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The Babylonian bridal auction, described by Herodotus, is regarded as one of the earliest uses of an auction in history. Yet, to our knowledge, the literature lacks a formal equilibrium analysis of this auction. We provide such an analysis for the two-player case with complete and incomplete information, and in so doing identify what we call the 'Herodotus paradox.'


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Games and Economic Behavior. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Games and Economic Behavior, volume 74, issue 1, in 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.07.004

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