EL FIN DE LOS SECRETOS
El fin de los secretos is a story of power, politics, finance, and passions in the beginnings of banking
On November 10, 1360, in the city of Barcelona, the money exchanger Francesc Castelló is beheaded on his exchange table, in punishment for insolvency. The economic and financial crisis of the city, the debts of many money exchangers, the missing tablecloths on their tables — symbol of guarantee —, as well as the delay in payment of life annuities and allowances by the council’s treasurer, head of public finances, bothers the citizens. Francesc Castelló is punished publicly as a warning to the insolvent money exchangers, and to calm the distressed population.
While common people suffer the severe aftermath of the plague and the economic and financial crisis, the inhabitants of the Jewish quarter prosper with their “prests” (loans); and while a few privileged classes like the Church and the “honest citizens” are free of tax burden, ordinary people must pay taxes with basic consumer goods like wheat or meat. A family of “honest citizens” from Barcelona, the Gualbes, takes advantage of the crisis and confusion to accomplish their great ambition.
This is a story of power, finance, love and heartbreaks that draws a realistic and critical picture of the city of Barcelona in the Low Middle Ages, mixing historical figures with fictitious characters like the town’s executioner — or “morro de vaques” —; the murdered money changer’s wife; the usurers of the Jewish quarter; Azriela, the most beautiful Jewish woman; Begonya, the quarter’s witch; Guaspa, the Gualbes’ moor slave; or Ferrer de Gualbes himself, councilor and the family’s strong man.
This is a story from the past that projects onto the present.