Merchant Wealth
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Merchant Wealth
(Revelation 18.15-17a)
Page 263

"The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out, 'Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!'" (Revelation 18.15-17a)

Roman Hand Abacus

Roman Hand AbacusThe merchants markets which were the economic basis of the Roman empire had failed and the dealers were grieving. They were bewailing the loss of both the markets and their profits which they counted on a Roman hand abacus. It was the first portable calculating device for engineers, merchants and presumably tax collectors. It greatly reduced the time needed to perform the basic operations of arithmetic using Roman numerals. This Roman counting board which was slipped into a shirt pocket was called in Latin a "calculi" no doubt the originator of our modern word "calculator." The Latin word "calx" meant gravel stone, little stone or pebble and was used as a counter in the Roman hand abacus. The Roman markets collapse was the end that John of Patmos was anticipating. And he was right, for "a society built on wealth, on wantonness, on pride, on callousness to human life and personality is necessarily doomed, even from the human point of view."

"Merchant Wealth"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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