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date: 31 October 2020


  • Colin P. Elliott


Money is any object that is used as a medium of exchange, but moneys often also function as stores of value, accounting units, and means for making payments. Through the use of physical money—especially coinage stamped with symbols of society, state, and the divine—individuals were connected to a wider framework composed of strangers, governments, deities, and customs.1 In classical antiquity, money comprised a range of materials and goods, both physical and virtual, and these moneys performed a variety of economic, social, and cultural functions. Money was issued by different polities and powers, mostly by states but also by economic and religious elites and institutions.Aristotle insists that money use arose out of barter—certainly a possibility, although the archaeological record is ambiguous at best. The earliest known coin hoard, dated to the mid to late 7th centurybce and found in western Asia Minor, contains standardized globules of electrum which are both stamped (“coins”) and unstamped, giving credence to Aristotle’s claim that early coins “had a certain stamp, to save the trouble of weighing, and to express its value” (Arist.


  • Economic History

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