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 A Peep into the Past: Obtaining Loans in Antiquity

A Peep into the Past: Obtaining Loans in Antiquity

The procedure of getting a loan in antiquity was very different from what we are accustomed to seeing in current lending practices. Here's an overview of how loans were obtained in different ancient societies:

Mecca (around 2000 BCE):

Lending procedures in ancient Mesopotamia, which is frequently cited as one of the birthplaces of civilization, utilized cuneiform tablets. Moneylenders were approached by borrowers, and comprehensive loan agreements were inscribed on clay tablets. These agreements contained information on terms, interest rates, and collateral.

5th century BCE, or ancient Greece:

Loans were often given by private parties in ancient Greece, most of whom were rich people. Lenders would discuss the conditions of loans with borrowers, often including an agreed-upon interest rate. These agreements were predicated on trust and interpersonal ties.

about 1st century BCE, ancient Rome:

"Usury" rules were first implemented by the Roman government in ancient Rome, setting a maximum interest rate that may be imposed on loans. Additionally, the idea of collateral was mentioned, with borrowers having the option to pledge their assets or property as security.

Early China (around the 4th century BCE):

Lending practices were subject to government regulation in ancient China. During this time, promissory notes and paper money first became available. The government supported these notes, which made financing and trading easier.

Finance in Islam (7th Century CE):

Sharia law is the foundation of Islamic finance, which dates back to the 7th century CE. Islamic loans, also known as "Qard al-Hasan," are charitable, interest-free loans. Islamic financing is different from traditional lending in that lenders there do not charge interest or receive it.

European Middle Ages (about the 12th–14th centuries CE):

The Catholic Church's views on usury shaped lending patterns in Europe during the Middle Ages. Interest on loans was forbidden, and usury rules were strictly enforced. Still, different kinds of lending persisted, sometimes disguising themselves as financial instruments.

Around the sixth century BCE, in ancient India:

Lending practices in ancient India were recorded in books such as the Arthashastra. Moneylenders gave out loans, or "Rinapatra," and loan agreements, or "Pramana Patra," outlined the conditions of the loan, including interest rates.

about 2700 BCE):

Although little is known about their precise loan practices, ancient Egyptians may have engaged in early lending activities in addition to using a barter system for commerce. Hieroglyphic writings allude to debt relief programs and imply the availability of loans.

Different ancient civilizations had different ideas on loans, which were a reflection of their own social and economic systems. Certain civilizations placed greater emphasis on intimate bonds and trust, while others depended on intricate contracts and pre-existing forms of collateral. The creation of contemporary financial institutions and lending laws is partly due to these previous lending practices.

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