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Letters of Medieval Jewish Traders
Author: S. D. Goitein

ISBN: 9780691645759
Format: Hardcover
Number Of Pages: 384
Published: 19 March 2016
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5 x 2.2
Description:



Modern international business has its origins in the overseas trade of the Middle Ages. Of the various communities active in trade in the Islamic countries at that time, records of only the Jewish community survive. Thousands of documents were preserved in the Cairo Geniza, a lumber room attached to the synagogue where discarded writings containing the name of God were deposited to preserve them from desecration. From them Professor Goitein has selected eighty letters that provide a fascinating glimpse into the world of the medieval Jewish traders.


As the letters vividly illustrate, international trade depended on a network of personal relationships and mutual confidence. Organization was largely through partnerships, based usually on ties of common religion but often reinforced by family connections. Sometimes the partners of Jews were Christians or Muslims, and the letters show these merchants working together in greater harmony than has been thought, even in partnerships that lasted through generations. The services rendered to a friend or partner and those expected from him were great, and the book opens with a...

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