glyph 177: history . money, economics, gold, silver, precious metal, hard money ... inflation, debasement, coin clipping ... islam . spain . saracen ... integrity, sound money ... murray n. rothbard ... robert lefevre ... austrian school . ludwig von mises, human action


Monetary Integrity — the Saracens of Spain

five hundred years — 7th to 12th centuries, CE

Writing of the history of the debasement of money, Murray N. Rothbard says:

Rapid and severe debasement was a hallmark of the Middle Ages, in almost every country in Europe. Thus, in 1200 A.D. the French livre tournois was defined at 98 grams of fine silver; by 1600 A.D. it signified only 11 grams. A striking case is the dinar, a coin of the Saracens in Spain. The dinar originally consisted of 65 gold grains, when first coined at the end of the 7th century. The Saracens were notably sound in monetary matters, and by the middle of the 12th century, the dinar was still 60 grains. At that point, the Christian kings conquered Spain, and by the early 13th century, the dinar (now called maravedi) was reduced to 14 grains. Soon the gold coin was too light to circulate, and it was converted into a silver coin weighing 26 grains of silver. This, too, was debased, and by the mid-15th century, the maravedi was only 1.5 silver grains, and again too small to circulate.

From What Has Government Done To Our Money?, by Murry N. Rothbard, a booklet published in 1963 by the now (Dec 2004) expired Pine Tree Press, Colorado Springs, Colorado

The table of contents and full text may be found at:
entered before July 9, 2006; edited/updated November 26, 2015

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