It is traditionally taught by Accounting historians (Melis, 1950, 19-20) that the rise of the modern accounting history coincides with the first printed work we know, that is the Summa by Luca Pacioli. Yet the double entry had already been invented and had been in use for over a century in the small business houses of Italian merchants. Its conception tided up with the trade flourish thanks to the development until the end of XV Century of the Independent Communes, of Signorias, Princedoms and of the Maritime Republics and to the connected need to control and report the acts of management of the companies which had grown both in dimension and business scope (Peragallo, 1938, 1-37; De Roover, 1955, 405-420). It’s hard to know who the first author to write a work about the double entry-bookkeeping was, since until the last decades of the XV Century Gutenberg printing didn’t exist (invented in 1455 and slightly introduced in Italy starting from 1463). Consequently whoever wrote about the subject before that time couldn’t issue his work, which remained as a manuscript with the exception of Benedetto Cotrugli’s one (cf. § 3.1) which was rediscovered and printed one hundred and fifteen years after its writing. Otherwise, it is known that already before the publishing of the Summa by Pacioli in several towns of the Italian Peninsula there were master charts of accounts bookkeeping, masters who taught the double-entry (Bariola, 1897, 59-63; Besta, 1916, 345-346; Melis, 1950, 59). Thus it is probable that those very preceptors, at least some of them, had arranged somewhat structured notes to carry out their work. A well known example is Master Troilo, quoted in a couple of 1457 ledger and journal belonged to Nicolò and Alvise Barbarigo’s brothers. In them the “quattro soldi lira di grossi” (four coins of heavy Lira) expense is entered to pay “maistro” (master) Troilo as a compensation of bookkeeping teaching in the previous six months (Alfieri, 1891, 108-109; Besta, 1916, 345-346; 376-377). As he did, in that period many others used to teach the double entry method to merchants and, generally, they were the same teachers of abacus and calligraphy, which were never carried out separately according to the custom of that time. Actually, by chance, even some of the first printed books – which were issued in little quantity due to the high cost of printing above all in the early years – could have been definitely lost. Vittorio Alfieri reminds us (Alfieri, 1891, 109) that in a journal dating 1484 entitled “Zornale R” owned to Francesco Minuzani, a Paduan librarian who worked in Venice, there is a list of books of his small business house where works of bookkeeping and abacus are referenced, some of which have not been catalogued in any library. It is possible that these works contained references to double entry, due to the strict relation of the above mentioned subjects. According to the updating knowledge, the first author in the timeline having illustrated the double entry method was Benedetto Cotrugli in a manuscript dating 1458. There is a wider edition too, which has been found only in the Nineties and is known as the “ Malta’s Manuscript” (Sangster, 2014). This is also the only celebrated manuscript enshrining double entry notions which has been arranged before the Summa by Luca Pacioli. It is worth noting that the first Italian double entry treatises were all issued in Venice – from Pacioli up to the early years of the XVII Century, thus for over a century – except for a chapter of the 1539 book by Gerolamo Cardano (Cardano, 1539) and the 1586 edition by Angelo Pietra (Pietra, 1586). This witnesses the pivotal and privileged role for the cultural hegemony played by Venice for such a long period of time. Starting from the XVII century the publication of accounting works has spread all over the territory. The principal aim of this work is to frame the Venetian treatises compared with the double entry works in the whole Italian Peninsula. Following, the contents of the most relevant writings will be briefly commented in order to find out a “conceptual frame” of the contributions provided by several authors to the growth of accounting. Some of these books will be gathered and widely commented in the deepening of the present volume.
|Titolo:||The Venetian treatises: a frame|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||2.1 Contributo in volume (Capitolo o Saggio)|