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Document Details :
Title: The Price (Timê) of the Silver Stater in Ptolemaic Egypt
Author(s): LORBER, Catharine
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 47 Date: 2017
After the introduction of the bronze standard in Ptolemaic Egypt, the value (timê) of the silver stater was often expressed in terms of bronze drachms. Papyri that have been cited in connection with this accounting practice are reviewed to purge the record of dubious evidence, to narrow some dates on the basis of numismatic criteria, and to test scholarly models of inflation in the second century BC. The evidence falls into three periods. For the first half-century after the introduction of the bronze standard there are very few valuations of the stater and none datable before 171. The tendency to use coined silver in pledges instead of spending it and the farming of the exchange monopoly to goldsmiths rather than bankers suggest that the coinage did not function in an interchangeable, bimetallic currency system for most of this period. The second period, defined by bank records of the reign of Ptolemy VIII, features slightly higher valuations that fluctuate within a narrow range. Beginning in 115, the third period is characterized by numerous different sources and greater volatility of the valuations, which are on average higher than those of the second period but also sometimes lower. The increase in the value of the stater is shown to be more gradual and less severe than assumed in the most influential scholarly models.