As you can imagine, barter trade has some serious flaws. For example, what if the person who had just repaired your roof wanted, say, flip flops? And you only had bananas? Moreover, fruits like bananas could spoil, so waiting for a week until you could find a person who would repair your roof for a bunch of bananas was not really an option.
Thankfully, somebody thought up the idea of using money.
Since humans learned to live together in communities, money (or its variant) has shaped society. It advanced Mesopotamian commerce, spurred the development of mathematics, and helped kings and their officials collect taxes and impose fines. As the use of money (and money itself) evolved during the Bronze Age—
especially in civilizations along the Mediterranean Sea—it promoted sea trade, built profitable cottage industries, and made possible the accumulation of wealth. With the accumulation of wealth, prosperity of course followed; and with prosperity comes all sorts of advancements.
Indeed, money made many things happen.
Money, however, did not always come in the form of paper bills and small metal coins that could easily be put inside one’s pocket. Different objects, such as spices, leather, seashells, and of course gold and silver were used as a medium of exchange. Carrying large amounts of what passes for money back then was a heavy task; it would have been heavy work when one goes shopping, or if one is buying a really expensive object. Moreover, a piece of gold or silver is difficult to divide into small pieces if you only wanted a small bit of, say, boiled camote.
So, where did money originate?
Archaeologists had established that cash originated in the world’s oldest cities, in Mesopotamia.
Apparently, silver in Mesopotamia functioned much like our money today; that is, people used it as a means of exchange and used it for defining the value of commodities and services. Archaeologists had unearthed stone tablets (the tablets were dated to be about 3,700 years old) from the ruins of an ancient Mesopotamian city that referred to a currency, in the form of silver rings, that started circulating in the region two thousand years before the world’s first coins were minted.