Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Ancient Roots of Today's Financial Tools : HBS Working Knowledge

From HBS Working Knowledge: The Ancient Roots of Today's Financial Tools: Take a bank check. Most people assume this financial convenience is fairly new, certainly not more than a century or two old.

But according to William Goetzmann, a visiting professor from Yale University who is fascinated by financial instruments as windows on technology and innovation, bankers' checks written in Greek on papyri appeared in ancient Egypt as far back as 250 B.C. Papyri preserved well in Egypt thanks to its arid climate, but Goetzmann thinks it's safe to say such checks changed hands throughout the Mediterranean world.

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