Abstract

The Roman market was a paragon of effective public-debt management. The reason for this success was the confidence that the Camera Apostolica (Apostolic Camera)—the main government body—was able to inspire throughout the centuries, thanks to the low risk and the relatively high returns that it could guarantee in comparison with other lenders and instruments (though few significant investment alternatives were available in the area). A long-term analysis of the organization and administration of the Roman public debt, as well as the people involved in it, reveals that the central government of the Papal States established a stable financial system earlier than traditionally supposed and that, unlike that of other European states, it often used the capital raised from bond issues for charitable and productive purposes.

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