The Commercial Revolution In The Middle Ages
Wedged between the early and late Middle Ages was the rise of commercialism in the medieval world. The rise of commercialism was so great between the 13th and 15th centuries that cities began to evolve around the high level of trade that occurred. While there were many reasons for this which we shall explore, a continuing pattern and theme seemed to merge that allowed for the European economy to turn from inactivity to aggresivity and from poverty to riches, “The turn came chiefly through internal changes: the growth of the population, the increase of agricultural production, the emergence of a self-cultural merchant elite” (Lopez 97). So argues Robert S. Lopez as he tries to chronicles the events and changes that allowed for the rise of commercial trade and ultimately commercial revolution in the medieval ages. This analysis will look at many of the changes and events the author considers to have made this change possible, including many things that modern our own industrialized trade nations in the modern world.
Lopez begins his work by explaining that the Roman and barbarian society was limited in its capacity for commerce because of its very nature. He suggests that while there was some degree of commerce in the barbarian age, it was noticeable more from its scarcity than its volume because it was “more than offset by the agricultural, military, and religious shape of the barbarian society” (Lopez 21). This type of social organization was not conducive to the promotion or expansion of trade. However, by the time the tenth century rolled around one of the biggest factors responsible for the eventual commercial revolution had begun-the explosion of trade. Yet, as the author contends, the large increases in population that continued to occur are not automatic guarantors of commercialization or economic success. If the per capita productivity does