Some Numismatic Approaches to Quantifying the Roman Economy
This chapter outlines prospective numismatic contributions to the quantification of the Roman economy. Attention is drawn to the potential of the programme of metal analysis of the Roman silver coinage being undertaken by Ponting and Butcher. By way of example, four economic topics which may be illuminated by their work are identified: (1) the use of debasement as an indicator of the fiscal inadequacy of the Roman Empire; (2) the analysis of the extent to which price change was driven by monetary change; (3) the relevance to economic modelling of the extent to which monetary change proceeded in parallel across the Roman world; and (4) the significance of the maintenance of a fixed bimetallic system to our understanding of the Roman economy and its potential contribution to economic theory.
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