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Money in Mesopotamia

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Although contemporary preconceptions about what money is or is not sometimes evoke doubt about the existence of money in ancient Mesopotamia, it seems clear that it did exist. Money was substance oriented, and coins, when they finally appear are weighed like any other valuable metal. The most common money substances were barley as cheap money and silver as the more expensive, but other substances were also used. As to the forms or shapes in which money circulated, a number of words in the ancient languages can be identified that probably refer to these forms, but their specific appearance remains, in most cases, unknown.

Affiliations: 1: Northern Illinois University


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