International Conference on Food Economies in Pre-Modern Europe


Food markets development and integration
(XIth-XVIIIth centuries)

University of Lleida, 17th-18th September 2020

During the first half of the 20th century, the market was interpreted as an exogenous element to the medieval society, which was considered fundamentally autarkic. Under the influence of the market, medieval society increasingly focused its productive bases on commercialization, whose growth was the primum movens of geographical specialization. Under these premises, a good deal of the historiography of the time maintained that between the twelfth and eighteenth centuries, there was a progressive and more or less linear trend of the European economy towards commercialization; feudal institutions were an obstacle for this development, and commercialization emerged from the cities and was introduced into the countryside to transform rural economy.

In the last two decades, a number of studies have reconsidered the role of market economy and commercialization among pre-modern peasant societies and have shown that between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries both had already penetrated strongly in rural areas. Another line of studies, focusing on the importance of interregional exchanges, states that the development and integration of markets did not occur in a linear fashion, and wonders whether the reasons that determined it were more linked to technological or institutional factors.

Within these new lines of research, food markets take a fundamental place. The food that has received the most attention is cereal. The importance of the commercial networks through which it circulated has been determined, as well as the importance of the cereal in determining the conditions of life in the countryside and the city or the relevance of the policies that tried to control or tax its traffic. The relationship between market and dearth or famine remains one of the most controversial issues to date. In the 18th century, the French physiocrats and the first British economists observed that cooperation failures had a lot to do with the occurrence of famines. The key to preventing famine was integration between rural regions and urban markets, as well as integration among different regional markets, a vision that is currently shared by the new institutional economic history.

Other staple products such as salt also developed extensive commercial networks of great economic and political relevance. Wine or meat generated distribution circuits, of smaller amplitude, but dense and of great importance; and, finally, luxury products such as sugar, saffron or some wines, whose traffic could be the most lucrative, also generated their own distribution networks, eminently commercial and often long distance, which in turn led to the deployment of fiscal policies and commercial techniques.

Themes to be addressed may include:

  • Food markets development
  • Food markets integration
  • Disrupting elements of commercial integration: jurisdictional fragmentation, wars, epidemics, etc.
  • Food prices
  • Relations between food crises (dearth and famine) and food market integration
  • Spread and circulation of economic information on food markets.
  • Technologies, means and costs of food distribution.
  • Regional and interregional foodstuffs trade
  • Food trade: actors, networks, routes.
  • Specialized food markets.

Call for papers


Instructions to participants


17th SEPTEMBER 2020



9:15      Welcome and introduction
9:45      Keynote lecture – The development and integration of food markets in medieval and early modern England, c. 1200 to c.1750.

Phillipp Schofield (Aberystwyth University)


Live-streaming debates

10:30    1st Session

Chair: James Davis (Queen’s University Belfast)

Grain market integration in late medieval Flanders and with its surrounding regions (14th -15th Centuries).

Stef Espeel (Universiteit Antwerpen)

 Small-Scale Credit Activities and the Integration of Urban and Rural Economy. The Register of Usacco of the Late Simeone (Lucca, 1230s).

Lorenzo Tabarrini (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Comercialización rural e integración regional de mercados: la formación de una red de mercados en el condado de Barcelona (siglos XI-XIII).

Maria Soler Sala (Universitat de Barcelona)


11:15    2nd Session

Chair: Luciano Palermo (Università degli Studi della Tuscia – Istituto Nazionale di Studi Romani)

Caristiam et penuriam grani. El mercado de cereales a principios del siglo XIV en la ciudad de Girona .

Joel Colomer Casamitjana (Universitat de Barcelona)

Desintegración de mercados y crisis alimentarias: Mallorca y el mal any de 1374.

Antonio Ortega Villoslada (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia)

Dearth and competition for grains in mid-seventeenth century Andalusia: fragmented jurisdictions, competing municipalities and market disintegration.

Fred Carnegy-Arbuthnott (University College London)

12:00    3rd Session 

“Quantity or quality? An innovative approach to wheat market and wheat prices in the early modern period”

Organized by: Laura Prosperi (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca)

Chair: Wouter Ronsijn (Università Bocconi, Milano – Universiteit Gent)

The weight of the quality: wheat price and wheat price formation in early modern Italy.

Giulio Ongaro (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca)

Quality, preservation and wastage: new and old grains in 18th century Italy.

Laura Prosperi (Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca)



15:00 Keynote lecture – Ouvrir ou fermer le marché? Expériences économiques, conflits et mémoire des crises alimentaires dans les Pays-Bas méridionaux.

Alexis Wilkin (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Live-streaming debates


15:45 4th Session

Chair: George Dameron (Saint Michael’s College, Vermont)

The Medieval Florentine Grain Market at Orsanmichele: Features of an Advanced Market System.

Marie D’Aguanno Ito (George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia)

La regulación de la alimentación: La comunicación entre el ayuntamiento y la ciudadanía documentada en los pregones toledanos 1468–1518.

Lisa Walleit (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg)


16:30 5th Session

Chair: Joan Maltas (Universitat de Lleida)

Public granaries and circulation of cereals. A long-term Iberian analysis (16th-20th).

Dulce Freire (Universidade de Coimbra)

Francesco d’Amaro (Universidade de Coimbra)

Grain storage in preindustrial Europe: new evidence from eighteenth-century Flanders.

Wouter Ronsijn (Università Bocconi, Milano – Universiteit Gent)


17:15 6th Session

Chair: Fabien Faugeron (Sorbonne Université)

Conflict and bread: The bakers’ guild in Mallorca and the monopolization of bread production (15th-18th centuries).

Miguel Gabriel Garí Pellicer (Universitat de les Illes Balears – Institut d’Estudis Hispànics en la Modernitat)

Il pane e la terra. I fornai e il mercato dei cereali a Mantova tra XVI e XVIII sec.

Alberto Grandi (Università di Parma)

18:00 7th Session

Chair: John Drendel (Université du Québec à Montréal)

La Guerre de l’approvisionnement en Anatolie durant la première croisade.

Maureen Boyard (École Normale Supérieure, Lyon)

De la Normandie à Paris : les frais de nourriture de deux ecclésiastiques en 1286.

Caroline Simonet (Université de Caen-Normandie)

Marchés de la viande: assurer l’approvisionnement d’une ville en croissance (Rome, XVe siècle).

Cécile Troadec (Centre Roland Mousnier, Paris)


 18th SEPTEMBER 2020



9:00     Keynote lecture – Strutture e spazi di mercato nell’Italia del basso Medioevo (secoli XIII-XV).

Bruno Figliuolo (Università degli Studi di Udine)


Live-streaming debates


09:45    8th Session

Chair: Frederic Aparisi (Universitat de València)

Eating on board on Adriatic sea: from biscuits and wine for galley slaves to personal cooks and pilgrim’s food. An overview of eating regime on board with some aspects of food transportation in Eastern Adriatic in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

Florence Fabijanec (Rvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti / Croatian Academy of Sciences and Art)

The Adriatic and salt: between networks and plagues from the end of the sixteenth century to the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Maurizio Strano (Università degli Studi di Teramo)

10:30    9th Session 

Chair: María José Vilalta (Universitat de Lleida)

Los vascos en el transporte de alimentos de los puertos de la Corona de Aragón entre los siglos XV y XVI.

Inazio Conde (Universidad de Cantabria)

El aceite de oliva: de la mesa al taller. La formación de áreas oleícolas en el siglo XV en el sur del País Valenciano.

Antoni Llibrer Escrig (Universitat de València)

11:15    10th Session

Organized by: Frederic Aparisi (Universitat de València)

Chair: James A. Galloway (Independent Researcher, Carlow, Ireland)

Herring Trade and Quality Control in the Low Countries and Western Germany in the Fifteenth-Century.

Nicolas Brunmayr (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Fishing in Medieval Valencia.

Frederic Aparisi (Universitat de València)

Supplying inner cities with fish in the Middle Ages. Actors, products and routes.

Guillem Roca (Universitat de Lleida – Centre d’Estudis Comarcals del Segrià)


12:00    11th Session

Chair: Pinuccia Franca Simbula (Università degli Studi di Sassari)

El capítol catedralici de la seu de Mallorca i el delme del vi (1400-1420).

Maria del Camí Dols Martorell (Universitat de les Illes Balears)

Actores, redes y rutas de comercialización del vino de Jerez de la Frontera durante la baja Edad Media: del río Guadalete al Mar del Norte.

Enrique José Ruiz Pilares (Universidad de Cádiz)

Istud vinum, bonum vinum, vinum generosum: La imagen social del consumo de vino en la literatura medieval.

Maria López Carrera (Universitat de Lleida)



Live-streaming debates


15:00 12th Session

Chair: Paul Freedman (Yale University)

Els aliments i espècies al document ACA, Reial Patrimoni, Batllia General de Catalunya, vol. 450, titulat “Tarifa de la Lleuda de Cotlliure.”

Elisenda Gràcia-Mont (Universitat de Barcelona)

De Manresa a Brujas. La presencia del azafrán manresano en los mercados europeos durante la primera mitad del siglo XIV.

Adrià Mas Craviotto (Universitat de Lleida)

El mercat del dolç a la Barcelona moderna: agents, conflictes i estratègies comercials.

Marta Manzanares (Universitat de Barcelona – Observatori de l’Alimentació)

15:45  13th Session

“Taxation and food markets in Late Medieval Catalonia (I): basic food products”

Organized by: Albert Reixach Sala (Universitat de Girona).

Chair: Pere Verdés (Institució Milà i Fontanals – CSIC)

Municipal taxation on food in north-eastern Catalonia between c. 1350 and 1500.

Albert Reixach Sala (Universitat de Girona)

Albert Martí Arau (Institució Milà i Fontanals – CSIC)

Municipal taxation on food in Barcelona during the 15th century.

Laura Miquel Milian (Institució Milà i Fontanals – CSIC)

Fiscalidad comunal y provisión del mercado local en el caso de la villa de Cardona: estudio de las imposiciones sobre el consumo de cereales, vino y carnes.

Andreu Galera Pedrosa (Arxiu Històric de Cardona)

16:30 14th Session

“Taxation and food markets in Late Medieval Catalonia (II): honey and saffron”

Organized by: Lluís Sales Favà (King’s College London)

Chair: Juan Vicente García Marsilla (Universitat de València)

Un llondro carregat de mel. The trade of honey in the Crown of Aragon (XVXVI c.).

Lluís Sales Favà (King’s College London)

El desarrollo del mercado de azafrán en Cataluña durante la baja Edad Media.

Pere Verdés Pijuan (Institució Milà i Fontanals – CSIC)




  • Pere Benito i Monclús (Universitat de Lleida)

Organising Team:

  • Frederic Aparisi Romero (Universitat de Lleida)
  • Maria López Carrera (Universitat de Lleida)
  • Adrià Mas Craviotto (Universitat de Lleida)
  • Joan Maltas (Universitat de Lleida)
  • Guillem Roca Cabau (Universitat de Lleida)