«E i miei denari che prestai a usura?». Banchi di pegno ed etica economica nel teatro fiorentino del secondo Quattrocento
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In the second half of the fifteenth century, the Florentine confraternal theatre became a key space to convey religious education and political discourse. Ideas about economic ethics
were presented to the audience by means of exemplar stories, which were memorable and emotionally engaging. The article investigates how money, credit and usury were represented
on the stage by analysing five sacre rappresentazioni (religious dramas) in which the banks and pawnshops played a central role. Beside traditional Christian topics (e.g.
almsgiving, transitory goods, providence), the polemical dimension of some plays emerges, as it was functional to the ongoing campaign against Jewish pawnbrokers. Moreover, the
playwrights intentionally brought on the stage topics such as the corruption of justice, the conversion/expulsion of the Jews, and the elusive identity of the poor, thus aiming to contribute
to redefine society.
keywordsEconomic ethics – Credit – Jews – Florence – Religious play