Money in Ancient Society. An archaeological view


Course Objective

Upon successful completion of this course, you will:
1. have acquired a general knowledge of the western discourse on the
‘transformative powers’ of money in ancient societies
2. have acquired a extensive view of the key themes in the debate on the
use of money in ancient societies
3. have learned to take your own position in the debate on these topics
4. have learned to make use of different types of evidence and combine
them in synthetical research
5. understand how to apply different methodologies to different kinds
of research questions
6. be able to design and conduct your own research in a case study of
your choice and write a paper on it

Course Content

Money has always been regarded as having a profound impact on the
societies which made use of it. This course is focussed on the emergence
and spread of money in ancient societies, and its wide repertoires of
use. This will be treated from the perspective of several ‘hot issues’
in economic and numismatic research regarding societies our
archaeological departments cover: monetization and its impact on the
economy and society; the structure of governmental finance in Classical
Athens and the Roman Empire, banks and the role of credit, ritual use of
money, money and propaganda and the impact of Roman money on societies
in the northwestern Empire. The selected themes are intended to give a
as wide as possible scope on the vastness of numismatic research and
archaeological and historical research involving coinage, and serve
simultaneously as case studies for different methodological approaches
used in this field. Special attention will be paid to the use of
quantitative methods, anthropological theories of money and the use of
various source materials: archaeological evidence (coins and other
material culture) and ancient texts (literary texts and epigraphy).

Teaching Methods

The lectures serve as an introduction to key themes, on the basis of
which the individual students will conduct a brief research into a
subtopic and present and write a paper. There will also be some class
room discussion, partly combined with small presentations and written
homework, based on reading assignments.

Method of Assessment

The final paper will provide 70% of the grade, the other contributions
(classroom discussions and assignments, peer feedback) 30%.


Wil be announced at the start of and during the course (highly

Target Audience

MA-students Archaeology, Classics and Ancient Civilizations, and other
MA-students who are interested.

General Information

Course Code L_BAMAARC018
Credits 6 EC
Period P2
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. J.G. Aarts
Examiner dr. J.G. Aarts
Teaching Staff dr. J.G. Aarts

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

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