Reply To: Inventory of Andrea di Clemente 1461

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#1785
Philologus
Participant

Yes agreed, the question is how representative is he vis-a-vis the middle? And how much property did a middling artisan or bottom tier ‘full citizen’ have in various regions. Certainly day laborers are indeed poorer than artisans.

In my experience so far, that is an above-average working class inventory from the later middle ages. Someone could read through a few hundred of these and form their own opinion, but that would be a book not a forum post 🙁

I know that in some towns, artisans of specific crafts were well enough off that they were expected to provide not only weapons and armor, but also horse(s) for the militia. For example in Wismar in 1483 the butchers made up the bulk of the cavalry in their militia. I also know that wealthier craft artisans often owned more than one house or building. Some of them were involved in business complexes and / or were at the top of networks of subcontractors, whereas others (often but not always younger) were effectively the employees of these types.

That is a surprise, because in the societies I study cavalry are very much a leisure-class occupation (or they get paid to maintain that horse and harness, and sell them or turn bandit when the pay goes away). Was there a lot of land near Wismar in the 15th century that was only good for pasture but not grain?

I think that goldsmiths aren’t a good example because they had so much capital and so many opportunities to take a percentage on the silver and gold passing through their shop. I have read a Babylonian version of the story of the goldsmith who took in more gold than was in the object they delivered, its older than Archimedes or Kipling’s story about the two jars of barleycorns (heavy ones to use when buying precious things, and light ones to use when selling them). Most late medieval and early modern townsfolk were things like weavers and dyers and shearers and shoemakers and tailors and bladesmiths and silkwomen, the kinds of trade that ended up in the Mendel’sche Zwolfbrüderstiftung if they had some bad luck.

  • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Philologus.
  • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Philologus.
  • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Philologus.
  • This reply was modified 7 months, 3 weeks ago by Philologus.