Essay Sample on Roman Republic Financial System

Published: 2023-10-29
Essay Sample on Roman Republic Financial System
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Finance Development Roman Empire
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1786 words
15 min read

The Roman Republic was initially focused on the agrarian, which specialized in trading various commodities, including grain and wine. Such trades resulted in the establishment of financial trades as well as financial institutions. Such trades and institutions resulted in the development of credit for personal use and public infrastructure. The establishment of such measures was mainly based on inter-family wealth. During such incidences, the Roman Republic experienced the shortfall in both the cash and agricultural sectors. That made the Roman officials and moneyers respond to such situations through the coining money (Ivanov 413). Such situations were evident, especially during the First Punic War, which had resulted in the Roman Republic experiencing economic distortion and challenges. Money was mainly used during the Roman Republic to express the prices and debts, which resulted in the development of the basic banking system (Taylor 147). Various attempts have already been made to illustrate why the Roman economy was initially different during the first century BC, which has already been done based on both quantitative and qualitative terms. Nevertheless, a few attempts have already been made to explain whether the Roman economy during the mid-first century BC had differences from that of the second half of the second century. Through the consideration of various economic dimensions, one can determine the level of economic and financial sophistication during the Roman Republic.

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Banking System

The bankers are primarily well known for their hidden transactions and keeping their activities confidential. However, there is enough evidence to prove that the Romans used credit-providing mechanisms and businesses during the early second century. The main aim of such activities was primarily for economic benefits rather than sociological. Most of the work that has already been in discovering the banking system as one of the key levels of financial sophistication during the Roman Republic is based on the development of occupations and the social status of some major money handlers during the Roman Republic.

The Argentario is considered to be among the first bankers to appear in the Roman Republic during 318-310 (Tiersch 35). This group of bankers participated in different activities in the Roman Republic, including changing money, taking deposits, and giving out loans. However, it is believed that this group of bankers inherited such activities from the Greek Trapezitai. “The villa of settefimestre near Cosa is as close as one could probably come to a model villa as described by the agronomists” (Kay 144). That is based on the evidence from other forms of financial and physical contact towards the end of the third century and the Greeks in Campania. The banking activity of lending money to the Roman Republic people was common in Roman pared commerce.

During the Roman Republic, the banking system was set up in a manner that could help in exchanging larger sums of money without any physical contact during the transaction. That form of exchange resulted in the fiat money. There was no central bank meaning there was only a professional deposit banker who was assigned the responsibility of taking the deposits for a specified period and lending the money to the third party. The borrowers during the Roman Republic generally demanded more credit than the amount that was held as capital hence increasing the risk of extending the credit period when the borrowers were expected to pay back the money. That main resulted in the development of the senatorial elite, which was mainly involved with private lending (Ivanov 417). The activities involved in private lending required the creditors and borrowers to make loans based on their fortunes, including their social connections. There were much lesser reserves kept by the banks of classical antiquity, meaning that there was no existence of any incentive that would ensure that the depositors get back their money in case there was a bank run. That resulted in the development of Seneca's ideologies, meaning that all people in the Roman Republic participating in commerce should have access to credit. Such ideologies resulted in the fiat money, causing consistent fluctuation in the money supplied.

There may be various expansions concerning the legal frameworks facing banking activities during the Roman Republic. However, it is a fact that licenses were never issued to the bankers; neither were they regulated by the states where they operated. There was no development of the executive authority during the Roman Republic with the responsibility of developing policies and making decisions. The quaestors who had been elected by the aerarium officials acted as the curators of the cash stored in the aerarium. They also had the responsibility of making payments if there was any need. The senate had the responsibility of making decisions on the number of coins that were supposed to be produced but not supposed to appear in any oversight of the banks (Taylor 148). That norm of not thinking about the banking system until a problem arises has already been extended up to date.

Other than the unavailability of the instruments of creating credit and such institutions being the primary source of the ancient economy, the Roman Republic developed more credit and money that was more available compared to precious metals. However, researchers have faced challenges in identifying the amount deposited in the banking system, hence making it difficult to trace the monetary credit available. Nevertheless, the scale and diffusion in financial intermediation play a significant role in both the second and early first centuries in the Roman Republic. As the number of borrowers and creditors increased over the Roman Republic, the amount of money is supplied continued to increase hence making the coins that would have been used in other activities put to the economical use. “But the qualitative history of the professional bankers of the Roman world in the second and early first centuries does provide a clear indication of the scale and diffusion of financial intermediation” (Kay 128). However, the credit available in the Roman Republic was much less hence not playing a similar role in the Roman Republic economy compared to the other industrializing nations over the nineteenth century. That was much pervasive and contributed to the amount of money is supply.

Investment Farming and Agricultural Exploration

Keeping the wealth at the state and private levels in the Roman Republic resulted in an increase in economic activity. Many scholars argue that the Romans did their farming and agricultural explorations in Africa. However, there is no indication that the Romans farmed in Africa after Carthage was destroyed. However, the first sign of development of the Roman agricultural activity became evident after the establishment of Junonia (Tiersch 35). That resulted in a higher demand for labor that could be supplied by a single-family, meaning the majority of the people in the general population were not farmers. That eventually resulted in the failure in the colony.

There is an absence of enough evidence to prove that there was an agricultural exploration in the Roman Republic or any attempts to increase yields. The only evidence that is traceable dates back in during the second century BC. However, more evidence of the investment in farming and agricultural exploration by the Roman Republic can be traced back to the first century. Large scale production, which played a major role in the Roman Republic's economic improvement, can be traced during the manufacture of the large quantities of wine amphorae on the coast of Catalonia. That was when the Pompeians were used as the camp in an olive grove.

The Roman Republic developed a new port and commercial infrastructure, which meant an increase in the overseas trade. However, other indications can be used as an increase in the expansion of the overseas trade, including the pier, which had a positive impact on the country's economic status since transportation was made easier from the estates. There was still an increase in the production and export to Gaul of Italian wine. Such production and export played a critical role in the improvement of the Roman Republic's economy.

Transportation and Communication

Transportation and communication can be considered one of the most significant factors that can be used to understand the level of economic and financial sophistication during the Roman Republic. Expansion in the transportation and communication requirements resulted in the development of employment on a grand scale. That can be based on the large-scale movement of free labor within the Roman Republic. The country's population's a significant increase in increased transportation requirements and additional accommodation (Taylor 144). Nevertheless, there are records of the residential housing the survived that was included in the archaeological records.

In various incidences where transportation through road was challenging, the Roman Republic used water to transport their commodities. The scholars used the vehicles and ships' existence as evidence that there were a higher number of skilled woodworkers. Advancement in the Roman roads made effective utilization of land transportation in the Republic. Augustus was the key personnel that resulted in the establishment of the mails and transport services. Increasing the pace of communication from the previous one, where the messengers took approximately nine days to deliver their message positively impacted the economy's development.

Trade and Commodities

The Roman Republic initially traded among its provinces, but it was eventually extended to other nations, including China and India. The key commodity that was traded during that period was grain. However, that was not the only commodity that was being traded during that period. The other commodities included olive oil, and foodstuffs, manufactured metal objects, and many more commodities. Different provinces in the Roman Republic could produce wine, hence making it the primary item of trade (Taylor 144). That made the Republic to become more economically and financially strong and great.

Private investors gained support from the government hence increasing the Roman Republic's influence through creating more trading markets in other countries, including Africa and Germany. Such expansions resulted in the domination of the country's trade and influence on the world. However, such advancement resulted in a decrease in the industrial and manufacturing processes. That served as a great threat to the trading ideologies that had been developed by Augustus and the strong standing of the Roman Republic to the world. Increased trade resulted in an extraordinary return of the investment, which led to an increase in the adjacent lands appropriated by the conquerors.

Advancements in trade and commerce resulted in an increase in economic and financial sophistication during the Roman Republic. However, such a boom was affected as the changes in the way the Republic conducted its business. Since Augustus and the aristocracy were in control of large land and wealth in the Republic, trade and commodities started to decrease over time (Taylor 144). Only the luxurious commodities started being traded, hence excluding the majority of the Roman Republic population because of their poverty.

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