Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Pre-Coin Roman Money my display at The 62nd HOUSTON MONEY SHOW

I have been interested in how Rome paid their soldiers at Veii about a century before they started producing coins. Info from my display on the subject is below.

Pre-Coin Roman Money 

Roman "money" from 1000 to 390 BC, or how did Rome pay their soldiers at Veii in 400 BC if they started producing coins in 300 BC?

GHCC Money Show
January 17 – 19, 2019

Rome paid soldiers for the first time at Veii about 400 BC. Before that extended campaign soldiers paid their expenses. Only moneyed men could fight, and collect glory and spoils. 

Servius Tullius, the 6th king of Rome, reigned from 575 to 535 BC.He divided Roman citizens into Classes by wealth. The top class of citizen was required to have 100,000 asses where one As equaled a Roman pound = 327 grams. This level of wealth put a man in the equites or knights. Something was used for money before coins introduced in 280 BC.

Bronze was used for money. It seems likely that steelyard scales would have been used. They are better for weighing heavy items than the double pan balance.

The following quotes are from Livy - 
[Titus Livius in his History of Rome spoke on this.
urbe condita 4.59   "... the senate decreed that the soldiery should receive pay from the public treasury. Previously, each man had served at his own expense.“
urbe condita 4.60   "... The senators were determined to uphold a measure so happily inaugurated, they were themselves the first to contribute, and as coined money was not yet introduced, they carried the copper by weight in wagons to the treasury, thereby drawing public attention to the fact of their contributing. After the senators had contributed most conscientiously the full amount at which they were assessed, the leading plebeians, personal friends of the nobles, began, as had been agreed, to pay in their share. When the crowd saw these men applauded by the senate and looked up to by the men of military age as patriotic citizens, they hastily rejected the proffered protection of the tribunes and vied with one another in their eagerness to contribute." ]

The first two pictures show one week's pay (about 15 US pounds) in bronze bars, cakes and panes. Two of the bars are Ramo Secco. The largest is 2.2 Kg. The bars are weighed on a Steelyard Scale. 

Cupid is my favorite Steelyard Scale weight. It was not heavy enough to weigh the bronze bars.

The two pan scale has four weights: 1 As, VI (six) VNCIA, III (three) VNCIA and one uncia (the last weight is later and has letters to designate one Roman ounce) = 600 grams.  

The bar in the right pan is one with a mark (X).

I will post a coin on the next page. That coin is from the first series assigned to Rome and is dated 280 BC, or a century plus before the war with Veii.

What is Money? According to D. B. Holland in "Money in the Late Roman Republic" it is:

Something used as:
Medium of exchange: recognized by many to have value, facilitates trade; examples: land, cattle, sheep, bullion, shells, etc.
Measure of value: to determine equivalent trade value, ie – how many eggs equal a modius of flour
Unit of account: to balance books, determine tax rate, set social standing for senate & army (see below)
Store of wealth, needs to be something that is: “small”, will hold value, will not degrade with time

Means of payment: pay soldiers and other military expenses, pay taxes, buy (luxury) goods from outside community

By this definition, the cast bronze is money and thus worthy of a display at the Money Show! Some early bronze shapes were shown in the flat coin case.

Aes Rude - Molten bronze cooled in water

Broken plates or panes

Aes Formatum – Ingots, bars and pieces
With and without marks, Ramo Seco

Astralagas, knuckle bones

Broken tools: knife blade, ax
Note the pic below has a piece of a knife blade and two axes.

Decorative Shapes: rings, palmetto, tear drop, bars, acorns, etc.
The shapes are above. Below are some aes rude with marks.

I will post a coin on the next page from the first series issued in Rome. 

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