By Carlo M. Cipolla

During this vintage paintings Cipolla explores the sluggish yet advanced means of improvement that remodeled Europe from its particularly vulnerable place in advert one thousand into the hugely dynamic and strong society of 1700.

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They would thereby incur a straight loss, whereas citizens who had plenty of ready cash could indulge in lucrative speculation. 30 BEFORE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION Public debt was developed furthest in Genoa, Venice, and Florence. In Florence, because of the wars the city fought with ever more costly companies of mercenaries and with artillery, the public debt rose from around 50,000 gold florins in 1300 to around 450,000 gold florins in 1338, and topped 600,000 by 1343. In Genoa public debt titles were known as luoghi (shares) and were managed by the Banco di San Giorgio which was the state’s creditors’ consortium.

1550) Antwerp— Holland Northern Low (middle 17th France Countries century) (before (1596–1600) 1700) Milan, Italy England— (about 1600) nonagricultural labor (1794) (≈20) (≈50) (≈49) (≈25) (≈30) ≈5 ≈10 ≈12 5 ≈15 ≈11 ≈8 11 ≈8 10 Sources: Phelps Brown and Hopkins, “Wage-rates and Prices,” p. 293; Phelps Brown and Hopkins, “Seven Centuries of Building Wages,” p. 180; Gascon, Grand commerce, vol. 2, p. 544; Schollier, De Levensstandard in de 15 en 16 Eeuw te Antwerpen, p. 174; Eden, The State of the Poor; Posthumus, Geschiedenis der Leidsche Lakenindustrie.

58 In the countryside, however, most peasants lived in crowded conditions very similar to those prevailing in the poorest quarters of the larger cities. As life at home was so unpleasant, whenever possible the men moved to the tavern. As indicated above, the well-off and the rich ate adequately. In fact, in reaction to the hunger that surrounded them, they ate too much, as a result of which they suffered from gout and had to have recourse to the barber-surgeons for frequent blood-letting. The estimate of the food consumption in the homes of the rich is complicated by the continuous presence of domestic staff and the frequent presence of guests.

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