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Handel, Wissenstransfer und Netzwerke.

Eine Fallstudie zu Grenzen und Möglichkeiten unternehmerischen Handelns unter Juden zwischen Reich, Italien und Levante um 1600

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The study of networks constitutes a seminal albeit intricate task for the historian of Jewish economic life in the early modern period. The article illustrates this complexity, revisiting the case of the Italian-Jewish inventor and entrepreneur Mag(g)ino Gabrielli (1561–?) who has been dismissed by some historians as a ‘shadowy figure’. A careful examination of his networks, using previously neglected sources, offers a different picture. For example, the article suggests that this Jewish entrepreneur became one of the main purveyors of glass for some of the most prestigious construction sites of the Counter-Reformation in Rome in the 1580s.

Furthermore, the article addresses later chapters in Maggino's life, such as his appointment as first consul of the Jews of Livorno (Leghorn) in 1591 and the formation of a Jewish Levant Company in the Holy Roman Empire in the late 1590s. Again, the importance of far-flung networks cannot be overlooked in the case of the Levant Company, and it is suggested that the Italiano Maggino established ties with prominent Sephardic and Levantine Jews of his day, among them Daniel Rodriga. Maggino's trade company thus sheds new light on the role of Ashkenazi and Italian Jews in the early modern trade with the Levant. Moreover, Maggino's attempt to use the office of the consul in order to merge political and economical power within Jewish communities in the Empire may be considered as an anticipation of the role of the court Jew.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 July 2008

More about this publication?
  • Founded in 1903, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte is the oldest German periodical of social and economic history. The international, peer-reviewed journal features original articles in German, English, French and Italian.

    Today, VSWG is edited by Günther Schulz, Jörg Baten, Markus A. Denzel, Gerhard Fouquet and Hans Pohl and deals with all aspects of social history, social developments from the Middle Ages to today, as well as history of finance and economic history.

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