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State Cash Resources and State Building in Europe 13th-18th century

Katia Béguin
Anne L. Murphy

Tax or Borrow or Borrow and Tax?

The Paga Floreni. Political Uses of a Dividend Tax in Genoa (Late Fifteenth Century)

Carlo Taviani

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One of the main differences between public debt in Genoa and that in other cities during the Renaissance was the organization of creditors. While state creditors elsewhere became influential, they did not make up an independent association. It is surmised that in Florence the major lenders of floating debt acquired a power which enabled them to influence political dynamics, but they did not come together in an incorporated institution.1 By contrast, in Genoa creditors brought into being a corporate body, the Casa di San Giorgio, which not only gradually gained strong independence from the commune, but developed political – and hence territorial – power. Set up in 1407, between 1446 and 1562 the Casa di San Giorgio acquired a number of territories from the commune, namely Pietrasanta and Sarzana in present-day northern Tuscany, Famagusta on Cyprus, Kaffa on the Black Sea, Corsica, Levanto, Ventimiglia and Lerici, and Pieve di Teco in Liguria. Although political influences could be ga...


Carlo Taviani obtained his PhD from the University of Perugia in 2004. He was Fellow at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici in Naples (2005–2006), the Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rome (2006), the Villa I Tatti, Harvard University, in Florence (2009–2010) and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC (2012); and then Visiting Scholar at the University of Chicago and at Yale University (2013). He is Fellow of the Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento and Visiting Scholar of the Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rome. He currently works on the concept of financial corporations from the Bank of San Giorgio of Genoa (fifteenth century) to the Dutch East India Company and the Mississippi Company of John Law. He has recently published: ‘Ipotesi sulla transizione di un paradigma finanziario. John Law e la Casa di San Giorgio di Genova (secoli XVI-XVIII)’, Annali dell’Istituto storico italo-germanico in Trento, Quaderni, 89 (2013), pp. 53–77; ‘Peace and revolt. Oath-taking rituals to form unions between and against the factions in early 16th-century Italy’, in Samuel Cohn Jr., Marcello Fantoni, Franco Franceschi and Fabrizio Ricciardelli (eds.), Symbols and rituals in late medieval and early modern Italy, Turnhout, Brepols, 2013, pp. 119–136; ‘Confraternities, citizenship and factionalism: Genoa in the early 16th century’, in Nicholas Terpstra, Stefania Pastore and Adriano Prosperi (eds.), Faith’s boundaries. Laity and clergy in early modern confraternities, Turnhout, Brepols, 2012, pp. 42–53; (with Matthias Schnettger, eds.) Libertà e dominio. Il sistema politico Genovese: le relazioni esterne e il controllo del territorio, Rome, Viella, Deutsches Historisches Institut, 2011.

© Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, 2017

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