Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson
Extent of Roman Mercantile Transactions - Coins and Moneys
The Roman mercantile transactions of this period fully kept pace with the contemporary development of political power, and were no less grand of their kind. Any one who wishes to have a clear idea of the activity of the traffic with other lands, needs only to look into the literature, more especially the comedies, of this period, in which the Phoenician merchant is brought on the stage speaking Phoenician, and the dialogue swarms with Greek and half Greek words and phrases.
But the extent and zealous prosecution of Roman business-dealings may be traced most distinctly by means of coins and monetary relations. The Roman denarius quite kept pace with the Roman legions. We have already mentioned(19) that the Sicilian mints--last of all that of Syracuse in 542--were closed or at any rate restricted to small money in consequence of the Roman conquest, and that in Sicily and Sardinia the -denarius- obtained legal circulation at least side by side with the older silver currency and probably very soon became the exclusive legal tender.
19. III. III. Property
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