Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence
by Tim Parks
The Medici are famous as the rulers of Florence at the high point of the Renaissance. Their power is derived from the family bank, and this book ... Show synopsis The Medici are famous as the rulers of Florence at the high point of the Renaissance. Their power is derived from the family bank, and this book tells the fascinating, frequently bloody story of the family and the dramatic development and collapse of their bank (from Cosimo who took it over in 1419 to his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent who presided over its precipitous decline). The Medici faced two apparently insuperable problems: How did a banker deal with the fact that the Church regarded interest as a sin and had made it illegal? How in a small republic like Florence could he avoid having his wealth taken away by taxation? But the bank became indispensable to the Church. And the family completely subverted Florence's claims to being democratic. They ran the city. "Medici Money" explores a crucial moment in the passage from the Middle Ages to the Modern world, a moment when our own attitudes to money and morals were being formed. To read this book is to understand how much the Renaissance has to tell us about our own world. "Medici Money" is one of the launch titles in a new series, "Atlas Books", edited by James Atlas. "Atlas Books" pairs fine writers with stories of the economic forces that have shaped the world, in a new genre - the business book as literature.