Banks, Palaces and Entrepreneurs in Renaissance Florence.Richard A. Goldthwaite. Banks, Palaces and Entrepreneurs in Renaissance Florence. (Variorum Collected Studies Series, 492.) Aldershot, Hampshire and Brookfield, Vermont Brookfield is a town in Orange County, Vermont, United States. It was created by Vermont charter on August 5, 1781. The population was 1,222 at the 2000 census. Brookfield is best known for its floating bridge which spans Sunset Lake buoyed by pontoons. : Ashgate Publishing Company, 1995. x + 315 pp. $87.50. ISBN ISBN
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This collection of nine articles covers two decades of scholarship by Richard Goldthwaite and showcases the impressive range and depth of his investigations in Renaissance economic history. They are grouped under three headings: the world of the entrepreneur; banks and prices; and palaces. The first chapter explores entrepreneurial attitudes and urban values characterizing Florentine patrician culture. Goldthwaite argues that Renaissance concepts such as magnificence and civilta incorporated economic outlooks condoning consumption of material goods and monetized human relations human relations npl → relaciones fpl humanas that distinguished them from earlier, medieval corporate values and suspiciousness of wealth. Thus, the Italian Renaissance ushered in a whole new world of goods that in turn stimulated demand and supply. Heightened interest in the material aspects of life expressed itself variously, whether in commercial practices taught young men at scuole d'abbaco (chapter two) or in the economic organization of family life, which, Goldthwaite argues, centered increasingly in nuclear households as a result of the centrifugal effects of economic change and practices of partible inheritance Partible inheritance is a general term applied to systems of inheritance in which property may be apportioned among heirs. It contrasts in particular with primogeniture, which requires that the whole inheritance passes to the eldest son, and with agnatic seniority where (chapter three). Although Goldthwaite has modified some of his earlier views on the family, his analysis of account books underscores a decrease in long-term, formal economic ties among relatives and the tenuousness of mercantile fortunes beginning in the late fourteenth century. In his view, these developments "liberated" wealth for faster circulation in the marketplace (chapter three).
The second section picks up one of Goldthwaite's favorite themes: that Florentine economic history can be written adequately without mentioning the Medici family Medici family
Italian bourgeois family that ruled Florence and later Tuscany from c. 1430 to 1737. The family, noted for its often tyrannical rulers and its beneficent patrons of the arts, also provided the church with four popes (Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV, and Leo , who dominated the city's political affairs Political Affairs has several meanings:
Medici (mĕ`dĭchē, Ital. mā`dēchē), Italian family that directed the destinies of Florence from the 15th cent. until 1737. - illustrates the active local banking scene of money-changing, high-level pawnbroking pawnbroking
Business of advancing loans to customers who have pledged household goods or personal belongings as security. The pawnbroker's trade is one of the oldest known, having existed 2,000–3,000 years ago in China, as well as in ancient Greece and Rome. via jewels, current accounts, and time deposits that helped free capital while sidestepping usury laws Usury laws
Laws limiting the amount of interest that can be charged on loans. . The next chapter on the Medici bank is a fitting companion to the previous one, for both contest conclusions of Raymond De Roover, the premier historian of the Medici bank. Goldthwaite moves his analysis of the Medici companies out of the counting house A counting house, or compting house, literally is the building, room, office or suite in which a business firm carries on operations, particularly accounting. By an obvious synecdoche, it has come to mean the accounting operations of a firm, however housed. and into the world of power, a place readers in the 1990s will find congenial. Subsequent research modifies his suggestion that the Medici failed to use their political power to gain influence in the banking sector, especially in Rome, but his basic point remains valid that the Medici did not single-handedly control the Florentine economy or the wider world of Florentine international business through their bank.
The sixth chapter on grain prices from the fourteenth through sixteenth centuries illuminates another facet of the Florentine merchant's world, for determining real prices of grain involves understanding fluctuations in the value of monies and labor costs, concerns that Florentine merchants addressed daily. Goldthwaite's conclusion that the average fifteenth-century Florentine worker was better off than his peers in Northern Europe connects to the final three articles on palace construction, for there he draws our attention to relations between wealthy merchants and the workers who built those massive private palaces that still dominate the Florentine urban landscape. Goldthwaite has treated palace building and furnishing in two other books, and their conclusions regarding the development of a Renaissance consumer culture need no reiteration here. The chapters on the palace as domestic architecture and the construction of the Strozzi Palace (chapters eight and nine) model the type of economic history Goldthwaite practices that uses economic data to pursue larger cultural issues. Already twenty-five years ago he began addressing subjects such as mentalites and the domestic roles of women and children, which perhaps explains why readers continue to find his work relevant and highly suggestive.
MELISSA MERIAM BULLARD University of North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures
Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop. , Chapel Hill