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Spice Prices in the Near East in the 15th Century

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2011


It is a well-known fact that the discovery of the sea route to India and the ensuing scarcity of spices and other Indian products on the markets of Alexandria and Damascus resulted in their prices rising steeply. Judging from Venetian sources, the change in the condition of the Levantine trade was considered catastrophic. On the other hand, some scholars have already drawn attention to the fact that pepper prices fell considerably on European markets in the period preceding the expedition of Vasco da Gama, and especially in the second quarter of the 15th century. It is probable, a priori, that this was caused by a downward trend of prices in the Near East. But other factors, such as the level of demand in European countries and the conditions of trade (communications with the Near East, direct or indirect trade), could also have influenced the course of spice prices in Europe. In order to explain the tremendous impact of the rise of spice prices at the beginning of the 16th century, I have suggested, in my Histoire des prix et des salaires, the probability of a fall of prices in the Near Eastern emporia in the pre-Vasco period. In a paper published a few years later I tried to substantiate this conjecture by additional materials and, further, by the supposition that it was accompanied by a great increase in the volume of the Levantine trade, and also a general price-decline in the Near East at the end of the Middle Ages.

Copyright © The Royal Asiatic Society 1976

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1 Lybyer, A. H., “The Ottoman Turks and the routes of Oriental trade”, English Historical Review, XXX, 1915, 580CrossRefGoogle Scholar, referring to the data collected by Rogers and d'Avenel; Lane, F. C., “Pepper prices before Da Gama”, JEH, XXVIII, 1968, 590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 Rightly stressed by Lybyer, loc. cit.

3 Histoire des prix et des salaires dans l'Orient médiéval, Paris, 1969, 327.Google Scholar

4 “La découverte de la voie maritime aux Indes et les prix des épices”, in Mélanges en l'honneur de Fernand Braudel, Toulouse, 1973, I, 31 ff.Google Scholar

5 If I found only a few additional items for the curve of the prices of a certain product, I publish only these data. But if the new data, as compared with those already known, are numerous, I compile a complete list. On the other hand I quote several records from the one year indicating the same price. As such records refer to different purchases they confirm each other. Further, I include data in the tables which have been quoted (or printed) erroneously elsewhere.

6 The sources most often quoted are:

al-Maqrīzī: al-Sulūk, MS. Paris 1727. (Sulūk 1727.)

ASV (Archivio di Stato, Venice), Senato, Deliberazioni miste. (Miste.)

ASV Giudici di petiziòn, Sentenze. (GP, Sent.)

ASV Cancellaria Inferiore, Notai, Ba 83, Cristoforo del Fiore. (Cristoforo del Fiore.)

ASV Cancellaria Inferiore, Notai, Ba 211, Nicolo Turiano. (Nic. Turiano.)

ASV Cancellaria Inferiore, Notai, Ba 230, Nicolo Venier. (Nic. Venier.)

ASV Miscellanea di carte non appartenenti ad alcun archivio, Ba 8, 29. (Miscell. di ness, arch.)

ASV PSM (Procuratori di S. Marco), Commissarie miste, Ba 128a, Com. A. Zane, fasc. V (cf. Hist. prix sal., 409 f.). (Zane.)

ASV PSM Com. miste, Ba 180, 181, Com. Biegio Dolfin. (Dolfin.)

ASG (Archivio di Stato, Genoa), Archivio Segreto 2774 C. (ASG 2774 C.)

ASP (Archivio di Stato, Prato), Quaderni di charichi e prezzi 1171, 1175. (Datini.)

Melis, F.: Documenti per la storia economica dei secoli XIII–XVI, Florence, 1972. (Melis, Doc.)Google Scholar

7 Pagnini, , Della decima, Lisbon, Lucca, 17651766, II, 78Google Scholar. As to the prices themselves see the remarks of Trasselli, C., “Produzione e commercio dello zucchero in Sicilia dal XIII al XIX secolo”, Economia e storia, III, 1955, 334.Google Scholar

8 p. 111.

9 El libro di mercatantie et usanze de' paesi, ed. Borlandi, Fr., Turin, 1936, 81.Google Scholar

10 In the pleadings of a lawsuit, GP, Sent. 129, f. 58b ff., the defendant Polo Mudazio is described as patron of a galley to Beirut in 1454 on which the merchandise (pepper) was shipped. But according to Senato, Mar Reg. IV, f. 189a, he was patron in 1453, whereas his name does not appear in the list of the patrons of 1454. In a passage of the plea of the defendant one in fact finds the date 1453. Certainly this error can be explained by the fact that the accounts were made according to prices in Venice, where the merchandise was sold in 1454. The tribunal in fact establishes the price of a carica, sc. in Venice (f. 59b). So the deeds refer to the price in Venice.

11 See GP, Sent. 98, f. 75b f.; 99, f. 12b ff.; 129, f. 58b ff.

12 See GP, Sent. 100, f. 40a, and see below.

13 Melis, Doc., 186.

14 See GP, Sent. 48, f. 52b f.; 17, f. 54a f.; 20, f. 20a f.; 100, f. 6a ff.; (salvo drieto).

15 Hinz, W., Islamische Masse und Gewichte, Leiden, 1955, 30.Google Scholar

16 Uzzano, 113, actually has 620 libbre sottili, but see Tarifa zoè noticia dei pexi e mexure, Venice, 1925, 26, 64; Il manuale di mercatura di Saminiato di Ricci, ed. Borlandi, A., Genoa, 1963, 35Google Scholar; Libro di mercatantie, 147; GP, Sent. 19, f. 66a f.; 114, f. 75a; 181, f. 123a, etc.

17 ASV Giudici di petiziòn, Terminazioni VII, f. 21b, 26a, 32b, 47a, 89b, 92b; VIII, f. 48a, 48b, 50a; 11, f. 98a, 109b, 165b; 12, f. 98a, 101a, 107b; 13, f. 30a, 96b, 97b. J. Heers concluded that the collo was equal to 91 kg., see Il commercio nel Mediterraneo alla fine del sec. XIV e nei primi anni del XV, ASI, CXIII, 1955, 184Google Scholar, whereas Lane found that it was only 290 Venetian pounds, cf. “Venetian shipping during the commercial revolution”, in his Venice and history, Baltimore, 1966, 13.Google Scholar

18 Hinz, op. cit., 29.

19 Pegolotti, ed. Evans, 75, has the equation with 139 Genoese pounds (44·02825 kg.), Libro di mercatantie, 140, with 133·33 Genoese pounds (42·23222775 kg.), but p. 76 with 150 light Venetian pounds, i.e. 45·1845 kg. In GP, Sent. 129, f. 153a ff., it is said to equal 144 light Venetian pounds, i.e. 43·37712 kg.

20 Uzzano, 109; Libro di mercatantie, 76; Tarifa, 28, 60 all have 720 libbre sottili. Pegolotti, 71, says that cantari 2½ gervi di zucchero are considered the same weight as a sporta, and as the qinṭār jarwī, according to the Italian sources, consisted of 90 kg., the sporta would have been 225 kg. Many other sources indicate, however, 700 Venetian pounds as the equivalent of the sporta, see Sapori, A., Studi di storia economica, Florence, 19551967, III, 21Google Scholar; GP, Sent. 105, f. 136b ff.; 108, f. 70b; or 710 pounds, cf. GP, Sent. 34, f. 37a ff.

21 Hinz, op. cit., 16.

22 Pegolotti, 74, has the equation 2·65–2·68 libbre sottili, i.e. 0·7982595–0·8072964 kg., but both Uzzano, 112, and Libro di mercatantie, 77 have 2·5 libbre sottili, i.e. 0·753075 kg.

23 loc. cit.

24 The only relevant text among those quoted by Lane which substantiates his conclusion is ASV Senato, Mar Reg. 12, f. 136b, a decree of 20 March, 1488 concerning a deposit to be paid pro quolibet collo alexandrino duc. 2, pro quolibet collo damascheno duc. ½. See also Lane in JEH, XXVIII, 1968, 591 n. 6.Google Scholar

25 If there is no other indication, the Egyptian price-tables refer to the market of Alexandria, and the Syrian to Damascus. Collecting data from the acts of the Giudici di petiziòn, I quote, as far as possible, in the tables the prices fixed by the tribunal, whereas the prices claimed by the litigants are relegated to the notes.

26 If there is no other indication, it is the price of a sporta.

27 A list of various articles bought by the Venetians in 1401 till 27 September. Therefore the price-range is wide.

28 The reference being to a lawsuit pleaded in July 1407, one may suppose that the transaction dated from not later than 1405 (and possibly earlier). The merchandise had been transported to Venice on a cog whose patron was Marco de Benedetto. In the pleadings one reads that 970 Venetian pounds were worth 85 ducats. Accordingly the price of a sporta was 63 ducats.

29 The defendant says that one also paid 220 ducats.

30 This is the price fixed by the law-court (40 ducats and 11 grossi ad aurum for 116 pounds). The plaintiff says that the price was 330 ducats (53 ducats for 116 pounds). According to the register of the litigation pleaded on 19 August, 1413 the transaction was made at the preceding muda. Nicolo Memo, who bought the pepper, was certainly in Alexandria in 1412, cf. GP, Sent. 336, f. 56a ff. On the other hand one reads in the pleadings that the pepper was shipped on a galley of “Pietro fil. Alban Contarini” (in the MS only “Pietro dmni Albani”, without “Contarini”). He was in 1409 and in 1412 patron of a galley going to Alexandria, cf. Miste 48, f. 84a, 49, f. 127a.

31 Many notes in the Dolfin archives have no exact dates.

32 The litigation pleaded on 19 March, 1426 refers to the activities of a company “per aliquantum temporum”. The sporta is here called “cargo”, cf. Hist. prix sal., 324 n. a. In fact the names of the weights are often confused.

33 On the date cf. Mallett, M. E., The Florentine galleys in the fifteenth century, Oxford, 1967, 26.Google Scholar

34 p sporta expedita sup nave.

35 By an error the price is said to be that of a qinṭār.

36 In the text quoted in the first place the unit of weight for which the said price had been paid is erroneously called a pondo. But the fattore claims that the real price was 100–5 ducats a sporta.

37 Pleadings, on 16 August 1428, of a lawsuit against Marco Contarini, patron of the galley on which the merchandise has been shipped. This name is not to be found on the registers of the Senate referring to the years preceding 1428. But the name Constantino Contarini appears as patron of an Alexandrian galley in 1423 and in 1426, cf. Miste 54, f. 118b and 56, f. 36a.

38 I quote the date of the document, but the transaction itself had been made earlier.

39 This is not the market price. The Venetian Bartolomeo Bembo wants the said amount from a Sicilian merchant who was very eager to barter a certain quantity of sugar.

40 Lawsuit pleaded on 30 November 1430.

41 The plaintiff claims at first that the price of 714 raṭls was 155 ducats, the defendant says 185 ducats, and finally the plaintiff confesses that the price was 180 ducats. According to the latter statement the price of a sporta was 125 ducats, but the defendant is acquitted.

42 The plaintiff claims 42.

43 Dubrovnik et le Levant, Paris, 1961Google Scholar. As this price was stipulated for a delayed payment, the market price was probably lower.

44 Lawsuit pleaded on 26 March 1444.

45 A lawsuit pleaded on 10 February 1445. The pepper had been sold by a Venetian to a fellow-countryman.

46 Lawsuit pleaded on 12 January 1445.

47 The merchandise had been resold on the sea-shore for 51 ducats.

48 The plaintiff says that the price was 50 ducats, the defendant asserts that others bought for 97.

49 Lawsuit pleaded on 19 April 1451.

50 Lawsuit pleaded on 2 April 1446.

51 The plaintiff: 100 ducats.

52 The plaintiff had asked for 100 ducats.

53 The plaintiff: 61 ducats.

54 The plaintiff: 66·7 ducats. The sum fixed by the tribunal is the price of 700 Venetian light pounds, so that a sporta of 720 would have amounted to 57·7 ducats.

55 Lawsuit pleaded on 26 May 1463.

56 Lawsuit pleaded on 27 May 1465.

57 In the text quoted in the first place different prices are indicated, the average being 70 ducats. In the other text, which refers to the same transaction, one reads that the pepper had been bought from the “merchant of the sultan” at 70 ducats, which was surely the market price, and later resold by the fattore at the same price.

58 Price at which pepper was sold by the Genoese consulate.

59 See n. 58 above.

60 See n. 58 above.

61 A purchase made by the consulate from an Italian merchant.

62 A purchase made by the consulate from an Italian merchant.

63 A purchase by the consulate.

64 A purchase by the consulate from an Italian merchant.

65 Although this entry refers to a purchase from the “emir”, it is the market price.

66 This is the price at which the consulate sells the quantity of pepper bought from the “emir”.

67 The price includes duties.

68 Lawsuit pleaded on 7 March 1486 concerning the barter of wheat of Cyprus at a high price against pepper. Vittore Marzello, the archbishop of Cyprus who bought the pepper, occupied the see from 7 February 1477 to 2 January 1484, see Eubel, C., Hierarchia Catholica medii aevi, II, Münster, 1914, 203Google Scholar. On the other hand, in the years 1479–83 pepper was cheap and in 1480 wheat was also, see ‘Abd al-Bāsiṭ b. Khalīl, Nail al-amal, MS Bodl. 812, f. 300b.

69 Reyssbuch des heyligen Lands, Francfort, 1609.

70 One reads in the pleadings dated 18 May 1489 that the pepper was shipped on a galley belonging to the convoy whose captain was Marco Gabriel. According to ASV Segretario alle voci VI, f. 83a, he was captain of the Alexandria galleys in 1487. The patron of the galley was Fantin Arimondo, whose name in fact figures on the list of the patrons of 1487, see ASV Incanti I, f. 122b.

71 The text does not give the price. One reads, however, that a Venetian company sold olive oil, imported in Alexandria, at two prices: 11 qinṭārs for a sporta pepper and 13¼. As the price of a qinṭār (jarwī) of European oil was then probably 6 ducats, a sporta was worth 66 ducats. For the price of oil see Hist. prix sal., 319.

72 According to the plaintiff the price amounted to 60 ducats only.

73 Roteiro da viagem de Vasco da Gama en 1497, 2nd ed., Lisbon, 1861Google Scholar. The exchange rate of the cruzado was almost equal to the ducat, see Weitnauer, A., Der venezianische Handel der Fugger, Munich, Leipzig, 1931, 61Google Scholar. If the author had the Portuguese quintal (58·752 kg.) in mind, the price would have been rather lower.

74 This was not the market price, see Mélanges Braudel, I, 45 n. 31.

75 According to Pegolotti, 101, the qinṭār of Ramla was equal to 1 · 12 quintal of Cyprus, i.e. 252 · 6333423 kg.

76 The date of the purchase is not indicated, but according to the register of the litigation pleaded on 9 February 1417, the merchandise had been shipped on a galley whose patron was Jacobus Barbadico. This name appears on the list of the patrons of the Beirut galleys in 1412, 1413, and 1416, cf. Miste 49, f. 126a 50, f. 5b 51, f. 137a. The price indicated in the text, however, corresponds to those of 1412.

77 Another lawsuit concerning a shipment on the galley of Giacomo Barbarigo. For 53·5 raṭls the sum of 60 ducats was demanded, but not accepted by the tribunal.

78 To be corrected in Hist. prix sal., 411, from 14 August 1413.

79 In the text quoted in the first place one reads: ratl' 63 val circa … duc' 96 gr' 3(?), and in the other text: ratl' 62 onc' 9 – duc' 96.

80 The plaintiff had asked for 84 ducats.

81 A letter from Rhodes dated 3 October 1417. The writer asks his correspondent to buy at this price. So the price after the muda is meant.

82 To be corrected from dm (dirhams).

83 In the pleadings a lower price is indicated, viz. 55 ducats.

84 A lawsuit pleaded on 14 February 1428.

85 The Venetian merchant for whom the fattore bought the pepper had allowed him to buy at 88–99 ducats.

86 This was the amount asked for by the plaintiff. The court absolved the defendant.

87 Two litigations (action and counter-plea) referring to the same transaction. In the register of litigations pleaded in 1430 (without exact date, probably in March) the date of the transaction is not given. But one reads that the merchandise was loaded on a galley whose patron was Andrea Tiepolo, and according to Miste 57, f. 118b he conducted a galley to Beirut in 1429.

88 A lawsuit pleaded on 7 March 1430. The merchandise had been shipped on the galley of Bertuzio Dolfin. He was patron of a Beirut galley in 1425, 1426, and 1429, see Miste 55, f. 148b 56, f. 36a 57, f. 118b. The price corresponds to the data from 1429, but it is not impossible that the text refers to 1426. In 1425 the price was apparently higher.

89 A lawsuit pleaded on 9 February 1437 referring to pepper bought in Damascus. The price indicated in the table is the price brutto (computatis expensis et provisione), which means the expenses in Damascus as fixed by the tribunal. The plaintiff had asked for 56·4 ducats, whereas the defendant maintained that he had sold to others for 69 ducats.

90 With the expenses in Damascus the price amounted to 75 ducats.

91 4 qinṭārs had been bought at 47·5 ducats each. The qinṭār of Tripoli was equal to the Damascus qinṭār, cf. Pegolotti, 90, 91.

92 A lawsuit pleaded on 31 July 1438.

93 A lawsuit pleaded on 30 May 1438. It is not stated that the pepper had been bought in Damascus, but there can be no doubt of it.

94 The price does not include expenses. With them (but without the freight) it would have been about 6 ducats more. Payment had been half in cash, half by barter. The defendant claims that paying in cash one could have bought at 35 ducats. If the qinṭār spoken of was the qinṭār of Acre, being 226 kg. (see Pegolotti, 67), the Damascus qinṭār amounted to 36 ducats only.

95 At this price the Venetian cottimo sells the pepper.

96 The plaintiff asked for 51 ducats, the price without expenses.

97 A litigation between Franco Dolfin and his fattore Fantin Bon, pleaded on 22 August 1461 and referring to the purchase of pepper in Damascus. Franco Dolfin was in Damascus in 1460, see Cristoforo del Fiore, VI, f. [1a]f., but in the pleadings of the lawsuit one finds, f. 166a, the date 1458. In this latter year the pepper was, however, much more expensive (see above). Further one reads in the register: “p resto di pip ro 11 io le di a Damascho due' 11”, a statement probably referring to a purchase at another date.

98 See in Mélanges Braudel, I, 45 n. 39. Another entry of this purchase is to be found in his accounts in Miscell. di ness. arch. Ba 8, fasc. 8. The note concerning the purchase from the sultan in 1475 for 104·5 ducats, ASV PSM Com. m. Ba 116 fasc. 7 (cf. Mélanges Braudel, I, 35) undoubtedly refers to a price fixed arbitrarily by the Mamlūk government.

99 A lawsuit pleaded on 4 March 1485. The amount listed in the table is the price asked for by the plaintiff. Since the merchandise had been sequestered at the Customs office in Venice it is the brutto price. The action is refused by the court. So no conclusions can be drawn from the text.

100 Hist. prix sal., 410, notes.

101 The merchandise had been resold at the price listed in the table in Damascus. The lawsuit was pleaded on 30 June 1486.

102 The kinds of cinnamon which are most often mentioned in our documents are the following: (a) canella lunga or fina; (b) salani (from Ceylon) or mezzana; (c) mabari (from Malabar) or grossa, cf. Heyd, II, 597 f. The name of the second kind appears in the list of Uzzano, 112, as senelli and 114 as salami. The unit of weight whose prices are listed in the table is the qinṭār of manns.

103 cf. above, n. 27. The note refers to various kinds of cinnamon.

104 The register of the lawsuit, pleaded on 10 February 1417, does not include the date of the purchase. It does mention, however, the patron of the galley on which the merchandise was shipped: Joh. Gradenigo. According to Miste 51, f. 136a, he was patron of an Alexandrian galley in 1416.

105 A lawsuit pleaded on 30 November 1430.

106 Accounts of transactions in Alexandria in 1444–5. The item reads: el canter [sc. 100 Venetian pounds!] due' 15.

107 There is no date of the transaction in the register of the lawsuit, pleaded on 30 May 1461. But Piero Morosini, who demands payment for spices bought by him in Alexandria, went there in 1460, see GP, Sent. 133, f. 39b ff., and cf. 135, f. 132a ff.

108 cf. Hist. prix sal., 412 ff.

109 The register of the lawsuit pleaded on 10 June 1413 does not contain the date of the transaction. Benedetto Dandolo, who made the purchase in Damascus, was there in 1411 (see Hist. prix sal, 415) and in 1412 (see Giacomo della Torre, ASV Notarile 14832 no. 2 (31 March 1412)). The plaintiff, who had left the merchandise to be sold, was there in 1411, see GP, Sent. 32, f. 30b ff. There is an error in the account: 174 Venetian pounds equal 28, not 18 Damascene raṭls.

110 A lawsuit pleaded on 3 April 1417.

111 See above, n. 81.

112 To be corrected in Hist. prix sal., 414.

113 The text reads erroneously “75”. But as the price of 230 raṭls is 210 dinars, it must be 91·3.

114 cf. Heyd, II, 599.

115 When not otherwise indicated, the price listed is that of a qinṭār of 45 kg. If the kind of ginger is not specified in the source, I assume that it is beledi ginger.

116 See above, n. 27. One reads in the text: “ginger of all kinds”.

117 The sum quoted in the table was stated in the deed to be the market price, but it deals with a purchase by barter at the price of 15 dinars.

118 A lawsuit pleaded in August or September 1428.

119 As to the following quotations from the deeds of Nic. Turiano see my paper in Mélanges Braudel, I, 37, and nn. 45–50.

120 The defendant claimed that the ginger was acquired for 8·5–9 ducats. The verdict of the court was a compromise: the defendant must pay for the greater part of the merchandise due. 7 gr. 12 and for a smaller part (the sieved ginger) the market price in Venice.

121 A lawsuit pleaded on 28 August 1444.

122 As to the date, see above, n. 107. The defendant says that the beledi cost only 14 ducats.

123 The price listed in the table is the sum asked by the plaintiff. The date of the transaction is not indicated. But Marco Morosini (fil. Zuan), who shipped the ginger from Alexandria, was there in 1461, see GP, Sent. 150, f. 49a ff., and the lawsuit was pleaded on 10 July 1462.

124 The price quoted in the table is claimed by the defendant. The plaintiff asserts that the ginger had been bought for 23 ducats.

125 This is the price asked for by the plaintiff.

126 A lawsuit pleaded on 10 February 1491.

127 The pleadings refer to ginger transported to Modon on a galea di traffico, but there can be no doubt that an Alexandrian collo is meant.

128 cf. Hist. prix sal, 414 ff.

129 Although no date is mentioned in the register of the lawsuit pleaded on 14 January 1416, it can easily be established. Nicolo Dolfin, who had given the order to invest a great sum in the purchase of ginger when he was captain of the Cyprus galleys, held this post in 1409, cf. Cronica Morosini, MS Vienna, Foscarini 234 (6584), f. 230a (179b).

130 The price is 1,935 dirhams. According to the price-lists Zane on 10 October 1411 (in Damascus) the exchange rate was 51 dirhams to the ducat, but here apparently other (sc. Hamath) dirhams are meant. In fact one finds the exchange rates 31, 31·33, 32, 35, 36 dirhams in accounts of Donado Soranzo from the years 1414–18.

131 The price is 2,009 dirhams. The exchange rate was according to the said lists on 10 March 1412, 90 dirhams to the ducat.

132 d. in the MS means dirhams.

133 See n. 81.

134 Pleadings of a lawsuit on 4 June 1428.

135 The date is uncertain. The plaintiff says that the defendant began to send him merchandise in 1428.

136 See above, n. 88 and below, n. 137. Polo Barbarigo, the defendant who sent the merchandise from Beirut, was there in 1429, cf. GP, Sent. 54, f. 63b, and Miste 57, f. 118b. The sum quoted from the pleadings, whose date is probably February 1430, is the price asked for by the plaintiff. There is no decision.

137 See above, n. 88. The price is what the plaintiff demanded; there is no verdict. The pleadings have no date, probably it was June or July 1430.

138 The plaintiff had asked for 150.

139 In fact the place where the ginger had been bought is not mentioned in the pleadings, but it is much more probable that it was Damascus than Alexandria.

140 A lawsuit pleaded on 28 August 1445. I conclude that it referred to a transaction in 1440 (approximately), because the “Syrian” dirham is calculated at ducat. This was the exchange rate in 1440, see GP, Sent. 84, f. 123a f., whereas it was 40 in 1443, see same series 112, f. 63b.

141 A lawsuit pleaded on 30 June 1486.

142 A lawsuit pleaded on 31 November 1430.

143 A lawsuit pleaded on 10 February 1445.

144 The pleadings have “ratl”, but this is surely an error (for mann).

145 cf. Hist. prix sal., 471 f.

146 To be corrected in Hist. prix sal., 418 (from “1417”).

147 L 1131 onze 1 bought for L 37 s 6 d 7/28. I have calculated the price of the Damascene qinṭār accordingly.

148 See Nic. Venier B, 2, f. 9b f.: emerat (piperem) ad pretium quo venderetur ad terminum galearum Venetorum ad viagium Baruti mude pres. See also GP, Sent. 76, f. 47a.

148 See the prices of beledi ginger in Syria in 1411–12 listed above and cf. Hist. prix. sal., 415.

150 See above in the notes on pepper prices in Egypt in July 1425, 1444.

151 See my paper “La découverte de la voie maritime”, 36.

152 The rise of the pepper price in the last years of Barsbay's reign is clearly indicated by the data from Venice, see below sub anno 1436 and in the table of Lane, art. cit., 594.

153 Marino Sanuto VII, col. 218; Taufīq Iskandar, Niẓām al-muqāyaḍa fi tijārat Miṣr al-khārijīya, in al-Majalla al-ta'rīkhīya al-miṣrīya, VI, 1957, 43.

154 See Hist. prix sal., 138 f.

155 The data which I have collected do not confirm the opinion of Lane, art. cit., 590 concerning the level of prices in the 1470's. On the Near Eastern markets they were certainly higher than in the 1440's. As to prices in Syria in the '80's see Hist. prix sal., 412. The difference between the price of pepper in Alexandria and in Damascus is smaller if the Damascene qinṭār is considered equal to 180 kg.

156 Contrary to the mistaken statement of S. Y. Labib concerning the rise of the pepper price in Egypt in the 15th century, see his Handelsgeschichte Ägyptens im Spätmittelalter, Wiesbaden, 1965, 438Google Scholar. It should be stressed that even the price of those quantities which the Venetians had to buy from the sultan forcibly (upon which Labib erroneously relies) went down!

157 Therefore at the end of the 14th century and in the first half of the 15th century European merchants bought more ginger in Syria than in Egypt, see J. Heers, Il commercio nel Mediterraneo, 168, 172, 174, 175; my Les métaux précieux et la balance des payments du Proche Orient à la basse époque, Paris, 1971, 74Google Scholar; La découverte de la voie maritime, 38, Table VII; Venetian supremacy in the Levantine trade—monopoly or pre-colonialism?”, J. European Economic History, III, 1974, 36 f.Google Scholar

158 Hist. prix sal., 416.

159 Baratier, E. and Reynaud, F., Histoire du commerce de Marseille, II, Paris, 1951, 388.Google Scholar

160 Pelc, J., Ceny w Krakowie w latach 1369–1600, Lwow, 1935, 42Google Scholar, and cf. Malowist, M., “Les routes du commerce et les marchandises du Levant dans la vie de la Pologne au bas Moyen Age et au début de l'époque moderne”, in Mediterraneo e Oceano Indiano, Atti del sesto colloquio intern, di storia marittima, 1962, Florence, 1970, 167.Google Scholar

161 art. cit., JEH, XXVIII, 1958, 594 f.Google Scholar

162 L'économie de l'empire portugais aux XVeet XVIesiècles, Paris, 1969, 719 f.Google Scholar

163 Almost all the data which I have found in the registers of the Giudici di petiziòn and certain other sources refer to years for which Lane has no items. But some are taken from the letters to Biegio Dolfin which have also been quoted by Lane. The eminent American scholar, however, quotes another part of the Dolfin archives, namely Ba 181, whereas I also use the numerous documents in Ba 180. This folder in fact contains some price-lists which the Italian merchants used to compile for various emporia.

164 A lawsuit pleaded on 15 October 1457.

165 Accounts of the company of Andrea Zorzi and the family Marino Sanuto, the latter partners being the “fraterna” Giacomo, Paolo and Lionardo, sons of Marino Sanuto.

166 Müller, K. J., Welthandelsbräuche (1480–1540), Wiesbaden, 1962Google Scholar. But see there 186: 50–2 ducats!

167 Lawsuit in 1458.

168 A lawsuit in 1482. It is possible that the amount asked for is not the price, but simply compensation.

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