This question draws its inspiration from the "Big Mac Index".
What are the historical prices for the services of a prostitute purchased
under the US Dollar, UK Pound, and other world-leading currencies
going back to antiquity? I want to go back at least 2,000 years, so I
think I want whatever were the largest civilisations' currencies in
the middle ages, dark ages, Roman empire, and ancient Greece. I don't
know if it's possible to go back as far as Sumeria. Ancient eastern
civilisations would be nice to have.
The exact item(s) to be priced is probably one act of heterosexual
intercourse, without any overnight cohabitation. But this is possibly
best determined by the researcher. Consistency over time is the main
determinant. The inclusion of prices for other acts of prostitution
would make a better answer, but they are of little value if they are
not measured over a similar length of time.
I am aware that prices vary within the countries, and that various
countries will use one currency. Only one country per currency is
required. Within a country, only one value is required, as it is not
as necessary to achieve high accuracy as it is to identify a trend
over time. An average value may be derived, or failing that, a single
measurement may be acceptable. A good answer will take a sensible
approach, perhaps sampling the largest population center.
The answers can come in a table of numbers, or more likely a bunch of
tables. I don't need graphs. Each table should have at least one
currency, time period, and service price.
An acceptable answer will have some kind of continuity through history
(assuming this is possible), from the Euro to the Romans. Of course I
expect to see currencies begin and end through history, such as the
two or three German ones last century.
An acceptable answer will identify updates to currencies when
governments changed them. This would include decimilization, but also
probably invasions and independence.
The maximum detail I need is one data point per year (I don't know the
economic convention for settling on a yearly value ... January 1st?
Averaging?) Naturally, the further back you go, the less frequent the
data will be. Best estimates are perfectly fine. Anything is better than nothing.
Finally is the question of exactly which currencies to include. I am
not sure, and I am also not sure if this question is worth a higher
price: Please tell me if there is more information I should pay more
for. The background expectation is to see those currencies that are
reported regularly in the news, such as US, UK, Euro and Japan. So
five at any one time is probably enough. I expect the maximum number
will probably impose itself, depending on which period of history is
I will give a $10 tip if you can include all Australian currency
(dollar, pound, anything earlier which is colony-based) back to 1788.
I will probably tip if there is a chunk of tangential but interesting
related information provided that didn't occur to me to ask for.
Please be aware that I am asking four other follow-up questions to do
with the historical price of gold and other items.