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The Florence grain market (1320-1335)

Grant number: 18/19704-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Master's degree
Effective date (Start): December 04, 2018
Effective date (End): May 30, 2019
Field of knowledge:Humanities - History - Ancient and Medieval History
Principal Investigator:Marcelo Cândido da Silva
Grantee:Felipe Mendes Erra
Supervisor: Jean-Louis Gaulin
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Université Lumière Lyon 2, France  
Associated to the scholarship:17/13122-8 - The Florence grain market (1320-1335), BP.MS

Abstract

This project is part of a research carried out in the graduate program of History, in the Universidade de São Paulo, to obtain the master title. Under the supervision of Jean-Louis Gaulin, professor of Université Lumière Lyon 2, and director of the laboratory CIHAM (Histoire, Archéologie, Littératures des mondes chrétiens et musulmans médiévaux), my purpose is to investigate the Florence grain market, in order to debate some characteristics of the trade of the fourteenth century pre-plague period.The demographic expansion that took place in the 13th century, in the European continent, has resulted in the formation of large urban conglomerates. Florence, in Tuscany, northern central region of the Italian peninsula, is an exemplary case. At the beginning of the 13th century, the town had more than 15,000 inhabitants; in the following century, its population would surpass the number of 100,000. Concomitant to this occurred the expansion of monetary coinage and the multiplication of professional activities - an increase, therefore, of social division of labor. From the point of view of the urban supply, we are facing a double process: the formation of a gross urban demand and of a society with sufficient liquidity to consolidate the structure of markets. Trade has become an important means for this population to get their food.Our research investigates the cereal market. The existing sources offer good description of oscillation of the prices charged on the main public space reserved for such trade: the piazza di Orsanmichele. Transactions occur on a daily basis, involving monetary species (usually of little value). We visualize the formation of a consistent supply, which allowed the supply of massive quantities for consumers. Theoretically, the research participates in the debate of the three major economic models used to explain the economy of the Middle Ages. The first two models, formulated during the 1960-80, focus on the study of agriculture and crop productivity. The Malthusian model defends the existence of a fragile balance between the population expansion and agricultural capacity, creating the thesis of the "crisis of the 14th century". The Marxist model, on the other hand, focuses on the relationship of power and expropriation between lords and peasants, defending the perspective of a weakening agricultural potential due to negative social relations. The third model, formulated from the beginning of 1990, earned the name of "commercialization model"; its scholars argue that the 13th century underwent a profound transformation as a result of the entry of trade relations in the everyday life of European populations. In this sense, our research has as problem the study of a formation of a structure of supply-demand and how it worked in the grain market of Florence. (AU)

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