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IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 1052: The Role of Trade, Lending, and Consumerism in Late Medieval Urban Development

Wednesday 3 July 2019, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Thomas Heebøll-Holm, Institut for Historie, Syddansk Universitet, Odense
Paper 1052-aFranciscan Observants, Loans, and the Canon Law of Restitution in 15th-Century Italy
(Language: English)
M. Christina Bruno, Center for Medieval Studies, Fordham University
Index terms: Canon Law, Ecclesiastical History, Economics - Urban, Sermons and Preaching
Paper 1052-bThe Group Contract: Trading Guilds and Their Statutes in Medieval Venice, 1300-1500
(Language: English)
Ning Kang, School of Law, People's Public Security University of China
Index terms: Law

Paper -a:
Religious contemporaries excoriated Italian Franciscan Observants for championing the Monti di Pietà, institutions offering interest-bearing loans for small pledges during the 1490s. How did Observants become proponents of what their critics denounced as usury? While scholars have traced a longstanding Franciscan economic ethos, I argue that Italian Observant Franciscans' thought on canonical restitution of male ablata (ill-gotten gains) stemming from economic sin directly fed their discussions of loans at interest. By actively engineering an internal consensus on related canon law, Observants provided a legal justification for certain loans at interest while retaining the ability to condemn Jewish and Christian moneylenders for the same.

Paper -b:
In medieval Europe, guilds were self-managing institutions which coordinated their activity using regulations. They were corporations of people who shared some common interests, such as religion, political convictions, cultural interests, military service, and economic profits. Most guilds in Europe in the Middle Ages and early modern period were formed by merchants and craftsmen. In Venice, guilds' statutes provided a framework for guilds' internal activities. As long as the statutes were registered and recognized by the Republic, their demarcation of trading interests was clear. Therefore, the guilds' statutes functioned as a kind of 'group contract' which linked guildsmen, guilds and the outside world in medieval society. Since the majority of guild members in Venice were commoners, their statutes as a 'group contract' in practice organized them into a legally based relationship with the government of patricians.