HENRI PIRENNE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL EUROPE PDF

There were of course nonmaritime frontiers in the wooded north of Europe and the deserts of the Sahara and the Middle East but most, if not all, was within the watershed of the Mediterranean-Black Sea. The sea not only provided the routes for political administration and military supervision but also for trade. Sea trade was predominantly in the hands of merchants from the Levantine, the Syrians and Jews. This trade made possible regional specialization and economies of scale.

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Shelves: medieval-studies , economics , history The Pirenne thesis is further elaborated in this dense and somewhat antiquated but still valuable and insightful book First coming to prominence in his monumental Mohammed and Charlemagne, Pirenne here expands and defends his notion of the decline of antiquity and the creation of a Medieval society. No greater summary of the Pirenne thesis can be given than by Henri Pirenne himself in the introduction to this book: "the barbarian kingdoms, founded in the fifth century in the soil of Western The Pirenne thesis is further elaborated in this dense and somewhat antiquated but still valuable and insightful book First coming to prominence in his monumental Mohammed and Charlemagne, Pirenne here expands and defends his notion of the decline of antiquity and the creation of a Medieval society.

No greater summary of the Pirenne thesis can be given than by Henri Pirenne himself in the introduction to this book: "the barbarian kingdoms, founded in the fifth century in the soil of Western Europe, still preserved the most striking and essential characteristics of ancient civilisation, to wit, its Mediterranean character It was only the abrupt entry of Islam on the scene, in the course of the seventh century, and the conquest of the eastern, southern and western shores of the great European lake, which altered the position, with consequences which were to influence the whole course of subsequent history.

This was an economically disasterous shift but gradually European prosperity re-emerged as trade once again expanded, in the new Northern cities following the defeat of the Vikings, and in the Mediterrenean undet the umbrella of the Byzantine and as Europe re-flexed its military might in the Mediterranean with the Crusades and Italian city states along with the Catalan traders gradually displaced the Saracene pirates, raiders and slave-traders.

Though this threat to European trade would not be eliminated until the Barbary pirates were themselves eliminated centuries later. This trade would bring about an increase in wealth and a decrease in slave raiding allowing the European ecoonomy to support the growing cities, creating a self-perpetuating economic growth and the cities further developed trade and wealth. It should be noted though that this book, despite the claim to Medieval European history, only briefly mentions the Byzantine Empire and only mentions it in relation to the Western Carolingian Empire.

To gather a sense of the book, the table of contents is helpful: Chapter 1: The Revival of Commerce I. The Mediterranean II. Merchants and the Bourgeoisie III. Manorial Organisation and Serfdom II. The Movement of Trade II. The Fairs IV. The Towns as Economic Centres. The Provisioning of Towns II. Catastrophies and Social Disturbances II.

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