Banking services in the ancient Roman world
Just as in other ancient societies, the first banks in Rome began in the tabernacles consecrated to the ancient Gods. Numerous tabernacles held in their basements the Romans’ plutocrat and treasure, and were involved in banking conditioning similar as lending. Because they were always enthralled by devout workers and preachers and regularly patrolled by dogfaces, fat Romans felt they were safe places to deposit plutocrat. Plutocrat was generally stored in colorful different tabernacles for both practical and security reasons as a tabernacle could catch fire or be ransacked. Preachers kept track of deposits and loans. Tabernacles didn’t pay interest on deposits but charged interest on loans and were involved in currency exchange and confirmation. There were literally thousands of tabernacles throughout the Roman homes that were also depositories noting that during the Empire public deposits gradationally started to be held in private depositories. The Temple of Saturn in Rome housed the Aerarium which was Rome’s public storeroom. Some tabernacles similar as the Juno Moneta tabernacle were also mints.
The development of commerce throughout the Mediterranean and the expansion of trade to new foreign requests between the 3rd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, led to the growth of banking in the Roman world. Away from tabernacles, plutocrat changers located at shops and booths in the Forum also dealt with banking conditioning and their part gained lesser significance with the development of commerce. Plutocrat– changers were anteceded by the trapezites (from the Greek word trapeza which means counter), who dealt with bank deals in counting houses around the Forum. The Greek term was latterly replaced by the Latin terms argentarii and mensarii (from the word mensa or’bank’in Latin).
ARGENTARII PERFORMED MANY Deals INCLUDING HOLDING Plutocrat, LENDING Plutocrat, Sharing IN Deals, DETERMINING THE VALUE OF COINS (AND DETECTING FORGED COINS), & CIRCULATING Recently Formed Plutocrat.
THE ROMAN MONEY-CHANGERS: THE ARGENTARII
Three types of persons conducted banking conditioning in Rome the argentarii, the mensarii and the nummularii. The argentarii, also called argenteae mensae exercitores, argenti distractores or negotiatores stipis argentariae, were private persons, free citizens, independent from the State. They belonged to a council which accepted only a limited number of new members. The argentarii’s main function was to change foreign currency for Roman currency (permutatio). They had shops or booths around the Forum ( possessed by the state and erected by the censors) and their part expanded over time to include nearly every plutocrat sale including holding plutocrat, advancing plutocrat, sharing in deals, determining the value of coins (and detecting forged coins), and circulating recently formed plutocrat. Their job greatly recalled that of ultramodern– day banks. There were argentarii of all kinds. Some were largely reputed and from the upper class, generally the bones carrying out business on a large scale and for veritably fat people while some were looked down upon, generally the bones charging high rates and doing business on a small scale.
Roman bronze balance weights. Probably used by a goldsmith or chemist. Imperial period. (Archaeological Museum, Como, Italy)
Permutatio or currency exchange was done for a small figure (collybus). The argentarii also came involved in bills of exchange ( formerly common in Greece) they entered a sum of plutocrat, for illustration, to be paid in Athens and they drew a bill outstanding in Athens by another banker in the Greek megacity. They had to know the exact value of a foreign coin in different places and at different times. The argentarii also kept plutocrat deposited by other persons (depositum), which could occasionally amount to veritably large totalities of plutocrat, and made payments on behalf of other persons, just as ultramodern banks do. Payments were made when the proprietor of the plutocrat told the argentarius or when the proprietor used a cheque (perscriptio) to make apayment.However, the argentarius would record (scribere) in his books called codices (or tabulae, rationes) the transfer of plutocrat from one account to the other, If two persons involved in a sale used the same argentarius. The codices were veritably accurate; they recorded dates and every sale. These records were looked upon as documents of high authority and used in courts of justice as irrefutable substantiation. When the plutocrat was simply deposited, the argentarius paid no interest and the plutocrat was called vacua pecunia. When the plutocrat was deposited for an interest paid by the argentarius, the argentarius could use the plutocrat in other economic deals (for illustration, lending plutocrat to other persons).