By Tim Parks
Publish 12 months note: First released in 2005 in nice Britain through Profile Books
The extraordinary tale of the Renaissance's preeminent financiers. "A rapid and incredible synthesis of finance, politics, and history." Ben Sisario, big apple occasions e-book Review
Their identify is a byword for substantial wealth and gear, yet earlier than their renown as artwork consumers and noblemen the Medicis equipped their fortune on banking - in particular, on lending funds at curiosity. Banking within the 15th century, even on the peak of the Renaissance, intended operating afoul of the Catholic Church's prohibition opposed to usury. It required greater than simply monetary talents to make a revenue, and the mythical Medicis - such a lot famously Cosimo and Lorenzo ("the Magnificent") - have been masterly in wielding the political, diplomatic, army, or even metaphysical instruments that have been had to retain their family's position.
In this brisk and witty narrative, Tim Parks uncovers the intrigues, dodges, and ethical features that gave the Medicis their area. Vividly evoking the richness of the Florentine Renaissance and the Medicis' glittering circle, replete with artists, popes, and kings, Medici cash is an excellent look at the origins of recent banking and its bothered courting with artwork and faith.
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Additional info for Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics and Art in fifteenth-century Florence
Others, notably Archbishop (later Saint) Antonino of Florence, consider that since the deposit is made in the hope of gain—for the gift is certainly discussed—then this is “mental usury”; the intention is there and the absence of a contract makes no difference. It is a mortal sin. Despite the secrecy, we know of many famous holders of discretionary deposits. One was Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, half brother of Henry IV. Was his soul at risk? Cardinal Hermann Dwerg, close friend of Pope Martin V, is said to have lived in “a spirit of evangelical poverty,” while keeping 4,000 Roman florins in a discretionary deposit and accepting Cosimo de’ Medici’s annual gifts.
They were obliged to list their incomes and possessions. Spared that annoyance, the women leave only the value of their dowries. Giovanni di Bicci was not a pleb made good. The Medici had appeared often enough on the parchments that recorded the names of the so-called priors of the city, the nine men who formed the government. But he wasn’t wealthy either. He and his four brothers had to share the 800 florins their mother left at her death. Assessed for tax, Giovanni was found liable for a contribution of only 12 HW871501_Text 18/07/2013 18:03:50 20 Tim Parks florins.
A transaction would always be recorded, but its true nature was often camouflaged. What matters, the bankers appreciated, is that you must not be manifestly in the wrong. Obviously, if a bank failed to produce its gift, the clerical customer took his cash elsewhere. HW871501_Text 18/07/2013 18:03:50 Medici Money 25 But why would a cardinal in Rome put his money in a bank that—quite apart from the problem of usury—might, and often did, fail? Why not invest it, sin-free, in property, which was rapidly increasing its value in the city and immediately surrounding countryside, or again in jewels?
Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics and Art in fifteenth-century Florence by Tim Parks