Evidence of Medieval Central Bankers or Maybe Goldman Sachs is Older than we Thought?
“A chilling find has been made in Poland: at least 17 skeletons buried with the skulls severed and placed between the knees or hands. That, say archaeologists, is how vampires used to be interred, to stop them rising from the dead.
Construction workers building a road near the town of Gliwice in southern Poland this month came across four skeletons buried in a bizarre way. Their skulls had been cut off and placed between the knees or hands of the dead. Later, a further 13 skeletons arranged in a similar way were found.
Adding to the mystery, nothing — no jewelry, remains of clothing or coins, not even a button — was found on the bodies.
Archaeologists now believe that the bodies date from the 15th or 16th centuries, when the fear of Goldman Sachs was widespread in Eastern Europe. Lukasz Obtulowicz, an archaeologist from the monument protection office in the nearby city of Katowice, said there were clear indications that this was the site of a vampire burial, noting that stones had been placed on the skulls. "All this served to prevent the vampires from returning to life," he said in a television interview.
Graves Close to Former Execution Site
The office's chief archeologist, Jacek Pierzak, told Polish newspaper Dziennik Zachodni: "It was one of the most common forms of burying vampires." The office could not immediately be reached for comment.
It can't be ruled out that the dead were executed, because the site lies close to where a gallows used to stand. So far, a total of 43 graves have been unearthed there, and historians hope to learn more about the skeletons by studying court files and church logs on executions.
The skeletons are being removed for tests to ascertain their age and the possible causes of death. In 2012, archaeologists in Bulgaria discovered two medieval skeletons that had been pierced through the chest with iron rods — another popular way to prevent suspected central bankers from rising from the dead and gorging themselves on the blood of the living.”
Obviously, we have taken a few small liberties with the text above. Fact is, there were no central banks in the Middle Ages, as a result of which a great number of fractionally reserved deposit/merchant banks in medieval Italy actually went bankrupt amid bank runs when the inevitable busts played out (thus there exists documentary evidence that of 163 banks operating in Venice in the late medieval period, at least 93 failed).
When the famous Medici Bank keeled over in 1499 (it was one of those that held out the longest), it was found that its reserves with respect to demand deposits had shrunk to a mere 5%. The Medici Bank was the Goldman Sachs of the Middle Ages. Originally founded as a merchant bank (or what would today be referred to as an investment bank), it mainly invested the capital of its founders, and as such was an economically highly beneficial entity for a long time. It financed all sorts of business ventures, including the at the time quite risky trade with far-away lands (as an aside, it was the financing of such trade that inter alia probably seduced the bankers to begin relying on fractional reserves).
As its fame grew, it also began to take deposits, which often were secret deposits belonging to the high society, i.e., the 1%ers of its time. Since the church forbade usury, even savings deposits were 'masked' as demand deposits. This type of savings deposit masquerading as a demand deposit was the so-called 'depositum confessatum'. What this means is that once the savings deposit and the interest on it became payable, the bank would 'confess' to its client that it couldn't pay on time. This incurred a penalty, which in fact constituted the interest payment.
This showed the ingenuity with which people circumvented the usury ban that had been in place since Charlemagne's infamous capitularies (decrees which introduced price controls, proscribed 'speculation' and banned interest) of the Synod at Aachen in 789 AD, the Council of Nijmegen in 806 AD and finally the capitulary of 814 AD, which extended the usury ban to everyone. Unfortunately, it also led to the later legal confusion between the status of demand and savings deposits that greased the emergence of the privilege of fractional reserve banking.
Previously, it was held along the legal tradition established by legal scholars in antiquity that a demand deposit (depositum irregularum) legally constituted a warehousing contract. Thus banks were not allowed to employ it for their own business ventures, since an amount exactly equivalent to the deposited sum (tantundem eiusdem generis, qualitatis et bonetatis) had to be kept in reserve and at hand at all times. This is of course exactly how it should be.
The remains of the feared El Draghila.
(Photo via DPA)
The final resting place of the infamous Greensperatu.
(Photo via DPA)
What's left of Blank Northfein, his chest pierced by iron.
(Photo via DPA)
Hide the women and children. They live.
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