Image: Flickr by Carole Raddato
The Wall Street Journal has a delightful review by James Romm: Conqueror and Squanderer. The review is of The Treasures of Alexander the Great: How One Man’s Wealth Shaped the World by Frank Holt.
(Cross post from Attestation Update.)
I have a growing interest in ancient finances. Try thinking about how to run a large operation, such as an empire or an army on campaign when there is no banking system and no means of storing wealth other than controlling territory or possessing gold or silver. There is no way to gain any sort of liquidity. Your ability to buy something is limited to the gold in your hand.
How you pay your army today here in the field or buy supplies for 20,000 troops when your wealth is in the form of tons of gold which is a two-month march behind you?