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Quantifying the Roman EconomyMethods and Problems$
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Alan Bowman and Andrew Wilson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562596

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562596.001.0001

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Coinage and Metal Supply

Coinage and Metal Supply

Chapter:
(p.281) 13 Coinage and Metal Supply
Source:
Quantifying the Roman Economy
Author(s):

Bruce Hitchner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562596.003.0013

Did the Roman state manipulate the coinage only in response to political or economic problems or to problems of metal supply or was it in any way reacting to problems associated with growth in a hard money economy? This chapter responds to Chapter 12 arguing that manipulations of the coinage, in particular metallurgical manipulation and changes in the volume of coin emission until the mid-3rd century, were as much a consequence of overall economic growth as individual political and economic events. From the standpoint of metallurgical manipulation, it further suggests that increases or decreases in metal extraction for minting purposes may have been closely timed to perceptions of inflationary or deflationary forces, the former requiring increased production of copper, the latter leading to increased demand for new silver and gold. It also contends that state loans, tax remissions, debt cancellations may have functioned as devices to stimulate local economic development.

Keywords:   coinage, metal supply, inflation, deflation, loans, taxes, debt cancellation

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