History of Money, 390BC –– 337AD

390 BC

Cackling Geese Saves Rome

The Gauls attack Rome but the cackling geese in the capital alerts the defenders. Since the city's reserves of money were saved the Romans did the logical thing. They built a shrine to Moneta, the goddess of warning. The word money and mint are derived from Moneta.

118 BC

Leather money

China issues leather money, which consist of pieces of white deerskin about one foot square. The skin had a value of 40,000 "cash". The "cash" was the name of a base metal coin.

48 BC

Do unto Caesar

Julius Caesar made money plentiful by coining his own money and started many massive public works and construction projects. Caesar won the love of the common people. The money changers who before Caesar had the monopoly on creating money were not very happy.

Caesar was assassinated by the politicians in the Roman Senate. Immediately after that the money supply started to shrink until it was only 10% of what it was under Caesar. Taxes increased as well as corruption and man of the people of Rome lost their lands and home

30 AD

The half shekel

During the so-called time of Christ Jews had to pay their temple tax using a coin the half shekel. It was half an ounce of pure silver with no image of a pagan emperor in it. This was said to be the only coin acceptable to God. Because after all God needed coins, maybe for the cosmic tollbooths or gumball machine. But there were only a limited number of coins in circulation, not because they were impossible to make but because the money changers understood the law of supply and demand (from taking econ 101 no doubt) and they were able to keep the price high due to the short supply.

54 — 68

Nero invents inflation

Nero debases the gold and silver coins ever so slightly and invents inflation. This slow inflation lasts for around 300 years.

306 — 337

The Solidus

Constantine issues the Solidus, a new gold coin which remained in use unchanged in weight or purity for 700 years.


Constantine Adopts Christianity and robs the pagan temples

Constantine adopts Christianity and confiscates the enormous treasures the pagan temples had amassed over the centuries. Even with this wealth of gold he continues to produce debased silver and copper coins. Thus holding true to his newfound religion he leaves the poor with an inflation-ridden currency while the rich get the gold

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