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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 March 2020
Based on the private records of a prominent sixteenth-century merchant bank (Salviati of Lyon), this article focuses on an important instrument of trade finance in the early modern period: the fair deposit. While the financial history of deposit banking has often been separated from that of merchant banking, this study demonstrates that during the sixteenth century a specific type of deposit banking emerged at fairs, intrinsically connected to merchant banking and international trade. As analysis of the Salviati archives reveals, the fair deposit was an instrument of both clearing and credit, sustaining the financing of large-scale European trade. Credit mostly derived from international trade and banking, where it was reinjected almost immediately. Investments were stimulated by the numerous advantages offered by the fairs held at Lyon: licit lending at interest, a choice of investments, and the possibility of making purchases and rapid transfers. Loans to local and foreign businessmen nourished the trade of commodities and, above all, the exchange business, conferring on Lyon a crucial position in the European trade and exchange system. This form of deposit banking was closely related to the development of merchant banks that worked mostly on commission, drawing substantial profits from it without becoming specialists or even deposit banks.
This article was first published in French as “Le dépôt en foire au début de l’époque moderne. Transfert de crédit et financement du commerce,” Annales HSS 72, no. 2 (2017): 381–423.
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19 Matringe, La banque en Renaissance, chap. 6.
20 Judging from the Salviati records, there were at least a hundred merchant-banks active in sixteenth-century Lyon. Only a few of them have left archives—of which the Salviati records constitute the most complete series. Notarial and judicial records for this period are fragmentary at best, and provide only scattered evidence of the activity of different stakeholders in the financial market. It is nevertheless clear that any contemporary stakeholder involved in banking on the Lyon market could not have conducted business outside the regulatory framework of the fairs. They were thus involved in lending from fair to fair at a rate that could not exceed the official 15 percent, and that was most likely very close to the rate fixed by Italian businessmen during the Payments.
21 “The aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition”: Bourdieu, Pierre, “The Forms of Capital,” in Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. Richardson, J. G. (New York: Greenwood Press, 1986), 241–58, here p. 248Google Scholar.
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24 Pisa, Archivio Salviati (hereafter “AS”), Lyon branch, deposit accounts: I, 561 (1544–1547): fols. 10, 33, 67, 103–4, 154–55, 197, 223–24, 259, 288, 290, 317–19, 337, 351–52, 367–68, and 372; I, 573 (1547–1549): fols. 95, 105–6, 133–35, 155–57, 187–89, 205, 214, 218–19, 241–43, 260, 272, 274–75, and 304–7.
25 That is, 2,028,366 écus: Doucet, Roger, “Le Grand Parti de Lyon au xvie siècle (1re partie),” Revue historique 171 (1933): 473–513, here pp. 492–93Google Scholar. The “Grand Parti” was a loan established by Henri II in 1555 on the financial market of Lyon in order to consolidate the government debt and to raise new funds in the context of increased spending provoked by the Italian Wars.
26 After the Treaty of Crépy-en-Laonnois in 1544, François I continued to borrow huge sums on the account of the Extraordinary, in order to deprive the European market of capital and impede Charles V in financing his war against the Schmalkaldic League: Bodin, Jean, Les six livres de la République (Paris: J. du Puys, 1577), 681Google Scholar; Doucet, “Le Grand Parti de Lyon,” 481; Hamon, Philippe, L’argent du roi. Les finances sous François Ier (Paris: Comité pour l’histoire économique et financière de la France, 1994), 170CrossRefGoogle Scholar. The Extraordinary budget reached 1,773,445 livres tournois between 1544 and 1549: Hamon, L’argent du roi, 44.
27 According to Hamon, L’argent du roi, 12, the “cost of the court” can be estimated at about two million livres tournois in 1546. In 1545 and 1546, the cost of the “pensions and crues” assigned by the monarch to courtiers increased to 1,168,024 livres tournois. Converted into écus de marc, these amounts represent an expense of 530,920 écus over two years.
28 In 1545, the loans granted by this institutional pawnbroker reached 425,826 lire or, according to the equivalences provided by Menning, 60,832 florins or 56,773 florentine scudi, that is, 57,773 écus de marc: Menning, Carol B., Charity and State in Late Renaissance Italy: The Monte di Pietà of Florence (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), 290 and 308Google Scholar. The exchange rate used here is the Lyon-Florence rate current during the Easter fair of 1545, as recorded in a letter from the Salviati to the D’Adda of Valencia (AS, I, 565, fol. 56). In 1548, loans granted by the Monte di Pietà reached 73,867 florins, that is, 68,938 scudi or 70,152 écus de marc (this equivalence is based on the exchange rate current at the August fair of 1548, according to a letter from the Salviati to the Foresi & Minorbetti of Palermo, AS I, 579, fol. 66).
29 The total amount of annuities on the Hôtel de Ville reached 643,000 livres tournois between 1547 and 1549, that is, approximately 292,300 écus de marc: Schnapper, Bernard, Les rentes au xvie siècle. Histoire d’un instrument de crédit (Paris: SEVPEN, 1957), 173Google Scholar.
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36 Gillard, Lucien, “Y a-t-il un étalon or à la Renaissance ?” in Or, monnaie, échange dans la culture de la Renaissance, ed. Tournon, André and Pérouse, Gabriel-André (Saint-Étienne: Publications de l’université de Saint-Étienne, 1994), 59–69, here p. 67Google Scholar. Several examples can also found in the Salviati books, such as the list of exchange rates copied out in the ricordi in 1550 and 1551, where deposit rates systematically appear at the end (AS, I, 566, fols. 49–50).
37 Gascon, Grand commerce et vie urbaine au xvi esiècle, 242–48.
38 The Paretes of Avignon, for example, left capital with the Salviati from 1508 until the 1550s. Their assets were alternately placed on the Lyon deposit and exchange markets, and sometimes in government loans: AS, I, 437, fols. 59, 148, and 209; I, 443, fols. 54, 60, 171, 251, 310, and 468; I, 450, fols. 101, 104, 146, 191, 194, and 239; I, 455, fols. 86, 87, 139, 149, 187, 190, and 251; I, 456, fols. 164, 228, and 291–92; I, 463, fols. 96, 157–58, 208, and 280; I, 468, fols. 93, 159, 176, 214, 217, 288, 353, 423, 473, 558, 565, 688, and 735; I, 476, fols. 108–9, 111, 147, 157, 168, 218–19, 240, 252, 270, 294, 328, 332–33, 362, 419, 441, 490, 522, 525, 568, and passim.
39 On the exchange business and its cultural context during the early modern era, see de Roover, L’évolution de la lettre de change.
40 Émérigon, Balthazard Marie, Traité des assurances et des contrats à la grosse, conféré et mis en rapport avec le nouveau code de commerce et la jurisprudence, suivi d’un vocabulaire des termes de marine et des noms de chaque partie d’un navire, ed. Boulay-Paty, Pierre-Sébastien (1782; Rennes: Molliex, 1827)Google Scholar, especially vol. 2, chap. 3 “Du change maritime” [Bottomry was a high-risk loan in which a journey was financed by using the ship itself as collateral.—Les Annales].
41 In order to lend and borrow capital on the market, the Florentine parent company of the Salviati bank carried out exchange and re-exchange operations (sometimes taking the form of ricorsa) between Florence and Lyon. In Florence, such transactions were registered in the clients’ “deposit accounts.” See, for example, the deposit account of Francesco Franchini, a shopkeeper from Prato, whose capital was invested on the exchange between Lyon and Florence by the Salviati for seven consecutive years: AS, I, 820, fol. 215; I, 830, fols. 119 and 338; I, 840, fols. 131 and 331; I, 848, fols. 156 and 369; I, 859, fol. 138). On the practice of ricorsa, see Mandich, Le pacte de ricorsa. Mandich claims that it was specific to the Genoese at the Besançon fairs, but in fact the practice seems to have been common in Lyon as early as the first half of the sixteenth century.
42 See the accounts of Pierre Marchand and Guillaume Cottereau: AS, I, 560, fols. 136, 176, 230, 274, 366, and 420.
43 See for example the notes of Ottomar Zollikofer, a Swiss merchant of Saint-Gall, underwritten by Antoine Singisen, another Swiss merchant of Soleure (AS, I, 560, fol. 187).
44 Del credere should not to be confused with acceptance. The bills that merchant-bankers guaranteed through a del credere clause were never presented to them or drawn on them, but instead were bought or sold on behalf of their correspondents. For example, the Salviati could buy a bill of exchange in Medina del Campo on behalf of the Affaitadi. If the bill was not honored when it fell due on account of an insolvent drawee, the Salviati, having agreed to a del credere clause, would compensate the Affaitadi—independently of whether the drawer of the contested bill would reimburse them or not. No signature on the bill was involved.
45 This fair institution was controlled by Italian merchants. Any merchant not present at the Payments was considered failed and excluded from the fairs, while those who could not pay their debts were severely punished through torture: Brésard, Les foires de Lyon, 294–322; Gonthier, Nicole, Délinquance, justice et société dans le Lyonnais médiéval, de la fin du xiiie siècle au début du xvie siècle (Paris: Éd. Arguments, 1993)Google Scholar.
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48 See, for example, the bond transfers ordered by the Bini & Strozzi firm of Lyon before the notary Pierre Dorlin in October 1545: AS, I, 563, fol. 19.
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51 Around 2 percent of the stakeholders have not been identified, due to the extensive use of conti aparte, where the holder of the account was acting on behalf of someone else who remained hidden behind actual or fictitious initials. For example, “Averardo Salviati aparte A. C.” indicates an activity carried out by Averardo Salviati on behalf of “A. C.”—who might be Antinio Capponi or Gherardo Martellini. The governor of the Salviati bank in Lyon, Leonardo Spina, deposited several thousand écus de marc in the bank through such accounts. While auxiliary documentation (in particular the ricordanze) can help identify the most important of these anonymous lenders, many of the smaller ones remain unknown.
52 For more about the relations between the Salviati and the world of politics, see Matringe, La banque en Renaissance, chap. 5.
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55 On these businessmen, see James W. Nelson Novoa, “Documents Regarding the Settlement of Portuguese New Christians in Tuscany (Part 2),” Hispania Judaica Bulletin 6 (2008): 163–72, here pp. 166–67. The ricordanze tell us that the transactions recorded in the accounts entitled “N°B” were executed on behalf of the Enriques & Nuñes of Antwerp (AS, I, 577, fol. 17).
56 On the supposed absence of Italian bankers in the French capital from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, see de Roover, Raymond, “Le marché monétaire à Paris du règne de Philippe le Bel au début du xve siècle,” Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres 112, no. 4 (1968): 548–58Google Scholar; Favier, Jean, “Une ville entre deux vocations : la place d’affaires de Paris au xve siècle,” Annales ESC 28, no. 5 (1973): 1245–79Google Scholar, especially pp. 1248–50.
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58 These “nations” were political, economic, juridical, and religious associations that protected the rights and established the duties of all citizens originating from the same city-state: Gascon, Grand commerce et vie urbaine au xvi esiècle, 358–62.
59 In 1544, Scarfi obtained the monopoly on alum distribution for the whole kingdom of France; the Salviati held the corresponding monopoly in Antwerp. In the 1560s, he was Master of the Ports, and defended the city of Avignon against Protestant assaults: de Bezons, Bazin, Pièces fugitives pour servir à l’histoire de France, avec des notes historiques et géographiques (Paris: H. D. Chaubert, 1759), 1:21 and 245Google Scholar.
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63 Most of their deposits were managed through the account “Della Casa aparte D” (a cover-name used by the Mendes: see AS, I, 577, fol. 15), but even when the della Casa seem to have been acting on their own behalf the balance of their deposit account was transferred to Gugliemo Fernandez, one of the Mendes’ agents in Venice (AS, I, 567, fol. 323). The Portuguese Marranos (New Christians) had influence in Rome, where they frequently sent delegates provided with ample cash in order to secure restrictions on the activities of the Holy Office (Roth, Donña Gracia of the House of Nasi, 135). A member of the Mendes family, Fernando, was even established in the Eternal City as a dottore—probably a jurist, since a few years later he served as a judge in the Rota of Florence: Nelson Novoa, James W., “Documents Regarding the Settlement of Portuguese New Christians in Tuscany,” Hispania Judaica Bulletin 5 (2007): 261–70Google Scholar, here pp. 266–67.
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66 AS, I, 559, fol. 259.
67 AS, I, 572, fols. 407 and 472; I, 573, fol. 205.
68 Guidi Bruscoli, Papal Banking in Renaissance Rome, 81.
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72 On Bonin, see Longeon, Claude, Une province française à la Renaissance. La vie intellectuelle en Forez au xvie siècle (Saint-Étienne: Centre d’études foréziennes, 1975), 164Google Scholar. On the Gimbres, see the municipal archives of Lyon, CC 0133 and 0136-4, a description of the registers of “Taxes received in the name of the king.”
73 AS, I, 560, fols. 25, 78, 95, 147, 197, 250, 315, 365, and 420.
74 Albertas possessed several seigneuries, and held the first municipal office while continuing his business as an active member of the Coral Company: Masson, Paul, Les compagnies du corail. Étude historique sur le commerce de Marseille au xvie siècle et les origines de la colonisation française en Algérie-Tunisie (Paris: Fontemoing, 1908), 24–27, 40, 69, 145, 229, 241, 244, and 254Google Scholar.
75 AS, I, 559, fols. 44, 115, 170, and 288.
76 Gascon, Grand commerce et vie urbaine au xvi esiècle, 203, 232–36, 240, and 273; Boyer-Xambeu, Deleplace, and Gillard, Monnaie privée et pouvoir des princes, 49–63.
77 Ehrenberg, Das Zeitalter der Fugger ; Jakob Strieder, Jacob Fugger der Reiche (Leipzig: Quelle und Meyer, 1926); Peter Kalus, Die Fugger in der Slowakei (Augsburg: B. Wissner, 1999).
78 Carande, Ramón, Carlos V y sus banqueros, vol. 3, Los caminos del oro y de la plata (deuda exterior y tesoros ultramarinos) (Madrid: Sociedad de estudios y publicaciones, 1967), 256–309Google Scholar.
79 Banking in Avignon was already dominated by Catalans in the fifteenth century. See Labande, Léon Honoré, Avignon au xve siècle. Légation de Charles de Bourbon et du cardinal Julien de La Rovère (Monaco/Paris: Impr. de Monaco/A. Picard, 1920)Google Scholar.
80 He was also known as “Bartomeu de Parets.” See Sarnowsky, Jürgen, Macht und Herrschaft im Johanniterorden des 15. Jahrhunderts. Verfassung und Verwaltung der Johanniter auf Rhodos (1421–1522) (Münster: Lit, 2001), 357, 453, 491–92, 508–10, 569–71, and 579Google Scholar; Bonneaud, Pierre, “La crise financière des Hospitaliers de Rhodes au quinzième siècle (1426–1480),” Anuario de estudio medievales 42, no. 2 (2012): 520–22Google Scholar. During this period, Avignon was the hub of the Knights Hospitaller’s treasury.
82 Tognetti, Sergio, Un’industria di lusso al servizio del grande commercio. Il mercato dei drappi serici e della seta nella Firenze del Quattrocento (Florence: L. S. Olschki, 2002), 155–59Google Scholar; Gascon, Grand commerce et vie urbaine au xvi esiècle, 331–33.
83 See for example the accounts of the Rospigliosi: AS, I, 559, fols. 168 and 234; I, 567, fols. 106 and 183; I, 572, fols. 147 and 323; I, 580, fols. 10 and 227.
84 AS, I, 567, fol. 128; I, 572, fols. 30 and 302.
85 AS, I, 567, fol. 33.
86 AS, I, 572, fols. 88 and 187.
87 Coornaert, Émile, Les Français et le commerce international à Anvers, fin du xve–xvie siècle (Paris: M. Rivière, 1961), 1:237, n. 2, and 352; 2:73, n. 1, and 238Google Scholar.
88 I use “self-financing” in a macro sense, to mean that international trade circulated most of the funds businessmen needed.
89 Gascon, Grand commerce et vie urbaine au xvi esiècle, 340.
90 At the August fair of 1546, the Centurioni and Lomellino of Lyon reimbursed 3,065 écus borrowed at the previous fair through endorsements on the Lyon draper Claude Gelat and the goldsmith Jacques Brunicart: AS, I, 560, fol. 225.
91 In itself, this fee was not very sizeable. As a result, there was no major difference between the rate of interest on annuities (around 10 percent at the time) and the rate on fair deposits.
92 See, for example, the account of the notary Jean Fosson of Lyon, who paid a commission on his deposit: AS, I, 580, fol. 7.
93 (2,259,966 + 1,995,241) × (0.6 + 1.9)/1,000.
94 See the capital accounts of the associates, Averardo Salviati and the two governors, in the main ledger: AS, I, 561, fol. 23.
95 Matringe, La banque en Renaissance, 109.
97 AS, I, 579, fol. 173, letter from Giovan Battista Rustici, Paris, May 1549.
98 In theory, banks could have concealed their financial situation from each other even while occupying the same building. However, in the context of a merchant culture based on credit and reputation, which promoted self-regulation and the close surveillance of others, it was very rare for bankers to successfully cover up their difficulties for a long time—even from their correspondents located abroad. On the circulation of information and risk-prevention mechanisms in the early modern period, see Neal, Larry and Quinn, Steven, “Markets and Institutions in the Rise of London as a Financial Center in the Seventeenth Century,” in Finance, Intermediaries, and Economic Development, ed. Engerman, Stanley L.et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003)Google Scholar; Velinov, Daniel Jürgen, “Risk-Management, Credit and the Working of Merchants’ Networks in Early Modern Banking,” in Decision Taking, Confidence and Risk Management in Banks from Early Modernity to the 20th Century, ed Schönhärl, Korinna (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)Google Scholar.
99 On this matter, the Salviati openly admitted their policies in a letter addressed to Paretes in January 1548: AS, I, 579, fol. 129.
100 François Guichardin, Scritti autobiografici e rari, ed. Roberto Palmarocchi (Bari: Laterza, 1936), 58.
101 AS, I, 579, fol. 31, letter of November 1547 to the Del Rios and Paredes of Burgos.
102 AS, I, 579, fol. 95, letter of November 1548 to the Delbenes of Paris, who had informed them that one of their depositors, a cleric, was threatening judicial recourse against them.
103 In the winter of 1544, Averardo Salviati requested the help of the Duke of Florence, Cosimo I, and his friend Pedro Cassador, Treasurer of Catalonia, when Spanish admirals seized a boat carrying a cargo of his spices. The judges of the Rota of Barcelona eventually ruled in the Salviati’s favor against their own compatriots (AS, I, 565, fols. 41 and 53). In 1546, French merchants on the Atlantic coast, vexed to see part of the Portuguese spice trade diverted by the Italians of Lyon, tried to obtain a ruling from the king limiting the entry of spices into the kingdom to Amiens and Rouen. “Through friends,” the Salviati managed to preempt this measure (AS, I, 565, fol. 65).
104 That is, an abundance of money on the marketplace. See Bernardo Davanzati, Lezione delle monete  e Notizia de’cambj , ed. Sergio Ricossa (Turin: Fògola, 1988), 71.
105 Deposit account, AS, I, 561, fol. 372; and corresponding letters to Paretes and the Mendes, respectively, AS, I, 565, fols. 168 and 171.
106 AS, I, 565, fol. 149, letter of November 1546 to Paretes.
107 Originally issued in the context of the Champagne fairs, in 1420 this order was included in the Privileges of the Lyon fairs: Barbier, Guillaume, Privileges des foires de Lyon, octroyez par les roys tres-chrestiens, aux marchands françois et estrangers y negocians sous lesdits priuileges, ou residens en ladite ville (1649; repr. Lyon: G. Barbier, 1759), 10Google Scholar.
108 AS, I, 561, fols. 10 and 33.
109 AS, I, 561, fol. 10.
110 AS, I, 561, fol. 104.
111 AS, I, 561, fol. 223.
112 As a rule, the Salviati began by asking their clients whether they wanted to invest on the deposit market or the exchange market (see, for instance, the letter to Scarfi of Rouen, AS, I, 565, fol. 144). When they found it hard to invest their clients’ money on the deposit market, they asked for permission before moving it onto the exchange (AS, I, 565, fols. 78, 128, and 149). Even when they did not agree with the choices of their clients, they had to respect them: in June 1545, they executed what they considered to be a “whim” of Beatriz Mendes, and invested 30,000 écus on her behalf in government finances (AS, I, 565, fol. 84).
113 The fact that the fair banks only invested in government finances the funds that clients had explicitly instructed them to handle in this way shows that the market for government loans had its own investors and should not be seen as an extension of the deposit market, as is all too often the case: Doucet, Roger, La banque Capponi à Lyon en 1556 (Lyon: Imprimerie nouvelle lyonnaise, 1939), 13Google Scholar; Gascon, Grand commerce et vie urbaine au xvi esiècle, 252–54. The distinction between the two is also made clear by the separate presentation of rates for deposit and government loans in Lyon: see, for example, the list of exchange rates at the Epiphany fair of 1556 (Lyon, Archives départementales du Rhône, Notaires, Pierre Dorlin, 4497, fol. 399).
114 Engerman et al., Finance, Intermediaries, and Economic Development, 2.
115 Matringe, La banque en Renaissance, 270–99.
117 Bland, Alfred E., Brown, Philip A., and Tawney, Richard H., English Economic History: Select Documents (London: G. Bell, 1914), 420–24Google Scholar.
118 Mentz, Søren, The English Gentleman Merchant at Work: Madras and the City of London 1660–1740 (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2005), 113Google Scholar; Daniel Jürgen Velinov, “Le marché des changes anversois, de l’espace régional aux flux européens. Les affaires du banquier Jean-Baptiste de La Bistrate (1654–1674)” (PhD diss., Université Paris 1/Freie Universität Berlin, 2012), 233–36; Matringe, La banque en Renaissance, 162 and 247–48; Braudel, Fernand, Civilization and Capitalism, 15th–18th Century, vol. 2, The Wheels of Commerce, trans. Siân Reynolds (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 150Google Scholar.
119 Veronica Aoki Santarosa, “Pre-Banking Financial Intermediation: Evidence from a Brokerage Law Reform in Eighteenth-Century Marseille,” Working Paper, 2013, http://eh.net/eha/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Santarosa_0.pdf.
120 Lane, “Venetian Bankers,” 187; Usher, The Early History of Deposit Banking, 8; Goldthwaite, The Economy of Renaissance Florence, 229–30; Van der Wee, The Growth of the Antwerp Market, 1082; Van der Wee, “Monetary, Credit and Banking Systems.”
121 Usher, The Early History of Deposit Banking, 4 and 183–88; Neal, Larry, “How It All Began: The Monetary and Financial Architecture of Europe during the First Global Capital Markets, 1648–1815,” Financial History Review 7, no. 2 (2000): 117–40, here p. 121CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Gillard, Lucien, La banque d’Amsterdam et le florin européen au temps de la République néerlandaise, 1610–1820 (Paris: Éd. de l’EHESS, 2004), 241, 249, and 261Google Scholar; Kahn, Charles, Quinn, Stephen, and Roberds, William, “Central Banks and Payment Systems: The Evolving Trade-off between Cost and Risk,” in Central Banks at a Crossroads: What Can We Learn from History? ed. Bordo, Michael D.et al. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 563–609Google Scholar.
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