DEFINITION

Did you know that the world’s first commodity exchange was in the Çavdarhisar district of Kütahya?

In the Aizanoi Building which was built approximately 1,750 years ago, both commodity transactions were carried out and the price of goods specified by Roman Emperor Dioeletianus in order to fight inflation was announced on stone blocks.

The world’s first commodity exchange was located as Çavdarhisar, Kütahya. On the stone blocks of the Aizanoi, which was used at the end of the 2nd Century A.D. as a food market (Macellum), a copy of the prices determined by Roman Emperor Dioeletianus in his fight against inflation in 301 A.D. can be found. With these writings, prices of all goods sold in the markets were declared. Thus, the commodity exchange in Aizanoi is a precursor of the modern stock exchange. The food market that operated as today’s commodity exchanges was built in 250 A.D., that is, 1,750 years ago. At 301 A.D., 50 years after its establishment, both commodity exchanges were carried out and prices were declared with the aim of battling inflation. At that time, the prices of all goods and services being traded were fixed and measures against rising inflation were taken throughout the Empire. By establishing a cross pricing among the goods produced, purchasing at exorbitant prices was prevented.

The commodity market building was excavated in 1971 and its walls which were partially restored contain prices determined for various goods and services in Greek and Latin.  The walls contain a copy of the Price Edict of Emperor Dioeletianus, issued in 301 CE. Likewise, the stones around the commodity exchange structure contain the prices of all goods and services being traded throughout the Empire. For example, the edict features interesting pricing methods, e.g. “a strong slave is worth two donkeys, and a horse is worth three slaves”. This structure was located in ancient times within or nearby the agora or the market place. The Macellum structures were the meat and fish markets of the ancient times. This structure also dates back to the Roman period.

The most significant feature of the structure is the Latin text of a law issued by Emperor Dioeletianus around 290 A.D. This law, known as the “Edict on Maximum Prices”, set a price ceiling on all goods and services being traded on Roman lands around the Mediterranean. The aim was to take measures against rising inflation and to ensure that people could buy products at fixed prices throughout the Roman Empire. The edict includes all kinds of goods and services, from slaves to shoes, including such items as soldiers’ salaries, beer and wine, glass and ceramics, nails, and even teachers’ wages. T

The most significant feature of the commodity market in Aizanoi, which was excavated in 1971, is the Price Edict of Diocletian, issued in 301 CE. Known as the “Edict on Maximum Prices”, it set a price ceiling on all goods and services being traded on Roman lands around the Mediterranean. Diocletian’s aim was to take measures against rising inflation and to ensure that people could buy products at fixed prices throughout the Roman Empire. The edict includes all kinds of goods and services, from slaves to shoes, including such items as soldiers’ salaries, beer and wine, glass and ceramics, nails, and even teachers’ wages.

However, this edict was unsuccessful as traders then began to stockpile goods instead of selling them and, as a result, crashed the markets until the prices they wanted were once again accepted. The law was repealed in 300 A.D. and the value of money and metals is allowed to fluctuate in the market. This law has its place in history as being the only law the Romans issued against the ruthlessness of capitalism. Another copy of the edict was uncovered at Aphrodisias, on the wall of the city’s commodity exchange building.

 

Did you know that the world’s first commodity exchange was in Kütahya?