The solidarity and the network system of the Genoesse merchant family in the Later Middle Ages: the case of the Lomellini

 Yoko Kamenaga Anzai



  The medieval Genoese merchant, regardless to say, developed their commercial activity from the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, to the and of the Black sea. The character of their activity is often  imaged to attribute by rather ambiguous and contradictory words: occasionally 'individualism' and occasionally 'albergo' that is often considered a large family with strong tie. Either 'individualism' or 'albergo', Without this preoccupation, w need a full-dress investigation based on historical sources and have to focus on a specific family as case study to deliberate about it.

  Actually, how and by what ties did the Genoese merchant act? In this paper I try to disclose some answers of this problem throughout the case of a Genoese merchant family: the Lomellini. The Lomellini was a noble family originally from Lombardy. In the end of the12th century, their name appears in Genoese records. Through the 13th century we can find the public activities of several members of the family in Genoese records, but they were not impressive.  On the other hand, through the 14th century, this family enhanced its economic and political status. The most famous figure of the family in this century was Napoleone Lomellini. He was a member of the 'anziani' and was known as 'multum dives et magnus mercator': a very rich and grand merchant. His father was common, not a rich merchant, so it is assumed that he became successful by himself without only rather than inheriting property from his father. He had three brothers and one sister.  He married twice and had 20 children. We can find out the name of his sons in the cartulary drawn by notary Giuliano Canella in 1408-1421.  Analyzing these main sources I will manifest the behavioral pattern and the bonds of the sons of Napoleone. This research will offer an example of the solidarity or net-work system in Medieval Genoese merchant society.


2. The solidarity in the international trade


 Giuliano Canella' s cartulary contains many international trade contracts. This type of contracts includes the information about the committer and the contractor of each contract, and the detail of the navigation: the port of loading, relaying, and disburdening, the agent of each port, the captain of each ship etc.

 The children of Napoleone Lomellini appear in 35 acts of this type of contracts in the main sources. We will find some features of the solidarity or network pattern.

 First we will look at the relation ship of the committer and the contractor. In 35 acts, only one pair is composed within the Lomellini Family. We will see other family name. Here we can find the committers and the contractors who have Genoese surnames: Niccolo Sauri, Pelegrino Tarigo, Gabriele Senestrario, Guiglielmo di Negro, Angelo Cattaneo Giuliano de Castro, and Raffael Giustiniani. They appear in plural year as committer and the contractor . They seem to be continuous partner. 

  Now we will notice the navigation system. Table shows the list of the passage about navigation in the sources.

 First we will notice the name of the port in the table.: Pera, Caffa, Rhodes, Chios, Famagusta, Alexandria are important stronghold in Genoese eastern Mediterranean or Romania trade. Napoli, Cadiz, Valencia, Granada kingdom are ports in western Mediterranean trade. And Southampton, Sandwich, La Rochell, Sluis and Middelburg are ports in the Atlantic and the North Sea trade.

  Here I introduce the feature of these places. Pera is a famous Genoese colony from the second half of the 13th century in the suburb of Constantinople, given by Byzantine Empire in change of the aid for its restoration from the damage by Latin Empire.  Caffa in Crimea Peninsula is the Genoese stronghold in The Black Sea trade. Chios is one for the alum and mastic trade. Chios and Cyprus is also famous for Genoese characteristic system of "Maona". The above-mentioned western –Mediterranean place name is commercially important: Majorca is an entrepot in Maghrib Trade and Cadiz is intermediary point between Castile and Granada kingdoms. In the Atlantic and the North Sea trade, Southampton is a port tying in London that has the grand consumption, and the Lomellini appeared from the first half of the 14th century. Ra Rochelle is an important French port in the Atlantic and the Genoese appeared here from the first half of the 13th century. Sluis and Middelburg were the ports for Bruges.

 Now we will see the Genoese route by way of these portsThere were two lane from Chios. The destination of one route is Genoa and the ships carried spices, silk, cotton, and dyes. The other is from Chios to England or Flanders without passing Genoa. In this case the main merchandise was alun. This route was by way of south Italy and Maghrib and there the merchants traded raw material and its return from the Atlantic and the North Sea the ship carried English woolen goods. Almost of the sources that we treat here belong to these route. These activities of the sons of Napoleone Lomellini are typical Genoese merchants' ones.

 Now we will analyze the participants of these affairs.

 First we will notice that most of the people at loading, relaying, and disburdening port are Genoese or Genoese descent. The Lomellini members in them are 4, that is one-third of them. Three of the four are sons or nephews. As the frase of "Goffredo Lomellini (the son of Napoleone) or the person in place of him or a Genoese" shows, they preferred the descendents of Napoleone Lomellini or the Genoese for the selection of responsible people in each stage of the affairs.

 Next I indicate the people who take charge of wide area. We will notice the people who appear some times in loading, relaying, and disburdening places: Sorleone Salvago, Andrea Fieschi, and Cosma Tarigo.

  Sorleone Salvago and Andrea Fieschi appeared as intermediary person at   the loading places in the acts on the 24th May in 1410 and on 18th December in 1410. They are agents in Chios and Rhodes in the act of 24th May and in Alexandria, in the act of 18th December. The route is by way of Sicily and its destination is Sluis in both acts. Here we can find their appearance as agent in east Mediterranean area on this route. In addition, in the act of 18th December, their loadin place is Chios or Rhodes, that is indefinite. We suppose their activities spread widely in this area, not only one place.

 While Sorleone Salvago and Andrea Fieschi do not appear in other acts of this source, Cosma Tarigo often appears in other acts and has close relation to the sons of Napoleone.  In this table, he is on the route Pisa-Sicily-Famagusta and he stayed at Pisa and Sicilia. There is the passage in the act on 18th May in1412, "Cosma Tarigo and the person who belongs to him". And in the same act refers about the activity of loading man in Sicily : "In spite of any ship, by the account of Cosma Tarigo and the person who belongs to him". The group that Cosma Tarigo leads ties up with the sons of Napoleone, especially Giorgio.

 In addition to the activity as loading or intermediary person on the route Pisa-Sicily-Famagusta, In the acts where appears in the main sources,  Cosma Tarigo often appears in the acts relevant to the society of wood traders in Sicily. Perhaps he has various connection in Sicily and it would be important for the sons of Napoleone to cooperate with him in their commericial activity in the Mediterranean world.

  The relationship of the Tarigo family and the sons of Napoleone spread over Cosma. The members of the Tarigo family appears in the main sources 17 times. The Tarigo is not dominant Genoese family. So we could estimate this 17 times very large number. This family member appeared in long period and their relationship with sons of Napoleone would continue long. In the Tarigo, only two members appear in the main sources: Cosma et his brother Peregrino. Peregrino appears with his brother in the most acts in the main sources. Perhaps these brothers participated in the same affairs. In addition, Peregrino was the husband of Ginevra Lomellini, daughter of Napoleone. That is, he was a brother in law for the sons of Napoleone. Peregrino played as arbiter in the strife among the sons of Napoleone. Peregrino, like his brother Cosma, also had close relation with the sons of Napoleone. And the relation between the sons of Napoleone and the Tarigo was, though it was very familiar, limited only to these brothers, not the entire of the Tarigo family.  The range where the bond spread was, in spite of the relation of cognate, very narrow.

   Here we analyzed mainly the bond of the sons of Napoleone Lomellini in the acts of international trade contracts, In the affaires the framework of the Lomellini , either the entire of the same surname or only the sons of Napoleone, was not strong specially. And the bonds of the member of other families are more outstanding. The sons of Napoleone had continuous relation of committers and the contractors with specific Genoese. At loading, relaying, and disburdening ports they used the members of other families as the person who covers wider area. And as the example of the Tarigo, sometimes the sons of Napoleone, that were brothers, tied up with the brothers of other family.


3. The substitution system


 In the cartulary of Giuliano Canella,  there are many title of people acting in place of someone: nuncios, procurator, tutor, curator, 'vice et nomine', 'de voluntate' etc.  The acts about the sons of Napoleone, in them, many people played these roles, Here we analyze the situations where people used some elements of these words or passages in main sources and demonstrate their substitution system.


(a) 'vice et nomine' ('in place of' and 'in the name of')


 In many and various situation where appeared the passage 'vice et nominee', in particular, I notice the existence of Giuliano canella himself. He plays this role in many acts. In addition, he plays 'vice et nomine' in place not of a specific son of Napoleone, but of many sons of him.  And Giuliano Cane.lla plays this part of the customer of the sons of Napoleone in many acts. The business where Giuliano Canella played this role are various: trade by committer and contractor,  sales contracts of slaves, 'commenda' contracts, sales contracts of alum, etc.  And the contracts where he play the role are very simple types, not complicate contracts.

  Where is the position of Giuliano Canella in this business system? He never acted as procurator. So he would not get a high position in the business. I suppose that he was in the low position but that he was familiar to their affairs widely. I already indicated that many sons of Napoleone used him. As we will see later, though the business of the sons of Napoleone has the characteristics as the division of labor, the utilization of Giuliano Canella , whose studio was in fact at the palace of Carlo, a son of Napoleone, shows the existence of the bond of brothers' affairs,


(b) 'de voluntate' ('according to the will of')


  When we see this phrase, we notice a son often acts according to his fathers' will. Perhaps sons are young and they need the activities permitted by the fathers, substantially or legally.


(c) procurator (procurator)


 (1) What is procurator?

 About this word, first, I introduce the historians' opinions. L. S. Lopez noticed the use of 'procura' by procurator. Through this, he demonstrated that the organization of the enterprise by famous Benedetto Zaccaria was very simple. About procura, Lopez explains as following:

?People use this system as a type of legal contracts.

?But the historical studies about it are very rare

?Its real procedure is very difficult to understand, because of its stereotype and remiss inscription,

 ?But this type of contracts manifests the legal relationship between the commercial or financial leader of the business and the employers, so it is a very important system.


 Lopez also noticed the contents of affairs where procura was used. He cites some cases: commission contracts, commenda, disposition of inheritance of a late employer. He also explain about the procurator as bond of solidarity and its continuity, that without a procura, a person does not have general and specific bonds with one who has procura. But Lopez adds the explanation that procura is available for general cooperation and it would be renewed automatically after each task. About the native of procurator, Lopez cites one example of person who comes from a grand Genoese family.

   Lopez' s article is very useful as to the viewpoints to think of general problem about procurator. But about continuity of procura etc, he cited no example.

  After classical article of Lopez, M. Balard refers to this system a little in his great book. Balard 's description is full of the contents of task of procurator or other substitution person. He considers procurator as intermediate who substitute an answerable person in his absence. And he explain that procurator is in circulation of capital from Genoa to Romania, and that its roles are relief of settlement, proceedings of contracts in commenda, charter of ships, adjustment of affairs. Balard also refers to the problem about recovery of resources and inheritance, as the most normal task of procurator, and he indicate the substitution at the suit about it as the role of procurator. Balard also indicates the term of task as procurator. He supposed the term of long navigation, 2-3 years, sometimes 5 years. Finally Balard stresses that the system of procurator is indispensable for the commerce in Romania and that the dense human network by procurator, and he warn the storess the Genoese 'individualism', that is often indicated as the characteristic of Genoese activities.

 The purpose of the demonstration of Balard is the modification of exaggeration of famous "Genoese individualism". So the detail about procurator system is not concrete. I agree the importance of the partial modification of "Genoese individualism", but to analyze the procurator system, his indication was not sufficient. Whom the appointer select his own procurator? What is the bond between the appointer and his procurator?


 (2) procurator in the main sources

 Here we will notice some example of the appointment of the procurator and check the relation ship between the appointer and his procurator.

  In the cartulary of Giuliano Canella, there are two patterns of the acts where a procurator appears. One is the act where someone appoints his procurator,. The other is the one where the appointed procurator acts for the appointer and contracts something as procurator.

  The act of first pattern has fixed form of acts. First, the appointer declares the appointment of procurator. Next the appointer explains the purpose of the appointment. Its typical contents are: 1. the request and receipt by the name of appointer,  2. The proceedings for the invalidity of an act after the receipt , 3. Arbitration and settlement,  4. The suit of the appointer against either an individual or an association in an ecclesiastical or secular court.  5.  The substitutable activity as procurator of another procurator.  Some acts contain these purpose without indicating the place or concrete affairs. But others includes the place name , for example 'in Chios'  in addition. There are many acts that has typical form after the appointment of procurator and the request and receipt by the name of appointer with the name of payer and with the sum of payment.

  There exist acts of unfixed form in regard to the appointment of procurator. In this case, the affairs and the contents of its mission appear with free form. The contents are, 'loca' (unit of right) of ship, exchange, request and receipt of money, disposition of wealth, and sometimes a procurator undertakes the search of an escaping slave. 

  We can confirm the task and the position of the procurator from these contents of acts. In the purpose of its appointment, procurator is supposed  to play his part in the suit. As Lopez indicated, and also as the original meaning of this word, procurator is a person tu substitute legally. In addition to the activity in suit, the procurator acts in the activities that appear in the notorial acts, that is, in very important contracts. The appointer selects a person as procurator who could manage even if the suit occurred.

  Moreover, the opinion of Balard that the procurator  master the contents of the affairs is testified right according to the form of the source. The acts where the procurator is appointed without the indication of specific affairs premise the understanding beforehand and the trust for him. The task as procurator has the possibility to continue long for the arbitration etc.  He never plays his role without understanding the contents of affairs. So I suppose that procurator is in a important position in the fellows on business,


   (3) The utilization of procurator by the sons of Napoleone Lomellini

  Here we will analyze " who is whose procurator" in the case of each son of Napoleone Lomellini. From this viewpoints we can reconsider the ties in family business.

  First we will analyze the case of Lionello. The period of the main sources is in the evening of his life and he was not active in business. So the acts about procurator in regard to him are not in abundance. He appointed his procurator in 5 acts. In 3 of 5 he appoints wuth his brothers the procurator. He would join the partnership by brothers. In the one act of the rest 2, he appointed with his son Matteo and Stefano the procurator. Here his business is by father and son. The other one act is characteristic. Lionello is appointed to procurator by Andrea Gentile de Capocorso. Andrea is the husband of Clarisia, daughter of Lionello and a member of the family whose origine was Genovese and settled in Corsica. Through this case we can confirm the function of procurator and marriage in wider network between Genoa and Corsica.  In addition, about the appointment of a member of cognate family to procurator, Carlo Lomellini also do the similar one. The bond by marriage was important for the selection of procurator.

  Next, we will analyze the many case of Giorgio. In an act Giorgio appoints his procurator by fixed form aforesaid. In such acts Giorgio appoints his brothers Goffredo and Franco , and Antoniotto Lomellini (this person is not a son of Napoleone). In this act the specific area and the affair are not referred. Therefore these 3 people would be general procurator of Giorigio and have close relation with him.

  In these 3 persons, the one who acted substantially as procurator of Giorgio was Goffredo. There exist 17 acts where we can confirm the procurator of Giorgio appointed by him. In 10 of the 17 acts Goffredo is appointed to procurator.  The content of acts where Goffredo was appointed are various: 'loca' of ship, arbitration of commenda or shipment, purchase of a slave, etc. In addition, Goffredo often appointed another procurator of his own as procurator of Giorigio. And Goffredo never appoints Giorgio as his own procurator. Moreover, We will see other procurators of Giorigio. The name of another his brother appears only in one act: Franco in the act above; His son in one act.; Another Lomellini from another ancestry in 2 acts. (One is already cited); two Savonese in 2 acts. A member of another family in one act.

  These phenomenon would show some aspects.  For Giorigio, the brother Goffredo was his first business partner. Beside him, we can see his brother and son a little. Other procurator do not stand out. We can confirm again the system of partnership by brothers and son,

   Next, we notice the procurator of Goffredo.  Goffredo, with his brother Franco,  appointed his brother Carlo without special purpose. As the case of Giorgio, it is clear that the selection of general procurator is , to begin with, from brothers. 

  In case of Goffredo, it is characteristic that in two acts he appointed his procurator in specific area without specific affairs. He appoints his son Cristoforo in Chios and his son Luciano in Catalonia and Aragon.  Goffredo develops his business according to the practice of business that the young work abroad. In addition to the selection of general procurator, these components manifest the business structure within the circle of the descendents of Napoleone Lomellini.

  When we see procurator more concretely through Goffredo. He was on the forefront of business at Genoa. I already indicate that Goffredo often appointed another procurator of his own as procurator of Giorgio. In 4 of 5 acts belonging to this type of appointment, Giorgio appoint the procurator for specific affairs, Moreover, while Giorgio seldom appointed with a member of other family the procurator and usually with his brother, that is limited in the affairs by brothers, Goffredo sometimes appoints with a member of other families. In addition, while Giorgio was not a procurator for anyone, Goffredo was procurator appointed by many people.  Thus, many people throughout the procurator system and many affairs that requested a procurator existed around Goffredo, the one who know well each business.

  Next, we analyze the case of Niccolo. About him, the acts in regard to the procurator are few. But we will find the feature that he was often a procurator of his brother Battista. The relation between Battista and Niccolo is similar to the one between Giorgio and Goffredo, as we have seen. Niccolo appointed another procurator of his own as procurator of Battista in 3 acts. And in 2 of the 3 acts, Niccolo was appointed as general procurator in Savona and Tana.  Battista died in the period of the main sources, so there are few acts about him. But we could suppose the partnership between Niccolo and Battista.

  Njccolo with his three brothers appointed Goffredo to their procurator one time. And Goffredo appointed a Lomellini from another ancestory one time. Niccolo would be a person on forefront of business like Goffredo. But Niccolo seldom appoints Goffredo to procurator.  Through these facts, the partnership between Giorgio and Goffredo and the one between Battista and Niccolo would differentiate.

  In addition to these two pairs, though there are further few acts, we can find the trace of partnership by Andrea and Franco, sons of Napoleone. Franco appointed another procurator of his own as procurator of Andrea in 2 acts. Both Andrea and Franco do not often select a procurator from one of above two pairs. From these situation, we confirm that the sons of Napoleone Lomellini have partnership principally based on their own, but that the division of labor existed in them at the same time.


4. Conclusion

  In this research I examined many elements of the bond made by the sons of Napoleone Lomellini. For these brothers, to begin with, the ties of brothers are important in their business and their own brothers are best partners. And the frame of the descendants of Napoleone  functioned in various aspects of partnership. On the other hand, the role of of the members of the Lomellini from another ancestry is not conspicuos. This fact provides polemic  material to the problem of the solidarity of 'albergo'.

  As the existence to compensate for the bonds of the brothers, we found out some elements of the ties: the Genoese, cognate, etc.  In the widely expansion of the Genoese, the relation with these units were indispensable as the range of the selection for the faithful partner.

  In this paper I treated only a part of their commercial activity. We can find the name of the son of Napoleone Lomellini more in the main or other historical sources. For about the bonds in other circumstances of this family, we will wait another paper.