Somewhere in the area of 75 AD the silver content of the Roman Denarius was about 100%. It was solid silver. Somewhere before 300 AD that content had fallen to around 10% or less. The value of the currency fell and the empire’s debt rose as Rome fell apart.
I thought that was an interesting fact, so I decided to tie it in to my suggestion to you that you find and read a book that came out last year called This Time is Different; Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Reinhart and Rogoff.