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Money in the Western Legal TraditionMiddle Ages to Bretton Woods$
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David Fox and Wolfgang Ernst

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198704744

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.001.0001

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Money in the Roman Law Texts

Money in the Roman Law Texts

Chapter:
(p.93) 6 Money in the Roman Law Texts
Source:
Money in the Western Legal Tradition
Author(s):

Thomas Rüfner

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198704744.003.0006

This chapter provides an overview of the monetary laws during the Ancient Roman Empire. Specifically, it discusses the codifications instituted by Emperor Justinian in the corpus iuris, a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence on which jurists of the medieval ius commune based their reasoning. The texts in Justinian’s compilations contain the building blocks for a functional theory of money; illustrative material for the workings of a bimetallic or trimetallic system; and the provisions necessary to ensure that coins can circulate freely and function as a universal medium of exchange and means of payment. The chapter also looks into the three alternative means of payment used by the Romans: credit money; bullion; and the Tesserae frumentariae. The sources analysed in this chapter prove that the Roman jurists were able to grasp the function of money as a medium of exchange and to express it in similar terms as modern economists.

Keywords:   Ancient Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian, corpus iuris, jurisprudence, common law, ius commune, bimetallic, trimetallic, medium of exchange

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