The Ancient Centre

The Ancient Centre

At the corner of the cardo and the decumanus, this was the ancient site of the roman forum. It is now the Piazza della Repubblica.

In between it was a market, a ghetto and the jewish quarter.

It's the jewish quarter part that interests me because this, along with Venice and Genoa, is where the beginnings of the banking industry come from. Since christians were not allowed to charge interest on loans - you know, Christ drives the usurers out of the temple and all that - but jews were allowed to lend to non-jews, it was up to the jews to provide the risky loans and insurance that someone unable to charge interest could not. So, I'm guessing it was here that they set up their bench (called banca in italian or, to make it even more obvious, Bank in german) and table and loaned out money. If you're wondering about the cliche of jews in finance, well, it's because lending money was one of the few trades jews were actually allowed to engage in.

So, all of that started roughly here.

Of course, it didn't take long before banking powerhouses like the Medici family were able to figure out ways around the biblical prohibitions. It's not usury, it's arbitrage or insurance fees or late fees or currency exchange. And they used that money to finance and encourage the renaissance.

Which also started here.

All of which generally turns my head into mush as I stand there, trying to take a photograph.

My other photos from Florence can be found in the gallery.

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EXIF

Camera: NIKON D80
Lens Type:
Focal Length: 18 mm
35mm Focal Length: 27 mm
Exposure: 1/125 sec
Aperture: f 8
ISO: 800


Taken: 2009-05-24 16:54:40
Posted: 2012-12-05 | 21:07





The Ancient Centre

The Ancient Centre

At the corner of the cardo and the decumanus, this was the ancient site of the roman forum. It is now the Piazza della Repubblica.

In between it was a market, a ghetto and the jewish quarter.

It's the jewish quarter part that interests me because this, along with Venice and Genoa, is where the beginnings of the banking industry come from. Since christians were not allowed to charge interest on loans - you know, Christ drives the usurers out of the temple and all that - but jews were allowed to lend to non-jews, it was up to the jews to provide the risky loans and insurance that someone unable to charge interest could not. So, I'm guessing it was here that they set up their bench (called banca in italian or, to make it even more obvious, Bank in german) and table and loaned out money. If you're wondering about the cliche of jews in finance, well, it's because lending money was one of the few trades jews were actually allowed to engage in.

So, all of that started roughly here.

Of course, it didn't take long before banking powerhouses like the Medici family were able to figure out ways around the biblical prohibitions. It's not usury, it's arbitrage or insurance fees or late fees or currency exchange. And they used that money to finance and encourage the renaissance.

Which also started here.

All of which generally turns my head into mush as I stand there, trying to take a photograph.

My other photos from Florence can be found in the gallery.

Show this photo on a map ✈

EXIF

Camera: NIKON D80
Lens Type:
Focal Length: 18 mm
35mm Focal Length: 27 mm
Exposure: 1/125 sec
Aperture: f 8
ISO: 800


Taken: 2009-05-24 16:54:40
Posted: 2012-12-05 | 21:07


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