Money is widely defined as anything that is widely accepted and used as a means of making payments for goods and services, accounting for credits and debts in a given socio-economic context. The value of money is widely recognized and everyone can estimate the value of money and buy anything with a certain amount of money. In most cases those who have money are recognized as being wealthy and rich while those who don’t have it are being assumed to be poor. The main functions of money are and not limited to; being used as a medium of exchange, it acts as a store of value, it also is a unit of account, acts as a medium of exchange and in ancient times, it was used as a standard of deferred payment. Any kind of item which can perform the above functions is referred to as money.
In history, money came into existence inform of commodity money, almost all money systems are as a result of fiat money. Fiat type of money lacks the essential value on use and for this reason; it derives its accepted value by being declared by a particular government as viable for the exchange of goods and services within its boundaries. The supply of money in a country is in terms of currency which includes bank coins and notes and bank deposits which includes the checking of accounts, and accounts of savings. The bank deposits usually form a greater part of a countries supply.
Coined money was being invented in three regions which are Greece, India and China. In Greece, they termed money as “nomismata” .This was taken to mean customary things. This definition dates to the days when the Greeks started using money for the first time. Later on they changed the term and define money as “argyrion ‘’ which was used to mean the silver thing. The Greeks adopted the use of money for exchange when it dawned to them that the use of money was easily evaluated, traded and accounted for. It appeared at a time when the Greeks were in a era of intellectual and economic expansion in which, their backward and primitive economic strategies did not present an adequate basis of ground. The introduction of money into their economy appeared as an organization in their economies efficiency and effectiveness. W hen coins came into use, various functions which were in the past separated where merged into a single concept.
Around the year 600 BC, each city-state in Greek minted its own type of coins. They are thought to have found this thought from the west Asian Lydians. Many of the coins in Greek were in silver. They were prepared through taking an amount of silver and place it on an iron mold, this then would be struck by a hammer which contained another kind of mould it. This way allowed the pressing of a picture on the two sides at the same time. Each city within the Greek territory had a different picture on the coins. And it was only through this that you could be able to know which cit the coin comes from. As an example the Athenians placed a picture of an Athena’s owl on their coins which were silver in nature.
The silver coins which originated from Corinth had in it a picture of Pegasus which is the flying horse. In those times, just like today, different coins had varying value on them. This is to mean that they were more valuable than the other. The designs on these coins changed from one year to the other and thus numismatists can be able to scrutinize and tell the year with which the coin was being made. The minting of money by the Greeks stopped when they were being conquered by the Romans. And from then on they started using the Roman coins instead. (Hartnup, 2004)
The archaic period for the introduction of coin money in the ancient Greek
In the ancient Greek, the introduction of coin money can be divided into three periods. These are the archaic the classical and the Hellenistic period. The archaic period extends from when the coinage money was introduced into the Greek world which is about the 600BCE way until the famous Persian wars which were in the year 480 BCE. The very first coins were being issued in Lydia either by the non-Greek Lydians mostly for their personal use or by the Greek mercenaries who requested to be paid in precious metal after they had finished their service and they wanted to have their payments in a manner that they could authenticate them. During this time, coins were made of electrum which was a natural alloy made up of gold and silver that was greatly valued. By the middle of the sixth century B.C, the technology in Libya had advanced so much that it was possible to produce coins which were made from pure gold. The Greek world was in the past divided into about two thousand city states which were self governing. And states which were way beyond half had coins for their own. These coins circulated even beyond their borders and thus they were used for trade within cities. (Blois, 2008)
The Classical period
This period saw the Greek coinage rising to a level of aesthetic and technical standards. This is because larger cities came up with a variety of fine gold and silver coins which had the picture of their goddess or god inscribed on them on one side and the symbol of their city on the other side of the coin. At this period the use of inscriptions which was on the coins was also adopted mostly, the name of the city which issued the coin was used. During this period, coins were being used for the purposes of propaganda. And because of the reason of coins being durable, valuable and for the fact that it passes through many hands, it was used as a vital means of sending political information. On these coins the owl of Athens and the sacred bird of the goddess were placed in such a manner that it faced the viewer with both its wings stretched out. This was supposed to mean that Athens was not only powerful but also peace loving country.
The Hellenistic period
The third period of the introduction of money in Greece was the Hellenistic period which was featured due to the spread of the Greek culture to many parts of the world. This led to the establishment of Greek speaking kingdoms in Egypt and Syria and some regions in Iran Afghanistan, and the Northwestern part of India. Traders from Greek spread coins to a large area and this led to the production of coins in new kingdoms. And for the sole reason that these kingdoms were bigger, wealthier and larger than their counterparts from Greek city states. Their coins were produced in mass, they were large in size and mostly they were made of gold. The main setback was that it lacked the visual effect of coins which was present in earlier times. The most outstanding feature of the Hellenistic coins was the use of /pictures of people who were living and most were kings. The names of the kings were inscribed on the coin. (Croome, 1956)
Greek coins were hand-made not like the modern ones which are machine made. Today, the Greek coins are rare and expensive and they can only be seen in museums. An active market which trades in both high quality and ordinary coins from the Greek dominates online auctions of houses in Europe and the United States of America. These coins further find their way into the economy through the internet.
Money of recent years
In the recent world, there is the use of the paper money. This came up as a result of the disadvantages of the coin money. This includes the bulkiness; it can easily be lost due to the prone nature of coins to drop. Many units of the currencies today were derived from the Roman originals and in detail from the middle ages. The origin of paper money can be dated back to China. This was where it was first experimented and tested. This was during the ages of AD 910. The problem with the paper money is the increased rate in which it can be produced in excess and thus leading to inflation of money in the market and the economy as whole. This led to the abolishing of paper money in Ming Empire.
Money is definitely one of the most significant and noteworthy of all the earlier civilizations. This is because of its vital role in trade and other economic transactions. Its also very vital in trade. This is because without it there is the rooting of barter trade which exists between two individuals who has what the other person wants. This can be very demanding, and the above reason has made money to be widely accepted and used. Its advantages have also been widely recognized. Money has evolved from ancient times to present times and its growth is still going on has more technologies are being adopted.