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Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World$
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Andrew Wilson and Alan Bowman

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790662

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198790662.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 28 January 2022

Financial Institutions and Structures in the Last Century of the Roman Republic

Financial Institutions and Structures in the Last Century of the Roman Republic

Chapter:
(p.133) 5 Financial Institutions and Structures in the Last Century of the Roman Republic
Source:
Trade, Commerce, and the State in the Roman World
Author(s):

Philip Kay

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198790662.003.0005

This chapter examines Rome’s changing financial structure between the second and first centuries BC, arguing that early Roman financial intermediaries provided a mechanism for the creation of money beyond the available supply of precious metals, serving to expand Rome’s total money supply. Rome’s argentarii functioned like modern deposit bankers in a number of ways, and the money-multiplier effect of deposit banking would have enabled significant commercial expansion. But, by the mid-first century BC and as a result of Mithradates VI’s invasion of the province of Asia, and the ensuing credit crisis at Rome in 88 BC, things had changed. There were probably fewer banks in existence, with smaller balance sheets, and the main providers of credit had become ‘aristocratic financiers’ providing credit to fellow members of the elite, rather than argentarii. This development could have had a negative impact on the wider Roman economy, or, at least, could have prevented it from reaching its full potential.

Keywords:   Roman trade, Roman economy, credit, Republican period, Roman banking, financial institutions

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