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Rome's Economic Revolution$
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Philip Kay

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199681549

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199681549.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 January 2022

Credit and Financial Intermediation

Credit and Financial Intermediation

(p.106) (p.107) 6 Credit and Financial Intermediation
Rome's Economic Revolution

Philip Kay

Oxford University Press

There is also considerable evidence that the activities of early Roman financial intermediaries provided a mechanism for the creation of money beyond the available supply of precious metals, thereby serving to expand Rome’s total money supply. Passages from contemporary second century bc authors prove that Rome’s argentarii functioned like modern deposit bankers in a number of ways. Plautus reveals that they fulfilled both a deposit and a credit function, since they lent out the deposits that they accepted. Passages from both Plautus and Polybius suggest that money could be transferred by a written entry in the banker’s records, without the movement of coin. The money-multiplier effect of deposit banking would have meant that the increase in monetary liquidity had a deeper impact upon the private sector than has previously been assumed, enabling significant commercial expansion.

Keywords:   money supply, Plautus, Polybius, argentarii, bankers, money-multiplier, deposit, monetary liquidity, coin, banking

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