Schaps, David M.

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Silver, Morris

Published through (April 2004)

David M. Schaps, The invention of Coinage and also the Monetization of old Greece. Ann Arbor: university of Michigan Press, 2004. Xvii + 293 pp. $75 (cloth), ISBN: 0-472-11333-X.

Reviewed for through Morris Silver, department of business economics (Emeritus), City college of the City college of new York.

briefly stated, David Schaps’ main argument runs together follows:

Coinage = Money (in the Greek experience the two are equated) was designed in greek or Asia minor (Lydia) in the later seventh or earlier sixth century. The Greeks eagerly copied/adapted this innovation and it spread quickly in your cities during the sixth century. The result was a profound transformation in Greek economy and also society. Prior to the Greek fostering of coinage, the old Mediterranean human being knew only primitive money, not money together we know it. Primitive money to be incapable of generating the transformation that greek experienced.

I start with a variety of quotations capturing the argument and also then, in the main part of the review, move on to think about the details.

This publication will tell the story… that the development of money both in the near East and also in Greece up to the development of coinage and also its widespread adoption by the Greek cities, the only areas that embraced it wholstarrkingschool.neteartedly in ~ its very first appearance. (17)

Something new happened with the innovation of coinage, and also it developed a brand-new idea that persists come our day. (5)

I have actually tried throughout only to sketch the methods in which Greek thought and also bstarrkingschool.netavior were readjusted by the arrival of money. (vii)

From the Greeks onward, we uncover a new way of speaking and ofthinking. Currently a person might state the entirety of a housstarrkingschool.netold’s possessions in regards to money, together no member the a premonetary society would ever before do. (16)

One that the central propositions the this book is that as soon as we speak historically, the creation of coinage to be the development of money: the is, the ide that we understand as “money” did no exist prior to the seventh century B.C.E., once coins were first minted. There surely had been countless items before that we might recognize correctly, together money, there were even places…where a single item performed all the functions associated with money. Never ever before, however, had these items to be conceptualized together money, because that money to the Greeks, as to us, to be the measure up of all things, something various in nature from all the valuables that can represent it. (15; focus in original)

All ancient Near east societies had actually a traditional standard of value, normally precious metals or a stated grain. The conventional of payment was constantly “primitive money,” never ever coin, and it go not constantly perform every the functions that coin was later on to perform…. If Greece to be the cradle the coinage and also Lydia that birthplace, the cultures of the Near east were its ancestors. (34)

Schaps web links the extraordinary Greek adoption of coinage through Greek backwardness. The Greeks… who had only very primitive forms of currency, believed of coins together they had actually never assumed of those items in which they had once traded, evaluated and also paid. An ideal that had actually grown increase in the eastern at a time when Greece had no need for it suddenly dawned ~ above the Greeks as soon as coins appeared. It was a time when the Greeks were in a duration of economic and intellectual expansion for which their fairly primitive economic principles did not administer an adequate basis…. Precisely because of their financial backwardness, they had actually no sufficient preexisting conceptual structure to complete with or subordinate the idea of money. (16-17)

Why go the old Near east (ANE) not relocate from a very evident monetization come “money, together we understand it”? an innovation would not have actually raised a barrier to the transformation. Why were coins so interesting to the Greeks and so uninteresting to their neighbors? The answer is the they fill a need peculiar come Greek society…. It to be Greece the was looking for brand-new forms of government and administration to control the brand-new complexity the the poleis and brand-new ways of organization to maintain its people, and also coins make that administration and that organization easier and much more manageable than spits and also cauldrons could have done. (108)

This is interesting, however not entirely convincing. An different line of explanation is that coinage (guaranteed money) is not virtually as important financially as Schaps supposes. The alleged special interest of the Greeks in coinage might then reflect one ideological measurement peculiar come the Greeks. Schaps mentions “the details Greek evaluation of the universality of money” (196). Over there is also a genuine question, explored below, whether greece was really so bstarrkingschool.netind monetarily together Schaps suggests.

Schaps’ presentation is fairly clear and, obviously, over there is rich material here. The check out that coinage was designed by the Lydians is one that is generally embraced by scholars. I do have some troubles with the equation of money through coinage and also the definition of “primitive money.” there is additionally something that a trouble with respect to whom, follow to Schaps, invented coinage: ~ above the one hand, the Lydians created coins and then the Greeks eagerly used them. ~ above the other hand, the time once the Greeks eagerly provided coins is the moment of invention. These are reasonably minor issues and also I placed them aside. On to the details!

I. Go the ancient Near eastern Know Coinage?

A. Indirect Evidence

1. Schaps says that a “discussion of the factors that get in price decision does not kind part that this book, for their prestige arises in a money economy, and also the allude at i m sorry the Greeks accomplished a money economic situation is the point at which this examine ends” (30). Ns am not sure precisely what this means. Schaps is perhaps saying that the forces of supply and demand recognize prices just in an economic climate with money, which the equates with coinage. This is, of course, totally false. Later Schaps to add “The Babylonian economic climate was quiet not, together it would come to be in the Hellenistic period, dominated by a sector where prices changed each day; however it was not immune to the law of supply and demand” (49). This is a heroic understatement! back we execute not have everyday price data, over there is ample evidence of price changes and of the procedure of supply and demand. Indeed, the Old Babylonian duration (earlier 2nd millennium BCE) has been identified by Hallo (1958: 98) together one in i beg your pardon “there to be a price on whatever from the skin of a gored ox come the privilege that a temple office.”

2. Silver- was without doubt used as a means of payment in the ANE. However, fairly than spreading through the population, it stayed in the hands of merchants. “It never ever became, as coins at some point would, associated with wide range itself. It can not have done so, if only due to the fact that too few people own it. Because that this reason, the Babylonians never thought of silver as we think that money” (51).

The surviving documents do not demonstrate that Mesopotamians assumed of money in the same means the Greeks did. Fist is justified around the reason for this presumed difference. Over there is evidence for the dispersal the precious metals in the population. As beforstarrkingschool.netand as the center of the third millennium in Ebla (in Syria) silver was used to acquisition ordinary products including clothing and also grain as well as wine and also semi-precious stones (Archi 1993: 52). Mesopotamian texts of the middle of the second fifty percent of the third millennium already show us street vendors, and, follow to Foster (1977: 35-36, nn. 47, 48), the use of silver- to salary rents and also purchase dates, oil, barley, animals, slaves, and also real estate; in addition, “silver was widely offered in personal loans and was regularly in possession of personal citizens and officials.”

3. Schaps asserts “The silver of the Near eastern had never ever been coined; it to be weighed at each transaction, and also the scale was vital accessory come every sale” (49). This statement may reflect basic belief, however it goes beyond the evidence. That is no true that ANE messages invariably point out weighing and/or scales. Indeed, to mine knowledge, the point out of scales is infrequent. Nevertheless, Schaps is on strong ground in stressing the centrality that weighing in transactions recorded in the Bible.<1>

B. Straight Evidence

Schaps maintains the “an examination of the various primitive items that have at once or one more been claimed to it is in coins fails to reveal any clear example, and also it might be useful to clear the air of the miscellaneous hypotheses, i beg your pardon by their an extremely number can develop the false impression the coinage was common in the eastern Mediterranean basin long prior to the Lydians and also the Greeks” (222-23). Elsewhere he maintains that “the verisimilitude of the coming before suggestion is not much over zero” (235). Schaps might well be exactly in rejecting this hypothesis. However, his treatment of the evidence leaves other to it is in desired.

1. The evidence is fairly clear that the ANE go a good part of the method toward coinage by circulating ingots of guarantee quality. Assyrian loan contracts of the eighth to saturday centuries use assorted formulas to breakthrough “silver the (the goddess) Ishtar (of the city) Arbela (or or little Kidmuri).” Lipinski (1979) argued brilliantly versus interpreting this expression to mean “temple capital.” expressions of this kind, the suggested, refer to the quality of the metal, and their consists in contracts makes no feeling unless the metal is impressed through a rubber stamp of guarantee. The exercise of guaranteeing steel quality, it might be added, probably goes earlier to the second millennium. The expression “silver of the gods” is uncovered in messages from Mari in Syria and also Amarna in Egypt. Because that example, in a letter concerning the disposition of one inheritance the king of Mari describes the deceased person’s “silver of the gods” (Malamat 1998: p. 185; cf. CAD s.v. Ilu 1.e).

In mentioning the ingots native the temple of Arbela Schaps concludes: There was nothing specifically important around this advance as far as Assyria was concerned. The temple’s ingots, also if stamped, were no an ext than great quality silver…. That will have actually been the service of a vendor to identify them and also to know good silver native bad, however there was nothing revolutionary around them. Lock may have come in practically sizes…, yet they to be hardly standardized, and also it is difficult to imagine the a vendor would have actually failed to put them on the scale before accepting them. (92)

A insurance of metal quality surely lessened the transaction expense of using money and it is as such puzzling the Schaps considers this a development small or no importance. Moreover, the goes past the proof in saying the the ingots were no standardized in weight. The texts perform not say the the ingots were weighed.

2. Schaps to write of the Egyptian shaty “piece”: “It is regularly provided as an object of account, not a medium of trade: that is, no ‘pieces’ but other items adjusted hands, bartered for each other and evaluated in terms of ‘pieces"” (224-25). In fact, there is proof for the circulation the shaty‘s in texts of the Ramesside era (second half of the second millennium). In the Eighteenth Dynasty, a text (Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1453A) records the distribution of silver- shaty‘s to a woman at the meryet “quay, marketplace” (Condon 1984: 63-65). In Papyrus Boulaq 11 sellers pay for quantities of meat and also wine with shaty‘s (Castle 1992: 253, 257; Peet 1934). The texts do not say that the shaty‘s to be weighed or tested because that quality.

3. Schaps discusses the Egyptian Hekanakht letters of around 2000 BCE, yet he walk not refer to the following significant detail. Copper coins may be shown when Hekanakht sends to his certified dealer “24 copper debens” for renting land. James (1984: 245) describes that “the letter says quite plainly ’24 copper debens,’ no ’24 debens of copper,’ which ought to denote 24 piece of copper each weighing, one deben.”

4. Schaps go not cite texts native the Assyrian trading terminal in Anatolia (earlier second millennium BCE) in which us sometimes find prices gift expressed in terms of copper ingots, patallu and sad?lu. Thus, one Dakuku “owes 12 copper sad?lus as the price the donkey.” Dercksen (1996. 60, n. 179) notes that “quantity is express by simply offering the number of ingots rather of your weight points come a more or less customary weight and also size for this type” (emphasis added). I would add that usage of the variety of ingots likewise points come a conventional quality.

5. Schaps specifies “coin” as follows: “ coin is an object, usually but not have to of metal, which circulates as a medium of trade, and also whose worth is guaranteed by the stamp of the issuing authority” (223). He adds: “We may for this reason ignore without more discussions together items together spits, rings, and sealed bags that silver, i beg your pardon although castle served numerous of the objectives that coins later on served were not by us coins at all. Castle belong come the history of ‘primitive money’… (223).

Schaps’ dismissal of sealed bags of silver is many puzzling and also instead of skip these, he uses a brief discussion of your significance. He concludes that “When silver was to be reused, a particular amount was provided to the assayer in advance. Whatever the assayer go not use was sealed through a royal seal, obviating the require for weighing and assaying it again. The ‘sealed silver,’ then, is ordinary silver sealed in a sack, not a coin” (223-24).

In my view, sealed bags provide evidence because that widespread use of “coinage” in the ANE. The elevator is together follows. Cuneiform sources that the very first half the the second millennium describe sealed bags of silver- (e.g. Kaspum kankum). Us hear the “(silver) in lumps-sealed in a bag” (CAD s.v. Kankua) and also “x silver- which is put in that sealed bag” (CAD s.v. Kan?ku 2). There is likewise mention of silver- “marked” (udd?) through its weight (CAD s.v. Id? 4.a). Copper might likewise be packed into purses referred to as (c)hurshianu (CAD s.v.; Dercksen 1996: 66)

The sealed bags can be transferred: “I necessary (and request you because that in writing) ten shekels of silver under seal.” x silver which PN provided to PN2 , and which is significant with the surname of the merchant. (CAD s.v. S(umu 1.e); “you have actually sent me silver- which is not fit for business transactions… send me silver, (in) a sealed bag” (CAD s.v. Kaniktu 2). Oppenheim (1969) makes short mention of picture writing sources that the an initial half the the second millennium that refer to sealed bags of silver- deposited v persons who used the silver in various transactions. Many directly, the practice of transacting through sealed bags of silver- is reflected in the call, in eighteenth-century contract from Mesopotamia (the city of Larsa), for vendors to pay for palace-owned goods with “sealed silver” (Stol 1982: 150-51). The transactional use of sacks is ignored through S.<2>

Some years ago, in reflecting on these references, it emerged to me the in eleventh-century-CE Egypt and elsewhere in phibìc Africa, in Talmudic time (400-500 CE) and earlier in Carthage and in Rome (the tesserae nummulariae), miscellaneous coins and also (probably) metal pieces were maintained in purses labeling on the outside with the contents and also sealed by governments or personal merchants. In addition to maintaining the coins “fresh” — that is, maintaining their complete weight — Udovitch (1979: 267), who studied the usage in medieval Islam, explains: “these packaged and labeled purses made settlement of accounts much much more convenient… by obviating the should weigh, array, and also evaluate coins for every individual transaction. Significantly, many payments and transfers that funds to be executed by the actual physical carry of the purses.” We may assume that these purses circulated amongst the wealthier classes.

Schaps responds together follows: “ silver- (126-27) obfuscates this point, going therefore far as to say that (medieval Islamic!) sealed purses ‘in short… were large denomination coins.’ This is for sure to increase the meaning of a coin far past reason” (224, n. 9). Schaps acquired this quote from my 1985 edition. In 1995 i wrote: “In short, the sealed purses functioned as large-denomination ‘coins"” (161). The reason for the change in formulation is the numismatic specialists and also antiquarians insisted the coins had actually to be made of metal. Ns was hammered ~ above this, to an economist, not important detail. Schaps? properly broadened meaning of “coin” provides my original formulation perfect appropriate. Under his meaning a “nickel,” as he says, have the right to be wooden and “a dollar bill would additionally count together a ‘coin’ (223, n. 3). The important suggest is the there is proof to imply that the kaspum kankum operated as/were coins!

6. Schaps does not cite evidence listed by Joann’s (1989). Hammurabi (1792-1750) paid/rewarded Mari’s soldiers through (mysterious) shamsh?tum “sun discs,” gold rings, silver of 5 or 10 shekels, and with little pieces of silver impressed v a seal. Joann?s bases himself on ARMT 25, 815 and also a letter (A-486+) to Zimri-Lim, the king of Mari. The crucial word here is kaniktum native kan?kum “to mark a seal” (see CAD s.vv.). In the absence of (additional?) evidence for the use of kaniktum to make payments, Joann?s argues that these sealed metal objects may have actually been “medals.” Perhaps. ~ above the various other hand, possibly they to be coins. Indeed, as far as i am aware, the evidence for coinage is much more ample than the proof for “medals”! The message is silent around whether and also how Mari’s soldiers spent the tiny pieces the sealed silver.

7. Number of bread-shaped ingots that the eighth century inscribed v the name of a king preceded by the Aramaic letter lamed have actually been discovered in the royal residence of Zinjirli, a phibìc Syrian state situated on the only good crossing that the Amanus hills from eastern to west. The an interpretation of the own l is debated. One opportunity is the it means “belonging to” in the sense of personal possession. Balmuth (1971: 3), however, suggests that it means “on bstarrkingschool.netalf of” or “in the surname of” (its meaning on coins of later on times) and, therefore, the the engraving represents a imperial guarantee the the metal. Any type of such guarantee could refer only to the high quality of the metal or to both quality and also weight. Schaps responds together follows: “But over there is no indication that this disk… was ever before meant come be money at all, and coins go not come to be current in this area till centuries later” (91, n.52). Thus, Schaps come close come saying the the ingot might not it is in a coin because they had actually not been developed yet! Schaps believes the the disks to be designed because that storage of wealth, no for do payments. Possibly he has actually guessed right. The truth is, however, the there is merely no evidence past the enrolled ingots themselves.

As ns will present next, Schaps needs much more from the close to Eastern coinage proof than indigenous the Greek.

II. Greek Coinage Evidence

1. There is clear proof of a double standard in Schaps’ factor to consider of the Lydian evidence (93-6). The “Lydian” coins excavated in the Artemision at Ephesus are largely dated come the seventh and earlier 6th centuries BCE. However, the dating remains controversial. Two of the piece were dumps no coins. The definition of their inscriptions is still gift debated. All however two the the ninety-three pieces conformed come the Milesian weight standard. Over there is no evidence that merchants would not have had to weigh them. Over there is no straight evidence that the coins circulated. The coins are made of the not correct metal, electrum instead of silver, gold, or copper. (Variation in the ratio of gold to silver, would seem to speak to for quality testing.) In short, regardless of numerous avenues for raising objections, Schaps does not hesitate to contact the find in the Artemision, the “earliest datable coins” (93; focus added).

Schaps defines further: “The motivation bstarrkingschool.netind the ‘cutting’… of such coins must have been quite different from the an inspiration of the holy place of Arbela in spreading its ingots. Ingots of a lb or so are a convenient way in which to save silver, and they to be probably created that purpose. Small and minutely subdivided weights of electrum , however, were indeed made because that payment not storage” (100). Possibly. However, there is evidence for the circulation that the Arbela ingots. A contract in which neither the temple nor the commercial agent is a party mirrors the silver being borrow out. The document originates some 50 miles from Arbela. ~ above the other hand, no direct evidence is presented that the Ephesus coins circulated.

Contrast Schaps’ evaluation of the Artemision coins through his view of the Cappadocian command disks, i m sorry may day to the mid-second millennium (225-26). The “ornamentation” on (one side) the the disks is similar but no identical. The disks “vary irregularly in weight.” They are made the the “wrong metal.” there is no proof of “circulation from location to place.” Scholars have actually expressed doubts that “such tiny bits of lead can have had actually much financial value” (225). “Nothing suggests that they room coins except their size and also shape and the reality that they space made that metal…” (225). It would certainly seem that ANE candidates for designation as early on coins are always too huge or too little or whatever.

2. Schaps walk not demonstrate that the Greece took its catalyst from Lydian coins. Schaps explains: “The Greek coins to be silver, not electrum…. The readjust to silver suggests that coins, also if lock had begun as a systems to the problem of the variability that electrum, had come to be appreciated as what they now were: a countable unit that value” (104; focus added). Clearly, this terminology just assumes an imitation and modification of Lydian coinage practices.

3. Over there are clues that the Greeks had long been acquainted with “primitive money” or even coinage. Greek traditions and also legends ar coinage much earlier than the 6th century. Thus, Plutarch (Theseus 25.3) wrote in the an initial century CE that Theseus, the legendary unifier and king that Attica, issued coins. In the 2nd century CE, the scholar Pollux (9.83), claimed that coinage was developed by the even an ext shadowy Athenian number Erichthonius, very early king. We find reports in old literary sources that Pheidon, king of Argos, presented a silver coinage probably as beforstarrkingschool.netand as the eighth century (see S 101-4).

Hacksilber “cut-silver” hoards have not been uncovered inside Greece. However, an eighth century hoard to be excavated in Eretria in Euboea. (The Taranto 1911 hoard is date to c. 600.) Balmuth (1975: 296) argues that “although many of these have been called silversmith’s hoards, the practicability of exchange by weight suggests that Hacksilber can simultaneously it is in both material for a jeweler and also material because that exchange.” Schaps does no “believe over there was ever before an internal bullion economy in Greece” (195).<3> However, Kim (2001) has actually presented proof that money the weighed silver bullion to be employed in the Greek world well prior to the advent of coinage. There are recommendations to the use of silver to pay fines in Solon’s time.

More importantly, Schaps gives evidence continuous with bullion usage. In the eighth century, at Gortyn in Crete, the leb?s “cauldron” was offered to do payments. Schaps defines that “it is tough to to escape the impression the cauldrons, as inconvenient together they may seem to be, to be functioning as a method of payment… in which fines could be assessed and also deposits demanded” (83, cf. 195). Actually, it is preposterous the physical cauldrons were offered as way of payment. An ext reasonably, “cauldrons” could be the name for one ingot, maybe stamped with the photo of a cauldron. Mysterious monetary units are, after all, popular in the historical documents. Thus, a text from the ANE (Isin) documents the acquisition of one orchard because that copper “hoes” ((c)haputu) inscribed with the surname of the goddess Ninisina. Payments are additionally made in “sickles” and also “axes” (CAD niggallu 1.b).

III. Alleged Revolutionary effect of Coinage/Money

Schaps’ central proposition is not documented in a credible manner. In this endeavor, that receives only minimal mileage native his strained identification of coinage with money. Sometimes he cases for money/coin the impacts of Greek financial growth. In various other instances, he admits the no change occurred. The quote cited listed below illustrate his difficulties.

1. “The conceptual revolution that identified coins through wealth rotate money into an item of i beg your pardon one might never have too much, or, indeed, enough” (175). What then of the Assyrian vendors of the early 2nd millennium BCE who wives scolded them “You love only money, and also you hate your own life!” (Larsen 1982: 42)? more to the point, what that Solon (Fragment 13.43-45. 47-48, 71-73 West):

One hastens after ~ one thing, another after miscellaneous else; one man, desiring to lug home profit, wanders end the fishy sea in ships … another, whose concern is the bent plow, cleaves the more thick wooded land and also slaves away because that a year… but no border of wealth is plainly laid under for men; for those of united state who now have the biggest livelihood have twice the eagerness ; who can meet all? (Balot 2001: 90)Presumably, this check out originates in the late archaic duration — i.e. Before the Greeks embraced coinage. In any kind of event, Solon go not attach human acquisitiveness v coinage or money.

2. “To the extent, then, the Homeric culture had distinguished prestige goods from nonprestige goods, money subverted the distinction: money can buy anything and could be gotten in exchange for anything. It complies with that even a peasant or a shopkeeper might amass enough money come buy the most prestigious goods; and it adhered to from this that the possession that those goods, which is currently open to everybody, no longer identified the finest from the worst” (117).

3. “The history of the late antiquated age in greek is the story of the not correct of oligarchies. This development was already underway before coinage had actually been invented…. Nevertheless, the is more than probable the money and also the market had actually their re-superstructure in continuing the process and in an altering the entire ide of oligarchy” (120).

4. One (alleged) trend from socially installed transactions come impersonal business economics should not be attributed to the fostering of coinage. There is no doubt that financial transactions tended, as Greek society developed from the archaic age to the classical and also the Hellenistic, to be much more a matter of prompt mutual financial benefit and also less a form of discharging society obligations. The creation of coinage definitely facilitated this change, which may, however, have been propelled an ext by simple population growth than by any technical or cultural development. (33)

5. “The agora flourished up in the Kerameikos, the potters quarter, and also excavations have found evidence that potters’ waste as far back as 1000 B.C.E., yet there room not other indications of advertising or industrial task before the expansion of the agora chin ” (113). “We cannot… prove that there was no sleeve trade prior to coins to be invented; yet what we have seen argues that if there was any, there was not much” (115). The latter suggestion, however, go not rely so much on “what we have actually seen” together on what we have actually not, specific the archaic agora! “The ar in which Athenians had previously congregated to be hardly mental by the Athenians and has no been securely determined to this day” (113).

In the end, Schaps offers a more balanced appraisal. The assorted participants “were every making a profit, and they to be doing that in a method that would have actually been a great deal more complicated before the development of coinage” (115). “Money, we might reiterate, did not produce trade, but it significant the start of a brand-new age of business in Greece” (122). “An expansion of retail trade was the an initial visible concomitant of coins. In ~ this distance, we cannot call which is cause and which is effect, but we can say at the very least that the marketplace and also coinage prospered up together” (196).

6. “Without money, the an excellent temples, the dramatic festivals of Athens, its navy, and its democracy would have actually taken a really different form, if they had pertained to exist at all” (197). This is just a reach.

7. “Merkelbach’s observation that a bordello to be hardly conceivable before the innovation of money is a plausible one, though the ‘money’ associated need not have been coins: the weighed silver- of the Levant would likewise have been sufficient” (160). “Merkelbach’s observation” is “plausible” only due to the fact that he go not identify money through coinage. Exactly how did Greeks salary for sexual services before the (alleged) “invention” of coinage/money in the 6th century? Schaps does not tell us.

8. “The old Greeks, even when money had come to be the universal tool of exchange, still thought about the exchange of job for money to be the superior case” (162). No revolution in the job market.

9. “In sum, it shows up that money never ever truly reinvented Greek agriculture” (172).

Schaps, however, underestimates the sector orientation that Greek farming in the later archaic period. Citing Hesiod (Works and Days 618-94), the (89, cf. 119) says that “Peasants might try to readjust an agricultural surplus into a much more lasting type of wide range by cruising abroad during the seasons as soon as the farm could be left alone.” What precisely was the “more lasting form of wealth” in this days (allegedly) prior to money/coin? with respect come Schaps? “agricultural surplus,” Redfield 2003: 168) points the end that Hesiod advises “peasants” to “leave the better part, and also load together cargo the lesser” (Works and Days 690). Hesiod that seems have the right to actually imagine farming entirely for export, although the is versus it.” Moreover, Hesiod’s comment that “wealth way life to bad mortals” suggests an appreciation of production for the market.

IV. Peripheral Contributions

Apart indigenous his main argument, Schaps renders a number of rather interesting and also useful observations. Some instances follow.

“When the palaces had actually been burned and their far-flung bureaucracy dispersed, over there will have been an ext need because that exchange. The Homeric heroes did indeed have to weigh the value of a slave against the worth of a tripod; if this appears to us a step toward the principle of money, that is no for that factor a authorize of an widening economy” (71). Thus, as I would see this, the Homeric era deserve to be viewed and also an “Intermediate Period” the a form familiar in Egyptian economic history.

Speaking the the marketplace in Athens, Schaps notes: this merchandises were not mixed: not only was there no one ‘general store’ that sold them all, yet there to be not also a solitary place whereby one could ‘do the shopping.’ every merchandise had its own component of the agora, and also a human being would speak of gift ‘among the fish’ or ‘among the banks.’ (167)

Or even, citing Aristophanes, “among the tragedies” (S 167, n. 19)!

Schaps (123) cites Aristophanes’ joke the a politician could win public assistance by lowering the price of sardines.

Schaps take away up personal enterprise in the coinage business: the might, in theory, have actually happened the coining would certainly have become a kind of business, in i beg your pardon private individuals turned silver into coins that would have actually been welcomed by the call of the coiner…. The did not occur in Greece. When coinage was generally embraced in Greek cities, the coining of money was normally a state monopoly. (179)

By contrast, I would suggest, several of the inscriptions on the coins native the Artemision coins seem come be personal names, i beg your pardon leaves open up the possibility that the issuers were exclusive individuals.

Large service loans to be made at Athens. “It is true, however, that huge loans in ~ Athens were, as much we deserve to tell, never ever designed to it is in paid off in drips and drabs the end of one’s continual income” (245).

There are likewise some fairly unfortunate observations. “Bstarrkingschool.netind the prejudice despite hardly ever explicitly expressed, lies a real paradox, namely, the syllogism that: (a) a trade must be fair; (b) if a profession is fair, both sides must remain through the same value; whence it adheres to that (c) if a person can increase his capital by trade, the is cheating someone” (177). It have to be needless to say that there is no “real paradox.” an uncoerced exchange services both parties. Uneven each contractor see his postexchange position to be exceptional to his preexchange position, exchange will not take place. Contrary to the Marxist perspective, exchange is productive. Specifically, profession rearranges an existing stock of goods in a method that enables each participant come become much better off together measured family member to his very own values at the moment of deciding to trade. The an innovative nature of profession is tiny appreciated by scholar untrained in simple economic principles. Schaps (177, n. 7) compounds the trouble by minimizing the contribution of the middleman in “making a market.” Later, he redeems himself by crediting the obolostat?s “obol weigher” because that smoothing the function of the marketplace by “redistributing — because that a fee — the coins the circulated in the industry so that any seller can count ~ above finding sufficient coins to begin a day’s business” (186).

Concluding Remark

Not surprisingly, Schaps falls short to show his thesis the coin=money transformed Greek economy and society. In my judgment, the is not almost enough to point out the obvious benefits of coins in retail trade and also to keep in mind that a Greek housstarrkingschool.netold might now refer the entirety of that is possessions in regards to money. V respect to the innovation of coinage, the communis opinio has actually long been the it an initial appeared in the Greek world, not in the near East. Schaps, to his credit, does check out the evidence for coinage in the close to East. However, that omits or misrepresents much and also treats the remainder in one unbalanced manner. He has actually a propensity to make definitive statements not supported by evidence. External his main argument, the has numerous worthwhile things to say. The last insights are sufficient to justification a favorable review of the book.


1. In Genesis 23.16, Abraham “weighed” because that Ephron’s ar the sum of 400 shekels of silver- kesep ‘?ber lass?cher. The latter phrase is usually translated “current money the the merchant,” but the literal definition is “silver passing for the merchant.” The expression renders us focus on the sort of silver that would certainly be work in commerce. Hurowitz (1986: 290, n.3), taking keep in mind of the Old Assyrian consumption kaspum asshumi PN (personal name) equlam ittiq — “silver will take trip overland come the surname of PN” — concludes the the silver “must have actually been of a standard, recognized quality.” over there is no mention in Genesis the a test of the top quality of the metal. Hence, it seems reasonable that a merchant’s rubber stamp or seal guaranteed the silver. Schaps (91, n. 50) rejects this interpretation. That (228, n. 37) is correct in insisting the the silver- was weighed

2. Regardless of the dangers, some biblical evidence should be noted. In 2 queens 12.10-12 we check out that in the ninth century under King Jstarrkingschool.netoash: a box v a hole boring in that was set up in the temple for the arsenal of silver- because that a repair fund; in ~ a certain point the Temple policemans removed the silver from the box and also “tied that up”/”bagged it” ; then the silver was count ; and also then the “measured”/”regulated” silver was given to builders who ceded it to miscellaneous workers at the holy place who used it to purchase timber and also stone. The text does no say that the sacks were opened up in stimulate to make payments. Thus, expressing every due caution, the most straight understanding is that the sacks circulated exterior the Temple.

3. Over there is some reason to think that terms originally an interpretation “weigh” involved have the meaning “pay” (compare S 228, n. 37) The Greek material provides a feasible example that this kind of breakthrough in meaning. A regulation of Solon states: “Silver is to be stasimon at yet much the lender may choose” (Kroll 2001: 78; Schaps 2001: 97). The orator Lysias (later fifth-earlier fourth century BCE) describes “This stasimon, my an excellent man, is not a matter of put in a balance yet of exacting interest at everything rate one might choose” (10.18). Schaps (2001: 98) concedes that stasis may refer to weighing however he opposes Kroll’s interpretation of Lysias as referring come an useless procedure, the weighing of silver- on a scale: “The case hinges on the presumption the stasimon ‘properly’ should median ‘weighable’; yet there are no parallels because that such a meaning.” What climate does stastimon average in Solon’s law? follow to Schaps (2001: 98) the word way “nothing an ext than ‘is to be paid’.”

In fact, there room no other instances of the usage of stasimos in the definitions “weighing” (Kroll) or “paying” (Schaps). What is clean is that “There is an pure connection in between the adjective stasimos and the noun stasis, both obtained from the verb hist?mi ‘to stand up, to cause to was standing up” (David Tandy an individual correspondence date March 2, 2004; LSJ s.v. Hist?mi). The verb hist?mi is well attested in the definition “to weigh.”

In classical Athens, long after the introduction of coins, we discover the term obolostate? “weigh obols” in the meaning “making tiny loans” (LSJ s.v.). There is proof here the an advancement from “weighing” come “paying.”


CAD: Gelb et al., The Assyrian dictionary of the asian Institute (University of Chicago)

LSJ: Lidell, Scott, Jones, Greek-English Lexicon References


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Morris silver is Professor Emeritus of business economics in the City university of the City college of new York. His most recent publications around ancient economies are Taking old Mythology financially (Leiden: Brill, 1992) and Economic structures of antiquity (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995). “Modern Ancients” is forthcoming in Rollinger and Ulf (eds.), Commerce and Monetary solution in the ancient World , Fifth yearly Melammu Conference 2002. Professor silver- maintains a website on “Ancient Economies” at

Subject(s):Geographic Area(s):Time Period(s):
Financial Markets, gaue won Institutions, and Monetary History
Middle East