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State Cash Resources and State Building in Europe 13th-18th century

Katia Béguin
Anne L. Murphy

Markets for Public Debt Securities

A Wise Man Is Always Ready to Face a Disaster’. The Professional Skill of Genoese, Florentine and Portuguese Financial Operators in Seventeenth-Century Exchange Fairs

Claudio Marsilio

Note de l’auteur

The author would like to thank the owner of the private Archive Durazzo Giustiniani of Genoa (Dr Marcello Cattaneo Adorno) for his kind hospitality and the archivist (Dr Maddalena Giordano) for help in accessing the documents.

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Extrait du texte

I. The Exchange Fairs: a Brief History

The eleventh- and twelfth-century Flemish fairs held in the town of Bruges were the first examples of trade meetings organized on an international scale which promoted commercial exchange. A second example is the town of Antwerp1 which inherited, in a certain sense, the tradition of Bruges, though adopting more complex procedures that were better suited to the necessities of a growing economy.2 In the thirteenth century the Italian merchants from the towns of Siena, Florence, Lucca, Milan and Genoa3 reached the French trading centres of the Champagne,4 followed very soon by other merchants from all parts of Europe.5 On these occasions, commercial exchanges were carried out together with credit operations which developed currency exchange mechanisms and other related tools.6 The presence of the Genoese merchants, who took part in the Champagne events starting from the fifteenth century, became more intense in the following century, when they beca...


A History graduate of the University of Genoa (Italy), Claudio Marsilio has a PhD in Economic and Social History from the Bocconi University of Milan (Italy). He is a specialist in the economic and financial history of early modern Europe. He is a Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) Postdoctoral Fellow linked to the Gabinete de História Económica e Social (GHES) – Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (ISEG) of the Universidade de Lisboa (Lisbon, Portugal). He has recently published: ‘Lisbon, London, or Genoa? Three alternative destinations for the Spanish silver of Philip IV (1627–1650)’, in G. Depeyrot (ed.), Three conferences on international monetary history, Wetteren, Moneta, 2013, pp. 399–413; ‘Genoese finance, 1348–1700’, in G. Caprio (ed.), Handbook of key global financial markets, institutions, and infrastructure, vol. 1, Oxford, Elsevier, 2012, pp. 123–132; O dinheiro morreu. Paz á sua alma danada’. Gli operatori finanziari del XVII secolo tra investimenti e speculazioni, Palermo, Associazione Mediterranea, 2012.

© Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, 2017

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