According to the famous rabbi Joseph Colon of Pavia also, the money trade had become 'the fundamental occupation of the Jews in these countries'.2 It can be seen that it was not solely Christian authors and Christian polemicists who were propagating the idea that every Jew in Italy was engaged in usury. While it is obvious that not all the tens of thousands of Children of Israel living in the peninsula at the end of the middle ages or during the Renaissance were managers or employees of the banchi, it is reasonable to suggest that, in a certain sense-in the very literal sense of the words-they all 'earned their living' as Jews (in other words, maintained their existence as such) thanks 112

to the money trade, which, as has already been pointed out, was important for the consolidation and maintenance of Judaism.