Christos Th. Desyllas
Athens 2006, 384 p., 16 illus., 12 tables, 22 diagrams
This study, the product of systematic archival research in archives and libraries of Italian and Greek cities, analyzes the institution of the Monte di Pietà in Corfu during the period 1630-1864. It examines both the early beginnings of the credit institution’s functioning in Western Europe, and the social conditions that imposed it. The phenomenon of poverty and its handling by medieval societies mobilized a specific Roman Catholic monastic order not towards the habitual practice of alms giving, but to establishing a credit institution. The book analyzes the reasons and conditions of the creation of the Monte di Pietà in Corfu, the way in which it functioned, and its supervision and control. The institution’s presence in the Corfiot environment contributed to a control of economic life, to an improvement of the lower social classes’ living standards and, therefore, to their participation in the island’s economic life. The access to various credit services, the repression of usury and the control of the money in circulation constituted important elements in the evolution of economic life on Corfu.