Gold & Spices: The Rise of Commerce in the Middle Ages

By Jean Favier; Caroline Higgitt | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CONCLUSION

We have come a long way from the "dusty-footed" merchant. There were still peddlers selling sewing thread and trinkets, knife sharpeners and water carriers, hénouars and dealers to provide salt or shallots to stay-at-home housewives. Along the roadside the blacksmiths' counters were still a common sight, selling the products of their glowing forges, along with glove makers and dressmakers offering the latest fashions, cloth merchants selling measures of cloth, and innkeepers selling wine by the jug.

The first dusty-footed traders bore little resemblance to the first merchants who emerged to satisfy the needs of the resurgent towns of the eleventh century. The small worlds of the peddler and shopkeeper had nothing in common with that of the big businessman, or the trader whose cargo, sailing between distant ports, was never simply the piece of cloth that one could rub between one's fingers; or the banker for whom transfers, reports, and accounts represented values and not objects; or the speculator who regarded the economic climate in Alexandria as a matter for European politics and considered the taxes on an industrial or commercial monopoly fit remuneration for loans extended to the papal state or the Habsburgs.

Cosimo the Elder, who died in 1464, was still involved in managing his wealth. Lorenzo, born in 1449, lived in another world, one in which his son and then his nephew would become popes. Grandson of a Bardi, son of a Tornabuoni—names that ring like florins in the world of business— Lorenzo the Magnificent married an Orsini, a name that in Rome evoked five hundred years of feudal lordship. His great-granddaughter Catherine would become queen of France as would, after her, Marie, granddaughter of Cosimo I, who had been crowned grand duke of Tuscany by Pius V.

By this time the grandnephews of Jacob the Rich were counts of the Holy Roman Empire. Their descendants would be the Fugger princes.

Their posterity was long-lasting, and included the Parisian financiers

-363-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Gold & Spices: The Rise of Commerce in the Middle Ages
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 390

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?