SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Sperber, Daniel (1968) Currencies and Prices in 3rd and 4th Century Palestine and Their Implications for Roman Economic History. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (97MB)


The following study is an attempt to throw further light on Roman economic history of the III and IV cents. by drawing upon the Palestinian source-material of the period. Clearly, it is no more than a beginning in this direction, and makes no claims to being exhaustive either in the collection of material or in the analysis thereof. In the first section lists of Palestinian prices of different commodities are set out in chronological order, and compared with their Egyptian parallels. Babylonian material (analysed in Appendix C) is likewise presented. There follows a discussion of the monetary terminology of the period, and there certain semantic changes are noted and inferences of economic significance drawn. With the clarification of these terms, some observations are made on the patterns of III cent. monetary developments, and the nature of its price-levels. A series of legal texts are next analysed and it is shown that they reflect the change from a silver to a gold standard, via a transitionary period of economic instability and confusion. Thereafter follows an analysis of IV cent. Palestinian price-levels, and these are compared with the Egyptian evidence. It is suggested that internal discrepancies and apparent differences are to be explained on terminological grounds. In the final section, certain questions are raised concerning the chronological pattern of the III cent. economic developments, and some painters to the answers hazarded. To end, a very brief and concentrated description of the social conditions of the times (viewed Partially As implications of the economic development) is given, primarily to indicate the possible range of the sources, their ability to illumine dark periods, and the embryonic-ness of these studies.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:22

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item