Prices, wages and the cost of living were a staple topic of Tudor conversation and literature, giving a curiously contemporary flavour to treatises like the Discourse. Englishmen were bemused by an inflation which seemed severe, harmful and unprecedented, and which, they thought, was responsible for many of the social and economic changes they witnessed. The historian may, despite much recent research, be little wiser than they about its ultimate causes, or about which changes can be firmly attributed to it. It is at least possible, however, to quantify and date the inflation fairly closely, and to relate it to the imperfect evidence for changing standards of living.