What To Do When the Debt Gets too Much!


According to the Historia Augusta in AD 118 Hadrian remitted 900 million sesterti that were owed to the State. The coins above depict the burning of syngraphae (the written acknowledgements of debt or promissory notes) in the Forum of Trajan. Hadrian erected a monument in the Forum that was inscribed “the first of all principes and the only one who, by remitting nine hundred million sesterces owed to the fiscus, provided security not merely for his present citizens but also for their descendants by this generosity”.

Change the location from Rome to Athens and move forward two thousand years, give or take …….


Editor’s note – when I originally wrote this, I didn’t quite realise how close to the truth it was. Yesterday, the Greek prime minister effectively asked the Greek people whether they wanted him to burn the Greek debt! So, a commemorative euro coin sometime next year then ……….