Edition: 2015
Pages: 308
Series: EL
ISBN: 9788858119952

Sibyl’s Tears. The history of the men who invented banks

Amedeo Feniello


Other Press (English worldwide); Shaanxi People's Publishing (Chinese Simpl.)



Popes, kings, bankers, noblemen, knights, priests, cardinals, but also ordinary men and women: the story of those who in one hundred incredible years discovered how to generate wealth through wealth.

Starting in 1240 (in a period of history spanning one hundred years), there was a violent upheaval involving the first money changers and lenders in Northern Italy, which later spread to the highly articulated system of Florentine banks and the nascent apparatuses of the national states. The upheaval would prove rapid, tumultuous, and complex, transforming profit into a new and beguiling notion, the mirage of a new world founded on an axiom – not just the predictable one of the attainment of wealth but the creation of something going beyond riches, rendering our very possessions dynamic. All of a sudden, money became a life force.
In this vivacious and meticulously documented account, Amedeo Feniello describes the exemplary tales of those who were among the first to savour the euphoria of financial risk (but also the depression of debt and bankruptcy.)

The author

Amedeo Feniello

Amedeo Feniello teaches Medieval History at the University of L'Aquila. He carried out teaching and research activities at EHESS in Paris and at Northwestern University in Evanston, Chicago. He currently works at the IsemCNR in Rome. For Laterza he is the author of Under the Sign of the Lion. History of Muslim Italy (2011) and From Sybil's Tears. History of the Men Who Invented the Bank (2013) and collaborated in the World History of Italy (by Andrea Giardina, 2017).

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