Yes, I think part of it is me being focused in 14th century Italy, and you on the 15th and 16th centuries north of the Alps.
Without going on a deep dive into 15th and 16th century HRE urban history, I think the most useful thing I can say is … the people who live outside the boundaries of the town are people too. So are all the unmarried servants. The Burgers didn’t always acknowledge them as part of the community, but they were an essential part of the system which made the town work (just like the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia can’t survive without South Asian servants and workers and European and settler soldiers and technicians). Those clothes and dishes still needed to be washed, that firewood needed to be gathered and split, that trash and sewage needed to be cleared away. Only counting propertyowning Burger and their wives and children is like only counting the Spartiates when you talk about ancient Sparta.
There were quite a few guilds which relied on shops with many apprentices and journeymen. By definition, shop owners could only be a minority of craft workers in those guilds. IIRC you see this in the armour industry, guilds which focus on quantity allow bigger shops, towns which focus on individual clients allow smaller ones. This was why the Arti Maggiori of Florence stamped down so hard when the popolo minuto created real guilds with brawny arms, it threatened their ability to get rich running carding and weaving and shearing and dying shops and lending money to the poor.
Different kinds of landholding in late medieval and early modern Europe, and which are “private property” in the sense of US or Canadian law, is another big topic. There were a lot of prosperous farmers who leased etc. their land.
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Philologus.