Wednesday, 7 June 2023

The important innovation of money Herodotus credits to the ancient Lydians. It was a convenience born, he suggests, of that progressive cultural practice whereby Lydians girls prostituted themselves for a period of their adolescence in order to accumulate the dowry which would then serve them in attracting the attentions of a respectable suitor. While the particulars of these special transactions might have been settled according to the more venerable forms of barter and exchange that served the general order of transactions in the economy at large, women of delicacy and taste found the transportation of livestock and sacks of grain introduced an indecent complication into an otherwise elegant system, and consequently commissioned their jewelers to invent some graceful token by which to expedite the commercial portion of this pleasant and upright ritual.