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CultureShock! Italy by Alessandro Falassi, Raymond Flower

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‘Working enobles man—and makes him similar to the beast’—Italian proverb

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE ROMANS PRACTISED a form of marine insurance known as ‘bottomry’—which they probably inherited from the Etruscans—and Plutarch records that Cato the Censor was a great money-lender. In the Middle Ages, the Italians had a near monopoly in banking for, as financiers to the Vatican, they handled the vast taxes levied by Rome.

The Florentines invented the draft bill of exchange; the Sienese developed double-entry bookkeeping; the Medici bank anticipated the holding ...

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