Some travel stories are told over and over again, by travel guides or books. Some travel stories are told by locals….but other travel stories you don’t hear so often, because there aren’t a lot of people who know them.
They can be about anything or anyone, and even though this title “Where did the word “bankruptcy” come from?” doesn’t sound at first as a travel story, it is. Let me tell it to you, I’m sure you don’t know this one…
In Ancient Greece, bankruptcy didn’t exist. As the time went on, people started gathering on different public places, usually near busiest areas in cities around Europe, especially Italy. That is where they would put their benches, which would represent and be used as their work space. Their job was to lend money. The borrower would return the money in certain amount of time with interests. You can see them as usurers, which they were, but they created a concept from which banks derived.
Of course, since they started individually and had to lend their money, many of them have very quickly found themselves in an unfavorable position – they went bankrupt. In that situation, the precursors of today’s tax collectors would come to their bench and smashed it with an axe. That was your official bankruptcy; you were out of business. Since the Italian word for “bench” is “banca” and for “ruined” “rotta“, that is where the word “bankruptcy”, as you know it today, came from.
It is also believed that the term “banca rotta” was created in this particular street (you can see in the photo) in Rome, Italy. The street is located near Piazza Navona. For ones who want to see it when they visit Rome, or for the ones who know Rome better, it’s located near Via della Pace.
Stella – European Travelling Advisor