15 October 2021

The CapX Podcast: The economics of ancient Rome with George Maher


Rome was the greatest city of the ancient world, commanding an empire that spread from Damascus to York and encompassed a quarter of the world’s population. It’s a civilisation whose splendour and eventual decline has inspired generations of painters and poets for more than a thousand years.  But as businessman and historian George Maher argues in his book Pugnare: Economic Success and Failure, the ascent of Rome wasn’t just a military or cultural achievement – it was an economic one.

CapX sat down for a fascinating conversation with George – whose classical research combined with his professional experience as an actuary gives him a rare insight into the comparative workings of the ancient and modern worlds – to discuss the Romans’ innovations in free trade, currency and banking, and why the lessons from the empire’s downfall are still relevant today.

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Alys Denby is Deputy Editor of CapX