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

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

Paperback

By (author) Tim Parks

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  • Publisher: Profile Business
  • Format: Paperback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 20mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 6 April 2006
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1861977573
  • ISBN 13: 9781861977571
  • Sales rank: 78,410

Product description

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.

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Author information

Tim Parks has lived in Italy since 1981. He is the author of eleven novels, three accounts of life in Italy, two collections of essays and many translations of Italian writers.

Review quote

Lucky for Italy that Tim Parks decided to live there and write about his new home. His books instruct and entertain. His acute sense of people and history now comes to grand fruition in his tome on the Medici, a gift to anyone who has been dazzled by Florence. Splendid reading -- Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun An erudite and profound examination of the Renaissance banking family. BBC History Magazine The fabulous banking boys...fascinating and intricate. The Guardian Tim Parks proves a delightful guide to both the Florentine Renaissance and the family history of one of Europe's greatest dynasties. In Medici Money he wears his considerable learning with refreshing lightness, giving us a wise and witty meditation on money, art and power, Renaissance-style -- Ross King - author of Brunelleschi's Dome Parks brings a novelist's flair to his task and comes out as a hip and snappy narrator. Independent on Sunday A straightforward, readable, interesting and witty account of the rise and fall of one of the world's first banks ... A fasinating tale. Glasgow Evening Times Successfully captures the spirit of the age and brings alive the characters of Cosimo and Lorenzo, two men whose story remains as fascinating now as it was to their comtemporary friends and enemies. -- Tony Barber Financial Times Tim Parks retells the story with a hugely readable breadth and insight. -- Mark Archer Spectator Straight-forward, readable, interesting and witty account of the rise and fall of one of the world's first banks ... A fascinating tale. Birmingham Post Highlights the excesses and successes of the Florentine Renaissance and charts the glittering ascendancy of one entrepreneurial family against the backdrop of a unique Italian bank. Good Book Guide Successfully captures the spirit of the age, and brings alive the characters of Cosimo and Lorenzo, two men whose story remains as fascinating now as it was to their contemporary friends and enemies. Financial Times Parks, who is sceptical about bankers, writes about them with pace, wit and some passion. Economist A book which is as lively as it is learned. Scotsman Witty and penetrating ... Parks deftly unravels these complexities, illustrating both their benefits and the pitfalls with illuminating detail ... Tim Parks recounts the Medicis' story with an infectious enthusiasm. His own conjuring trick is to tell this grand saga, with all its chicanery, in a clear and lucid style. Sunday Telegraph