Dagnino G. B. (1995) When being the first is not enough

September 28, 2009

Dagnino, Giovanni Battista (1995) “The Tavola di Palermo: The First Public Bank of Second European XVI century” in Proceedings of the Conference on Business History, October 24 and 25 1994, Rotterdam, eds Mila Davids, Ferry de Goey & Dirk de Witt, 91-111.

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The evolution of Sicilian banks reflects the history of the island during the early modern period, in that they were “economically and financially backward” (p.91). The 16th century in the Western Mediterranean was a time of Spanish Domination dominated by (1) money clipping, (2) high inflation, (3) commercial mismanagement, (4) Gresham Law episodes fuelled by unscrupulous financiers and (5) heavy and altogether negative government interventions (p.93). Read the rest of this entry »

Munro J. (2006) A non-mercantilist approach to the balance of payment problem

March 5, 2009

Munro, John H. (2006) “South German silver, European textiles, and Venetian trade with the Levant and Ottoman Empire, c. 1370 to c. 1720: a non-Mercantilist approach to the balance of payment problem”, in Relazione economiche tra Europea e mondo islamico, seccoli XII – XVII, ed. Simonetta Cavaciocchi, Florence: Le Monnier, 905-960.


This article is available on line


For mercantilists, gold and silver are not just mediums of exchange but the most tangible form of wealth (store of value) and a country’s veritable life-blood. In their view, the economic contraction of the later 14th and 15th centuries were caused by the outflow of precious metal to the East (p.905). But according to J. H. Munro, there was no such thing as a ‘bullion famine’, at worst some “periodic scarcity of coined money” in 1320-1340, 1370-1420, and 1440-1470 (p.906). Read the rest of this entry »

Panzac D. (1992) Maritime trade of the Ottoman Empire in the 1700s

March 4, 2009

Panzac, Daniel (1992) “International and Domestic Maritime trade in the Ottoman Empire during the 18th Century”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 24/2, 189-206.



“A glance at a map shows what an important role the sea played in the vast empire of the Ottomans in the 18th century, linking as it did the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa that made up the Old World. The Ottoman Empire dominated not only the eastern Mediterranean but also the major part of the southern shore of the western Mediterranean, the Black Sea-a “Turkish lake” until the 1780s-the Red Sea, and part of the Arab/Persian Gulf. Geography gave the sea a decisive role in the trade that took place in the Ottoman Empire both internationally and domestically” (p.189). Read the rest of this entry »

Greene, M. (2000) Beyond the Northern invasion

February 12, 2009

Greene, Molly (2000) Beyond the Northern invasion: the Mediterranean in the seventeenth century, Past and Present, 174, 41-70


At least since Fernand Braudel, the 17th century is supposed to be the moment the moment the Northern Europeans (English, Dutch and later French) ‘invaded’ the Mediterranean pushing aside effortlessly the old regional powers Spain, Venice and the Ottoman Empire. In this article, Molly Greene shows that it was not that simple, nor one-sided (p.42). Read the rest of this entry »

Murat J.-V. (2005) Coastal traffic in 14th-century Mediterranean

March 2, 2008

Murat Josée-Valérie (2005) “Pratiques et succès du cabotageen Méditerranée nord-occidentale au XIVe siècle”, Rives nord-méditerranéennes, Cabotage et réseaux portuaires en Méditerranée, 7 p.

The article is available on line


Cabotage is often defined as a lesser form of maritime traffic. But it can also come to be regarded as a any type of coastal seafaring without preconception about the size of the ships or of the trade they are involved in. During the middle ages this type of traffic was common in the Mediterranean (1). The ships of fourteenth-century Marseille appear to be commonly leapfrogging, even the large ones that could easily use the long haul routes. Read the rest of this entry »

Goiten S. (1964) Mediterranean trade before the Crusades

February 17, 2008

Goiten Shelomo Dov (1964) “Le commerce méditerranéen avant les croisades. Quelques faits et problèmes”, reproduced in Micheau Françoise (ed.) Les relations des pays d’Islam avec le monde latin du milieu du Xe siècle au milieu du XIIIe siècle, Paris Vuibert, 2004, 286-303.


Have the Crusadeds followed and used or preceded and triggered the first commercial long-standing relations between the Muslim parts of the Mediterranean world and the Western Christendom (286) ? The documents from the Cairo Geniza cast a new light on this issue (287). These documents reveal “the strong influence of Europe upon he islamic trade as early as the first decades of the 11th century, and even sooner”. Read the rest of this entry »

Scheidel W. (2005) Economics of slavery in the Greco-Roman world

December 16, 2007

Scheidel Walter 2005 ‘The comparative economics of slavery in the Greco-Roman world’, Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics, Nov. ’05, 21p.

Large scale slavery occurs rarely in history, Ancient Greece and Italy are exceptions. Why? The slave population in Athens and Rome can be very roughly estimated at about a third of the total, a proportion consistent with the one of ante bellum Southern USA (2). Read the rest of this entry »