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A New Look at the Dealings of the Bardi and Peruzzi with Edward III

  • Edwin S. Hunt (a1)

The Bardi and Peruzzi of Florence became in the early fourteenth century the largest merchant-bankers ever seen in medieval Europe. Their collapse in the 1340s has been attributed by most historians to huge losses on loans to Edward III of England. This article explores some flaws in the conventional explanation and shows that the firms lacked the resources to have made loans on the generally accepted scale. It also suggests means by which the companies could have recovered at least part of their advances to the king without the results appearing in government ledgers.

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Michael Prestwich , “Early Fourteenth-Century Exchange Rates,” The Economic History Review, 2nd series, 32 (Summer1979), pp. 470–82.

E. B. Fryde , “The Financial Resources of Edward III in the Netherlands, 1337–40,” Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire, 45 (1967), pp. 1146, 1153, 1159; reprinted in Studies in Medieval Trade.

R. de Roover , “The Story of the Alberti Company, 1302–1348, as Revealed in its Account Books,” The Business History Review, 32 (Spring1958), pp. 5159. Cash on hand was insignificant in seven out of eight statements over a period of 25 years. The exception was a depressed year when cash equaled 10 percent of assets.

E. B. Fryde , “Materials for the Study of Edward Ill's Credit Operations, 1327–48,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, 22 (1949), pp. 105–38.

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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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