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Annuities in Late Medieval Hanse Towns

  • Hans-Peter Baum (a1)


In this article. Professor Baum reports on recent research into the annuity markets of late medieval German Hanse towns. While historians traditionally have considered annuities an essentially noncommercial form of credit, Baum takes a different approach. Considering the annuity market as an economic institution, he describes its function as an instrument of credit and offers some speculations about how his conclusions modify our traditional view of the late medieval economy.



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1 Sprandel, Rolf, “Zur statistischen Auswertung der ältesten Hamburger Stadtbücher,” Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte 56 (1970): 124; Sprandel, Rolf, “Der städtische Rentenmarkt in Nordwestdeutschland im Spätmittelalter,” Forschungen zur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte 16 (1971); Baum, Hans-Peter and Sprandel, Rolf, “Zur Wirtschaftsentwicklung im spätmittelalterlichen Hamburg,” Vierteljahrsschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte (VSVVG) 59 (1972): 473488; Richter, Klaus, “Untersuchungen zur Hamburger Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte um 1300 unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der städtischen Rentengeschäfte” (Ph.D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1971); Wenner, Hans-Joachim, “Handelskonjunkturen und Rentenmarkt am Beispiel der Stadt Hamburg um die Mitte des 14. Jahrhunderts” (Ph.D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1972); Baum, Hans-Peter, “Hochkonjunktur und Wirtschaftskrise: Hamburger Rentengeschäfte 1371–1410” (Ph.D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1976); Gabrielsson, Peter, “Struktur und Funktion der Hamburger Rentengeschäfte in der Zeit von 1471 bis 1490: Ein Beitrag zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte der nordwestdeutschen Stadt” (Ph. D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1971); Haberland, Helga, “Der Lübecker Renten- und Immobilienmarkt in der Zeit von 1285–1315: Ein Beitrag zur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Hansestadt” (Ph. D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1974); Bohmbach, Jürgen, “Umfang und Struktur des Braunschweigischen Rentenmarkts 1300–1350,” Niedersächsisches Jahrbuch für Landesgeschichte 41 (1969): 119133; Bohmbach, Jürgen, “Die Sozialstruktur Braunschweigs um 1400” (Ph.D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1973); Ellermeyer, Jürgen, “Stade, 1300–1399: Liegenschaften und Renten in Stadt und Land: Untersuchungen zur Wirtschaft- und Sozialstruktur einer Hansischen Landstadt im Spätmittelalter” (Ph. D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1975).

2 The Hamburg annuity market has recently been analyzed for another eighty-year period; see Lorenzen-Schmidt, Klaus J., “Umfang und Dynamik des Hamburger Rentenmarkts zwischen 1471 und 1570,” Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte 65 (1979): 2152. See also footnote 98.

3 von Brandt, Ahasver, “Der Lübecker Rentenmarkt von 1320–1359” (Ph.D. diss., Universitv of Kiel, Düsseldorf, 1935).

4 The terminology concerning annuities is not uniform; they could also be called rents. The French term is rente, the German term Rente. Because of the ambiguity of the English term rent, “annuity” was chosen here.

5 Stade was an exception in this respect; there, annuities on farms or farmland played a considerable role, as well; see Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 163 et al.

6 Thus, for example, the city law of Hamburg; see Lappenberg, Johann Martin, ed., Die ältesten Stadt-, Schiff- und Landrechte Hamburgs: Hamburgische Rechtsaltertümer I (Hamburg 1845), Stadtrecht 1270 2, p. 12 and 1291 (1301) D III, p. 115.

7 Trusen, Winfried, “Spätmittelalterliche Jurisprudenz und Wirtschaftsethik. Dargestellt an Wiener Gutachten des 14. Jahrhunderts” (Ph.D. diss., University of Mainz, 1961), 112ff.

8 Werner Sombart, Der moderne Kapitalismus, 2d ed., 3 vols. (1928).

9 Ibid., 1:290; Sombart compares the Bardi to a modern mercer's business in what must have been to him the epitome of a sleepy provincial town, Litomysl in Czechoslovakia.

10 von Brandt, Lübecker Rentenmarkt, 6–10.

11 Only four Hanse merchants' account books earlier than 1500 have been preserved. A few more customs rolls are available, but most of them cover only a year or two and thus render the assessment of the trade figures contained in them difficult. The editions of account books and customs rolls are listed in Dollinger, Philippe, La hanse (XII-XVIIe siècles) (1964) or its German translation: Die Hanse, 2d ed. (1976), 581, 583.

12 The Florentine catasto of 1427 combines detailed fiscal and demographic information for the whole contado of Florence. It is probably the best medieval source of its kind; cf. Herlihy, David and Klapisch-Zuher, Christiane, Les Toscans et leur familles: Une étude du catasto florentin de 1427 (1978). (An English translation of this work will soon be published.)

13 Thus, the Hamburg city accounts list the tax returns for most years between 1350 and 1550, but the tax sums are listed bv parishes; see Koppmann, Karl, Nirrnheim, Hans, Bolland, Gustav, eds., Die Kämmereirechnungen der Stadt Hamburg 1350–1562, 10 vols. (18691950). In Lübeck, the wealthier people were usually permitted to pay their taxes secretly; thus, all we can say is that in 1460, for example, 18 percent of the taxpayers supplied 58 percent of the tax revenue; see von Brandt, A., “Die gesellschaft liche Struktur des spätmittelalterlichen Lübeck,” Vorträge und Forschungen 11: Untersuchungen zur gesellschaftlichen Struktur der mittelalterlichen Städte in Europa (1966): 215–40, esp. 225–27.

14 This statement could be made for many regions of medieval Europe, of course, and the Hanse towns' fiscal sources could probably be considered to be of average quality. Yet, this cannot be regarded as a satisfactory level of information. For the reasons indicated above, tax registers like the ones from Hamburg can only tell us that some parishes were wealthier than other ones. On the basis of the Lübeck tax registers which, however, are extant only for a few years, von Brandt, “Gesellschaftliche Struktur,” 227f. postulated an upper class representing 18 percent of the population of Lübeck in 1460, an upper middle class of 30 percent, a lower middle class of 38 percent, and a lower class of 14 percent of the tax-paying population. This analysis is not unsatisfactory, but, on the other hand, we lack information on household and family sizes, the number of non-taxpayers, the businesses of the upper class, and so on. Bohmbach was able to classify the population of three of Brunswick's five parishes more precisely by combining tax returns, the annuity markets, and other sources (“Sozialstruktur,” 110). He could apply the usual class division into upper upper, lower upper, and so on. The upper upper class comprised between 0 percent and 0.8 percent, the lower upper 3.45 percent to 6.1 percent, the upper middle class 30 percent to 39 percent, the lower middle class 8 percent to 13 percent, the upper lower class 28 percent to 38 percent, and the lower lower class 9 percent to 18 percent of the tax-paying households. This would be a very good analysis if we knew anything about the other two parishes, about household sizes, the number of indigents, and so on.

15 Dollinger, Hanse, 218, 268.

16 Thus, Dollinger does not mention Jews or Lombards at all; none of the sources researched in the annuity project mentions them.

17 Bernard Schnapper, Les rentes au XVIe siècle. Histoire d'un instrument de crédit (Ecole pratique des Hautes Etudes, VIe section, Affaires et gens d'affaires 12, 1957), 107–109, 208. Schnapper thinks that annuities played a major role in relations between peasants who had fallen behind on payment of their seigneurial rents and city merchants, in dowry and estate settlements, and even as a final recourse for merchants to settle debts that could not be paid in other ways. Yet he denies—at least for the fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth century—directly commercial uses of annuities. Schnapper confirms the importance of annuities as a credit instrument as evidenced by their sheer numbers; according to him (ibid., 49) one notarial deed out of four in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century France is concerned with annuities.

18 For quick and easily accessible information on these towns see Dollinger, Hanse, 155ff.

19 Specialization of the registers varied considerably. Stade retained one book for every kind of transaction until 1399, Hamburg had ten different registers by the middle of the fourteenth century, Lübeck and Brunswick were in between. Cf. Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 30ff.; Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 9ff; Haberland, “Der Lübecker Renten- und Immobilienmarkt,” 15–20; and Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 34.

20 Thus, for example, the city laws of Hamburg: “Wat schulde vor dem gantzen rade bekennet werd unde an der Stadt book geschreven, dar en geit neen tuch baven” (i.e. “debt incurred before the council and entered into the city book, no testimony goes above that“), cf. Lappenberg, Stadtrechte, 252 (Stadtrecht of 1301, 118).

21 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 14–20.

22 The volumes of the annuity registers for three of Hamburg's four medieval parishes from the years 1401–54 have been lost; cf. Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 21. Several years' entries in the Lübeck records are missing, cf. Haberland, “Der Lübecker Renten- und Immobilienmarkt,’’ 21ff.

23 Cf. Wenner, “Handelskonjunkturen,” 31–34.

24 Cf. Wenner, 82, and especially Berger, Wolfgang, “Das St.-Georgs-Spital zu Hamburg. Die Wirtschaftsführung eines mittelalterlichen Grosshaushalts” (Ph. D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1972), 17.

25 Schnapper, Les rentes, 55–60 quotes passages from French annuity records.

26 Some of them are quoted in ibid., 67.

27 Trusen, “Jurisprudenz,” 111ff. and 151ff.

28 According to Ellermeyer, 25 percent of all annuities sold in Stade in the fourteenth century had such provisions (“Stade,” 308ff.). In Hamburg, about 10 percent of all annuity contracts in the period from 1291 to 1330 permitted the call for redemption by the creditor or by either partner; only three out of approximately 5,900 annuities sold from 1371 to 1410 had such provisions; none were found in the period 1471–90; see Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 27–29; Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 28, 183; and Gabrielsson, “Struktur und Funktion.”

29 Redeemable annuities were introduced in Lübeck in 1240, in Hamburg in 1270, if not earlier (Trusen, “Jurisprudenz,” 139). In Stade, redeemable annuities began to outnumber perpetual ones in the 1360s (Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 308).

30 Schnapper, Les rentes, 103.

31 After a major fire, the council of Lübeck decided around 1240 that henceforth all annuities, including perpetual ones contracted before that time, should be redeemable (Trusen, “Jurisprudenz,” 139). In Stade, all annuities were made redeemable in 1401 (Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 308).

32 Simone Roux “Féodalisme et construction courante à Paris aux 14e et 15e siècles,” paper read at the Eighth International Economic History Congress at Budapest, August 1982.

33 Baum and Sprandel, “Wirtschaftsentwicklung,” 477.

34 Schnapper, Les rentes, 111ff. and 202. Interest rates in Paris had started to decline around 1480, but only after 1500 did rates under 10 percent begin to dominate the market.

35 Trusen, “Jurisprudenz,” 155.

36 von Brandt, “Lübecker Rentemarkt/’ 10; Haberland, “Der Lübecker Renten- und Immobilien markt,” 225f.

37 Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 125f

38 Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 61–66; Lorenzen-Schmidt, “Umfang und Dynamik,” 31.

39 Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 49, 322.

40 For Lübeck see Haberland, “Der Lübecker Renten- und Immobilienmarkt,” 225f; for Hamburg, Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 61–66.

41 See Table 1.

42 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 61–64. These calculations are based on annual annuity sales and average annuity terms; they indicate that at the peak of an annuity boom in 1389, only 36 percent of the investments could have come from redemptions whereas, in the crisis of 1397–1402, over 100 percent of the investments could theoretically have been taken from that source.

43 Many medieval jurists and theologians stressed consumer credit (in the sense of emergency credit) as the motive for selling annuities or for loaning money in general (Trusen, “Jurisprudenz,” 57ff. ). Schnapper quotes an example for an annuity sale made to finance a-probably advantageous-wedding (Les rentes, 210).

44 Sprandel, “Der städtische Rentenmarkt,” 1.

45 Thus, annuities used for the purchase of houses and declared as such had a 10 percent share of capital turnover in Hamburg in 1371 (480 out of 4,987.5 marks), but a 33 percent share in 1382 (5,115 out of 15,764) marks); Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 212.

46 For different interpretations of “almost the same time” see Wenner (“Handelskonjunkturen,” 73) who allowed one week's difference and Baum (“Hochkonjunktur,” 83ff.) who allowed up to eight weeks.

47 The city of Hamburg owned a brick and tile factory whose sales figures for the years 1388–1410 have been preserved [analyzed by Fiedler, Brigitte, “Die gewerblichen Eigenbetriebe der Stadt Hamburg im Spätmittelalter” (Ph.D. diss., University of Hamburg, 1974)]; a comparison of brick and tile sales and annuity sales was made by Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 99ff. The highest and lowest annual figures for brick and tile sales were about 1,025 and 150 marks; the highest and lowest capital turnovers in annuities were about 24,000 and 10,800 marks. The highest and lowest points of both kinds of sales almost coincide.

48 The Stade records contain a large number of house prices, a rarity for medieval Germany. The figure given here is based on Ellermeyer's calculations (“Stade,” 277ff.). Some house and annuity sales from Hamburg seem to point at similar value/mortgage relations; see Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 56ff.

49 Wenner, “Handelskonjunkturen,” 100ff.

50 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 94.

51 Berger notes that the hospital used to sell houses acquired through a debtor's failure to pay his annuities as quickly as possible and began to keep such houses and to buy other ones in order to rent them out in the 1460s (“Das St.-Georgs-Spital,” 100ff.). Evidently, renting out houses became profitable only then.

52 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 95.

53 This assumption can only be supported by considerations of plausibility since all of the towns under discussion were small enough for people to know each other's affairs fairly well and since, as we have seen, creditors were interested in regular annuity payments and not so much in possible “windfall” acquisition of real estate through a debtor's failure, it seems unlikely that anybody could have financed an opulent life style by repeated sales of new annuities.

54 Koppmann, Nirrnheim, Bolland, Kämmereirechnungen, under “de primo introitu mechanicorum in officia sua.”

55 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 100–105.

56 Ibid., 106–8.

57 In the crisis of 1315–18, the turnover in new annuities in Hamburg fell from 2,104 marks, in 1312, to 801 marks in 1316 while the number of houses seized rose from an average two or three in the years 1305–12 to an average of eight to ten between 1313 and 1325; Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 139, 154. In the crisis of 1397–1402, turnovers fell from an average of over 20,000 marks in the years 1391–96 to about 11,000 marks; the number of houses seized was two to four in normal years, but twenty to thirty-six in the crisis years; Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 212, 224.

58 Ibid., 55ff. for examples of annuities with terms of less than one year, Gabrielsson found an annuity redeemed after 66 years (“Struktur und Funktion,” 84).

59 Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 28, 133.

60 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 109.

61 Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 27ff., 134ff.

62 Wenner, “Handelskonjunkturen,” 40.

63 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 51–56, Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 308ff., Gabrielsson found that in Hamburg between 1471 and 1490 large annuities—25 marks and over—had terms of about nineteen years, smaller annuities had terms of about ten years (“Struktur und Funktion,” 83).

64 Examples for these uses of annuities are quoted by Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 41ff.; Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 33, 96ff.; Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 316f. See also Schnappers opinion (footnote 17).

65 Baum and Sprandel, “Wirtschaftsentwicklung,” 477.

66 Wenner, “Handelskonjunkturen,” 45ff; Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 57ff.

67 There are some differences, of course, caused by the divergences in the spectrum of urban trades; coppersmiths would probably have been considered as upper class in Brunswick, but not in any of the other towns; brewers were always seen as members of the upper class in Hamburg, but not necessarily in Brunswick.

68 It would be impossible to list all the publications concerned with these questions. As far as North German towns are concerned, the debate was started in 1966 by von Brandt, “Die gesellschaftliche Struktur.”

69 Except in some isolated cases, in which, for example, maids and servants were given small annuities in the testaments of their former employers; see Loose, Hans-Dieter, ed., Hamburger Testamente 1351 bis 1400 (Hamburg, 1970).

70 This is true for Lübeck, Hamburg, and Stade; the situation was, if only formally, somewhat different in Brunswick where members of the upper class could, at the same time, belong to an artisans' guild; see note 71.

71 According to the laws of Lübeck, a candidate for the city council had to be personally free and born of free parents. He could not simultaneously hold office from a prince, had to own land within the city walls, and must never have been permitted to earn his livelihood by working as an artisan; see “Verein für lübische Geschichte und Altertumskunde,” Lübisches Urkundenbuch, 11 vols. (Lübeck 1843–1905), 1: Nr. 4, p. 5–6 (law of 1165). Hamburg adopted the law of Lübeck; see Diestelkamp, B., Martens, M., van de Kieft, C., Fritz, B., eds., Elenchus Fontium Historiae Urbanae (1967), 1; Nr. 96, p. 160 (law of 1188/89). The rules of Lübeck and Hamburg were probably valid in Stade, as well, but not in Brunswick, which was an older city than either Lübeck or Hamburg. There, guild members could be elected into the council. But that did not really mean that artisans ever became council members; rather, some merchants were guild members without really working at a trade. The council of Brunswick was, in spite of the revolution of 1374, almost as exclusive as the one in Lübeck; see Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 25–30, or Rotz, Rhiman A., “Urban Uprisings in Fourteenth-century Germany: A comparative study of Brunswick (1374–80) and Hamburg (1376),” (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1970).

72 This was assumed by all researchers of the project; it proved impossible to arrive at a precise estimate of the social composition of this purely statistical group. For Hamburg, it was assumed that it contained a large number of brewers, because we know that, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, there were always 400 to 500 brewers living there; see Laurent, J. C. M., “Über das älteste hamburgische Bürgerbuch,” Zeitschrift des Vereins für hamburgische Geschichte 1 (1841): 141–68. We also know that the brewers were considered as upper class, but most of them seem to have been less wealthy than the “regular” merchants. No researcher, however, was able to identify more than about fifty brewers.

73 One reason for this is the large credit demand from outside of town; in this respect. Stade corresponded very much to Schnappers ideas about the uses of annuities; see note 17 and Ellermeyer, “Stade.”

74 Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,’ 129f.

75 The only possible exception to this rule was found by Richter at the time of the famine that began in 1315; see Richter, “Untersuchungen,” 87ff.

76 It is supported by the fact that the large investments of very few people were able to alter the interest rates in Lübeck; see Haberland, “Der Lübecker Renten- und Immobilienmarkt,” 225ff. In Brunswick, the very rich were also much wealthier than the average upper class individuals; see Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 126f.

77 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 183–88.

78 Gabrielsson, “Struktur und Funktion,” 41–44.

79 Cf. Wilhelm Jesse, Der Wendische Münzverein, reprint ed. (1967).

80 For the prices of presumably average houses see Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 57–59; prices of up to 5,000 ML for houses in Hamburg around 1500 are mentioned by Reincke, Heinrich, “Hamburgische Vermögen 1350 bis 1530,” Forschungen und Skizzen zur Geschichte Hamburgs (Hamburg, 1951), 201–20.

81 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 183–88; Gabrielsson, “Struktur und Funktion,” 40.

82 Baum and Sprandel, “Zur Wirtschaftsentwiclclung,” 479.

83 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 168–73; Gabrielsson, “Struktur und Funktion,” 54ff.

84 Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 292–97.

85 See, for example, Lucas, H.S., “The Great European Famine of 1315, 1316, and 1317,” Speculum 5 (1930): 343377.

86 See Nirmheim, Hans, ed., Das Hamburgische Pfundzollbuch von 1369 (Hamburg, 1910), and Nirrnheim, Hans, ed., Das hamburgische Pfund- und Werkzollbuch von 1399 und 1400 (Hamburg, 1930), xviii, for a description of the year 1400 as the worst year for Hamburg's medieval economy; trade figures for 1399–1400 amount to only about one-third of the values for 1369, though, the Hanse was then at war with Denmark.

87 The Brunswick annuity market reached its all-time peak in 1399; see Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 148f.

88 See note 57.

89 Baum and Sprandel, “Zur Wirtschaftsentwicklung,” 487f.

90 For coin debasements see Jesse, Münzverein, 70, 213. It is, of course, much more difficult to evaluate the development of buying power. Some prices related in Hamburg sources seem to indicate that the buying power of the money did not decline at the same rate as its silver content. Thus, one whole pig cost 1 ML around 1300 and a “wispel” (approximately 10 bushels) of rye between 2 and 4ML; cf. Richter “Untersuchungen,” 20ff. Around 1380, the same commodities would have cost 1–1.6 ML (one pig) and 1.5–3 ML (a wispel of rye); cf. Nirrnheim, Hans, ed., Das Handlungsbuch Vickos von Geldersen (1895), lviff. In those eighty years, the penny had lost at least 40 percent of its original silver content.

91 Jesse, Münzverein, 213f.

92 Baum and Sprandel, “Zur Wirtschaftsentwicklung,” 479f.

93 In Stade, capital turnover from 1375 to 1400 was higher than in the first seventy-five years of the fourteenth century combined; see Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 82. For the internal problems of Brunswick in the aftermath of the uprising of 1374, see Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 26–32, or Rotz, “Urban Uprisings.” Capital turnover in the private sector of the Brunswick annuity market was around 500 MB a year. (MB stands for marks of Brunswick; one MB equals about six ML) in the 1380s, it rose to an average of approximately 1,800 MB in the decade 1390–1400 and remained at that level until 1410; see Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 148f.

94 This was the received opinion among historians prior to World War II. It came under criticism in the postwar years. Now, Dollinger seems to support it again; see the discussion of the different points of view in Dollinger, Die Hanse, 487ff.

95 There has been little change of opinion on the fifteenth century Hanse history; see Ibid., 364–425.

96 Ellermeyer, “Stade,” 325ff.

97 See note 2.

98 This figure, however, contains some annuities that were not included by the earlier researchers; in particular, it includes annuities transferred in estate settlements.

99 Reincke, Heinrich, “Die alte Hamburger Stadtschuld der Hansezeit 1300–1563,” Städtewesen und Bürgertum als geschichtliche Kräfte: Gedächtnisschrift für Fritz Rörig, ed. by von Brandt, A. and Koppe, W. (1953), 489511.

100 In Hamburg, for example, public annuities were recorded in the Rotes Stadtbuch, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Senatsakten CL.VII, Lit. L/a, Nr. 2, vol. 1b, the annual payment of the annuities is also recorded in Koppmann, Nirrnheim, Bolland, Kämmereirechnungen, under “ad censum.”

101 The biggest annuity sales by the city of Hamburg occurred 1396–98 with capital sums between 2,500 and 2,700 ML; see Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 118; see Figure 1 for the turnover of the private sector.

102 Bohmbach, “Sozialstruktur,” 129f., 150.

103 Baum, “Hochkonjunktur,” 190–93.

104 Gabrielsson, “Struktur und Funktion,” 39–42. In fact, one of the “official” chroniclers was himself involved in these rather dubious activities.

105 Day, John, “The Great Bullion Famine of the Fifteenth Century,” Past & Present 79 (1978): 354, esp. 3–5.

106 Ibid.; Miskimin, Harry A., Money and Power in Fifteenth Century France (New Haven and London, 1984); Munro, John H., ‘Bullionism and the Bill of Exchange in England 1272–1663: A Study in Monetary Management and Popular Prejudice,” in The Dawn of Modern Banking (New Haven, 1979), ed. Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA, 169–240.

107 See note 83.

108 Day, “Bullion Famine,” 3f.

109 See Miskimin for a summary of the traditional point of view (Money and Power, 25–28).

110 Day, “Bullion Famine,” 12–35.

111 Rolf Sprandel, Das mittelalterliche Zahlungssystem nach hansisch-nordischen Quellen (Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters 10, 1975), 97–110.

112 According to Gilomen, Hans-Jörg, interest rates in Switzerland varied between 5 percent and 8 percent in the second half of the fourteenth century and fell as low as 4 percent in the middle of the fifteenth century [“Die städtische Schuld Berns und der Basler Rentenmarkt im 15. Jahrhundert,” Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Altertumskunde 82 (1982): 564]. A similar conclusion can be inferred from unpublished central German sources.

113 Day, “Bullion Famine,” 4.


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