By Peter L. Bernstein
Incorporating fantasy, historical past and modern research, Bernstein tells the tale of the way people became intoxicated, obsessed, enriched, impoverished, humbled and proud for the sake of gold. From the earlier to the long run, Bernstein's portrayal of gold is in detail associated with the nature of humankind.
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Additional resources for The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession
Those problems led Edward to factor a brand new gold coin the next yr with a extra acceptable weight, referred to as the noble, whose aspects celebrated Edward's nice victories within the Hundred Years' conflict opposed to the French: Crecy on land and Sluys at sea. The noble additionally had a checkered occupation in its early years, yet in time it turned the fundamental gold coin of britain till good into the i/th century. This laggard functionality by way of the English largely mirrored their gradual speed of financial and monetary improvement in comparison to advancements at the Continent. In dramatic distinction to its function on the planet within the I9th and 2Oth centuries, 13th-century London was once a ways much less cosmopolitan than Paris or Augsburg or the Italian city-states. With a inhabitants of approximately 50,000 and the single urban in England other than York with greater than 10,000 population, London used to be approximately part the scale of Paris, Florence, Venice and Genoa and no better than Bruges, Bologna or Palermo. The English, nonetheless feudal and rural, had now not but been fed on by means of the hard-headed, business-oriented calculations that ended in the genoin, the florin and the ducat, largely as the common English transaction used to be a ways smaller than transactions at the Continent. at the same time overdue because the center of the i$th century, extraterrestrial beings nonetheless managed approximately forty according to cent of English in a foreign country exchange; Florentine bankers financed the wars of Henry's son Edward I and acquired the wool crop from Edward III. in response to one authority, the Italian retailers 'achieved a monetary despotism which London hasn't ever had, for in the course of a substantial interval [these retailers] appear to have been in a position to repair really arbitrarily their very own trade charges. ' the coming of the 'nation of shopkeepers' nonetheless lay sooner or later. ninety seven THE summer season OF 1314 was once UNCOMMONLY chilly AND rainy IN EUROPE. vegetation ROTTED, HARVESTS have been past due, AND ALARMED professionals positioned cost CONTROLS ON FARM items AND FIREWOOD. a lot of these have been regimen mess ups THAT HAD occurred repeatedly ahead of. The summer season 0/1314 was once uncommonly chilly and rainy in Europe 8 the grim climate of 1314, although, used to be only the start of a succession of catastrophes. undesirable plants seldom take place years in a row, however the climate in 1315 was once even worse than through the prior yr. Heavy and relentless rains triggered flooding that smashed dikes. emerging rivers destroyed villages. Violent storms crashed onto the coasts. The tragedy stretched from Scodand to Italy and from the Pyrenees to the houses of the Slavs. foodstuff costs rose over fivefold and hunger was once frequent. Even that used to be now not the top. the elements wreaked havoc once more in 1316, inflicting the worst famine in ecu heritage humans ate cats, rats, bugs, and animal droppings, after which, missing something larger, dug up the corpses within the burial grounds. Epidemics and violent crime have been common. Bloody and public self-flagellation was once universal. Scapegoats - Jews, lepers, noblemen - have been murdered with no hesitation. the nice Famine, because it got here to be recognized, used to be purely the introductory bankruptcy to this appalling tale.