This ancient city would still be among the wealthiest in the world today

In the year 440 BC, more than two decades into the reign of Pericles, an audit of treasury in Athens showed a massive surplus of more than 9700 “talents”.

A talent was a common unit of measurement in the ancient world, especially for gold and silver, and, based on today’s precious metals prices and the traditional gold/silver ratio (14:1) used by the ancient Greeks, 9700 talents is equivalent to about $700 million today.

At the time, Athens boasted a population of around 43,000 citizens and 28,500 foreign residents… so on a “per capita” basis, the ancient Athenian surplus amounted to just under $10,000 per person in today’s money.

If you compare this figure to our modern world, it’s pretty extraordinary. (Continue to full posting…)

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