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In the first century BC lending and borrowing by the senators was the talk of Rome and even provoked political crises. During this same period, the state tax-farmers were handling enormous sums and exploiting the provinces of the Empire.
Until now no book has presented a synthetic view of Roman banking and financial life as a whole, from the time of the appearance of the first bankers' shops in the Forum between 318 and 310 BC down to the end of the Principate in AD 284. Professor Andreau writes of the business deals of the elite and the professional bankers and also of the interventions of the state.
To what extent did the spirit of profit and enterprise predominate over the traditional values of the city of Rome? And what economic role did these financiers play? How should we compare that role to that of their counterparts in later periods.