Edict on Prices
- Issued by Diocletian (q.v.) in 301, it consisted of a long list of specific goods and services, each appended with a maximum price. As an attempt to control runaway inflation, it failed. It was published in lengthy inscriptions, fragments of which survive from over 40 cities. However, none survive from the regions governed by Maximian and Constantius Chlorus (qq.v.), though their names are appended to the edict. Presumably they did not publish it, for whatever reasons. The edict failed, in part because it reveals a basic misunderstanding of inflation, attributing it solely to greed. Nonetheless, the serious consequence of inflation for the army (q.v.) was clearly understood. The edict's preamble points out that rapid inflation was impoverishing soldiers by wiping out their purchasing power. For the modern historian the edict is an important historical source for what it reveals about goods and services, trade and commerce, prices and coinage (q.v.).
Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . John H. Rosser .
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