From Mountain Fastness to Coastal Kingdoms: Hard Money and ‘Cashless’ Economies in the Medieval Bay of Bengal World

Author:

Rila Mukherjee

,

John Deyell

Publisher:

MANOHAR PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS

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Publisher

MANOHAR PUBLISHERS AND DISTRIBUTORS

Publication Year 2019
ISBN-13

9789388540322

ISBN-10 9388540328
Binding

Hardcover

Edition FIRST
Number of Pages 240 Pages
Language (English)
Dimensions (Cms) 22x14x1.5
Weight (grms) 420

Money is central to the functioning of economies, yet for the pre-modern period, our knowledge of monetary systems is still evolving. Until recently, historians of the medieval world have conflated the use of coins with a high degree of monetization. States without coinage were considered under-monetized. It is becoming more evident, however, that some medieval states used money in complex ways without using coinage. Moneys of account supplanted coins wholly or in part. But there is an imbalance of evidence: coins survive physically, while intangible forms of money leave little trace. This has skewed our understanding.


Since coin usage has been well studied in the past, these essays flesh out our consideration of societies that used money but struck no coins. Absence or shortage of coining metals was not the causative factor: some of these societies had access to metal supplies but still remained coinless. Was this a strategic choice? Does it reflect the unique system of gover­nance that developed in each kingdom?


It is surely time to unravel this puzzle. This book examines money use in the Bay of Bengal world, using the case of medieval Bengal as a fulcrum. Situated between mountains and the sea, this region had simultaneous access to both overland and maritime trade routes.


How did such ‘cashless’ economies function internally, within their regions and in the broader Indian Ocean context? This volume brings together the thoughts of a range of upcoming scholars (and a sprinkling of their elders), on these and related issues.

Rila Mukherjee

Rila Mukherjee is Professor, Department of History, University of Hyderabad, India and Chief Editor of The Asian Review of World Histories available at www.the arwh.org. She edited Beyond National Frames: South Asian Pasts and the World (2015) and co-edited with Lipi Ghosh Rethinking Connectivity: Region Place and Space in Asia (2016). Currently working on an Australian Research Council project on human natural hazard interactions in the Indo-Pacific in historical time, she is mapping the history and geography of the Bengal delta in human and environmental time.

John Deyell

John Deyell is an independent researcher originally from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A former visiting Professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, he writes on the pre-modern monetary systems of the Indian Ocean world.
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