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How did ancient (Roman) banks work?


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I'm wondering how the average banker in Rome would have worked?  I'm referring more to their cash-keeping services.  I'm sure verification was less enraging than now, but I wonder how it worked?  Other than just knowing the customer.  I'm sure bankers had assistants.

I suspect it's some kind of regulation, but my bank came up with the brilliant idea of forcing one to jump through hoops to access online banking.  Receive a call (not a text) and enter the code into the online banking.  Enraging!  (It's a bona fide bank thing and not some kind of scam).

I trust that ancient Forum banks were less annoying?

Also, are there any records of how much moneychangers charged during various periods? 

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The word, " bank" originally meant a bench where money changers set up in the market place or in a forum. They had balance scales to determine weight and touch stones to determine metal and its purity. More like a flea market table than a bank building. Temples often served as a repository for large sums of cash. Loaning money was often done privately at home with contracts and witnesses and sureties for repayment  . The Roman courts would enforce such contracts (much of Roma law dealt with loans and debts)   and many a young Roman found himself insolvent from contracting bad debts. Julius Caesar played this game as a young man but good fortune (a political office, Pontifex Maximus) saved him. Juno Moneta had her eye set on furthering his career.

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3 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

I'm sure ancient banks were less enraging than modern ones.  Does anyone else's bank do something similar to what I described?


Chase Bank has required a security code when I sign in from my cellphone for more than a decade. They give me the choice of receiving a text or a phone call. Double authentication is standard practice. I cannot understand why you have a problem with it, let alone why it "enrages" you!

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Personally, I find two-factor authentication much less annoying than having my savings wiped out by cyber-thieves. The idea is that if your password falls victim to a data breach, it's useless without the second factor - typically a random numeric code valid for only a few minutes. It's not a perfect system but it's much more secure than a password alone.

Fortunately for collectors today, ancient "banking" often consisted of burying one's wealth in the ground in an out-of-the-way spot... and living long enough to recover it, apparently easier said than done.


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