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An "Entrepreneurial" Scriptor for the Pope Could Earn 300 Florins a Year



Poggio was a scriptor for a pope who was fired. The jobless Poggio then sought classical manuscripts in obscure monasteries, and found De Rerum Natura.


(p. 21) Scriptors received no fixed stipend, but they were permitted to charge fees for executing documents and obtaining what were called "concessions of grace," that is, legal favors in matters that required some technical correction or exception granted orally or in writing by the pope. And, of course, there were other, less official fees that would privately flow to someone who had the pope's ear. In the mid-fifteenth century, the income for a secretary was 250 to 300 florins annually, and an entrepreneurial spirit could make much more. At the end of a twelve-year period in this office, Poggio's colleague George of Trebizond had salted away over 4,000 florins in Roman banks, along with handsome investments in real estate.


Source:

Greenblatt, Stephen. The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2011.






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