This paper presents an overview of the only known Venetian manual on double entry bookkeeping that predates Pacioli’s Particularis de Computis et Scripturis: de Raphaeli’s La Riegola de Libro, or The Rules of Bookkeeping. Written in 1475, it was lost until 1989, escaping the attention of Fabio Besta, Vincenzo Vianello and others in the 19th and 20th centuries who desperately sought to disprove Pacioli’s authorship of his treatise. Had they found it, a different history would be told, but would Pacioli’s place have been usurped? This study considers the purpose behind de Raphaeli’s instructional manual; its content; what it tells us about how Venetian wholesale merchants did their bookkeeping in the 15th century; and about how bookkeeping was taught by tutors before Pacioli removed the need for a tutor in 1494.

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