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Medieval Sourcebook:
Matthew of Paris:
The Usury of the Cahorsins, 1235


The Caursines  (or Cahorsins) derived their name from the city of Cahors but the term is usually applied to money-lenders. The real Caursines were capitalist Christian bankers whose clients were the rich and powerful in society. In England their unpopularity was due to their officiating as papal brokers, and to the heavy rates of interest they charged.

In these days prevailed the horrible nuisance of the Caursines, to such a degree that there was hardly any one in all England, especially among the bishops, who was not caught in their net. Even the king himself was held indebted to them in an incalculable sum of money. For they circumvented the needy in their necessities, cloaking their usury under the show of trade, and pretending not to know that whatever is added to the principal is usury, under whatever name it may be called....


Source.

From: Matthew of Paris, English History, trans. J. A. Giles, (London: H. G. Bohn, 1849), Vol. I, p.2; reprinted in Roy C. Cave & Herbert H. Coulson, eds., A Source Book for Medieval Economic History, (Milwaukee: The Bruce Publishing Co., 1936; reprint ed., New York: Biblo & Tannen, 1965), pp. 179-180.

Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text has been modernized by Prof. Arkenberg.


This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

© Paul Halsall, October 1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu