Other eras

A long time ago, accounting supervisors really were slave drivers.

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You think you have a rough boss….

Jacob Soll explains in his book, The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations, that in ancient Athens, around 500 years B.C. accounting and auditing was an integral part of the business and political world.

(Cross post from Nonprofit Update.)

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,

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Roman Empire

More ideas on the wealth in the Roman treasury back in 49 B.C.

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Gold Roman aureus coin of Roman emperor Trajan. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com
Gold Roman aureus coin of Roman emperor Trajan. Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

A while back I discussed a comment I read saying that when Caesar crossed the Rubicon, the Roman treasury held 17,410 pounds of gold, 22,070 pounds of silver and 6,135,400 sesterces.

I made a bunch of wild assumptions and estimated that volume of precious metals would be worth about $361M at today’s market prices.

(Cross post from Attestation Update.)

See my post How much wealth was in the Roman treasury in 49 B.C.? How about annual tax revenue under Augustus?  I’m going to cross-post this discussion and that previous post to my other blog, Outrun Change.

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.

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Roman Empire

How much wealth was in the Roman treasury in 49 B.C.? How about annual tax revenue under Augustus?

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Hadn’t thought about that question too much, but when Jacob Soll mentioned it in his book, The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations, it got me thinking.

He gives the following info:

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.

(Cross post from Attestation Update.)

I share this on my Nonprofit Update blog 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.

How much is that worth?

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