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The wheat market in medieval Florence (1284-1340)

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Felipe Mendes Erra
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Marcelo Candido da Silva; Jean louis Gaulin; André Luis Pereira Miatello; Ana Paula Tavares Magalhães Tacconi
Advisor: Marcelo Candido da Silva

Between 1284 and 1340, the city of Florence reached its demographic peak during the medieval period, with a population of about 125,000 inhabitants, becoming a Mediterranean metropolis. The urban economy experienced a period of effervescence in the textile manufacturing, construction, and commerce sectors, hosting neighborhoods for small houses for the working-class, and the palaces in which resided the protagonists of commercial companies that operated in long-distance trade. The population has become dependent on a complex supply system, which exceeded the limits of the nearby rural area, and which became a central issue for the politics of the Republic. The cereal market, the basic food of rich or poor Florentines, has acquired great proportions and, at the same time, a unique dynamic. Starting from the analysis of the documentation related to production, circulation, trade, and the regulation of the urban market, this work defends the thesis that the dynamics of the wheat market, in this period was based on four fundamentals. First, the composition of a regular urban demand, based on the existence of categories devoid of property and with enough purchasing power to regularly frequent the market. Second, the consolidation of an supply structure that encouraged agricultural production and allowed regular transit towards the city. Third, the formation of an institutional architecture established by the constant interplay between decisions of the political elite, the activities of magistrates in charge of market surveillance, and the demands of a population that did not hesitate to manifest itself. Finally, the collective action of wheat merchants, protagonists of the market, played a central role in the logic of price formation. In the course of the work, we will take the opportunity to reflect how the commercialization of society, a process that occurred between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, was a contradictory process, of expanding market exchanges and, at the same time, strengthening non-commercial circulation mechanisms. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/13122-8 - The Florence grain market (1320-1335)
Grantee:Felipe Mendes Erra
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Master