There were complex accounting systems that included public audits to create accountability. There were a number of staff working for the public treasurer to keep an eye on funds. Many people, including freemen and slaves were trained in accounting. However,
A reader, Caleb, has expanded the discussion by indicating he thinks the value of gold was dramatically higher back then in relative terms that it is today. He estimates gold was around $7,000 an ounce in today’s dollars. See his comments at the above post for further explanation.
I enjoyed his comments so much I decided to create new post in order to extend the discussion.
In his Natural History, Pliny states that in 49 BCE , the year Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Roman treasury contained 17,410 pounds of gold, 22,070 pounds of silver, and in coin, 6,135,400 sesterces.
Soll, Jacob (2014-04-29). The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations (Kindle Locations 276-277). Basic Books. Kindle Edition.
I don’t think in terms of pounds of gold or silver and I don’t know what a sesterce is or what it is worth. But I do know how to search the ‘net.
I share this on my Nonprofit Updateblog and cross-post it here at Attestation Update because I enjoyed it and think it might be some fun trivia for accountants and people working in the faith-based community.
By the way, Prof Soll’s book is superb. Just got started reading it and think I will find lots of little tidbits to share. More on that idea in my next post.