EH214      Half Unit
Money and Finance: From the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Oliver Volckart SAR 6.10


This course is available as an outside option to students on non-Economic History programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students

Course content

The course provides an overview of the main developments in monetary and financial history from 800 to the eighteenth century, taking the students from the simple beginnings of medieval European monetary history to the emergence of the complex financial arrangements characterising the modern world. Historical developments in major European and non-European countries (England, Spain, Italy, France, Germany) will be discussed and compared. The course is designed to introduce students to the main concepts of money and finance (commodity money, inflation and deflation, financial development, financial integration, monetary policy etc.).


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT.

There will be a Reading Week in Week 6 of MT.

Formative coursework

The students will produce one formative essay. The exercise will help them practice academic writing (structuring and presenting arguments, providing explanations, referencing etc.); a skill helpful for the exam of this course that will take place at the beginning of the LT. The class presentation has a formative character, too. Students will practice presenting complex arguments to their peers and answering questions from the audience.

Indicative reading

1. Barrett, W. (1990): World Bullion Flows, 1450-1800, in: Tracy, J.D., ed., The Rise of Merchant Empires: Long-Distance Trade in the Early Modern World 1350-1750, Cambridge (Cambridge University Press), pp. 224-254.

2. Volckart, O. (2018). Money and its Technologies: The Principles of Minting in the Middle Ages, in: Naismith, R., ed., A Cultural History of Money in The Medieval Age, London (Bloomsbury Academic), pp. 15-35.

3. Spufford, P. (1991): Money and its Use in Medieval Europe, Cambridge et al. (Cambridge University Press).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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