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Playing with Power: Merchant Republics
Playing with power: Merchant republics

By the 14th century, several groups of merchant communities had established themselves as financial powers with substantive control over the administration of many cities along the trade routes in Europe. The political system that came to be formed was based on the city-state: autonomous, relatively large and internally compact, each bordering the next without serious discontinuity. It was the political creation of a commercial metropolis which, through war, diplomacy or purchase, succeeded in enlarging the territorial framework of the original urban commune and in dominating its hinterland of small and middling towns and villages (Hocquet, 1999). In many significant ways, we see in the behaviour of these merchant groups the beginnings of what we have come ...

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