States in Turmoil

1967: Productivity, the British Disease and Summer of Love 

with Professor Nicholas Crafts and Victoria Bateman

18th May, 2017

This lecture was the first in a series entitled, "States in Turmoil", which seeks to investigate and understand periods of crisis and transition in the histories of states across the world. By examining the full historical and cultural contexts from which such tumultuous periods arose, questions of why these phenomena occurred and the full consequences of crises may be understood. How might the origins of crises be identified and where? How did these crises shape perception of nationhood? What lessons have states that have survived periods of turmoil learnt, and what mistakes have been repeated? How have different states experiencing similar turmoils fared? These are just some of the questions that will drive the debates and lectures in this series.  

Bankers and Banking in Medieval Italy

Banks as we have come to know them in today’s world owe their origins to the innovative credit mechanisms developed in medieval Italy. By the twelfth century these ‘financial products’, including the holding of deposits, were underwriting the long distance transportation of goods. Venice - positioned at the intersection of Europe’s west with the trading routes from the East - was a notable early centre of banking. Genoa - another great maritime republic - witnessed similar developments and the history of European economic development in the central middle ages  is inseparable from the story of the bank-owning families of Florence - such as the Medici, Bardi and Peruzzi.  Then - as now - banking and finance generally could not be divorced from ethical questions and the political context. Lending at interest (considered as 'usury') was against the official teaching of the Christian Church. But the Papacy- like many a cash-strapped European monarchy - too advantage of the lines of credit and banking structures that were an established feature of Europe’s economy by the time of the early Italian Renaissance.

With Professor David Abulafia, FBA

13th June, 2017

History of Banking

Reformation Consequences

The Mind of Martin Luther: What Changed in 1517?

With the Right Reverend Rowan Williams

21st September, 2017

The Right Reverend Rowan Williams launched the Erasmus Forum's research stream "Reformation Consequences" with a historical and theological analysis of what still divides the world's largest religion to this day