Banking in Florence

Florence was at some point one of the earliest banking hubs in history largely due to people finding a way around the usury ban as it was forbidden before (and still is in some Muslim countries if I remember). Usury is the practise of charging interest, albeit one that had to be circumvented for others as they have to find other ways to make their ends meet. Especially if it’s for survival reasons.

I suspect that’s how the Medici family started out as, assuming the earliest Medici (Medico di Pontone) was actually a doctor and though his subsequent relatives still dabble in medicine via medical gardens, it probably wasn’t enough to make their ends meet. They certainly did have a habit of selling medicines before but had to diversify to make more money.

I suspect that’s actually how they got into banking. Though the same can be said of any once struggling family that had to resort to the most dubious tactics. Dante Alighieri may’ve suspected it but one of his relatives had to to support its family from losing a lot of money before.

(As somebody who had aristocratic aspirations and pretensions, he may’ve lucked out through a direct descendant of his marrying into aristocracy.)