Champagne fairs

The Champagne fairs were an annual cycle of trading fairs held in towns in the Champagne and Brie regions of France in the Middle Ages. From their origins in local agricultural and stock fairs, the Champagne fairs became an important engine in the reviving economic history of medieval Europe, "veritable nerve centers"[1] serving as a premier market for textiles, leather, fur, and spices. At their height, in the late 12th and the 13th century, the fairs linked the cloth-producing cities of the Low Countries with the Italian dyeing and exporting centers, with Genoa in the lead.[2][3][4] The fairs, which were already well-organized at the start of the 12th century, were one of the earliest manifestations of a linked European economy, a characteristic of the High Middle Ages. From the later 12th century, the fairs, conveniently sited on ancient land routes and largely self-regulated through the development of the Lex mercatoria, the "merchant law", dominated the commercial and banking relations operating at the frontier region between the north and the Mediterranean.

The towns

Champagne province
Location of the province of Champagne in modern France

The towns in which the six fairs of the annual circuit were held had some features in common, but none that would have inexorably drawn the commerce of the fairs: each was situated at an intersection or former way-station of Roman roads and near a river, but only Lagny-sur-Marne had a navigable one. Troyes and Provins had been administrative centers in Charlemagne's empire that developed into the central towns of the County of Champagne and the Brie Champenoise; the fair at Bar-sur-Aube was held just outside the precincts of the Count's castle there, and that at Lagny in the grounds of a Benedictine monastery. The self-interest and the political will of the Counts of Champagne was the over-riding factor.[5]


The series of six fairs, each lasting more than six weeks, were spaced through the year's calendar: the fair of Lagny-sur-Marne began on 2 January: the fair at Bar-sur-Aube on the Tuesday before mid-Lent; the "May fair" of Provins on the Tuesday before Ascension; the "fair of St. John" or the "hot fair" of Troyes on the first Tuesday after the fortnight of St. John's Day (24 June); the fair of St. Ayoul of Provins on the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September);the "fair of St. Remi" or the "cold fair" of Troyes on the day following All Saint's Day (that is, on 2 November). Each fair began with the entrée of eight days during which merchants set up, followed by the days allotted for the cloth fair, the days of the leather fair, and the days for the sale of spices and other things sold by weight (avoirdupois). In the last four-day period of the fairs, accounts were settled.[6]

In actual practice, arrivals and departures were more flexible and efficient, relying on flexibly formed and dissolved partnerships, which freed the "silent" partners from actually undertaking the arduous journey on each occasion, delegated agents (certi missi) who could receive payment and undertake contracts, and factors, integrated with communications and transportation, and the extensive use of credit instruments in the trade.[7]

The towns provided huge warehouses, still to be seen at Provins. Furs and skins traveled in both directions, from Spain, Sicily, and North Africa in the south via Marseilles, and the highly prized vair, rabbit, marten and other skins from the north.[4] From the north also came woolens and linen cloth. From the south came silk, pepper and other spices, drugs, coinage and the new concepts of credit and bookkeeping. Goods converged from Spain, travelling along the well-established pilgrim route from Santiago de Compostela and from Germany. Once the cloth sales had been concluded, the reckoning of credit at the tables (banche) of Italian money-changers effected compensatory payments for goods, established future payments on credit, made loans to princes and lords, and settled bills of exchange (which were generally worded to expire at one of the Champagne fairs). Even after trade routes had shifted away from the north-south axis that depended on the Champagne commodities fairs, the fairs continued to function as an international clearing house for paper debts and credits, as they had built up a system of commercial law, regulated by private judges separate from the feudal social order and the requirements of scrupulously maintaining a "good name", prior to the third-party enforcement of legal codes by the nation-state.[8]

Reaching the Champagne fairs

To cross the Alps, the caravans of pack mules made their way over the Mont Cenis Pass, a journey that took more than a month from Genoa to the fair cities, along one of the varied options of the Via Francigena. Professional freight-handlers might make the trek, under contract to merchants. P. Huvelin documented the existence, by the second half of the thirteenth century, of a faster courier service facilitated the transfer of letters and market information between north and south, one organised for the particular advantage of the Arte di Calimala, the cloth-merchants' guild of Florence,[9] others organised by cities of Siena and Genoa and by the mercantile houses. In early February, 1290, it took a courier no more than twenty days to make the journey from Lagny to Florence, R. D. Face noted.[10] Alternatively, north Italian goods were shipped to Aigues-Mortes then up or along the Rhone, Saône and Seine.[11]

Dominance and decline

The fairs were also important in the spread and exchange of cultural influences—the first appearance of Gothic architecture in Italy was the result of merchants from Siena rebuilding their houses in the Northern style.[12] The phrase "not to know your Champagne fairs" meant not knowing what everyone else did.[13]

It was in the interest of the Count of Champagne, virtually independent of his nominal suzerain, the King of France, to extend the liberties and prerogatives of the towns, which were founded in the increased security of the feudal settlement following the feudal disorders of the tenth century.[14] The predominance of the Champagne fairs over those of other cities has been attributed to the personal role of the Counts in guaranteeing the security and property rights of merchants and trading organisations attending the fairs, and in ensuring that contracts signed at the fairs would be honoured throughout Western Christendom.[3] The counts provided the fairs with a police force, the "Guards of the Fair", who heard complaints and enforced contracts, excluding defaulters from future participation; weights and measures were strictly regulated. Historian Jean Favier has written "the success of the Champagne fairs can be attributed solely to this intelligent policy of applying public order to business."[15] The Counts' concern for protection of this profitable trade extended beyond their borders: Thibaut II negotiated a treaty in which the kings of France pledged themselves to take under royal protection all merchants passing through royal territory on their way to and from the Champagne fairs.[16] Eventually even the king became involved; in 1209 Philip Augustus granted safe conduct within France to merchants traveling to and from the Champagne fairs, increasing their international importance.[15]

Traditional historians have dated the decline of the Champagne fairs to the subordination of Champagne to the Royal Domain brought about by the marriage alliance of Philip the Fair in 1284. In 1285 Champagne became an integral part of France. "When the special motivation was removed in 1285", Janet Abu-Lughod observes,[17] "the Champagne fairs lost their edge." The effect of the Little Ice Age and population-diminishing black plague took a toll also. Around the same time, a series of wars in Italy, most significantly the conflicts between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, disrupted the overland trade routes that connected the Italian cities with France, and Genoese and Venetian merchants opened up direct sea trade with Flanders, diminishing the importance of the fairs.[3][18] Fernand Braudel also saw the decline as due to the increasing sophistication of communications and distance credit, changing the medieval merchant from a person engaged in constant arduous travel to one who mostly controlled his affairs by correspondence.[19][20]

As the Champagne fairs dwindled to insignificance, their place was assumed by the fairs of Bruges, to which the Genoese ships sailed, and Cologne, a Hansa town, of Frankfurt-am-Main, of Geneva and, more locally, of Lyon.[21]


  1. ^ M. M. Postan, E Miller eds., Cambridge Economic History of Europe, (Cambridge University Press) 1952, vol. ii, p. 230
  2. ^ R. L. Reynolds, "The market for northern textiles in Genoa, 1179–1200", Revue belge de philologie et d'histoire 8.3 (1929:495–533); Reynolds, "Merchants of Arras and the overland trade with Genoa in the twelfth century", Revue belge 9.2 (1930:495–533); Reynolds, "Genoese trade in the late twelfth century, particularly in cloth from the fairs of Champagne", Journal of Economic and Business History 3.3 (1931:362–81).
  3. ^ a b c John H. Munro, "Medieval Woollens". In David T. Jenkins, editor, The Cambridge History of Western Textiles, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-521-34107-8, pp. 231–36.
  4. ^ a b Elspeth M. Veale, The English Fur Trade in the Later Middle Ages, 2nd Edition, London Folio Society 2005. ISBN 0-900952-38-5, pp. 65–66
  5. ^ This point was made by Janet L. Abu-Lughod, Before European Hegemony: The World System A.D. 1250–1350 "The Fairs of Champagne and Their Towns" (Oxford University Press US) 1991, pp. 55ff: "certainly there were many other modest bourgs, scattered throughout France, whose characteristics were equally propitious for development".
  6. ^ R. D. Face, "Techniques of Business in the Trade between the Fairs of Champagne and the South of Europe in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries", The Economic History Review, New Series, 10.3 (1958:427–38) p. 427 note 2.
  7. ^ These aspects form the tenor of Face 1958.
  8. ^ Paul R. Milgrom, Douglass C. North and Barry R. Weingast, "The role of institutions in the revival of trade: the law merchant, private judges and the Champagne fairs", in Kaushik Basu, ed. Readings in Political Economy 2003:68ff.
  9. ^ Huvelin, "Les couriers des foires de Champagne", Annales de Droit Commercial Français Étranger et International (Paris) 1898, noted by Face 1958.
  10. ^ Face 1958:435.
  11. ^ Fernand Braudel, Civilization & Capitalism, 15–18th Centuries, Vol 3: "The Perspective of the World", p. 111, William Collins & Sons, London 1984, ISBN 0-00-216133-8
  12. ^ Braudel, Vol 3, p. 66
  13. ^ Braudel, Vol 3, p. 111
  14. ^ Cambridge Economic History of Europe ii, 230.
  15. ^ a b Jean Favier, Gold and Spices: The Rise of Commerce in the Middle Ages, translated by Caroline Higgit, New York and London, Holmes & Meier 1998, ISBN 0-8419-1232-7, p. 27
  16. ^ Janet L. Abu-Lughod p. 58.
  17. ^ Abu-Lughod p. 58.
  18. ^ Carlo M. Cipolla, Before the Industrial Revolution: European Society and Economy, 1000–1700 (London, 1994), p. 202.
  19. ^ Fernand Braudel, "Civilization & Capitalism, 15–18th Centuries, Vol 1: The Structures of Everyday Life", p. 419, William Collins & Sons, London 1981
  20. ^ Aron Gurevich in The Medieval World Jacques Le Goff (ed), 1990, Collins & Brown, ISBN 1-85585-081-8; p. 265
  21. ^ Clive Day, A History of Commerce (London: Longmans, Green) 1914) "Fairs" pp. 65–67 and map p. 66.
1200s (decade)

The 1200s began on January 1, 1200, and ended on December 31, 1209.

== Events ==

=== 1200 ===

August 24 – After touring an army through Aquitaine to assert his right to it, John of England marries Isabella of Angoulême at Bordeaux.

The Iroquois invade modern-day Ohio from the north.

The Mongols defeat Northern China.

The University of Paris receives its charter, from Philip II of France.

The rebel Ivanko is captured and executed, by the Byzantine general Alexios Palaiologos.

The Cherokee and Catawba tribes fought in a great battle in the Brown Mountain of modern day North Carolina.

=== 1201 ===

July 31 – John Komnenos the Fat attempts to usurp the throne of the Byzantine Empire; he is overthrown and decapitated by the end of the day.

John, King of England, puts an embargo on wheat exported to Flanders, in an attempt to force an allegiance between the states. He also puts a levy of a fifteenth on the value of cargo exported to France, and disallows the export of wool to France without a special license. The levies are enforced in each port by at least six men, including one churchman and one knight. John also affirms this year that judgements made by the court of Westminster are as valid as those made "before the king himself or his chief justice".

The town of Riga is chartered as a city by Albert of Buxhoeveden, Bishop of Livonia, who had landed on the site with 1,500 crusaders earlier in the year.

Boniface, Marquess of Montferrat is elected leader of the Fourth Crusade, after the death of Theobald III, Count of Champagne.

Pope Innocent III supports Otto IV as Holy Roman Emperor, against the rival Emperor, Philip of Swabia.

=== 1202 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

May 20 – An earthquake strikes in Syria.

Genghis Khan crushes the Tatars.

====== Europe ======

May – October – The Fourth Crusade gathers in Venice.

July – John, King of England rescues his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, from near capture by the rebellious forces of Arthur I, Duke of Brittany.

July 27 – Battle of Basian: Georgians defeat the Seljuqids of Rüm.

August 1 – Arthur I, Duke of Brittany is captured in Mirebeau, north of Poitiers, during a battle with John, King of England.

November 10–23 – Fourth Crusade – Siege of Zara: In the first major action of the Crusade, the Crusaders besiege and conquer Zadar in Dalmatia. Unable to pay the Republic of Venice in cash for its contributions to the Crusade, the Crusaders agree to sack the city (an economic rival to Venice), despite letters from Pope Innocent III forbidding such an action, and threatening excommunication (which is carried out at the urging of Emeric, King of Hungary). This is the first attack against a Catholic city by Catholic Crusaders.

The Almohad fleet expels the Banu Ghaniya from the Balearic Islands.

The Livonian Brothers of the Sword is founded, to support a crusade against the inhabitants of Medieval Livonia.

Pope Innocent III reasserts his right to evaluate and crown the Holy Roman Emperor, in a letter to Berthold V, Duke of Zähringen.

Danes make a crusade to Finland which is led by the Archbishop of Lund Anders Sunesen and his Brother.

==== By topic ====

====== Culture ======

Leonardo Fibonacci of Pisa writes Liber Abaci, about the modus Indorum, the Hindu–Arabic numeral system, including the use of zero; it is the first major work in Europe to move away from the use of Roman numerals.

Approximate date – The first jesters are hired in European courts.

====== Religion ======

The Rueda Abbey is founded by Cistercians at Sástago, in the Kingdom of Aragon (modern-day Spain).

=== 1203 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Minamoto no Sanetomo becomes shōgun of the Kamakura shogunate.

====== Europe ======

April 16 – Philip II of France enters Rouen, leading to the eventual unification of Normandy and France.

William de Braose, 4th Lord of Bramber becomes the guardian of Arthur I, Duke of Brittany, and is possibly responsible for his death.

The House of Burke is founded in Ireland.

Battle of Basiani: The Georgians defeat a Muslim coalition.

The Almohads begin the conquest of the Balearic Islands.

The troops of the Fourth Crusade reach the Byzantine heartland:

June 23 – The Fleet of the crusaders enters the Bosphorus.

July 17 – The armies of the Fourth Crusade capture Constantinople by assault; the Byzantine emperor Alexios III Angelos flees from his capital into exile.

August 1 – The Fourth Crusade elevates Alexios IV Angelos as Byzantine emperor, after the citizens of Constantinople proclaim as emperor Isaac II Angelos (Alexius IV's father).

The Oeselians ravage Danish Scania. The returning pirates later skirmish with the German settlers of Riga, near Visby in Gotland.

==== By topic ====

====== Markets ======

The first evidence is revealed, that the Temple in London is extending loans to the king of England. The sums remain relatively small, but are often used for critical operations, such as the ransoming of the king’s soldiers captured by the French.

====== Religion ======

April 8 – Congress of Bilino Polje: Ban Kulin officially declares his allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church, and denounces heresy.

The Temple of Nataraja is completed, at Chidambaram in India.

The Benedictine abbey of Iona is founded by Ragnall mac Somairle, on a previous Columban site.

=== 1204 ===

January – Four-year-old Guttorm is proclaimed King of Norway; his "reign" ends with his death a few months later.

January 28 – Byzantine emperor Alexios IV Angelos is overthrown in a revolution.

February 5 – Alexios V Doukas is proclaimed Byzantine emperor.

April 13 – Fourth Crusade: The Crusaders take Constantinople by storm, and pillage the city for 3 days. Forces of the Republic of Venice seize the antique statues that will become the horses of Saint Mark.

May 16 – Baldwin, Count of Flanders is crowned emperor of the Latin Empire a week after his election, by the members of the Fourth Crusade.

Theodore I Laskaris flees to Nicaea after the capture of Constantinople, and establishes the Empire of Nicaea; Byzantine successor states are also established in Epirus and Trebizond.

Boniface I, Marquess of Montferrat, a leader of the Fourth Crusade, founds the Kingdom of Thessalonica.

The writings of French theologian Amalric of Bena are condemned by the University of Paris, and Pope Innocent III.

Tsar Kaloyan is recognized as king of Bulgaria by Pope Innocent III, after the creation of the Bulgarian Uniate church.

Valdemar II of Denmark is recognized as king in Norway.

Angers and Normandy are captured by Philip II of France.

The Cistercian convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs is established.

The district of Cham becomes subject to Bavaria.

Hermann I, Landgrave of Thuringia submits to Philip of Swabia.

Beaulieu Abbey is founded.

The Channel Islands of Guernsey and Jersey decide, after a plebiscite of wealthy land owners, to remain with the English crown, after Normandy is recaptured by Philip II of France.

=== 1205 ===

==== By area ====

====== Africa ======

The general Muhammad al-Inti b. Abi Hafs establishes the Almohad domination over the eastern parts of Ifriqiya, and enters Tripoli.

====== Asia ======

Theodore I Laskaris is proclaimed Byzantine Emperor, formally founding the Empire of Nicaea, after repelling the invasions of rivals David Komnenos and Manuel Maurozomes into his domains.

====== Europe ======

January 6 – Philip of Swabia becomes King of the Romans.

April 14 – Battle of Adrianople: The Bulgarians defeat the Latins.

Anjou is conquered by Philip II of France. Fearing a French invasion of England itself, John of England requires every English male over 12 to enter an association "for the general defence of the realm and the preservation of peace".

Othon de la Roche founds the Duchy of Athens.

William of Wrotham, Lord Warden of the Stannaries of England, oversees a reform of English currency. In keeping with other high-ranking bureaucrats of his time and place, this is just one of Wrotham's many offices: he is also Keeper of the King's Ports & Galleys, supervisor of the mints of Canterbury and London, ward of the vacant Diocese of Bath and Wells, an archdeacon of Taunton, a canon of Wells, and will serve the following year as a circuit judge.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

July 15 – Pope Innocent III lays down the principle that Jews are doomed to perpetual servitude, because they had crucified Jesus.

=== 1206 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Temüjin is proclaimed Genghis Khan of the Mongol people, founding the Mongol Empire.

Mukhali is appointed myriarch of the left wing of the newly reorganized Mongol army, and granted immunity for up to 9 breaches of the law.

Qutb-ud-din Aybak, a Turkish Mameluke from Central Asia, proclaims the Mameluk dynasty in India, the first dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate.

====== Europe ======

Theodore Lascaris is crowned Byzantine Emperor at Nicaea.

The Livonian Brothers of the Sword, in alliance with the Semigallians, conquer Livs.

King Valdemar II and Archbishop Andreas Sunonis raid Saaremaa Island, Estonia, forcing the islanders to submit. The Danes build a fortress, but finding no volunteers to man it, they burn it down themselves and leave the island.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and culture ======

Sugar, an import from the Muslim world, is mentioned for the first time in a royal English account. Almonds, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg are also imported for royal banquets.

====== Education ======

Colchester Royal Grammar School is founded in England.

====== Religion ======

The Order of the Friars Minor is founded by Francis of Assisi.

A peasant named Thurkhill in England claims that Saint Julian took him on a tour of Purgatory. Thurkhill includes realistic touches including descriptions of Purgatory’s torture chambers, and is believed by Roger of Wendover, one of his society’s leading historians.

This year, Dominic de Guzmán claims to have received the Holy Rosary from the Virgin Mary.

====== Technics ======

The Arab engineer al-Jazari describes many mechanical inventions in his book (title translated to English) The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices.

=== 1207 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Before 1207 – Kosho writes Kuya Preaching, during the Kamakura period (it is now kept at Rokuhara Mitsu-ji, Kyoto).

Hōnen and his followers are exiled to remote parts of Japan, while a few are executed, for what the government considers heretical Buddhist teachings.

====== Europe ======

February 2 – Terra Mariana, comprising present-day Estonia and Latvia, is established as a principality of the Holy Roman Empire.

November – Leeds, a market town in England, receives its first charter.

Pope Innocent III declares for Philip of Swabia as Holy Roman Emperor, a reversal of his previous support for Otto IV.

King John issues letters patent, creating the new Borough of Liverpool.

==== By topic ====

====== Markets ======

The first evidence is discovered of forced loans in Venice. This technique becomes the staple of public finance in Europe, until the 16th century.

====== Religion ======

June 17 – Stephen Langton is consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury, by Pope Innocent III.

=== 1208 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

April 15 – A fire breaks out in the Song Chinese capital city of Hangzhou, raging for four days and nights, destroying 58,097 houses over an area of more than 3 miles (4.8 km), killing 59 people, and an unrecorded number of other people, who are trampled while attempting to flee. The government provides temporary lodging for 5,345 people, in nearby Buddhist and Taoist monasteries. The collective victims of the disaster are given 160,000 strings of cash, along with 400 tons of rice. Some of the government officials who lost their homes take up residence in rented boathouses, on the nearby West Lake.

====== Europe ======

January 15 – The murder of Pierre de Castelnau by a vassal of Raymond VI of Toulouse takes place; Raymond is held responsible and excommunicated by Pope Innocent III, leading to the Albigensian Crusade.

January 31 – Battle of Lena: Inferior Swedish forces defeat the invading Danes, and King Sverker the Younger is deposed as king of Sweden. He is succeeded by his rival Erik Knutsson.

March 24 – Pope Innocent III places England under an interdict, as punishment for King John of England rejecting his choice for Archbishop of Canterbury. Under the interdict, Church sacraments including marriage and consecrated burial are probably stopped, but there is no sign of the popular discontent which interdicts are intended to produce over the next several years.

June 21 – Philip of Swabia, King of Germany and rival to Holy Roman Emperor Otto IV, is assassinated in Bamberg by German Count Otto of Wittelsbach, because Philip had refused to give him his daughter in marriage.

Livonian Crusade: With the help of the newly converted local tribes of Livs and Letts, the crusader Livonian Brothers of the Sword initiate raids into Ugandi County in southern Estonia. The resulting Estonian ancient fight for independence lasts until 1227.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and culture ======

Robert of Courçon writes his Summa.

=== 1209 ===

==== By area ====

====== Asia ======

Genghis Khan conquers Western Xia.

The army of the Kingdom of Georgia raids the Muslim principalities in north Iran.

====== Europe ======

The Albigensian Crusade is launched against the Cathars.

July 22 – Massacre at Béziers: Simon de Monfort, leader of the Crusade, sacks Béziers, killing many Cathars and Catholics alike.

August – Simon de Monfort takes over Carcassonne.

May – The First Parliament of Ravennika is held in Greece.

June – Treaty of Sapienza: the Republic of Venice recognizes the possession of the Peloponnese by the Prince of Achaea, Geoffrey I of Villehardouin, and keeps only the fortresses of Modon and Coron.

November – John of England is excommunicated by Pope Innocent III. Despite the excommunication, John will continue to make amends to the Church, including giving alms to the poor whenever he defiles a holy day by hunting during it. This year, he feeds a hundred paupers to make up for when he "went into the woods on the feast of St. Mary Magdalen", and three years from now, he will feast 450 paupers "because the king went to take cranes, and he took nine, for each of which he feasted fifty paupers."

London Bridge is completed.

Black Monday, Dublin: A group of 500 recently arrived settlers from Bristol are massacred by warriors of the Gaelic O'Byrne clan. The group leaves the safety of the walled city of Dublin to celebrate Easter Monday near a wood at Ranelagh, and are attacked without warning. Although in modern times a relatively obscure event in history, it is commemorated by a mustering of the Mayor, Sheriffs and soldiers on the day, as a challenge to the native tribes for centuries afterwards.

==== By topic ====

====== Education ======

Cambridge University is founded.

====== Markets ======

Philippe Auguste of France grants a "conduit" to merchants going to the Champagne fairs, guaranteeing the safety of their travel, as any attempt made against them is now to be considered as a crime of lese-majesty. The decision increases again the appeal of the fairs, to merchants from Italy and the Low Countries.

The banking firm known as the Gran Tavola is formed; most of the partners are members of the Bonsignori Family.

====== Religion ======

The Franciscan Order is founded.


Year 1209 (MCCIX) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Anglo-Saxon pound

The pound was a unit of account in Anglo-Saxon England, equal to 240 silver pennies and equivalent to one pound weight of silver. According to the Daily Telegraph it came into use around 775. It evolved into the modern British currency, the pound sterling.

The accounting system of 12 pence = 1 shilling, 20 shillings = 1 pound was adopted from that introduced by Pepin or even earlier to the Frankish kingdom (see French livre). King Offa of Mercia is credited with causing the widespread adoption of the silver penny and the pound as a unit of account. Thomas Snelling writes that the division of the pound into 12 ounces was in use with the Romans, and the division of ounces into 20 pennyweights was introduced into France by Charlemagne, and then brought to England by William the Conqueror.The Latin word for "pound" is libra. The £ or ₤ is a stylised writing of the letter L, a short way of writing libra. This is similar to how a pound of mass is abbreviated "lb". Up until 1972, especially on typewriters or keyboards without a "£" symbol, it was common to write "L" or "l" instead of "£".

The pound in use in King Offa's day, also known as the Saxon pound or moneyers' pound, remained essentially unchanged until 1527, by which time it had come to be known as the Tower pound, after the Tower of London. In 1527, the Tower pound was replaced by the English modern troy pound of 373,3 g, which was, by law, equal to exactly ​16⁄15 of a Tower pound.

The fundamental unit of the pre-1527 English weight system known as Tower weights, was a different sort of grain known as the "wheat grain".

The Tower pound had a mass of 240 × 32 = 7680 wheat grain. The Tower wheat grain was defined as exactly ​45⁄64 of a troy grain. Expressed in modern English troy grains, the Tower pound was 7680 × ​45⁄64 = 5400 modern troy grains (350 g). The Tower pound was divided into 12 ounces, each ounce into 20 pennyweights, and each pennyweight into 24 barleycorns. There were thus 480 barleycorns to a Tower ounce, 5760 barleycorns to a Tower pound of 350 g. The Anglo-Saxon pound (Saxon pound, moneyers' pound or Tower pound) remained in use for silver and gold coinage in England after the adoption of the medieval troy pound of 367.5 g. This pound of 12 ounces was in use in Troyes (Champagne fairs) where the mark of 8 ounces (also the Paris mark) weighed 245 g. The medieval troy pound weighed 240 pennyweights of 1.53 g or 24 medieval troy grains (​1⁄5760 of the new pound and heavier than the real barleycorn). The Tower pound remained in use for weighing gold and silver until 1527.

Archaic globalization

Archaic globalization is a phase in the history of globalization, and conventionally refers to globalizing events and developments from the time of the earliest civilizations until roughly 1600 (the following period is known as early modern globalization). Archaic globalization describes the relationships between communities and states and how they were created by the geographical spread of ideas and social norms at both local and regional levels.States began to interact and trade with others within close proximity as a way to acquire coveted goods that were considered a luxury. This trade led to the spread of ideas such as religion, economic structures and political ideals. Merchants became connected and aware of others in ways that had not been apparent. Archaic globalization is comparable to present day globalization on a much smaller scale. It not only allowed the spread of goods and commodities to other regions, but it also allowed people to experience other cultures. Cities that partook in trading were bound together by sea lanes, rivers, and great overland trade routes, some of which had been in use since antiquity. Trading was broken up according to geographic location, with centers between flanking places serving as "break-in-bulk" and exchange points for goods destined for more distant markets. During this time period the subsystems were more self-sufficient than they are today and therefore less vitally dependent upon one another for everyday survival. While long distance trading came with many trials and tribulations, still so much of it went on during this early time period. Linking the trade together involved eight interlinked subsystems that were grouped into three large circuits, which encompassed the western European, the Middle Eastern, and the Far Eastern circuits. This interaction during trading was early civilization's way to communicate and spread many ideas that caused modern globalization to emerge and allowed a new aspect to present-day society.

Avignon Exchange

The Avignon Exchange was one of the first foreign exchange markets in history, established in the Comtat Venaissin during the Avignon Papacy. The Exchange was composed of the agents (factores) of the great Italian banking-houses, who acted as money-changers as well as financial intermediaries between the Apostolic Camera and its debtors and creditors. The most prosperous quarter of the city of Avignon, where the bankers settled, became known simply as the Exchange. According to de Roover, "Avignon can be considered an Italian colony, since the papal bankers were all Italians".Avignon was the first legal body to regulate fiduciary transactions: a statute of Avignon, of 1243, contains a paragraph entitled De Litteris Cambii, "of bills of exchange".


Bar-sur-Aube (French: [baʁ syʁ ob] (listen)) is a French commune and a sub-prefecture in the Aube department in the Grand Est region of France.Surrounded by hills and Champagne vineyards, the city is traversed by the river Aube, from which it derives its name.

The inhabitants of the commune are known as Baralbins or Baralbines and Barsuraubois or Barsurauboises.The commune has been awarded three flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom.

Champagne (disambiguation)

Champagne is a sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France.

Champagne may also refer to:

Champagne (wine region), a wine region in France notable for producing the sparkling wine

Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne, cognac-producing regions in France

Sparkling wine, when used as a semi-generic term for wines made outside the Champagne region

Champagne (grape), another name for the Italian wine grape Marzemina bianca

Champagne soda, a type of carbonated beverage

Champagne (surname)

Champagne (color)

Champagne (advertisement) - A banned advertisement created by Microsoft to promote the Xbox in Europe.

Champagne (province)

Champagne (French pronunciation: ​[ʃɑ̃paɲ]) is a historical province in the northeast of France, now best known as the Champagne wine region for the sparkling white wine that bears its name. It was founded in 1065 near the city of Provins and was made up of different counties descended from the early medieval kingdom of Austrasia.

Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 160 km (100 miles) east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area. In 1956, most of Champagne became part of the French administrative region of Champagne-Ardenne, which comprised four departments: Ardennes, Aube, Haute-Marne, and Marne. From 1 January 2016, Champagne-Ardenne merged with the adjoining region of Alsace-Lorraine to form the new region of Grand Est.

The name Champagne comes from the Latin campania and referred to the similarities between the rolling hills of the province and the Italian countryside of Campania located south of Rome.

In the High Middle Ages, the province was famous for the Champagne fairs, which were very important in the economy of the Western societies. The chivalric romance had its first beginnings in the county of Champagne with the famous writer Chrétien de Troyes who wrote stories of the Round Table from the Arthurian legends.

A few counts of Champagne were French kings with the comital title merging with the French crown in 1314 when Louis I, king of Navarre and count of Champagne, became king of France as Louis X. Counts of Champagne were highly considered by the French aristocracy.


Crépy-en-Valois is a commune in the Oise department in northern France. It is located in the Paris Metropolitan Area, 57.8 km (35.9 mi) northeast of the center of Paris.

Gran Tavola

During the Middle Ages, the Gran Tavola (Italian for "Great Table") was the largest Sienese bank, and one of the most powerful banks in Europe from 1255 to 1298. The Gran Tavola has been called "the greatest bank of the thirteenth century" as well as "one of the largest commercial and banking enterprises in Europe".The main branches of the Gran Tavola during the mid-thirteenth century were in Pisa, Bologna, Genoa, Marseille, and Paris.

Henry I, Count of Champagne

Henry I (December 1127 – March 16, 1181), known as the Liberal, was count of Champagne from 1152 to 1181. He was the eldest son of Count Thibaut II of Champagne (who was also Count Thibaut IV of Blois) and his wife, Matilda of Carinthia.Henry took part in the Second Crusade under the leadership of Louis VII of France. He carried a letter of recommendation from Bernard of Clairvaux addressed to Manuel I Komnenos, Byzantine Emperor; he is listed among the notables present at the assembly held by Baldwin III of Jerusalem at Acre on 24 June 1148.On his father's death, Henry chose to take Champagne, leaving the family's older holdings (including Blois, Chartres, Sancerre, and Châteaudun) to his younger brothers. At the time this may have been surprising, for the other territories were richer and better developed. Henry must have foreseen the economic possibilities of Champagne, and it is during his rule that the county achieved its high place as one of the richest and strongest of the French principalities.

Henry established orderly rule over the nobles of Champagne, and could fairly reliably count on the aid of some 2,000 vassals, which just by itself made him a power few in France could equal. This order in turn made Champagne a safe place for merchants to gather, and under the count's protection the Champagne Fairs became a central part of long-distance trade and finance in medieval Europe.

In addition, the count's court in Troyes became a renowned literary center. Walter Map was among those who found hospitality there. The scholar Stephen of Alinerre was among Henry's courtiers, becoming chancellor of the county in 1176.In 1179 Henry went to Jerusalem again with a party of French knights including his relatives Peter of Courtenay (brother of Louis VII) and Philip of Dreux, bishop of Beauvais. Henry returned towards Europe by the land route across Asia Minor, and was captured and held to ransom by Kilij Arslan II, Seljuk sultan of Rüm. The ransom was paid by the Byzantine Emperor. Henry would later die, 16 March 1181.

In 1164, Henry married Marie of France, daughter of Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine.They had four children:

Scholastique of Champagne (died 1219), married William IV of Mâcon

Henry II (1166–1197)

Marie of Champagne (died 1204), married Baldwin I of Constantinople

Theobald (1179–1201)Henry built the collegiate church of Saint-Étienne in Troyes between 1157 and 1171, which he planned as a necropolis for the House of Blois. He was buried there, as was his son Theobald III, but most of his descendants were buried elsewhere.

He died in 1181 and was succeeded by their eldest son Henry. After Henry became king of Jerusalem, the younger son Theobald became count.

Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance (Italian: Rinascimento [rinaʃʃiˈmento]) was a period of Italian history that began in the 14th century (Trecento) and lasted until the 17th century (Seicento). It peaked during the 15th (Quattrocento) and 16th (Cinquecento) centuries, spreading across Europe and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity. The French word renaissance (Rinascimento in Italian) means "Rebirth" and defines the period as one of cultural revival and renewed interest in classical antiquity after the centuries labeled the Dark Ages by Renaissance humanists. The Renaissance author Giorgio Vasari used the term "Rebirth" in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects but the concept became widespread only in the 19th century, after the works of scholars such as Jules Michelet and Jacob Burckhardt.

The Renaissance began in Tuscany (Central Italy), and was centred in the city of Florence. Florence, one of the several city-states of the peninsula, rose to economic prominence by providing credit for European monarchs and laying down the groundwork for capitalism and banking. The Renaissance later spread to Venice, heart of a mediterranean empire and in control of the trade routes with the east since the participation in the crusades and the voyages of Marco Polo, where the remains of ancient Greek culture were brought together and provided humanist scholars with new texts. Finally the Renaissance had a significant effect on the Papal States and Rome, largely rebuilt by Humanist and Renaissance popes (such as Alexander VI and Julius II), who were frequently involved in Italian politics, in arbitrating disputes between competing colonial powers and in opposing the Reformation.

The Italian Renaissance is best known for its achievements in painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, philosophy, science and exploration. Italy became the recognized European leader in all these areas by the late 15th century, during the Peace of Lodi (1454-1494) agreed between Italian states. The Italian Renaissance peaked in the mid-16th century as domestic disputes and foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of the Italian Wars (1494-1559). However, the ideas and ideals of the Italian Renaissance endured and spread into the rest of Europe, setting off the Northern Renaissance. Italian explorers from the maritime republics served under the auspices of European monarchs, ushering the Age of discovery. The most famous among them are Christopher Columbus who sailed for Spain, Giovanni da Verrazzano for France, Amerigo Vespucci for Portugal, and John Cabot for England. Italian scientists such as Falloppio, Tartaglia, Galileo, Torricelli, played a key role in the scientific revolution and foreigners such as Copernicus and Vesalius worked in Italian universities. Various events and dates of the 17th century, such as the conclusion of the European Wars of Religion in 1648, have been proposed for the end of the Renaissance.Accounts of Renaissance literature usually begin with the three great poets of the 14th century: Dante Alighieri (Divine Comedy), Petrarch (Canzoniere) and Boccaccio (Decameron). Famous vernacular poets of the Renaissance include the renaissance epic authors Luigi Pulci (author of Morgante), Matteo Maria Boiardo (Orlando Innamorato), Ludovico Ariosto (Orlando Furioso) and Torquato Tasso (Jerusalem Delivered). 15th-century writers such as the poet Poliziano and the Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino made extensive translations from both Latin and Greek. In the early 16th century, Castiglione laid out his vision of the ideal gentleman and lady in The Book of the Courtier, while Machiavelli cast a jaundiced eye on "la verità effettuale della cosa"—the actual truth of things—in The Prince, composed, in humanistic style, chiefly of parallel ancient and modern examples of Virtù. Historians of the period include Machiavelli himself, his friend and critic Francesco Guicciardini and Giovanni Botero (The Reason of State). The Aldine Press, founded by the printer Aldo Manuzio, active in Venice, developed Italic type and portable printed books that could be carried in one's pocket, as well as being the first to publish editions of books in Ancient Greek. Venice also became the birthplace of the Commedia dell'Arte.

Italian Renaissance art exercised a dominant influence on subsequent European painting and sculpture for centuries afterwards, with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Donatello, Giotto di Bondone, Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli, and Titian. The same is true for architecture, as practiced by Brunelleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Andrea Palladio, and Bramante. Their works include, to name only a few, the Florence Cathedral, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the Tempio Malatestiano in Rimini, as well as several private residences. The musical era of the Italian Renaissance was defined by the Roman School and later by the Venetian School and the birth of Opera in Florence. In philosophy, thinkers such as Galileo, Machiavelli, Giordano Bruno and Pico della Mirandola, emphasized naturalism and humanism, thus rejecting dogma and scholasticism.

Merchant bank

A merchant bank is historically a bank dealing in commercial loans and investment. In modern British usage it is the same as an investment bank. Merchant banks were the first modern banks and evolved from medieval merchants who traded in commodities, particularly cloth merchants. Historically, merchant banks' purpose was to facilitate and/or finance production and trade of commodities, hence the name "merchant". Few banks today restrict their activities to such a narrow scope.

In modern usage in the United States, the term additionally has taken on a more narrow meaning, and refers to a financial institution providing capital to companies in the form of share ownership instead of loans. A merchant bank also provides advisory on corporate matters to the firms in which they invest.


Provins (French pronunciation: ​[pʁo.vɛ̃]) is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.

Provins, a town of medieval fairs, became a UNESCO

World Heritage Site in 2001.


Rouen (Rouen in French ; (French pronunciation: ​[ʁwɑ̃]) is a city on the River Seine in the north of France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy. Formerly one of the largest and most prosperous cities of medieval Europe, Rouen was the seat of the Exchequer of Normandy during the Middle Ages. It was one of the capitals of the Anglo-Norman dynasties, which ruled both England and large parts of modern France from the 11th to the 15th centuries.

The population of the metropolitan area (in French: agglomération) at the 2011 census was 655,013, with the city proper having an estimated population of 111,557. People from Rouen are known as Rouennais.

Saint-Quentin, Aisne

Saint-Quentin (French pronunciation: ​[sɛ̃kɑ̃tɛ̃]; Picard: Saint-Kintin) is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France in northern France. It has been identified as the Augusta Veromanduorum of antiquity. It is named after Saint Quentin, who is said to have been martyred there in the 3rd century.

Troy weight

Troy weight is a system of units of mass that originated in 15th-century England, and is primarily used today in the precious metals industry. Its units are the grain, pennyweight (24 grains), troy ounce (20 pennyweights), and troy pound (12 troy ounces). The grain is the same grain used in the more common avoirdupois system. By contrast, the troy ounce is heavier than the avoirdupois ounce, while the troy pound is lighter than the avoirdupois pound.

Voluntary association

A voluntary group or union (also sometimes called a voluntary organization, common-interest association, association, or society) is a group of individuals who enter into an agreement, usually as volunteers, to form a body (or organization) to accomplish a purpose. Common examples include trade associations, trade unions, learned societies, professional associations, and environmental groups.

Membership is not necessarily voluntary: in order for particular associations to function correctly they might need to be mandatory or at least strongly encouraged, as is common with many teachers unions in the US. Because of this, some people use the term common-interest association to describe groups which form out of a common interest, although this term is not widely used or understood.Voluntary associations may be incorporated or unincorporated; for example, in the US, unions gained additional powers by incorporating. In the UK, the terms Voluntary Association or Voluntary Organisation cover every type of group from a small local Residents' Association to large Associations (often Registered Charities) with multimillion-pound turnover that run large-scale business operations (often providing some kind of public service as subcontractors to government departments or local authorities).


Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and other animals, including cashmere and mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, from hide and fur clothing from bison, angora from rabbits, and other types of wool from camelids; additionally, the Highland and the Mangalica breeds of cattle and swine, respectively, possess wooly coats. Wool consists of protein together with a few percent lipids. In this regard it is chemically quite distinct from the more dominant textile, cotton, which is mainly cellulose.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.