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How would a bank work in a medieval setting?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Tarron Zeng, Jul 6, 2019.

  1. Tarron Zeng

    Tarron Zeng Dreamer

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    And where does a bank appear in? A city-state/republic? And what would they contibute to the economy?
     
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Maester

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    Like they did back then. Though Skip. Knox can likely answer this in much, much more detail. I know the banking institutes been around a very long while and at the Crusades they got that whole credit line thing going. It's a bank, as long as you have some form of coinage or paper money it can likely fit the setting and act as backing for guilds and maybe even the rare entrepreneur or to back an army, crusading or not.
     
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I have an article in development on banks, but I'll make this brief. First I need a question answered. Do you plan to rob this bank? More broadly, what role does the bank play in the story?
     
  4. Tarron Zeng

    Tarron Zeng Dreamer

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    It’s mostly the more economic side that the houses/nobles will act and how it will change the political landscape of my setting.
     
  5. Tarron Zeng

    Tarron Zeng Dreamer

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    I got this idea from the Iron Bank from “A Song of Fire and Ice”. But people pointed major inconsistencies about it.
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    OK. Sounds like you're envisioning something like the Iron Bank in ASOFAI. That, in turn, was a riff on historical precedents like the Medici Bank. It's not wrong but it's misleading. Families were powerful, and banks were tied to families. The Bank of Genoa was a bit of an exception there.

    The way in which a bank was powerful is how money is always powerful. Martin did do a decent job there. The Iron Bank didn't directly control armies or try to gain land, it lent money to people who wanted that, in exchange for protection of their financial interests. So it was with the great nobles historically. As long as the interests of the bankers didn't conflict with those of the nobles, everyone was content. The nobles grumbled about the high costs of the loans, and the bankers grumbled about nobles defaulting, but the money still changed hands, and the wars went on.

    One small point. You don't need to build banks. When we talk about banks before about 1600,we're really talking about institutions more than physical buildings. When Jacob Fugger lent fabulous sum to Charles of Burgundy so he could become Emperor Charles V, the transaction was mostly on paper, between one family and another.
     
    Tarron Zeng likes this.
  7. Tarron Zeng

    Tarron Zeng Dreamer

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    Interesting, maybe instead I should build more like a sort of moneylenders families. Another thing, can moneylenders/bankers exist in a solely feudal society or are just mostly found in merchant republics/city states?
     
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