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