- The beginnings of money
- The beginnings of coinage
- Communicating through coins
- Signs of authority
- Money in daily life
- Money, religion and power
- Money, religion and ritual
- Merchants and the world
- Tradition and innovation
- Currency in the modern world
- Money and society
- Spending, saving and borrowing
The beginnings of money
Money did not start with coinage. Thousands of years before the striking of the first coins there were comprehensive systems of financial exchange in place.
The beginnings of coinage
For over 2,000 years cities and empires traded without using coins and there is no definitive theory as to why they were first produced.
Communicating through coins
Most written records from the ancient world have been lost or destroyed. As coins are mass produced and durable, they survive where other evidence may not.
Signs of authority
The ability of money to circulate among large numbers of people and over vast geographical areas means it is often used by issuing powers to promote themselves, their values and aims.
Money in daily life
Money has many uses in daily life and not solely in an economic context. It can be used as personal adornment, act as testament to a society’s cultural development or be a single, personal communication of religious belief.
Money, religion and power
Religious imagery and text is often used on coinage to denote power and divine authority. The versatility of money is perfect for the dissemination of religious ideas and declarations.
Money, religion and ritual
The link between money and ritual is a common thread connecting the world. In numerous cultures and periods there has existed strong relationships between displays of wealth and religious devotion, even after death.
Money, merchants and the world
Trade routes crossing the globe ensure that not only money travels continents and empires but also goods, ideas and languages.
Tradition and innovation
Coins and paper money need to be instantly recognisable to make them easy to use. The images on these small works of art can spread images of a country widely.
Currency in the modern world
As the British Empire expanded so did the possibilities of trade and commerce. Financial speculation both at home and abroad, whilst often lucrative, could lead to financial crisis.
Money and society
Money captures our imaginations. In film and television, it is often glamorised, driving our aspirations. But it is also used as a way to comment on the world’s wrongs.
Spending, saving and borrowing
New technologies are transforming the way we spend, save and borrow money. We cannot always predict the social and cultural consequences that might arise from these technological changes.