At the beginning of the century I BC is possible that the commercial activities were regulated of little homogenous way, and that were superposedthe diverse systems of interchange. For the domestic transactions and of limited organization one resorted to the exchange, already in use betweenprehistoric towns, to the natural currency with cattle or cereal and to the currency utensil, represented by óbolos, lebetos and tkpodes. For the international trade the precious metals, like gold and the silver, forged were used in ring or breads of certain weightaccording to metrológicos systems already in use in Palestine and Chaldea.

the implantation of the currency

During first half of century VII BC, those pieces disappeared to yield their place to small balls, much more manageable, thatthey allowed a greater facility of interchange of the merchandize of limited amount. In a moment this system was accepted and favorablyrefugee everywhere. In order to make agile and to rationalize the interchanges still more, the small balls took consisting of passwords symbols that certificaban the weight andquality of the metal with no need to verify them every time. It is debate object if this first stage of the currency were born by private initiativeor it reached official category soon. Some specialists (Breglia, Bernareggi) consider that the first seals were printed by retailers and sanctuaries (oftenthe temples performed functions large stone benches), and in a moment the State realized value and importance of these passwords stopsto guarantee the currencies against possible falsifiers (at that time already in the heat of activity), reserving the exclusive right to recordon the metal. Other specialists, like Kraay, affirm that these seals printed the State from the first moment, in order to distinguishthe metals that were used for the payment as mercenarios or civil employees, assigning with it to the currency a noncommercial origin. Another hypothesis (Wili) attributes an ethical and moral origin to the currencies, whose function was to guarantee the equality between the citizens, Thishypothesis is based on an affirmation of Aristotle. The great philosopher of century IV BC, considered in the Policy the currency likeinstrument necessary to grant real organization to the interchanges, more and more dense and articulated. But mainly in the Ethics to Nicómacoit advanced the hypothesis that the currency was born of a necessity of equality and social justice, and maintained with it political an ethical génesisthe money (in this respect, it does not have to forget that the Latin term nummus derives from Greek nomisma, that comes as well from the wordnomos, law. The diverse interpretations, all of them interesting and worthy ones of attention, converge in the unanimous affirmation of which in the middle of the centuryVII BC appears the first state currency. Of the enumerated hypotheses, first it seems most likely, because it pays a finding to itcarried out in the Artemision de Éfeso: one vasija of stoneware contained small balls que. pueden to date in the middle of century VII BC and that present/displaysimple striae and contramarcas of validation of the probable and diverse possessors. Along with the small balls were others withpassword of symbols of the State that ties them to official emissions of Éfeso, Focea and Lidia. It seems quite evident that the State, having itself been aware of the importance of the symbol, it did hers this form of guarantee, developing and distinguishing the official engraving withfigures of great merit and beauty. The fact that during certain period the emissions coexisted private and state testifies that the passage ofone to another form was very fast. In a moment, in effect, the state currency invadio the market and joy of the preferences of all the seats. The reasons are multiple. First of all, the State was receiving more and more importance and inspired increasing confidence, mainly in relationwith the private organizations and the banks, little known and credited. In addition, the official emission not only was useful to the citizenindividual, that veia thus guaranteed its money, but also to the State that by means of the rights of minting increased its income. !>Since we already have advance, the first currencies had their origin in Smaller Asia: at the outset they were of electron (half-full of century VII BC), and soon, in the reign of Creso (years 561-546 BC), of gold. But according to the tradition and in agreement with some tests, the first cityGreek that it coined currency was Egina, the legend narrates that a mythical personage, Fidón king of Argus, introduced in the island of Egina (in the gulfSarónico, between the Peloponeso and the Ática) the new system of interchange, implanting like currency the rods to roast of iron or bronze. The currency of Egina represented in the obverse the figure of a turtle, of which it was during centuries his symbol. This island was a rich onecommercial center and controlled the gold production and silver of the island of Sifnos. Their turtles were recognized and preferred incommercial interchanges of the Aegean Sea (and outside him) from centuries VII and I BC

Currency and social progress

The Greek world and all the regions of their sphere of influence adopted the currency in a moment, thanks to a series of circumstancespropitious. Already in century VIII BC, the Greek civilization crossed a period of great transformation, mainly from the point ofeconomic Vista. Agriculture and the cattle ranch no longer were the only sustenance means: crafts, shipyards and marine commerce increasedand they diversified the activities. In this evolutionary process the colonies founded on Smaller Asia and Italy had a great papermeridional, that contributed new markets to the industry of the metropolis and intensified the importance of metals, cereals and slaves. These conditions reinforced the position of the diverse categories of craftsmen, merchants and industralists, and debilitated to a great extent tosmall earth proprietors. The confliction between both social categories ended at revolutionary political changes: the nobility landowner no longer was acceptedlike only and unquestionable superior class, and the new rich ones demanded their rights. The most evident consequences of these transformations were the promulgation of written laws and the possibility of acceding to positionspoliticians not only by right of birth, but thanks to certain income. The introduction and the use of the money impelledgreat new features even in the cultural scope: in effect, the commercial interchanges favored the cultural contacts and, with them, the change of articles of incorporation. If at the beginning of the century I BC all the Greek cities of certain commercial importance had its currency, other great onescivilizations still were far from it to have adopted. The Carthaginians, for example, preferred during long time to rely on the exchangein its mercantile relations, and the great centralized empires (Persia, Egypt, India) contemplated with certain distrustinterchange regulated by means of the currency. So that? Until the adoption of the currency, the wealth consisted of the earth possession, easilycontrolable and, mainly, you valued and confiscables by the State. The currency made the free, independent man of the state power, and bythis reason the authority resisted to accept its introduction. The Greek pulleys, with their peculiar structure of independent and sovereign cities Been, privileged to the set of their citizens, and byas much they did not oppose obstacles to whatever could promote the social progress. Opened to the interchanges commercial, and even promotional ofsuch, they were the ideal cradle of the currency and the means in which this one proliferated of natural way.

the minting right

The right of minting is based on the difference between the intrinsic value of the currency (the price corresponding to the amount of metal) andits nominal value (the quotation to which it is made circulate and exchanges). With this gain, the State pays the caused expensesby the minting and, in addition, it creates new sources of benefits, received always well. Indeed to increase these income, allthe cities of Greece, in competition with others, sent to the market currencies that maintained a high law metallic, that is, thatthey conserved all possible the precious metal in a high degree of purity, without denaturing it by means of alloys with less noble metals. This species of competition questions of nature not strictly economic entered game, because the city that presented/displayed currenciesmore tempting it increased his prestige.


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