"In this comparative study, Williams-McClanahan reviews our thinking about the rise, or rebirth, of towns during those years when the western world was in limbo following the demise of the Roman Empire. She argues that far from being a dark, stagnant age, Britain and Western Europe were busy building sound foundations for economic growth, town development and the revival of trade.
Williams-McClanahan guides the reader through an era abundant with new developments, such as agricultural technology, re-opening of long-distance trade routes, specialization of industry, and free towns. This book also deals with the role of the professional merchant, the Church, and the market in medieval economy, as well as important subjects such as the effect of Islam on trade and the ramifications of town growth and a money economy.
The question of which came first, commercial expansion or the rise of the medieval town has been the subject of considerable debate among historians. It is this debate amongst post-Pirenne economic historians that forms the framework of this presentation-a comparative study of major theses regarding the development of towns and the revival of trade in early medieval Europe and Britain."
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March 01, 2012
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