Book Series Papers in Mediaeval Studies , vol. 15

Cogs, Cargoes, and Commerce

Maritime Bulk Trade in Northern Europe, 1150-1400. Papers presented at a conference entitled, 'New markets for new goods: the emergence of large scale trade in northern Europe, 1150-1400, held in Malmo, Sweden, 19-21 February 1997

Lars Berggren, Nils Hybel, Annette Landen (eds)

  • Pages: 286 p.
  • Size:160 x 240 mm
  • Illustrations:15 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2003

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  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-815-6
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Using a wide range of new or previously ignored sources, the authors of this volume challenge a number of long-established patterns of thought in medieval historiography. Focusing attention firmly on the basic commodities of everyday life, rather than on objects of more or less conspicuous consumption, the articles shed light on new and important aspects of the expansion  of trade in northern Europe between 1150 and 1400.

Summary

There are several theories as to when, why and how international bulk-trade started in medieval northern Europe. They may all be wrong in the sense that it was there all the time; there was never a dramatic change or 'commercial revolution' but rather a comparatively peaceful and steady growth. It is true that trade in bulk commodities entered a phase of expansion around the middle of the twelfth century, but this development built, to a very large extent, on pre-existing structures. Trade in basic commodities such as timber, grain, salt and pottery that had been going on since time immemorial now expanded both in terms of volumes and of geography, while new important items - for instance beer, stone and various stone products - were gradually introduced into the system. Ships, trade routes and commercial networks changed, old centres declined and new ones emerged, but by and large nothing of this came about in a 'revolutionary' fashion, althought the long-term effects were profound.

Using a wide range of new or previously ignored sources, the authors of this volume challenge a number of long-established patterns of thought in medieval historiography. Focusing attention firmly on the basic commodities of everyday life, rather than on objects of more or less conspicuous consumption, the articles shed light on new and important aspects of the expansion of trade in northern Europe between 1150 and 1400. Eight of the articles deal with trade, transport and volumes of one or more of the most important bulk commodities of the period, and the ninth is dedicated to the development of the most important means of transport, the cargo ship.