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The Merchant of Prato, Francesco Di Marco Datini, 1335-1410

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  98 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Datini, a fourteenth-century Florentine merchant banker, provides us with one of the great success stories of the Middle Ages. He left behind the entire archive of his business - over 150,000 letters, some 500 ledgers and accounts books, and a mass of personal and business documents that Iris Origo tracked down, translated, selected, and made accessible to the modern reade ...more
Paperback, 458 pages
Published March 1st 2002 by David R. Godine Publisher (first published December 1957)
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This lovely study of mercantile life in northern Italy based on a chance find of a set of documents which turned out to be almost the complete archive of Francesco di Marco Datini (1335ish - 1410 (view spoiler)). Datini came from Prato in Tuscany, as a young man went to work in Avignon - at the time the seat of the Papacy and an important commercial centre - where he set up a shop which expanded over time into a far reaching network of comp ...more
Feb 23, 2009 kathleen rated it liked it
Shelves: histories
A friend who knew of my interest in textiles recommended that I read this. Francesco Di Marco Datini was (among other things) a wool trader in 14th century Tuscany. The most interesting thing about the book is the raw materials the author uses to reconstruct Datini's life: he left unbelievably vast amounts of letters, business records, ledgers, all of which were discovered undisturbed and intact in the 1870s. Just the fact that all this material was left in a room under the stairs for over 400 y ...more
Floortje Zwigtman
Interessant verslag van het leven in het Middeleeuwse Toscane, gebaseerd op het archief dat de rijke koopman uit de titel naliet. Veel boeiende details maar helaas ook net wat te veel herhalingen.
I read it in Italian. I am normally not a fan of biografy, but I have to say, the life/story of this man was interesting.
David R. Godine
Oct 19, 2010 David R. Godine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Like a modern day Forrest Gumpp, Datini was an average person dealing with the everyday business of life but one where circumstances placed him at the center of great change. He lived at the time of transition from the middle ages to the modern era and was one of the many who were in the forefront of the march to modern times. He was a minor figure at the Papal Court in Avignon which was the center of a political and religious struggle. And, unlike the thousands of others in the same position, ...more
Ocean Gebhardt
Jul 07, 2016 Ocean Gebhardt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite dry and full of facts, but an excellent book. Taken from correspondence and contemporary writings and literature. A fascinating insight into a family's life in the late 14th century in Avignon and Prato.
Alexandra Wieland
Well researched and beautifully written book on Francesco Datini of Prato, and his household.
Jose Esquibel
Nov 13, 2011 Jose Esquibel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched account of the 14th-century merchant, Francesco di Marco Datini. If you enjoy reading about the early history and commercial success of the Medici family of Florence, you'll discover many business details that contributed to the Medici prosperity found in the rich records left by Datini as revealed by Iris Origo.
Jan 28, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scholarly analysis of the life of a 14thC cloth merchant who left behind a trove of his commercial and personal papers, by a early 20thC polymath.
R. Shurmer
Everything you always wanted to know about a 14th century Italian merchant but never got around to asking about - and for good reason!
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