"...The shat was linked to the value of gold; one shat was equivalent to 7.5 grams of gold. However, the Egyptians expressed large sums of money in debens, with one deben worth 12 shat and corresponding to 90 grams. So, the shat was worth one-twelfth of a deben. This mechanism could have led the Egyptians directly towards setting up a genuine currency based on gold, but it is interesting to note that from the reign of Ramesses II (Pharaoh from the XIXth dynasty, 1279-1212 BC) onwards, the shat disappeared altogether from accounting texts, which no longer referred to anything other than the deben.
Furthermore, it can also be seen that, from then on, the gold
standard was replaced by the silver standard. In order to understand
this phenomenon, it is necessary to consider the huge symbolic
importance that gold had for the ancient Egyptians. It was considered as
the skin or flesh of the gods, and, moreover, the most zealous servants
and warriors received gold chains from the king himself, regarded as a
veritable god on Earth, at ceremonies called the “gold reward”. Since it
was mainly during the 18th and 19th dynasties that this almost
metaphysical interpretation developed, this explains why the gold-based
currency could never materialize. The administration could not actually
afford to associate gold, so rich in divine symbolism as it was, with an
object as common as money, which could be handled by ordinary mortals.
As for silver, being the material from which the bones of the gods
were made, it, too, was hugely symbolic, although to a much lesser
extent than gold. So, the Egyptians could have used it for monetary
purposes. However, silver was an extremely rare commodity and it could
only be obtained through import, making its use as a currency
impossible. Therefore, it was largely symbolic and metaphysical reasons
that prevented the Egyptians from adopting the use of money..."
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