Pope Eugenius IV and Jewish Money-Lending in Florence: The Case of Salomone di Bonaventura during the Chancellorship of Leonardo Bruni
By Andrew Gow and Gordon Griffiths
Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 2 (1994)
Introduction: In his Eulogy of Florence (Laudatio Florentinae Urbis) Leonardo Bruni praised her constitution for giving first place to justice, “without which no city can exist or deserve the name.” Moreover, he said, “Not only citizens, but aliens as well are protected by this commonwealth. It suffers injury to be done to no man, and endeavors to see to it that everyone, citizen or alien, shall receive the justice that is owing to him.” During Bruni’s own tenure as chancellor of Florence, however, we hear of a Jewish banker who was ruined by the heaviest fine in the history of the city after a trial that one modern scholar has described as a monstrous miscarriage of justice.