A History

Jonathan Williams

Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 1997, 256 pages

ISBN: 0-312-21212-7

Keywords: Finance, History

Last modified: May 23, 2021, 11:14 a.m.

Whether or not money "makes the world go round", few phenomena in human history have been the focus of so much constant and fevered attention, occasioned so many moral and religious strictures or been the cause of so much strife and competition between individuals, institutions and states. This book examines the history of money, its spread and cultural diversity throughout the world, from the earliest known records of payments to the cashless money of our own day, and sets it against a background of broader economic and social issues, such as the varied moral, political and religious attitudes provoked by money in different cultures.

The authors begin by tracing the growth and development of monetary systems from the ancient civilizations of Mesopotania and Egypt to the establishment of coinage in the Greek and Roman worlds. The next chapters develop a broader geographical view , looking at the monetary systems of Europe during the Middle Ages, the Islamic world, India and China. In the final part of the book the focus is on the processes by which money has become a global phenomenon, with chapters exploring its expanding role in early modern Europe and the Americas, the effect of European contacts on the local payment systems of Africa and Oceania, and the increasing impact in the last two centuries of economic thought on monetary affairs.

Written by a team of specialist curators from the Department of Coins and Medals in the British Museum, the book is illustrated with over 500 examples of coins and other forms of money.

  • Introduction
  1. Mesopotania, Greece and Egypt
  2. The Roman World
  3. Medieval Europe
  4. The Islamic Lands
  5. India and South-East Asia
  6. China and the Far East
  7. The Early Modern Period
  8. Africa and Oceania
  9. The Modern Period



Reviewed by Roland Buresund

Mediocre **** (4 out of 10)

Last modified: Nov. 1, 2010, 11:49 p.m.

More a book for collectors than a business book.

But even so, it fails to instill any interest in the reader…


There are currently no comments

New Comment


required (not published)