Money in Classical Antiquity (Key Themes in Ancient History)

Money in Classical Antiquity (Key Themes in Ancient History)

Sitta von Reden

Language: English

Pages: 260

ISBN: 0521459524

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This is the first book to offer a comprehensive analysis of the impact of money on the economy, society and culture of the Greek and Roman World, using new approaches in economic history to explore how money affected the economy and which factors need to be considered in order to improve our understanding of ancient money. Covering a wide range of monetary contexts within the Mediterranean over almost 1000 years (c. 600 BC - AD 300) its method is comparative and specific in order to demonstrate that money plays different roles under different social and political circumstances. In line with the aim of the Key Themes Series, the book not only offers guidance to students and course directors for studying money at University level, but also some perspectives for future research to graduate students and specialists.

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the equivalences associated with Solon’s legislation (see above). In turn, the reforms provided a stimulus for surplus production necessary to meet agrarian rental obligations (in the classical period regularly paid in cash rather than kind) and to pay for seasonal labour. Changes in the agrarian labour and land regime were not exclusive to Athens, which is deemed to have been a late rather than an exceptional case of the social and economic transformation that took place in the Aegean world

these relationships were subject to frequent change and led to a great degree of uncertainty about the value of money in transactions. In payments by and to the state, the denarius was usually the official accounting standard even when payments were made in other currencies. In some areas we know that reckoning in Roman units (rather than using Roman coins, as is often argued) was enforced by law. Thus an inscription from Thessaly in Northern Greece refers to a directive (diorthoma) of

physical transfer of cash and valuables over considerable distances, with all its inconveniences and dangers . . . From the whole of classical Athens, we hear of only three occasions on which arrangements were made to avoid the actual transference of cash (Lys. .–; Isoc. .–; Dem. .). In each case, arrangements were ad hoc and on an informal basis without any direct involvement of banking institutions. Absence of credit instruments also meant that there could be no creation of credit

bc suggest that Roman finance had changed its pace already in the previous century. Cato the Elder was known for having spread credit among an association of fifty traders to reduce risk and accumulate profit (Plut. Cat. .). Scipio Aemilianus is said to have had more than . million sesterces on deposit with a single banker (Polyb. ..). Details of Roman banking, financial intermediation and credit during the late republic and early empire have thoroughly been re-assessed in a recent

most probably, imported grain (see above). An increase by as much as  per cent of the summer price during the winter months may have been considered quite normal. In Egypt, no more than  per cent price difference between summer and winter prices is attested (figure ). The difference can easily be accounted for by the fact that a market of imported goods is generally more volatile than local markets. Incidentally, the great inter-annual range of wheat prices on Delos may also explain why a

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