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Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 B.C. to A.D. 700 (Ancient Society and History) Hardcover – June 19, 1996


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Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 B.C. to A.D. 700 (Ancient Society and History) + Ancient History from Coins (Approaching the Ancient World)
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Product Details

  • Series: Ancient Society and History
  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; y First printing edition (June 19, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801852919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801852916
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

This thought-provoking work... should be important reading for scholars in a variety of disciplines. It challenges, for example, the long-held belief that a large-scale drain of Roman specie went to India and the East in the early centuries of the Roman Empire and the concept that the western provinces of the Roman Empire were never completely monetized. These reinterpretations and others, presented forcefully with careful documentation, should arouse the attention of anyone interested in ancient or medieval history, economics, or numismatics.

(History)

About the Author

Kenneth W. Harl, professor of history and Fellow of the American Numismatic Society, teaches classical and Byzantine history at Tulane University. He is the author of Civic Coins and Civic Politics in the Roman East, A.D. 180-275.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Trinque VINE VOICE on October 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A previous Amazon.com reviewer of Kenneth Harl's "Coinage in the Roman Economy" expressed an interest in seeing a review of the book from the viewpoint of other than a numismatist. I suppose that I can at least partly do this. Although I do collect some ancient Roman coins, I am quite casual in my approach to it and, in truth, I am more interested in the history and people behind the coins than the coins as objects in themselves. In looking on the Internet for information about the use and "real world" value of coins in the Roman Empire, I came across mention of Professor Harl's book. Wanting to better understand how those discolored bits of silver and bronze had come to be and how they were used, I understood that there was no better source.
"Coinage in the Roman Economy" is unabashedly, unflinchingly academic in its approach to its subject. Expect no whimsical anecdotes about mad emperors; don't imagine that there will be thrilling descriptions of great battles. It is safe to say that Brad Pitt's agent is not negotiating for screen rights to the book. Page after page, Harl details the intricacies of Roman monetary policy, how emperors gradually (and sometimes not so gradually) diluted the precious metal content of the coins, reduced their weight, and repeatedly altered exchange rates in efforts to achieve financial stability. Yet, there is an oddly compelling flow and rhythm to that description of one thousand years of coin history as we watch the story of this instrument of Roman power and art play out against a distant background of civil wars, invasions, foreign wars, and calamities. To tackle this book, a reader should already be familiar with the central events and personalities in the long history of Rome.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I found this book scholarly, and I think it is intended to be so. Were this book otherwise organized, it could be easier to manage. I found that the many (fifty or more per chapter) footnotes were cumbersome to look at, being grouped together apart from the main text. Furthermore, most of them refer just to the origin of data. But some have more extensive contents. I could have done without many of them, but not of all of them. That kept me jumping around. Plates with illustrations are similarly placed, but this is not so annoying.
This overview of the roman monetary system and coinage in use for a millennium in the Roman world is compelling. Prices and wages are also analyzed, as far as extant documents allow.
Politicians from around the world could learn a lot about how Gresham's law, the economic principle that bad money drives out good (good money automatically disappears because of hoarding) works; Rome provided good example that people can't be fooled easily.
Rating this book with four stars, I'm judging it as a numismatist interested in roman history and economics. I'd like to see ratings from people with other concerns.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael K. on August 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This volume is the only one I have come across to satisfactorily treat the question of economic context and actual usage patterns of Roman coins. It is both scholarly (containing voluminous footnotes) and readable. Of particular interest is the information pertaining to the frequently neglected period of the third and fourth centuries.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ian McLean on April 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
By far the most complete work on the subject I was able to locate. The chronological orginization is both useful and intuitive and the writing style makes this book fairly easy reading considering the depth of information it provides.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader on September 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a wealth of information. The tables on coin metal fineness have helped me in making my coin purchase decisions. Thanks to Mr. Harl for his excellent work.
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