Saturday, April 29, 2017

More ancient economics from AJR

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Pliny’s Prices: Signs of Economic Thought in the Early Empire (David B. Hollander).
Taken together, Pliny the Elder’s comments suggest a relatively sophisticated understanding of price formation. Historians have been reluctant to attribute much in the way of ‘economic thought’ to the Romans, but Pliny betrays distinct signs of at least “proto-economic thinking.” Although today the best-known Roman economic policy is probably the shortsighted debasement of Imperial silver coinage, the Natural History suggests that at least some elite Romans had a good sense of how the market functioned.
Pliny the Elder's Natural History also preserves the only ancient description of the Essenes by a gentile. See, for example, here. Pliny died during a daring attempt to rescue his friends from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.

Past essays in this series were noted here and here.