The Jewish community in Rome is the oldest in Europe, the only one to have existed continuously for over 2,000 years. This detailed study of the Jewish banking community in Italy is therefore of special value and interest. Poliakov’s classic account of the rise and fall of the Jewish bankers is at the same time the story of medieval finance in general, its decline, and the birth of ‘modern’ finance. The author traces the economic and theological implication of each stage in the ambiguous relationship that developed between the Jewish money trade and the Holy See. He shows that the protection enjoyed by the Jews from the Holy See had not only theological, but also economic roots. The study ends with an account of the introduction of modern, ‘capitalist’ techniques and of the consequent inevitable decline of the Jewish money trade.
Preface. Part 1: The Rise of the Jewish Money Trade 1. The Significance and Basis of the Protection Granted to the Jews by the Holy See. 2. The Doctrine of Usury and the Jews. 3. Preliminary Reflections on the Jewish Money Trade in Italy. 4. The Rise of Jewish banking in Italy. 5. The Banchieri and the Holy See. Part 2: The Techniques of the Jewish Money Trade 6. The Banchi. 7. The Banchieri. 8. The Jew in the Italian City. Part 3: The Decline of the Jewish Money Trade 9. Franciscan Propaganda and the First Monti di Pietà: The Expulsions from Naples and the Duchy of Milan. 10. The Jews and the Development of Financial Techniques (Florence). 11. The Jews and the Evolution of Christian Attitudes (Rome). 12. The Strange Case of Venice. 13. The End of the System of Papal Licences. Conclusion. Appendix: The Epistle of Jacob ben Elijah. Notes. Index.