indeed taken the latter, friendlier course of action, then Duris had given her his sword in gratitude.
Personality and characteristics
A humble merchant by profession, Duris was regarded by Markos as an amiable and loyal friend, and for this reason, Duris was always able to borrow money from Markos even though he often failed to pay off his debt in time. In spite of this, the two had to mind their own financial interests, and while Markos would apply interest for late payments, Duris was not above withholding them for his family's security. In one incident, when Duris discovered that Markos had himself borrowed money from the Cyclops of Kephallonia, his refusal to pay off his debt was factored not just by the savings needed for his family but also by his fear of being associated with Markos' debt to the Cyclops. He was so disdainful towards Markos' scheme, believing it irrational and crazy, that he boldly lashed out at Kassandra when she came to collect it despite her prodding.
Even so, he was known to cave into Kassandra's demands whenever she herself threatened him if he did not return the money he owed. He had little respect for the occupation of a mercenary, but he was capable of expressing gratitude with gifts when treated with kindness. In this light, Duris was a man who could be defiant towards pressure and foolhardiness but generous towards compassion.
- Kassandra can choose to either destroy Duris' wares, attack Duris himself and killing him, or forgo the debt and return to Markos directly.