In 1592 Pope Clement declared “All the world suffers the usury of the Jews, their monopolies
and deceit”. Not all Jews were rich bankers. Most Jews lived in slums and dire poverty.
But Jews who were in money lending were famously wealthy. Among them was Josce of
Gloucester, a Jewish financier who funded Richard de Clare's conquest of Ireland in 1170, and
Aaron of Lincoln, presumably the wealthiest individual in 12th-century Britain, who left an
estate of about £100,000. Also notable was Vivelin of Strasbourg, one of the wealthiest
persons in Europe in the early 14th century, who lent 340,000 florins to Edward III of England
on the eve of the Hundred Years' War, in 1339.
By the 16th century, Jewish financiers became increasingly connected to rulers and courts.
Josef Goldschmidt of Frankfurt became the most important Jewish businessman of his era, not
only trading with the Fuggers and Imhoffs, but also with the nobility and the Church. In the early 17th century the Habsburgs employed the services of Jacob Bassevi of Prague, Joseph Pincherle of Gorizia, and Moses and Jacob Marburger of Gradisca.