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

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  129 Ratings  ·  13 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 05, 2009 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
Richard Koerner
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my usual book, but at Randy's recommendation, I read it. This is the actual story of a man in the late 14th and early 15th centuries in Italy, Prato to be exact. Prato is near Florence. He was a businessman and spent much time in Avignon, France as well as Italy. He documented pretty much everything, and the author, Iris Origo, managed to put it into a form that reads easily. It is an amazing account of life in that time period and what people had to do to get along and how they deal ...more
David R. Godine
Dec 24, 2008 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
Jose Esquibel
Jul 27, 2011 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.
Ocean Gebhardt
Jun 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: journals, tuscany
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.
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.
John McCormack
Fascinating insight into life way back then. Then,as now, business was all that mattered to the merchant. Everthing else, everything, was secondary.
Jan 28, 2013 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.
Mykyta Kuzmenko
Занимательно. О жизни предпренимателя в Европе до Колумба.
Rob Shurmer
Everything you always wanted to know about a 14th century Italian merchant but never got around to asking about - and for good reason!
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.
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