Abstract

This study seeks to identify the actual coinage units used in a sixth-century tax register from Byzantine Egypt datable to 546 ce in which taxpayers’ names are followed by two columns of sums of money, the first in notional gold of account, the second its equivalent in copper. It is proposed that the coin module in terms of which computation was carried out by the document’s accountant was the 33-nummi (ΛΓ) copper coin struck at Alexandria by Justinian after 538 ce , which lends itself to ready reckoning as it was equivalent to the round figure of 100 talents of copper. The tax collector would have taken in the payers’ sums in copper coins and then, having computed the gold equivalent, bought gold on the market for transmitting to Constantinople as the imperial tax quota.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1942-1273
Print ISSN
1939-6716
Pages
pp. 97-113
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-18
Open Access
No
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