As a result of the revival of commerce in medieval Europe, tradesmen specializing in lending appeared by the dozen, who at first dealt with their clients on street benches. Although thanks to bank transactions many became rich, the danger of bankruptcy hovered over the heads of bankers like the sword of Damocles. Out of 103 private banks, 96 went bankrupt between the 13th and 16th centuries in Venice alone. Most of the insolvent financiers attempted to flee from the law, as those who went broke had to endure terrible public humiliation; their naked backsides were hit against a “stone of shame.
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