Moet geld rollen? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 136, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163



Money existed in the Roman world before the introduction of coinage. Fragmentary information in the written sources suggests the existence of two main forms of money: bronze and cattle. However, this information is often difficult to interpret, due to the problematic nature of the sources, and the pervasiveness in our thinking of a modern concept of money. This article discusses the state of research, and summarizes the evidence about money in Archaic and Early Republican Rome given in the sources. It further discusses how this information, together with archaeological material, informs current interpretations of the actual use of bronze and cattle as money. Finally, it shows how insights from economic anthropology may help us better to understand the sources, especially focusing on ideas about the way money develops, and how its use can be limited to specific spheres of exchange.


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