in many cases were bronze coins.
    All this would suggest that perhaps in no other period had money
economy penetrated so deeply into the life of the common people of the
towns and suburbs as during this period, a development which fits well with
the growth of arts and crafts and the country’s flourishing trade with the
Roman empire.
                  *An old alloy of copper, zinc, lead and tin.
                     
Usury
The Smriti literature of the pre-Gupta period deals with the topics of
moneylending interest rates, profits, and the like which are characteristic of a
developed money economy. Loans were either secured or unsecured by
pledges, and were given either in cash or in kind, while the debtors included
merchants traversing forests or the high seas for gain.
    The laws relating to interest rates show an interesting development.
Manu, for instance, approves 2 per cent in general, but sanctions 2, 3, 4 and 5
per cent for Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Sudra debtors respectively.
Yajnavalkya, another prominent law giver, repeats Manu’s schedule of rates
and reconciles their patent inconsistency by confirming the 11 per cent rate to
loan secured by pledges. The legal rates of interest even reach the high figure
of 24 per cent per annum. Yajnavalkya            himself adds still higher rates of