Roman Quantitative Easing – QEII

The timing of the episode of  Mike Duncan’s ‘The History of Rome’ about the Emperor Gallienus, and his well meant attempts to ensure stability amongst his troops by opening new mints and ‘printing’ money was pretty ironic, coming as it did in the week that the US Federal Reserve announced a further round of quantitative easing, or as we used to call it currency debasement. Apparently the percentage of silver in a standard Roman denarii fell to just one point five per cent during Gallienus’ reign.

Gallienus denarius

I am a bit of a gold bug, believing that things, and gold in particular, are stores of value. The example of the Romans is one the modern day bankers and politicians should be aware of. I am sure they are, and they know where all this is leading, but QE is one way of helping us to bear the inflationary pain that is to come; or something like that.

If you haven’t started to listen to The History of Rome (THOR) you should. It is one of the best audio podcasts out there and Mike is quite brilliant. If there were Grammys or Oscars for podcasts, he would be a winner.

You will hear more about  THOR in the coming weeks as we have reached the AD 270’s, which is of course when Constantine was born (AD 272) and  just a few years away from Constantine becoming Emperor, and this whole Byzantium thing starts in earnest!

Listen to the episode about Gallienus here, or subscribe to the podcast at iTunes.

Postscript – we got a comment from Colin who runs a history blog who posted on just the same theme recently. Take a look.

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About proverbs6to10

Interested in Byzantium and Patrick Leigh Fermor
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4 Responses to Roman Quantitative Easing – QEII

  1. Alan says:

    Bah! Humbug! Mike didn’t list Justinian among his greatest emperors. I cannot find the list now, but I am not entirely certain he included Constantine.

  2. proverbs6to10 says:

    You have to go to the “100th Episode” which is actually not the one hundredth. I think the big C made it as the founder of Christendom.

  3. Colin says:

    Great minds do indeed think alike. I picked up on the analogy between quantitative easing and coin debasement a couple of weeks ago and did a blog post on it, with similar conclusions.

    http://historybooksreview.blogspot.com/2010/11/quantitative-easing-roman-way.html

  4. proverbs6to10 says:

    Colin – good debate with Scepticus I see on your blog. I have included a link from mine to yours.

    Tom

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