The following summary of  an article entitled "Money" by Robert Carson in Jean-Paul Descoeudres' Pompeii Revisted (Meditarch) was summarized by Carla Anzelone and Barbe Mitchell,  students enrolled in Prof. Tom Sienkewicz' Ancient Societies class at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1997. If you have any questions or comments, you may contact him at


Using coins as a money system didn't begin until the seventh century BC. Before the coins appeared, people used the Barter system. The barter system is exchanging goods for other goods and services. The coins and barter system were used together for Centuries. Usage of money was not as prominent as it is today. Money was used in the developed urban societies. Barter played a greater role in rural areas. Coins of precious metals were used more for major transactions, like purchase of land, housed and slaves. For more everyday purchases like shopping and local trade, lower bronze pieces such as sestertius. Augustus overtook the reorganization of the monetary system.

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