Ionia - Riches without strength [700 BC]

IMG Auteur
From the Archives : Originally published March 01st, 2009
223 words - Reading time : less than a minute
( 3 votes, 3.7/5 ) , 1 commentary
Print article
  Article Comments Comment this article Rating All Articles  
Our Newsletter...
Category : History of Gold

This ancient Greek state's money was described by Aristotle. It seems to have been an early attempt, centred on Clazomenae, one of the 12 Ionic cities, at a wholly representative (numerary) money system. It consisted of iron discs which were stamped rather roughly by the state and deemed to pass as value for gold (or possibly silver).

The important point of this early attempt is that it showed the necessity of using advanced technologies in the manufacture of money. The iron discs were widely faked - frequently overseas. And as there was a facility for redemption in gold that is what increasingly happened, causing iron to fall out of favour and gold to return as the currency.

Ionia was a successful maritime trading civilisation and steadily built a great national inventory of gold - which ultimately showed one of the disadvantages of owning too much of the stuff in a world where not all states can share. Through its riches Ionia became a target, and Croesus (still idiomatically famous for the colossal wealth he acquired - much of it militarily) invaded successfully from the east.

The Ionian system shows a representative money being corrupted by counterfeiting, and supplanted by gold, with the gold system being plundered by a neighbouring state.  Both of these fates have befallen monetary systems many times since.

Paul Sustain

<< Previous article
Rate : Average note :3.7 (3 votes)
>> Next article
Settlement-systems specialist Paul Tustain launched BullionVault in 2005 to make the security and cost-efficiencies of the professional wholesale gold market available to private investors. Designed specifically to meet his own gold ownership needs as a risk-averse investor, BullionVault now cares for over US$1bn of client gold property, all of it privately owned in the client's choice of low-cost, market-accredited facilities in London, New York or Zurich.
Comments closed
  All Favorites Best Rated  
And let that be a lesson for us all, especially for that modern Greek: Geralkious Celentinius.
Rate :   6  -5Rating :   11
Latest comment posted for this article
And let that be a lesson for us all, especially for that modern Greek: Geralkious Celentinius. Read more
Jim C. - 3/4/2012 at 7:47 PM GMT
Rating :  6  -5
Top articles
World PM Newsflow