By Stephan R. Epstein

This learn of past due medieval Sicily develops a critique of theories of dependence via alternate, and a brand new interpretation of the past due medieval economic climate. It hence addresses present debates at the origins of contemporary Italian financial dualism, and at the transition from feudalism to capitalism in early smooth Europe. Dr Epstein argues that fiscal improvement in this interval was once formed principally via neighborhood political and institutional constructions which regulated entry to markets. Following the Black loss of life, many institutional and social constraints on commercialization have been cozy all through western Europe because of social clash and demographic swap. Peasants grew to become extra commercialized; monetary development happened via nearby integration and specialization. The Sicilian financial system additionally accelerated and have become more and more export-oriented. even supposing just a small share of its output was once shipped overseas ahead of 1500. past due medieval Sicily is hence proven to were neither underdeveloped nor depending on overseas manufactures and exchange.

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Historiography and sources 19 have had a sufficiently structured public life to warrant keeping records of current administration. 60 Because of the scarcity and uneven distribution of local sources, therefore, a comprehensive study of Sicily as a region must rely rather heavily on documentation produced for, or by, the central offices of the state. Local documentation tends to overrepresent western as against eastern Sicily, and this has resulted in the past in a biased picture of the island as a whole.

J. Beloch, Bevolkerungsgeschichte Italiens, I. Grundlagen. Die Bevolkerung Siziliens und des Konigreichs Neapel, pp. 153-4. The total adds up to 25,464km2, 30km2 more than what is now considered the correct figure. Regional differentiation 33 distinct social and economic sub-regions; differences between them were well established by the late thirteenth century, and were reflected in patterns of agricultural production and in urban structures, as we shall see in chapters 3 and 4. 9O2. Under Muslim rule these three areas included different proportions of distinct ethnic groups.

394. Percy, 'Earliest revolution'. Beloch, Bevolkerungsgeschichte Italiens, pp. 91-2, argues instead that in 1277, 'the tax quota for each hearth was thus higher in the one province than in the other'. This is hard to believe, particularly since the tax burden had begun to shift from western to eastern Sicily already before 1250; under Frederick II, western Sicily tended to pay three to four times more than the eastern half (Percy, 'Earliest revolution'). While the earlier imbalance might indicate that Frederick II taxed the strong western Muslim population more heavily than he taxed Christians, this would not conflict with the hypothesis that the Muslim repression and deportation in the latter part of Frederick's reign shifted the demographic balance in favour of eastern Sicily (Peri, Uomini cittd e campagne, chapters 11-12).

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