This is the first comprehensive analysis of the economic transition during this period for over sixty years, bringing fresh evidence to bear on the fall of the Roman empire and the origins of the medieval economy.
For fifty years debate has raged about early European commerce during the period between antiquity and the middle ages. Was there trade? If so, in what - and with whom? New evidence and new ways of looking at old evidence are now breaking the stalemate. Analysis of communications - the movements of people, ideas and things - is transforming our vision of Europe and the Mediterranean in the age of Charlemagne and Harun al Rashid. This is the first comprehensive analysis of the economic transition during this period for over sixty years. Using new materials and new methodology, it will attract all social and economic historians of antiquity and the middle ages, and anyone concerned with the origins of Europe, the history of the slave trade, medicine and disease, cross-cultural contacts, and the Muslim and Byzantine worlds.
Commerce, communications and the origins of the European economy; Part I. The End of the World: 1. The end of the ancient world; 2. Late Roman industry: case studies in decline; 3. Land and river communications in late antiquity; 4. Sea change in late antiquity; The end of the ancient economy: a provisional balance sheet; Part II. People on the Move; 5. A few western faces; 6. Two hundred more envoys and pilgrims: group portrait; 7. Byzantine faces; 8. Easterners heading west: group portrait; 9. Traders, slaves, and exiles; People on the move; Part III. Things that Travelled: 10. Hagiographical horizons: collecting exotic relics in early medieval France; 11. 'Virtual' coins and communications; 12. 'Real money': Arab and Byzantine coins around Carolingian Europe; Things on the move; Part IV. The Patterns of Change: 13. The experience of travel; 14. Secular rhythms: communications over time; 15. Seasonal rhythms; 16. Time under way; 17. 'Spaces of sea': Europe's western Mediterranean communications; 18. Venetian breakthrough: Europe's central Mediterranean communications; 19. New overland routes; The patterns of change; Part V. Commerce: 20. Early medieval trading worlds; 21. Where are the merchants?: Italy; 22. Merchants and markets of Frankland; 23. Connections; 24. Where are the wares?: eastern imports to Europe; 25. European exports to Africa and Asia; At the origins of the European economy; Appendices; Bibliography.