Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (Enterprise)

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9780393328455: Medici Money: Banking, Metaphysics, and Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (Enterprise)
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“A swift and brilliant synthesis of finance, politics, and history.”―Ben Sisario, New York Times Book Review

Before they achieved renown as patrons of the arts and de facto rulers of Florence, the Medici family earned their fortune in banking. But even at the height of the Renaissance, charging interest of any kind meant running afoul of the Catholic Church’s ban on usury. Tim Parks reveals how the legendary Medicis―Cosimo and Lorenzo “the Magnificent” in particular―used the diplomatic, military, and even metaphysical tools at hand, along with a healthy dose of intrigue and wit, to further their fortunes as well as their family’s standing.

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About the Author:

Tim Parks was born in Manchester, England, in 1954, grew up in London, and has lived in Italy since 1981. His novels include Europa, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and he is the author of several nonfiction accounts of life in Italy, including Italian Neighbors and An Italian Education. During his years in Italy, Parks has translated works by Italo Calvino, Roberto Calasso, Alberto Moravia, and Machiavelli. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, for which he blogs.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. The Renaissance, so often seen as a clean break with the medieval past, was really an age of creative ambivalence and paradox. In this marvelously fresh addition to the Enterprise series, Parks, author of the Booker-listed Europa and a literary observer of modern Italian life, turns to Florence and to a particularly compelling contradiction. The spirit of capitalist enterprise that fostered cultural originality and underpinned patronage was accompanied by a Christian conviction that money was a source of evil and that usury was a damnable spiritual offense. In the space where this cultural conflict plays out, sometimes as stylized as one of Lorenzo Il Magnifico's tournaments, sometimes as life-threateningly fiery as Savonarola's sermons against worldly vanities, we find a world both akin to our own and almost incomprehensibly distant. Parks is a clear-eyed guide to the ambiguities of Florentine culture, equally attentive to the intricacies of international exchange rates, the spiritual neurosis about unearned income, the shocking bawdiness of Lorenzo's carnival songs and the realpolitik of 15th-century power. His prose is swift and economical, cutting to the chase. Like the Medici-commissioned funerary monument for the anti-Pope John XXIII, the effect is startlingly vibrant, resembling "those moments in Dante's Inferno when one of the damned ceases merely to represent this or that sin and becomes a man or woman with a complex story, someone we are interested in, sympathetic towards." (May)
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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 2006. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Before they achieved renown as patrons of the arts and de facto rulers of Florence, the Medici family earned their fortune in banking. But even at the height of the Renaissance, charging interest of any kind meant running afoul of the Catholic Church's ban on usury. Tim Parks reveals how the legendary Medicis-Cosimo and Lorenzo "the Magnificent" in particular-used the diplomatic, military, and even metaphysical tools at hand, along with a healthy dose of intrigue and wit, to further their fortunes as well as their family's standing. Seller Inventory # AAS9780393328455

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