There were no coins, currency, check books or credit cards in the Ancient East and in spite of this extensive commerce was conducted across vast distances already in the Late Bronze Age, at the very latest. How was this economy managed and how is it different than today’s? How much did a person earn and was profit a principal motive for his activity? How were values established?

In the lecture I will review several of the economic aspects of the Bronze Age and Iron Age in light of the different sources we have. Bitter disputes have broken out among different schools of thought in this area, not all of which have been settled. One of these disputes concerns the question of the transition from the economy that characterized these periods to a monetary economy whose beginning is ascribed to the finding of coins in Anatolia in the year 600 BCE.