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Merchant Women and the Administrative Glass Ceiling in Thirteenth-Century Paris

Chapter
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

With a population that approached 200,000 around the year 1300, Paris was the largest city in Western Europe.1 Like other major cities, it had a stratum of wealthy bourgeois merchants who also dominated the local urban government. Paris differed from other French towns, however, because it was the center of royal government and because virtually every major aristocrat and high church leader in France and Flanders had a residence there.2 The special status of the city offered unique opportunities to the leaders of the Parisian merchant class.

Keywords

Family Business Wool Cloth Fourteenth Century Working Woman Administrative Office 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Sharon Farmer, Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, Ideology and the Daily Lives of the Poor (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), p. 17, note 19 for general discussion of the debates surrounding the size of the population of Paris.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Josef Semmler, “Die Residenzen der Fürsten und Prälaten im mittelalterlichen Paris (12.–14. Jahrhundert),” in Mélanges offerts à René Crozet, ed. Pierre Gallais and Yves-Jean Riou, 2 vols. (Poitiers: Société d’études médiévales, 1966), 2:1217–36.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boris Bove, Dominer la ville: prévôts des marchands et échevins parisiens de 1260 à 1350 (Paris: Editions CTHS, 2004), pp. 69–105, 269–91.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Le Roux de Lincy, Histoire de l’Hotel de Ville de Paris (Paris: J. B. Dumoulin, 1846), pt. 2, pp. 121–22 (Sentences of the Parloir aux bougeois from 1293).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Janice Archer, “Working Women in Thirteenth-Century Paris” (PhD Dissertation, University of Arizona, 1995), p. 142. See the discussion of Ysabel of Tremblay in this chapter, p. 94. Ysabel was a widowed draper whose share in her husband’s business was much larger than those of her son and son-in-law. Another widow from the alderman class who went into business with her son, but had the greater share in the business, is Peronnelle, “widow of Jehan Augier,” who, in 1297 paid a tax of 11 livres 5 sous. Next to her on the tax assessments and sharing a valet and chambriere with her was Jehan Augier, apparently her son, who paid a tax of 7 livres 16 sous.Google Scholar
  6. Karl Michaëlsson, Le livre de la taille de Paris, l’an 1297 (Göteberg: Elanders Boktryckeri Aktiebolag, 1962), p. 33. Peronnelle or her deceased husband also had two daughters (Agnes, “daughter of the deceased Jehan Augier” and Jeanne, “daughter of the deceased Jean Augier”) who had moved to another street, where they had a joint business with a combined value that was almost equal to the combined value of the business of their mother and brother Michaelsson, Le livre de la taille … 1297, pp. 26–27.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    The tax assessment of 1313 included marginal notes concerning ten men of various occupations (draper, spice merchant, innkeeper, maker of armor, etc.) whose wives were identified as “monnoieres”; two of those women were married to men in the de Tremblay family, which included several aldermen (see discussion of Ysabel of Tremblay, below). While the term “monnoier/e” could refer either to a person who minted money or to a person who changed or lent money, the context for these women suggests that they lent money: most of the marginal notes for these wives indicate that the wife’s share of the tax burden was one-half of the total tax burden for the household; the assumed relationship between the value of the husbands’ businesses and the value of the wives’ businesses suggests that the women were money lenders and that the money that they had to lend was generated by their husbands’ businesses: Karl Michaëlsson, Le livre de la taille de Paris, l’an de grace 1313 (Göteberg: Wettergren & Kerbers Förlag, 1951), pp. xviii–xix.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Jo Ann McNamara and Suzanne Wemple, “The Power of Women Through the Family in Medieval Europe, 500–1100,” in Women and Power in the Middle Ages, ed. Mary Erler and Maryanne Kowaleski (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988), pp. 83–102;Google Scholar
  9. Marian F. Facinger, “A Study of Medieval Queenship: Capetian France, 987–1237,” Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History 5 (1968): 3–47;Google Scholar
  10. Lois Huneycutt, Matilda of Scotland: A Study in Medieval Queenship (Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2003);Google Scholar
  11. Martha C. Howell, Women, Production and Patriarchy in hate Medieval Cities (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 10.
    For general discussion of the 1293–1300 assessments, see Archer, “Working Women,” pp. 77–80, 152–53. All five of the assessments from 1296 to 1300 are contained in ms. KK 283 in the Archives Nationales in Paris (henceforth AN KK 283). The assessments of 1296 and 1297 have been published: Karl Michaëlsson, Le livre de la taille de Paris, l’an 1296 (Göteberg: Elanders Boktryckeri Aktiebolag, 1958); Michaëlsson, Le livre de la taille … 1297. I am grateful to Janice Archer, who shared with me her alphabetized printout of all of the women in the 1292, 1296–1300, and 1313 tax assessments.Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Hercule Géraud, Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel d’après des documents originaux et notamment d’après un manuscrit contenant ‘Le Rôle de la Taille’ imposée sur les habitants de Paris en 1292, rept. ed. (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 1991);Google Scholar
  14. David Herlihy, Opera Muliebra: Women and Work in Medieval Europe (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989), p. 135; Archer, “Working Women,” p. 82.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Archer, “Working Women,” pp. 80, 106; Caroline Bourlet, “L’anthroponymie à Paris à la fin du xiiie siècle d’après les rôles de la taille du règne de Philippe le Bel,” Genèse médiévale de l’anthroponymie moderne, ed. Monique Bourin and Pascal Chareille, vol. 2–2 (Tours: Publications de l’Université de Tours, 1992), pp. 16, 23.Google Scholar
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    For a general introduction to aristocratic and royal household account books see Malcolm Vale, The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 69–80.Google Scholar
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    For a list of the surviving accounts of Robert II and Mahaut of Artois see Robert-Henri Bautier and Janine Sornay, Les Sources de l’histoire économique et sociale du moyen âge: Les états de la Maison de Bourgogne (Paris: Editions du CNRS, 1984), pp. 256–60.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Supporting documents are in Series A of the Archives départementales de Pas-de-Calais (Henceforth PdC A); most have been catalogued by Jules-Marie Richard, Inventaire-Sommaire des Archives departementales antérieures à 1790, Pas-de-Calais, Archives Civiles—Série A, 2 vols. (Arras: Imp. de la Société du Pas-de-Calais, 1878, 1887). See below at notes 64–66 for accounts kept by concierges.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    On the draper Ysabel of Tremblay, see the discussion in this chapter on pp. 93–95. Other drapers were Genevieve de Lille and La Dame de Trumelières: Bove, Dominer, p. 650; L. Douët-d’Arcq, Comptes de l’argenterie des rois de France au xivesiècle (Paris: Jules Renouard et Cie, 1851; rpt., New York, London: Johnson Reprint Corporation, 1966), p. 86. On the tapestry merchant, Peronnelle de Crepon see below at note 50. The mercers were Martine la Thierrie (1368–76); “une merciere de Paris” (1368); “Mercieres du Palais de Paris” (1378); and Ysabiau la Cauchoise (1386):Google Scholar
  20. Bernard Prost, Inventaires mobiliers et extraits des comptes des ducs de Bourgogne de la Maison de Valois (1363–1477), 2 vols. (Paris: E. Leroux, 1902–1904), 1:116, 124, 150–151, 158, 166, 495; 2:22, 583. On the linen merchants Jeanne la Fouacière, Genevieve la Fouacière and Erebourc of Moustereul, see below at notes 35–49. The others were Jeanne la Fructiere (1304); Jeanne la Pareirere (1315); Guillemete de la Pomme (1352); Jeanne de Brie (1387); “une marchande de linge de Paris” (1371); Amaline la Haronne (1368); Asselot, lingiere (1401); Jeanne la Buoise (1383); Jamecte Buynarde (1450); and Marguerite Bourdelote (1450): PdC A 199, fol. 93; PdC A 329, fol. 18v; L. Douët-d’Arcq, Comptes de l’argenterie, pp. 93–96, 143, 297;Google Scholar
  21. L. Douët-d’Arcq, Nouvelle recueil de comptes de l’argenterie des rois de France (Paris: Librairie Renouard, 1874), pp. 241, 260; Prost, Inventaires 1:106, 158, 257; 2:149, 225, 330–31, 334.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Jennifer Jones, Sexing La Mode: Gender, Fashion, and Commercial Culture in Old Regime France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    See, for instance, the seventeenth-century engraving by Abraham Bosse depicting the Gallery of the Palais Royale. One of the commercial booths in the gallery is that of a woman selling fine linens and laces: Linda Levy Peck, Consuming Splendor: Society and Culture in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 54.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    On aristocrats and kings shopping in Paris: Vale, Princely Court, pp. 351–54; Samuel Lysons, “Copy of a Roll of Purchases Made for the Tournament in Windsor Park, in the Sixth Year of Edward the First,” Archaeologia 17 (1814): 297–310; Frédérique Lachaud, “Textiles, Furs and Liveries: A Study of the Material Culture of the Court of Edward I (1272–1307),” (DPhil: Oxford, 1992), 121–22;Google Scholar
  25. Françoise Pipponier, Costume et vie sociale: ha cour d’Anjou xiv e –xv e siècle (Paris: Mouton, 1970), pp. 27, 41;Google Scholar
  26. De Rekeningen der graven en gravinnen uit het Henegouwsche huis, ed. J. Smit, 3 vols. (Amsterdam and Utrecht: J. Müller, 1924–39), 1:178–9, 521–2, 558; PdC A 132/3; PdC A 151/91; PdC A 263, fol. 21v; PdC A 270, fol. 25v; Brussels, Archives générales du Royaume, CC 1, membrane 19; Ghent, Rijksarchief, Inventaire Gaillard, 52, membrane 5, 7; Ghent, Rijsarchief, Inventaire St.-Genois, 668. On luxury goods produced in Paris:Google Scholar
  27. Marian Campbell, “Paris, miroir ou lumière pour l’orfèvrerie anglaise vers 1300?,” in 1300: L’art au temps de Philippe le Bel, ed. Danielle Gaborit-Chopin and François Avril (Paris: Ecole du Louvre, 2001), 203–18;Google Scholar
  28. Sharon Fariner, “Biffes, Tiretaines and Aumonières: The Role of Paris in the International Textile Markets of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries,” in Medieval Clothing and Textiles, vol. 2, ed. Robin Netherton and Gale R. Owen-Crocker (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2006): 75–89.Google Scholar
  29. 26.
    Bove, Dominer, pp. 644, 646 (under Haudry, Tremblay). For an explanation of the function of prud’hommes, see pp. 230–35. On Ysabel’s relationship to Jeanne Haudry, the first wife of Etienne Haudry, see Jeanne Haudry’s testament: Boris Bove, “Vie et mort d’un couple de marchands-drapiers parisiens, d’après les testaments de Jeanne et Étienne Haudry (1309, 1313),” Paris et Île-de-France, Mémoires, 52 (2001): 71.Google Scholar
  30. 36.
    Robert Fawtier and François Maillard, editors, Comptes royaux (1285–1314), vol. 2 (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1954), #23992, 24078.Google Scholar
  31. 54.
    Francesco di Balduccio Pegolotti, “Spices,” trans. from La prattica della mercatura by Robert S. Lopez, Medieval Trade in the Mediterranean World (London: Oxford University Press, 1955), pp. 109–14.Google Scholar
  32. See also W. Heyd, Histoire du commerce du levant au mojan âge, trans. into French by Furcy Raynaud, 2 vols. (Leipzig: Otto Harrassowitz, 1923, 1936), 2: 563–711.Google Scholar
  33. 62.
    Women concierges in the Parisian tax assessments: Adeline, concierge of the Count of Ponthieu; Ameline, concierge of Mon. Godefroy; Cateline, concierge of the Bishop of Chartres; Isabel la concierge; Isabel, concierge of the Seigneur of Beaumont; Jacqueline, concierge of the Seigneur of Coucy; Jeanne of Léry, concierge of the Count of Artois; Perrine, concierge of the Duke of Burgundy: Géraud, Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel, p. 159; Michëlsson, Le livre de la taille … 1296, p. 20; Michaëlsson, Le livre de la taille … 1297, p. 274; AN KK 283, fol. 103v, 166, 163v, 201v, 225v, 242, 245, 258, 275v, 277v. Parisian women concierges in other sources: Marguerite, concierge of the King; Bienvenue, Concierge of the Count of Artois; Jeanne l’Espicière, Concierge of the Count of Artois: Bove, Dominer, 282–83; PdC A 187/1; PdC A 329—these last two are accounts by Bienvenue and Jeanne l’Espiciere, partially edited by Jules-Marie Richard, “Documents des xiiie et xive siècles relatifs à l’hôtel de Bourgogne (ancien hôtel d’Artois) tirés du trésor des chartes d’Artois,” Bulletin de la société de l’histoire de Paris et de l’Île-de-France 17 (1890): 140, 152–4. Concierge outside of Paris: Jeanne, concierge of the Count of Artois at Conflans: PdC A 176/1 (account by Jeanne).Google Scholar
  34. 76.
    Prost, Inventaires, 2:22; Carolyn Sargentson, Merchants and Luxury Markets: The Marchands Merciers of Eighteenth-Century Paris (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996), pp. 18–23, 136. On the seventeenth century, see note 23 above.Google Scholar

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© Theresa Earenfight 2010

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