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Financial Intermediation in the Early Roman Empire


Jan van der Crabben
by Peter Temin
published on 21 November 2011
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In this paper I use a theoretical hierarchy of financial sources to evaluate the effectiveness of financial markets in the early Roman Empire. I first review the theory of financial intermediation to describe the hierarchy of financial sources and survey briefly the history of financial intermediation in pre-industrial Western Europe to provide a standard against which to evaluate the Roman evidence. I then describe the nature of financial arrangements in the early Roman Empire in terms of this hierarchy. The issue turns out to be not whether financial markets in Rome resembled those in other advanced agricultural economies, but rather which 18th century European economy did it resemble most closely. This exercise reveals the extent to which the Roman economy resembled more recent societies and sheds light on the prospects for economic growth in the Roman Empire, for good financial markets and institutions help people who have ideas for production get resources to implement those ideas.

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Written by Peter Temin, linked by Jan van der Crabben, published 21 November 2011. Source URL:

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Cite This Work

APA Style

Temin, P. (2011, November 21). Financial Intermediation in the Early Roman Empire. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Temin, Peter. "Financial Intermediation in the Early Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified November 21, 2011.

MLA Style

Temin, Peter. "Financial Intermediation in the Early Roman Empire." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 21 Nov 2011. Web. 10 May 2021.