© 2017

Benedetto Cotrugli – The Book of the Art of Trade

With Scholarly Essays from Niall Ferguson, Giovanni Favero, Mario Infelise, Tiziano Zanato and Vera Ribaudo

  • Carlo Carraro
  • Giovanni Favero

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction

  3. The Book of the Art of Trade

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Benedetto Cotrugli
      Pages 23-26
    3. Benedetto Cotrugli
      Pages 27-83
    4. Benedetto Cotrugli
      Pages 85-109
    5. Benedetto Cotrugli
      Pages 111-139
    6. Benedetto Cotrugli
      Pages 141-172
  4. Essays

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 173-173
    2. Tiziano Zanato
      Pages 175-211
    3. Vera Ribaudo
      Pages 219-222
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 223-244

About this book


This is the first English translation of Benedetto Cotrugli's The Book of the Art of Trade, a lively account of the life of a Mediterranean merchant in the Early Renaissance, written in 1458. The book is an impassioned defense of the legitimacy of mercantile practices, and includes the first scholarly mention of double-entry bookkeeping. Its four parts focus respectively on trading techniques, from accounting to insurance, the religion of the merchant, his public life, and family matters.

Originally handwritten, the book was printed in 1573 in Venice in an abridged and revised version. This new translation makes reference to the new critical edition, based on an earlier manuscript that has only recently been discovered.

With scholarly essays placing Cotrugli's work into historical context and highlighting key themes, this volume is an important contribution to our understanding of the origins of management and trade practices.


Renaissance Merchant Accounting and book-keeping Business ethics Family economics, household economics Benedetto Cotrugli Mediterranean trade Ragusa Dubrovnik Aragonese Naples Double-entry bookeeping

Editors and affiliations

  • Carlo Carraro
    • 1
  • Giovanni Favero
    • 2
  1. 1.Ca’ Foscari University of VeniceVeneziaItaly
  2. 2.Ca’ Foscari University of VeniceVeniceItaly

About the editors

Carlo Carraro is Professor of Economics at Ca’Foscari University, Venice, Italy. He was President of the University of Venice from 2009 to 2014 and Director of the Department of Economics from 2005-2008. Carraro is Scientific Director of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and Director of the International Centre for Climate Governance (ICCG). He is also President Elect of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE), Co-Chair of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform Advisory Committee and the Editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

Giovanni Favero is Associate Professor of Economic history  at the Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, Italy, in the Department of Management, where he is Deputy Dean for Research. His research interests focus on the history of quantification, from statistics to accounting, and business history in a long-term perspective.

Bibliographic information

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