Italian curiosities: did you know the first banks were born in Italy?

Feb 04, 2023 419

Banks: we all use them but have we ever thought about when and how they were created? History tells us that the earliest forms of banking – or something close to it – were practiced by the Assyrians and the Babylonians in Mesopotamia, as far back as 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. It was quite normal for the wealthy to entrust their riches to members of the royal palace or to religious functionaries for safekeeping.

This connection between financial and religious activities continued in Ancient Greece, where priests would set near the temple their trapeza, a stall where they could directly manage and control all offers made to the temple itself. It is, however, during the Italian Middle Ages and Renaissance, at the time of comuni and signorie, that the idea and concept of “bank” came closer to what we know today. That’s why we often say banks as an institution are an Italian creation.

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