Merchant of Prato

'In his ambition, shrewdness, tenacity, anxiety and greed, he is a forerunner of the businessmen of today' This extraordinary re-creation of the life of a medieval Italian merchant, Francesco di Marco Datini, is one of the greatest ...

Merchant of Prato

This extraordinary re-creation of the life of a medieval Italian merchant, Francesco di Marco Datini, is one of the greatest historical portraits written in the twentieth century. Drawing on an astonishing cache of letters unearthed centuries after Datini's death, it reveals to us a shrewd, enterprising, anxious man, as he makes deals, furnishes his sumptuous house, buys silks for his outspoken young wife and broods on his legacy. It is an unequalled source of knowledge about the texture of daily life in the small, earthy, violent, striving world of fourteenth-century Tuscany. 'Datini has now probably become most intimately accessible figure of the later Middle Ages ... brilliant and intricate' The Times 'As a picture of Tuscany before the dawn of the Renaissance it is a complement to The Decameron' Sunday Times

The Merchant of Prato s Wife

The first full study of the life of Margherita Datini illuminates the role and social standing of wives in early modern Italian society

The Merchant of Prato s Wife

The first full study of the life of Margherita Datini illuminates the role and social standing of wives in early modern Italian society

The Merchant of Prato

Francesco di Marco Datini, the 14th-century Tuscan merchant who forms the subject of the Marchesa Origo's study, has now probably become the most intimately accessible figure of the later-Middle Ages.

The Merchant of Prato

Francesco di Marco Datini, the 14th-century Tuscan merchant who forms the subject of the Marchesa Origo's study, has now probably become the most intimately accessible figure of the later-Middle Ages. In 1870 the whole astonishing cache, containing some 150,000 letters and great numbers of business documents, came to light. The Marchesa Origo has drawn on this material to paint, in detail, a picture of Italian domestic life on the eve of the Renaissance.

The Merchant of Prato

The Merchant of Prato


No Royalty A C Merchant of Prato

Francesco di Marco Datini, the 14th-century Tuscan merchant who forms the subject of the Marchesa Origo's study, has now probably become the most intimately accessible figure of the later-Middle Ages.

No Royalty A C Merchant of Prato

Francesco di Marco Datini, the 14th-century Tuscan merchant who forms the subject of the Marchesa Origo's study, has now probably become the most intimately accessible figure of the later-Middle Ages. In 1870 the whole astonishing cache, containing some 150,000 letters and great numbers of business documents, came to light. The Marchesa Origo has drawn on this material to paint, in detail, a picture of Italian domestic life on the eve of the Renaissance.

Francesco Datini Merchant of Prato

Francesco Datini  Merchant of Prato


A Companion to the Great Western Schism 1378 1417

the papal court from about 1363 to 1410.60 Though not necessarily a major merchant in the city, the existing ... 10–20, 63; Robert Brun, “A Fourteenth-Century Merchant of Italy: Francesco Datini of Prato,” Journal of Economic and ...

A Companion to the Great Western Schism  1378 1417

The division of the Church or Schism that took place between 1378 and 1417 had no precedent in Christianity. No conclave since the twelfth century had acted as had those in April and September 1378, electing two concurrent popes. This crisis was neither an issue of the authority claimed by the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor nor an issue of authority and liturgy. The Great Western Schism was unique because it forced upon Christianity a rethinking of the traditional medieval mental frame. It raised question of personality, authority, human fallibility, ecclesiastical jurisdiction and taxation, and in the end responsibility in holding power and authority. This collection presents the broadest range of experiences, center and periphery, clerical and lay, male and female, Christian and Muslim. Theology, including exegesis of Scripture, diplomacy, French literature, reform, art, and finance all receive attention.

Kitchens Cooking and Eating in Medieval Italy

Origo, The Merchant of Prato, 321, the letter dates April 8, 1399. 59. Archivio di Stato, Prato, Datini, Genoa-Firenze, Francesco Datini, February 21, 1392. 60. Origo, The Merchant of Prato, 326–27. 61. James and Pagliaro, eds and ...

Kitchens  Cooking  and Eating in Medieval Italy

The modern twenty-first century kitchen has an array of time saving equipment for preparing a meal: a state of the art stove and refrigerator, a microwave oven, a food processor, a blender and a variety of topnotch pots, pans and utensils. We take so much for granted as we prepare the modern meal – not just in terms of equipment, but also the ingredients, without needing to worry about availability or seasonality. We cook with gas or electricity – at the turn of the switch we have instant heat. But it wasn’t always so. Just step back a few centuries to say the 1300s and we’d find quite a different kitchen, if there was one at all. We might only have a fireplace in the main living space of a small cottage. If we were lucky enough to have a kitchen, the majority of the cooking would be done over an open hearth, we’d build a fire of wood or coal and move a cauldron over the fire to prepare a stew or soup. A drink might be heated or kept warm in a long-handled saucepan, set on its own trivet beside the fire. Food could be fried in a pan, grilled on a gridiron, or turned on a spit. We might put together a small improvised oven for baking. Regulating the heat of the open flame was a demanding task. Cooking on an open hearth was an all-embracing way of life and most upscale kitchens had more than one fireplace with chimneys for ventilation. One fireplace was kept burning at a low, steady heat at all times for simmering or boiling water and the others used for grilling on a spit over glowing, radiant embers. This is quite a different situation than in our modern era – unless we were out camping and cooking over an open fire. In this book Katherine McIver explores the medieval kitchen from its location and layout (like Francesco Datini of Prato two kitchens), to its equipment (the hearth, the fuels, vessels and implements) and how they were used, to who did the cooking (man or woman) and who helped. We’ll look at the variety of ingredients (spices, herbs, meats, fruits, vegetables), food preservation and production (salted fish, cured meats, cheese making) and look through recipes, cookbooks and gastronomic texts to complete the picture of cooking in the medieval kitchen. Along the way, she looks at illustrations like the miniatures from the Tacuinum Sanitatis (a medieval health handbook), as well as paintings and engravings, to give us an idea of the workings of a medieval kitchen including hearth cooking, the equipment used, how cheese was made, harvesting ingredients, among other things. She explores medieval cookbooks such works as Anonimo Veneziano, Libro per cuoco (fourtheenth century), Anonimo Toscano, Libro della cucina (fourteenth century), Anonimo Napoletano (end of thirteenth/early fourteenth century), Liber de coquina, Anonimo Medidonale, Due libri di cucina (fourteenth century), Magninus Mediolanensis (Maino de’ Maineri), Opusculum de saporibus (fourteenth century), Johannes Bockenheim, Il registro di cucina (fifteenth century), Maestro Martino’s Il Libro de arte coquinaria (fifteenth century) and Bartolomeo Sacchi, called Platina’s On Right Pleasure and Good Health (1470). This is the story of the medieval kitchen and its operation from the thirteenth-century until the late fifteenth-century.

The Reckoning

Quotation from Iris Origo, The Merchant of Prato: Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City (London: Penguin Books, 1992), 66. 2. Ibid., 66, 259, 194. 3. Raymond de Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank 1397–1494 (Cambridge, ...

The Reckoning

Whether building a road or fighting a war, leaders from ancient Mesopotamia to the present have relied on financial accounting to track their state's assets and guide its policies. Basic accounting tools such as auditing and double-entry bookkeeping form the basis of modern capitalism and the nation-state. Yet our appreciation for accounting and its formative role throughout history remains minimal at best-and we remain ignorant at our peril. The 2008 financial crisis is only the most recent example of how poor or risky practices can shake, and even bring down, entire societies. In The Reckoning, historian and MacArthur "Genius" Award-winner Jacob Soll presents a sweeping history of accounting, drawing on a wealth of examples from over a millennia of human history to reveal how accounting has shaped kingdoms, empires, and entire civilizations. The Medici family of 15th century Florence used the double-entry method to win the loyalty of their clients, but eventually began to misrepresent their accounts, ultimately contributing to the economic decline of the Florentine state itself. In the 17th and 18th centuries, European rulers shunned honest accounting, understanding that accurate bookkeeping would constrain their spending and throw their legitimacy into question. And in fact, when King Louis XVI's director of finances published the crown's accounts in 1781, his revelations provoked a public outcry that helped to fuel the French Revolution. When transparent accounting finally took hold in the 19th Century, the practice helped England establish a global empire. But both inept and willfully misused accounting persist, as the catastrophic Stock Market Crash of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2008 have made all too clear. A masterwork of economic and political history, and a radically new perspective on the recent past, The Reckoning compels us to see how accounting is an essential instrument of great institutions and nations-and one that, in our increasingly transparent and interconnected world, has never been more vital.