IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 726: Money, Taxes, and Debt in Medieval Europe

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Erik Spindler, Großbritannien-Zentrum Mohrenstraße 60 10117 BERLIN
Paper 726-aMetrological Rules and Standards: New Light on the Origin of the English Silver Penny
(Language: English)
Neil Middleton, Independent Scholar, Bedford
Index terms: Administration, Byzantine Studies, Economics - General, Numismatics
Paper 726-bPromises Never Fulfilled: Fiscal Rules in Castile, c. 1250-1350
(Language: English)
Fernando Arias Guillén, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid / University of St Andrews
Index terms: Economics - General, Law, Politics and Diplomacy, Social History
Paper 726-cUsury Laws in Late Medieval England
(Language: English)
Jennifer Hole, School of Humanities, University of Western Australia
Index terms: Canon Law, Economics - Trade, Law, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 726-dGoing Bust: An Outline of Personal Insolvency
(Language: English)
James Brooke-Turner, Birkbeck, University of London
Index terms: Economics - General, Law

Paper -a:
This paper explains how the metrological rules and standards of the late Roman/Byzantine Empire played a critical role in the development of the standards for gold and silver coinages in western Europe and in England in particular. It is based on an examination of both the numismatic evidence and the much less well known evidence of Latin and Greek metrological texts. It sheds new light on a range of key topics in early medieval administrative and monetary affairs including the role of the church in metrological standards and the coinage, the origin of the English penny and the introduction of the 240 pence pound.

Paper -b:
Starting in the second half of the 13th Century, the Cortes (Parliament) generated very detailed legislation concerning the development of the Castilian fiscal system. Local councils were constantly demanding the Crown for control of the officer’s appointments and tax collections in their juridisctions. Castilian kings always accepted these demands on paper, but never actually implemented them. Their goal was to maximise revenues regardless of how this was achieved. As far as their fiscal objectives were accomplished, all other issues were minor, so they did not care too much of other matters.

Paper -c:
Were moderate rates of interest acceptable in late medieval England? Based upon research undertaken in the 1980’s, there is a body of opinion that this was the case. This paper reviews that research in the light of contemporary law, literature and practice regarding usury. Theology and canon law are compared to Roman law on usury. I survey the pronouncements of homiletic literature and religious instruction and compare their wording to that of secular laws against usury. I also examine contemporary practices of obtaining credit and repaying debt. I argue that an absolute prohibition of interest was more likely.

Paper -d:
This paper examines the provision of credit in the 13th and 14th centuries and the conceptual framework that society considers when sanctioning credit facilities. This includes the need to protect the creditor’s business from dishonest debtors who would avoid repayment if possible yet also to treat the honest but insolvent debtor with compassion. These two ambitions are in tension. I will discuss customary and legislative practices of the time to see how protective they were of the creditor’s business and of his need for the effective recovery of his debts. I will review the nature of enforcement against sureties, pledged security and the coercive power of imprisonment.