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By Edwin S. Hunt, James Murray

A historical past of industrial in Medieval Europe, 1200-1550, demolishes the commonly held view that the word "medieval business" is an oxymoron. The authors evaluate the complete variety of industrial in medieval western Europe, probing its Roman and Christian history to find the commercial and political forces that formed the association of agriculture, production, development, mining, transportation, and advertising. Then they care for the responses of businessmen to the devastating plagues, famines, and battle that beset Europe within the past due center a while. Medieval businessmen's amazing luck in dealing with this antagonistic new setting ready the way in which for the industrial enlargement of the 16th century.

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Extra resources for A History of Business in Medieval Europe, 1200-1550 (Cambridge Medieval Textbooks)

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Wages, at a daily rate usually paid weekly, depended on the skills of the journeyman and the importance of the work. In some trades, ranging from humble wool carders to skilled armorers, pay was at piece rates. A master could also hire casual labor for specific, usually less skilled jobs, for a few days. In another important development of the High Middle Ages, masters of the same trade began to form combinations that became known as guilds. Private associations of this type (collegia) were common in imperial Rome, but died out by the end of the fifth century.

Part I. Before the Black Death By the thirteenth century all fairs were markets, but not all markets were fairs. What distinguished the former was their annual and extraordinary nature, recognized through explicit license from king or prince granting special conditions for trade and security for merchants en route. Thus in the hierarchy of markets, fairs became the outlets for more specialized, rarer commodities whose customers came from proportionately greater distances. The regional web of weekly and smaller markets remained, however; the great medieval fair rose like a cathedral tower anchored to a foundation of local and regional markets.

Mainly they were designed to ensure competence, but often uniform standards stifled competition and, where overly rigid, even curbed advances in technology. On the positive side, the standards for nonfood items applied only to finished product, not to process. Thus manufacturers remained free to work toward reducing costs through improved methods. Thus “rays of Ypres,” for example, would be known to a buyer as cloth of a specific length with specific characteristics and quality. Standards were especially useful in the case of internationally traded products such as textiles, whose market values were affected by the city of production.

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