Silver Denarius of Caesar (44BC)
In ancient Rome, money was gold, silver, and various other metals in ingot or struck form. The silver Denarius coin was one of the common currencies of the people for commercial trade. The gold Aureus coin was generally valued at 25 denarii (unequal weights), and was used for large payments and a stable store of value (savings).
By Caesar's time (b.100BC) it was well-understood that a growing empire required a growing economy, and thus, a growing money supply. Much of this money entered the empire in the form of booty through its conquests all around the Mediterranean. By mid-century, Caesar added Gaul (Western Europe) to the conquests, and consequently, more money to the Republic's treasury and economy.
The Populares and the Optimates
Gold Aureus of Caesar
But there was also an artificial way to increase the money supply in the form of paper debt. The moneyed oligarchs (Optimates) of the Roman Republic often engaged in money lending to increase their wealth via interest (usury). The paper debts they created could also be traded for metal money and could act as a form of fiat currency. This debt-money creation works fine so long as economic growth provides the means to pay the interest on the debt. When the debt burden in Rome became excessive, the economy would slow, and the risk of mass default would climb. This is why debt cancellation/reduction was often a "hot" political topic among candidates for high office where the struggle would often manifest between leaders in the Populares (of the people) camp versus the Optimates camp in the Roman Senate. Caesar was solidly in the Populares camp from start to finish.
Murder of Caesar on the Senate floor
The Optimates in the Senate and the Roman oligarchs knew much about boom/bust economic cycles and how debt could be used to vastly increase their wealth at the expense of the people. A debt default would allow the capture of much property at low cost - and after the economy improved - net wealth increased dramatically and far beyond what would have been gained in interest on the debt. This is why the Optimates in the Senate very much hated any talk of legislation directed toward debt cancellation/reduction. Debt cancellation/reduction cut their legs out from under them in direct favor of the Populares. And this struggle between the Populares and the Optimates is what led to the murder of Caesar on the Senate floor [and apparently Brutus was particularly vile among the big moneylenders].
Does any of this sound familiar with respect to the situation we find our collective selves (the Populares) in today? Paper debt instruments are completely out of control and real money (gold and silver) have been relegated to the status of "barbaric relic". We are in the middle of a vast transfer of wealth from the Populares to the Optimates/oligarchs of today. Has there been any serious legislative talk of debt reduction/cancellation? No. Instead we have experienced the legislative groundwork for "bail-in" of the people's assets to service the debt. The Optimates of today want everything.