Forschungen in Lauriacum

Band 15

Forschungen in Lauriacum
herausgegeben von
Gesellschaft für Landeskunde und Denkmalpflege Oberösterreich
Museumverein Lauriacum
Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum

Museum der Stadt Enns

Akten
des 5. Österreichischen Numismatikertages
Enns, 21.–22. Juni 2012
Herausgegeben von
Michael Alram, Hubert Emmerig und Reinhardt Harreither

Enns – Linz  2014

Gedruckt mit freundlicher Unterstützung:
Münze Österreich AG
Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät der Universität Wien
Institut für Numismatik und Geldgeschichte der Universität Wien
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Münzkabinett
Abteilung Documenta Antiqua, Institut für Kulturgeschichte der Antike, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften
Stadtgemeinde Enns

Historisch-kulturwissenschaftliche Fakultät

Die verwendete Papiersorte ist aus chlorfrei gebleichtem Zellstoff hergestellt,
frei von säurebildenden Bestandteilen und alterungsbeständig.
Copyright © 2014 by
Gesellschaft für Landeskunde und Denkmalpflege Oberösterreich
Museumverein Lauriacum
Oberösterreichisches Landesmuseum
Alle Rechte vorbehalten
Satz und Layout: Andrea Sulzgruber
Herstellung: Plöchl Druck GmbH, A-4240 Freistadt
ISBN 978-3-902299-09-3

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Vorwort ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ VII
Programm ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

IX

Festvortrag
Bernward Ziegaus
Die Werkzeuge der keltischen Münzmeister – Funde und Forschungen ���������������������������������

3

Vorträge
Marc Philipp Wahl
Das System der Deinomeniden: Motivwanderungen auf westgriechischen Münzen im
5. Jahrhundert v. Chr. ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

33

Lucijana Šešelj – Mato Ilkić
Money circulation in Liburnia in the pre-imperial period: preliminary report ������������������������

43

Martina Griesser – René Traum – Klaus Vondrovec
Korrosionserscheinungen an antiken Bronzemünzen ��������������������������������������������������������������

55

Karl Strobel
Vorrömischer und frührömischer Geldverkehr in Noricum: Fragen und Tendenzen ��������������

67

Martin Ziegert
Zwischen Innovation und Tradition. Die Münzprägung Vespasians ��������������������������������������� 101
Ursula Pintz
Neue Erkenntnisse zu den Eisenmünzen der Austria Romana ������������������������������������������������ 109
Slavica Filipović – Tomislav Šeparović
Die spätantike Nekropole in Zmajevac (Kroatien). Übersicht über die numismatischen Funde.
Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung des Umlaufs von Münzen am Donau-Limes in Pannonien ������� 119
Nikolaus Schindel
Zur kushano-sasanidischen Münzprägung ������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 133

V

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Hubert Emmerig
Münzfunde des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit in Österreich: Die Erschließung
eines Quellenbestandes – Der Fundkatalog am Institut für Numismatik und
Geldgeschichte der Universität Wien (FK/ING) ���������������������������������������������������������������������� 143
Roman Zaoral
Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice ������������������������������������������ 149
Petr Schneider
Ein Beitrag zur Oberlausitzer Münzgeschichte im 13. Jahrhundert ���������������������������������������� 167
Dagmar Grossmannová
Beitrag zur Typologie der mährischen Münzen der zweiten Hälfte des 13. Jahrhunderts ������� 177
Herfried E. Wagner
Gefälschte Gegenstempel auf Prager Groschen ����������������������������������������������������������������������� 185
Anna Fabiankowitsch
1683 und die Münzfunde in Wien, Niederösterreich und dem Burgenland ����������������������������� 199
Jürgen Mühlbacher – Irene Mühlbacher
Der Diskurs gesellschaftlicher Erinnerungskultur am Beispiel bundesdeutscher
Silbermünzen – Ein erster Werkstattbericht ����������������������������������������������������������������������������� 215
Bernhard Prokisch
Funde religiöser Medaillen in Oberösterreich. Ein erster Bericht ������������������������������������������� 219
Karl Peitler
„Dem Johanneum, einer Anstalt, in der ich Stifter und Vaterland ehre und liebe“ –
Die Schenkungen Anton Prokesch von Ostens an das Münzkabinett des Universalmuseums Joanneum ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 235

VI

Roman Zaoral

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between
Bohemia and Venice
During the second half of the 13th century German settlers and mining experts started to encounter
Italian prospectors, traders and financiers in Bohemia and Moravia1. The impetus for this development came from Venice, which subsequently became the largest European marketplace for precious and non-ferrous metals for more than two centuries (ca. 1280 – 1500). The city profited from
the fact that it was situated closer to Central European mines than any of the other Mediterranean
ports. The penetration of Venetian merchants into the Eastern Mediterranean called for growing
production of coinage, which was wholly dependent on supplies of silver. Large quantities of silver
were an important precondition for the payments made by Venetians for goods purchased in the
Levant. Venice derived major financial benefits from its role as intermediary between the German
regions of production in Central Europe and markets in the Eastern Mediterranean. These profits
increased rapidly after the Venetians introduced the grosso matapan, which became the most
important trade coin in the Mediterranean for more than a century.
Significant quantities of precious metals were extracted from the mines of Bohemia-Moravia
and Hungary, with silver production in Iglau (Jihlava) and Kuttenberg (Kutná Hora) increasing
considerably between 1260 and 1350. The exact output is, however, unknown. Ian Blanchard
with reference to Jan Kořán estimates that it grew to an average of some 5 tonnes a year from
around 1270 before finally peaking at 6.5 tonnes of silver a year in 1298 – 13062. Jiří Majer also
refers to an output of 5 tonnes in the 1260s and 1270s. However, after the discovery of silver ore
at Kuttenberg the annual yield increased, according to Majer, to 10 tonnes by the end of the 13th
century and 20 tonnes in the first half of the 14th century3. While production of gold is also assumed
to have increased, its volume is unknown4.
Metal was exported from Central Europe in two directions, to Venice and Flanders. A failure to control supply during the initial upswing led to local money markets in Central Europe
being flooded with coin. The overpricing of domestic produce caused most of silver and gold to
pass into the hands of merchants, who exported it and received western and southern European
1 This study originated within the scope of a research programme at the Faculty of Humanities, Charles University,
Prague, No. P20/2012/29 (cultural, social and historical anthropology).
2 I. Blanchard, Mining, Metallurgy and Minting in the Middle Ages 3: Continuing Afro-European Supremacy,
1250 – 1450. Stuttgart 2005, 930 prefers figures given in J. Kořán, Přehledné dějiny československého hornictví
[Outline of Czechoslovak mining history] I. Prague 1955, 89 – 90, 195, based on actual mine revenues, to the hearsay and chronicle evidence presented by P. Spufford, Money and its use in medieval Europe. Cambridge 1988,
125 or the estimates of J.  Janáček, L’argent tchèque et la Méditerranée (XIVe et XVe siècles). In: Mélanges en
l’honneur de Fernand Braudel I. Toulouse 1972, 259 note 12, which yield an exaggerated annual output figure of
20 – 25 tonnes.
3 J. M ajer, Konjunkturen und Krisen im böhmischen Silberbergbau des Spätmittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit.
Zu ihren Ursachen und Folgen. In: Ch. Bartels – M. A. Denzel (eds.), Konjunkturen im europäischen Bergbau in
vorindustrieller Zeit. Festschrift für Ekkehard Westermann zum 60. Geburtstag. Stuttgart 2000, 73, 76 – 78.
4
J. Janáček, Stříbro a ekonomika českých zemí ve 13. století [Silver and economics of the Czech lands in the 13th
century]. Československý časopis historický 20 (1972) 897, note 100. See also J.  Kudrnáč, Prähistorische und
mittelalterliche Goldgewinnung in Böhmen. Anschnitt 29 (1977) 2 – 15.

149

Roman Zaoral

manufactured goods in return5. A manuscript compiled in the last third of the 13th century detailing
the most important goods transported to Bruges provides a detailed picture of the nature of this
trade, containing specific information about the wares traded during this period with reference to
Hungary, Bohemia and Poland: “Dou royaume de Hongrie vient cire, or et argent en plate. Dou
royaume de Behaingne vient cire, or et argent et estain. Dou royaume de Polane vient or et argent
en plate, cire, vairs et gris et coivre6.” Exports to Venice can be assumed to have had a similar
commodity structure.
As Venetian trade gradually penetrated into the Eastern Mediterranean, the need to boost
production of coinage grew. A regular flow of silver helped the city to gain the advantage over
Genoa (1257 – 1270, 1294 – 1299) and Pisa, and at the same time became a dynamic factor in the
development of commodity-monetary relations for those countries which had a sufficiency of
raw materials7. Under these circumstances most of the new Venetian grossi were not altered, in
either weight or fineness, and new and larger grossi were gradually introduced. Silver passing
concurrently from Bohemia had permitted mint-masters to stabilize the main circulatory media in
the West – the English pound sterling and the Brabant denier8. Nevertheless, the relatively rapid
establishment of trading connections between Venice and Bohemia was facilitated not only by
expanding silver production in the Bohemian-Moravian highlands from the early 1240s but also
by the expanding power of Ottokar II (Přemysl), King of Bohemia (1253 – 1278), which extended
into the Alpine lands and farther south to the neighbouring territories of Venice during the 1260s
and 1270s.
Nonetheless the geographical location of Bohemia meant that trade was of necessity longdistance. The main trade routes from the south to inland Europe bypassed the Bohemian basin.
Bohemia’s peripheral position is attested by the inland communications network itself, which
linked Prague with Regensburg, Nuremberg, Magdeburg, Breslau and Vienna, places which were
then part of the main European communications network9. Throughout the 13th century the superiority of the Danube route in long-distance trade was so marked that Bohemia and Moravia failed to
take a major share of the transit trade10. It was one of the reasons why industrial specialization did
not take place to any substantial extent, nor did any robustly capitalized domestic merchant stratum
B. Hóman, La circolazione delle monete d’oro in Ungheria dal X al XIV secolo et la crisi europea dell’oro nel
secolo XIV. Rivista Italiana di Numismatica, Second Series V (1922) 134, 140.
6
K. Höhlbaum (ed.), Hansische Urkundenbuch III. Halle 1882 – 1886, 419 note 1. As is evident from this report and
also documented in finds, alloys were more widespread in Hungary and Poland than in Bohemia.
7
Trade relations between Venice and Central Europe have been the subject of many studies by W.  von Stromer.
See particularly Binationale deutsch-italienische Handelsgesellschaften im Mittelalter. In: S.  de R achewitz –
J. R iedmann (eds.), Kommunikation und Mobilität im Mittelalter. Begegnungen zwischen dem Süden und der Mitte
Europas (11.–14. Jahrhundert). Sigmaringen 1995, 135 – 158. This topic was also discussed at the conference in
Prato (W.  von Stromer – F. C. Lane – P. Spufford), recorded in the proceedings La moneta nell’economia europea, secoli XIII–XVIII (Atti della “Settimane di studio” 7). Prato 1981, 145, 157 – 158, 879. On the Czech side see
J. Janáček, L’argent tchèque (note 2), 245 – 261; R. Zaoral, Obchodní styky mezi Prahou, Řeznem a Benátkami
ve 13. století [Trade contacts among Prague, Regensburg and Venice in the 13th century]. Numismatický sborník
21 (2006) 137 – 150; Id., Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen Bayern und Böhmen. Die Handelskontakte Prags mit
Eger, Regensburg, Nürnberg und Venedig im 13. Jahrhundert. In: R. Luft – L. Eiber (eds.), Bayern und Böhmen.
Kontakt, Konflikt, Kultur. München 2007, 13 – 34; Id., České země a Benátky: k obchodním stykům ve 13. století [The Czech lands and Venice: trade contacts in the 13th century]. In: P.  Sommer – V. Liščák (eds.), Odorik
z Pordenone: z Benátek do Pekingu a zpět – Odoric of Pordenone: from Venice to Peking and back (Colloquia
mediaevalia Pragensia 10). Prague 2008, 75 – 94; Id., Silver and glass in medieval trade and cultural exchange
between Venice and the Bohemian Kingdom. The Czech Historical Review – Český časopis historický 109 (2011)
235 – 261.
8
I. Blanchard, Mining (note 2), 938 – 956.
9
J. Pošvář, Obchodní cesty v českých zemích, na Slovensku, ve Slezsku a v Polsku do 14. století [Trade roads in
the Czech lands, Slovakia, Silesia and Poland until the 14th century]. Slezský sborník 62 (1964) 54 – 63.
10
B. Mendl, Zápas o Donaustauf [Struggle for Donaustauf]. In: Od pravěku k dnešku I. Prague 1930, 218.
5

150

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

emerge in the Bohemian kingdom, both of which would have been necessary for foreign trade
to flourish on a larger scale. The import of foreign, mostly luxury goods was therefore financed
by the export of precious metal throughout the period under consideration, namely by those who
participated in this trade as customers11.
Metals from Central Europe were as important for the Venetian trade as yarn from the West.
The growth of Venice and its trade dominance was based on the balance between the volume of
overseas trade and the production of metal, in which German miners and merchants played a
part as well as the Italians. The former mainly came from Regensburg and Vienna, and from the
14th century onwards from Nuremberg. Regensburg with its focus on goldsmithing was the most
important centre of the precious metal trade in 11th–14th century Central Europe, and as such of
importance to Bohemia. It is, however, necessary to bear in mind that a major part of these supplies
of silver was transferred to southern and western Europe in less straightforward ways than via
direct trade connections. While this mainly concerns state and church payments, more complicated
paths are also to be expected in trade. Through the merchants of southern German towns a part of
exported Bohemian silver was converted into coin while still within the bounds of the Empire, or
was used in jeweler’s products, reaching Italy and Flanders only in part as payment for exported
goods12.
The establishment of close relations between Italy and Central European mining districts was
contingent upon the raising of trade and political barriers. The intensive exchange of commodities
between Venice and the Empire was enabled by a peace treaty concluded between the Holy Roman
Emperor Frederick I (Barbarossa; 1155 – 1190) and Venice, following which a new type of silver
coin – the Venetian grosso – started to be struck. The first German silver suppliers appeared in
Venice in the period between the Third (1189 – 1192) and the Fifth Crusade (1213 – 1221). The
richest foreigner in the city was a Regensburg merchant called Bernard Teutonicus, who dealt in
silver from the East Alpine mines (Friesach, Villach), Hungary and Transylvania13, and headed a
private society which held a monopoly on silver supplies in Venice. In the years between 1221 and
1225 the numbers of merchants from southern German and Austrian towns increased considerably.
German suppliers were invested with special rights which enabled them to establish their own
store-house (Fondaco dei Tedeschi) near the Rialto with about twenty brokers who imported silver
and copper ores14. The intensification of contacts with transalpine regions was facilitated by the
improvement of communications, particularly with the opening of the St Gotthard Pass in 1237.
The Mongol invasion of Central Europe in 1241 seems to have impaired the trade in silver for a

F. Graus, Die Handelsbeziehungen Böhmens zu Deutschland und Österreich im 14. und zu Beginn des 15. Jahrhunderts. Historica 2 (1960) 77 – 110.
12
J. Janáček, Stříbro (note 4), 903 – 904.
13
W.  von Stromer, Bernardus Teutonicus und die Geschäftsbeziehungen zwischen den deutschen Ostalpen und
Venedig vor Gründung des Fondaco dei Tedeschi. In: Beiträge zur Handels- und Verkehrsgeschichte (Grazer
Forschungen zur Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte 3). Graz 1978, 1 – 15; Id., Venedig und die Weltwirtschaft um
1200. Ein neues Bild. In: W. von Stromer (ed.), Venedig und die Weltwirtschaft um 1200. Stuttgart 1999, 1 – 9. See
also G. Rösch, Venedig und das Reich. Handels- und verkehrspolitische Beziehungen in der deutschen Kaiserzeit.
Tübingen 1982.
14
Sources on the history of the Fondaco dei Tedeschi have been published by G. M. Thomas (ed.), Capitular des
Deutschen Hauses in Venedig. Berlin 1874 (reprint Vaduz 1978). See also H. Simonsfeld, Der Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venedig und die deutsch-venetianischen Handelsbeziehungen I.–II. Stuttgart 1887; K.-E. Lupprian, Zur Entstehung des Fondaco dei Tedeschi in Venedig. In: Grundwissenschaften und Geschichte. Festschrift für P. Acht
(Münchner Historische Studien, Abteilung Geschichtliche Hilfswissenschaften 15). Kallmünz 1976, 128 – 134;
Id., Il Fondaco dei Tedeschi e la sua funzione di controllo del comercio tedesco a Venezia. Venezia 1978 and
G. Rösch, Venedig und das Reich (note 13), 85 – 96.
11

151

Roman Zaoral

brief period; it is no coincidence that Florence and Genoa, which were better supplied with African
gold than Venice, had started to strike gold coins by 1252, with Venice following only in 128515.
During the 13th century, described as a period of revolution in trade, the Italians penetrated
markets in Flanders and at the same time acted as prospectors in eastern-central Europe supplying
Italian towns not only with precious metals but also non-ferrous metals16 needed for the production of weapons, instruments and ship fittings. The first documented journey made by Venetian
merchants, authorized by the Doge of Venice, to the Holy Roman Empire for trading purposes
dates from 123217. By the first half of the 13th century trade contacts had become widespread, as
is evident from the customs regulations issued for Wiener Neustadt in 1244 by Frederick II, Duke
of Austria (1230 – 1246). The route via the Pyhrn Pass seems to have been in operation by that
time18. However, the decisive turn in long-distance trade came only in the second half of the 13th
century. The accurate specification of customs duties in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, the building of
a road over the Brenner, the opening up of new trade routes via Nuremberg and western European
passes directed at the Rhineland, Flanders and England all laid the foundations for the boom in
late-medieval long-distance trade.
Metal was supplied to Venice from all the ore-mining districts of Central and South Eastern
Europe known at that time: Freiberg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Tyrol, Friesach, Iglau, Kuttenberg
(after 1280), Gölnicbánya (Göllnitz, Gelnica) in Zips (Spiš), Rodna in Transylvania, and Brskovo
in Serbia19. They were purveyed by experienced and wealthy merchants from Upper German and
northern Italian towns, all competing against one another. The entrepreneurs of Prague and other
East-Central European cities were unable to compete and thus excluded from this trade. GermanItalian rivalry for European markets culminated in the 1270s. In 1272 Venetian merchants were
forbidden from carrying on trade on two main routes, one leading via Padua and the Brenner
Pass to Regensburg and the other via Tarvisio to Vienna. Five years later Rudolf of Habsburg
(1273 – 1291) promised protection for Venetian merchants in a letter addressed to Jacopo Contarini,
Doge of Venice (1278 – 1280)20; however, it mostly referred to exclusive supplies for use at princely
courts. In particular, contacts between Venice and neighbouring Treviso, which were managed by
German merchants, had been tense. Reports of reprisals in Treviso in 1265 and bans on trade with
the city, repeatedly promulgated in Venice (1272, 1284, 1303), illustrate the strenuous efforts made
by Venetian merchants to capture the market in metals21. Venetian penetration of central Europe
had increased since the 1270s and its position became stabilized after the right of free trade was
obtained for its merchants in the Empire in 130322. The Italians and Germans controlled the work

W. von Stromer, Hartgeld, Kredit und Girageld. Zu einer monetären Konjunkturtheorie des Spätmittelalters und
der Wende zur Neuzeit. In: La moneta nell’economia europea, secoli XIII–XVIII. Prato 1981, 145.
16
Tin, copper and lead occur most frequently among the non-ferrous metals exported from Central Europe. See
I. Blanchard, Mining (note 2), 1451 – 1572.
17
H. Simonsfeld, Fondaco II (note 14), 31.
18
G. Rösch, Venedig und das Reich (note 13), 87.
19
Strikingly analogous circumstances documented in the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands, on the Saxon side of the
Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) as well as in the Siegerland or Schwarzwald convey an image of a region that was
culturally and technologically integrated. See J. Doležel – J. Sadílek, Středověký důlní komplex v trati Havírna u
Štěpánova nad Svratkou. Příspěvek k dějinám těžby stříbra v oblasti severozápadní Moravy ve 13. a 14. století [A
medieval mining complex “Havírna”. Contribution to the history of silver mining in the region of North-western
Moravia in the 13th and 14th centuries]. Mediaevalia archaeologica 6 (2004) 43 – 119.
20
R. Predelli et al. (eds.), I libri commemoriali della Repubblica di Venezia – regesti I. Venezia 1876, document
No. 5 of 18th March 1277.
21
The German colony in Treviso was documented by 1184 – 1193. H. Simonsfeld, Eine deutsche Colonie zu Treviso
im späten Mittelalter. In: Abhandlungen der Historischen Klasse der Königlich-Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. München 1891, 555 note 2.
22
W. von Stromer, Binationale Handelsgesellschaften (note 7), 143 – 146.
15

152

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

of coiners and goldsmiths in the Bohemian kingdom, but they also played a prominent role as
diplomats and notaries, in keeping with the “imperial” character of Ottokar’s court23.
It was the power struggle between the Patriarchate of Aquileia and the local nobility in 1267
which benefited both Venice and the Bohemian king, enabling Venetian entrepreneurs to penetrate
central European mining districts in a more systematic manner. Ottokar exploited the patriarchate
crisis to his own advantage: he acquired Friuli in 1270, and in the spring of 1272 his commissioner
in Carinthia, Ulrich of Drnholec, captured Cividale, adding to the king’s sphere of influence the
Patriarchate of Aquileia with its centre in Udine, where the local canonry elected Ottokar captaingeneral24. At that time (1270 – 1276) the king of Bohemia and his allies had control of most of the
important towns situated on the route to Venice (Aquileia, Cividale, Pordenone, Treviso, Feltre,
Verona). The connection between Bohemia-Moravia and Venice was not in fact as unusual as it
might seem. Essentially the entire route from Prague or Brno via Vienna or Linz to Venice passed
through the demesne of the king of Bohemia at that time.
The doges of Venice and the Great Council (Maggior Consiglio) took a number of measures
to bring this booming long-distance trade under their control. Three – later four – officers were
entrusted with financial powers over trade transactions of precious metals (1260 and 1266/67), a
public debt (1262) and a permanent reserve (1265) were established, together with a law on coinage (1269). A tax on imported silver was imposed in 1270 and the purchase of silver alloys was
authorized in 127325.
The import of silver was subject to close controls. In an effort to restrict the growing power of
German merchants the council issued a decree in 1268 according to which foreign merchants were
obliged to present imported silver at the mint immediately after having registered at the Fondaco.
It also charged a late or non-notice fee of approximately 9 per cent of the total silver price and 4
per cent of the total gold price26. The assay office in Venice, which was charged with weighing and
assaying precious metals, is documented by 1262; however, it does not seem to have been very
effective. This is evident from the fact that the precious metal controls became more restrictive
from 1278. The council ordered appraisers to weigh all silver offered for sale at their bank or the
mint. The mint master was obliged to buy it back for mintage and had right to remove from the
currency exchange office anybody who had paid above the official price for silver. The purchased
silver could take the form of mined silver, coins or alloys made in Venice (from 1273). At the same
time silver alloys started to be marked with coin dies. Silver in the form of coin was only allowed
to be melted down at the mint or in the state refinery on the Rialto27.
The first mentions of silver taxation and regulation in Venice come from 1268 and 1270.
They presumably refer to the regular supply of “German” silver, which had established its dominance in Venice from the late 1260s and which seems to have come predominantly from Iglau28.
German merchants arriving at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi were required to register their wares with
the officials (vicedomini) supervising all activities at the Fondaco within two days of their arrival.
Failure to register even a single mark of silver or coin resulted in draconian penalties. By 1270 they

Since 1273 Master Henry of Isernia, for example, had a comfortable post in the chancery of Ottokar II at Prague.
See V. Novotný, České dějiny [Czech history] I/4. Prague 1937, 370 – 372.
24
R. Cessi, Venezia nel Ducento: tra Oriente e Occidente. Venezia 1985, 257; V. Novotný, České dějiny I/4 (note 23),
252.
25
A. M. Stahl, Zecca. The Mint of Venice in the Middle Ages. Baltimore – London – New York 2000, passim. See
also L. Travaini, Mint organization in Italy between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries: a survey. In: N. J. M ayhew – P. Spufford (eds.), Later Medieval Mints: Organisation, Administration, Techniques. 8th Oxford Symposium
on Coinage and Monetary History (BAR International Series 389). Oxford 1977, 39 – 60.
26
A. M. Stahl, Zecca (note 25), 133.
27
Ibidem, 138 – 139, 169.
28
J. Janáček, L’argent tchèque (note 2), 245-261.
23

153

Roman Zaoral

had to pay a tax of 2.5 per cent on all their goods, including “argentin et platas argenti”29. These
rules had changed little even by the first half of the 14th century, as is evident from the merchant’s
manual of Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, a Florentine factor for the Bardi banking house, according
to which every merchant had to declare his supplies within three days of his arrival and to realize
a sale within a week. After 15 – 20 days he was to be bought out in Venetian grossi30. A similar
ordinance was in force in Prague. King Wenceslas II (1278/83 – 1305) confirmed the decision of
the Old and Lesser Town in 1304 that every foreign merchant be obliged to unload his goods and
put them on the market within five days of his arrival in Prague31.
Silver was sold for the market price. Even if any gold coins had already been struck in Venice
by 1269 (the mint did not start production of these until 1284), the law concerning coinage yoked
the price of silver to unstable gold prices32 and required silversmiths working for the mint to pay a
tax of 0.625 grammes of gold on each pound of silver33. The mint masters were obliged to pay 107
grossi for a silver pound of grosso fineness, that is, a price that had remained unchanged for fifty
years34. The mint used the purchased silver to strike grossi and their lesser denominations, which
in 1273 – 1278 were sold in the proportion of 1 gramme of pure silver to 4.05 – 4.18 grammes of
silver ore35. Venetian merchants travelling overseas were to be invested with full-bodied grossi by
conversion of old ones. In 1278 the Fondaco dei Tedeschi capitulary required that the exchange of
valid for devalued coins should be undertaken on a weight-for-weight basis36.
Supplies of silver had a direct influence on the productive efficiency of the Venice mint. Data
published by Alan Stahl explicitly support this connection: the first marked upsurge in minting
occurred in the 1260s and 1270s, with production peaking in 127837. The mint’s profit was about
ten times higher from the striking of petty coins (20.9 per cent in 1278) than from the striking of
grossi (2.3 per cent in 1278). However, even at the peak of production, estimated at 10 tonnes of
silver in 1278, its total contribution to the settlement of the massive debt carried by the Republic
of Venice was negligible38. This debt and the concomitant rise in inflation are well documented by
the ratio of petty coins issued to Venetian grosso, which increased from 1:26 in 1254 to 1:32 in

R. Cessi (ed.), Problemi monetari veneziani (Documenti finanziari della Repubblica di Venezia IV/1). Padua 1937,
11 – 12, documents No. 14 – 15.
30
F. B. Pegolotti, La pratica della mercatura (A. Evans [ed.]). Cambridge, Mass. 1936. The most recent discussion
of Pegolotti is in L. Travaini, Monete, mercanti e matematica: le monete medievali nei trattati di aritmetica e nei
libri mercatura. Roma 2003, 118 – 130.
31
Prague City Archives, Manuscript collection, No. 986, fol. 64. Quoted from M.  Dvořák, Zahraniční a vnitřní
obchod [Foreign and home trade]. In: Lucemburská Praha 1310 – 1437. Prague 2006, 124.
32
The contemporary boom in European silver production ensured a progressive cheapening of that metal in relation
to African gold. In the 1250s a given weight of gold had been generally purchasable in Europe for eight or nine
times the amount of silver. By the 1280s the value of gold as compared with silver had increased to a ratio of 1:11
and by the early 14th century gold was worth over thirteen times more than silver. See I. Blanchard, Mining (note
2), 942.
33
L. B. Robbert, The Venetian money market, 1150 to 1229. Studi Veneziani 13 (1971) 63; Id., Money and prices in
thirteenth-century Venice. Journal of Medieval History 20 (1994) 373 – 390.
34
A. M. Stahl, Zecca (note 25), 170.
35
Prices of silver valid at the Venetian mint in 1273 – 1278: upon sale of grossi (1273 and 1274): 1 gramme of native
silver = 1.04 grammes of coin silver alloy of 960/1000 fineness = 4.18 grammes of silver ore; upon sale of petty
coins (1278): 1 gramme of native silver = 5.05 grammes of coin silver alloy of 198/1000 fineness = 4.05 grammes
of silver ore. Calculated from data published by L. B. Robbert, The Venetian money market (note 33), 91.
36
G. M. Thomas (ed.), Capitular (note 14), chapter 64.
37
A. M. Stahl, Venetian Coinage: Variations in Production. In: Rythmes de la production monétaire, de l’antiquité
à nos jours. Actes du colloque international organisé à Paris du 10 au 12 janvier 1986. Louvain-la-Neuve 1987,
476 – 479.
38
A. M. Stahl, Zecca (note 25), 169 – 173.

29

154

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

128239. Even other European countries including the Kingdom of Bohemia with its rich resources
of precious metals failed to escape similar inflationary trends.
It became a general rule of the Exchequer of Venice that all incomes collected above a set
limit were to be used for the settlement of debts and amortization. In this case it was possible to
loan money through the mint. The establishment of public debt contributed to increasing sale of
testator’s obligations as well as to regular investments in real estate40. Moreover, the precious
metals trade supported the development of a banking system which, however, was limited to the
most advanced regions in Europe. The level of credit in Venice ranged from between 8 to 12 per
cent at that time41.
The Bohemian king Ottokar II, as a ruler related to the Hohenstaufen dynasty, was probably
inspired in his efforts by the economic reforms of Emperor Frederick II (1220 – 1250). The aim of
the three reforms undertaken by Ottokar in 1253, 1260/61 and 1268/70 was to make compatible
two different monetary systems (bracteates and pfennigs) and to make trade contacts with Venice
easier. In this sense his last reform, which dealt with the adjustment of weights and measures,
is among the most important. The coincidence of these measures with legal and administrative
reforms in Venice is remarkable. It is beyond doubt that they created the conditions for a more
intensive exchange of goods between Prague-Brünn and Venice.
The monetary policy of the Bohemian king was adopted by the Counts of Gorizia (the mint
at Lienz in Tyrol) and the archbishops of Salzburg (the mint at Friesach in Carinthia), as is evident from their coins which bear the lion coat of arms42. The improvement and stabilization of the
coinage was part of the Ottokar’s pledge before the battle of Kressenbrunn (1260), in which the
power struggle for Styria culminated43. The exchange of better quality coins for those with lower
silver content harmed all consumers since coin was not only a commodity in long-distance trade
but also played a part in everyday life. The solution consisted in introducing systematic measures
which were intended to boost the quality of the coinage and make the exchange of currencies
more practical.
Accordingly, the Bohemian king “ordered to renew measures and weights and to mark
them”44. The aim of Ottokar’s last reform of 1268 was to establish coins of lower weight but high
quality (970 – 980/1000) and integrate denominations of half value (obols), which have been attested by coin finds, into the currency systems of the Czech and Austrian lands. Cancellation of the
striking of one coin type in two different weights, new issues of pfennig-type deniers45, put into
circulation in Bohemia and Moravia, together with the fact that the weight of the small bracteate
G. Luzzato, L’oro et l’argento nella politica monetaria veneziana dei secoli XIII–XIV. In: Studia di storia economica veneziana. Padua 1954, 261 – 263. See also M. K napton, La finanza pubblica. In: Storia di Venezia II. Roma
1995, 375.
40
R. C. Mueller, The Procurators of San Marco in thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: a study of the office as a
financial and trust institution. Studi Veneziani 13 (1971) 192 – 193.
41
M. K napton, La finanza pubblica (note 39), 396 – 402.
42
T.  K rejčík, Mincovnictví Přemysla Otakara II.  v  alpských zemích [The coinage of Ottokar II Přemysl in the
Alpine lands]. Folia historica bohemica 1 (1979) 209 – 224.
43
J. Emler – V. V. Tomek (eds.), Fontes rerum Bohemicarum (thereinafter FRB) II. Prague 1874, 319.
44
J. Šebánek – S. Dušková (eds.), Codex diplomaticus et epistolaris regni Bohemiae (thereinafter CDB) V/1. Prague
1974, No. 794. See also FRB II, 300.
45
I use the term “pfennig-type denier” in the sense intended by Jiří Sejbal owing to the close connection between
currency development in Moravia and Austria and at the same time in an effort to distinguish Moravian coins
from Austrian and southern German pfennigs. See J. Sejbal, K chronologii moravských ražeb 13. století [Chronology of the 13th century Moravian mints]. In: Sborník I. numismatického symposia 1964. Brno 1966, 78 – 84; Id.,
K základním otázkám vzniku moravských ražeb 13. století [The origin questions of the 13th century Moravian
mints]. In: Sborník II.  numismatického symposia 1969. Brno 1976, 60; Id., Základy peněžního vývoje [ABC of
monetary development]. Brno 1997, 119. By contrast J. H ásková, K ražbě a ikonografii české mince ve 13. století
[The striking and iconography of a Bohemian coin in the 13th century]. In: Z pomocných věd historických XI –

39

155

Roman Zaoral

flan became equivalent to the weight of the pfennig, all serve as other proofs of more advanced
currency conditions46. A new heavy pound of 280 grammes seems to have been introduced in
Moravia at the time, as is evident from the secondarily modified, originally much lighter, bronze
weight found in the Upper Square in Olmütz (Olomouc) and dating to the second half of the 13th
century47. New medium bracteates started to be struck in Moravia some time after 127048. The
structural analysis of the Fuchsenhof hoard even supports the hypothesis of a brief period characterized by a reduction of bracteate types in circulation in South Moravia in favour of pfennig-type
deniers, which could be interpreted as attempt to unify two different coin systems (pfennigs and
bracteates) in the early 1270s49. Nevertheless, this daring yet fundamentally unrealistic plan of
Ottokar’s was never fully implemented, as attested by his bracteates from the mints of St. Veit and
Völkermarkt, which follow Bohemian patterns50.
During the second half of the 13th century the number of mints leased to burghers increased
considerably both in northern Italy and in the Czech lands. The decentralization and “privatization”
of coinage through the practice of leasing stood in contrast to the centralization in the distribution of coin metal and in assays of its quality. The latter is also evident from the centralization of
mining rights in Iglau, where royal officials from all over Bohemia and Moravia responsible for
management of the proceeds from silver mining (so-called urburéři) were concentrated in 127251.
In order to find the reason for this expansion in currency development during the 13th century
it is necessary to look for uncontrolled mass production of coins that had a fundamentally inflationary effect. This made it possible to multiply incomes and create the conditions for enforcing
royal dominion in mining and coinage. For practical reasons, that is, to be close to the mines in
Iglau and Deutschbrod (Smilův Brod), the main mints of the 1260s–1280s were located in the
Bohemian-Moravian Highlands52.
It was not only specialized teams of mint-masters that were engaged in the organization
of the coinage and currency but also entrepreneurs, who were able to organize the coin renewal
(renovatio monetae), during which they withdrew old coins out of circulation and exchanged them
for new coins as authorized by the king53. These entrepreneurs seem to have been able to support
the establishment of the mints and their operations for coin renewal purposes. As is evident from
the formulary reports of 1230 – 1305, the renovatio monetae, which in fact represented the only
effective form of popular taxation at that time, took place annually on St Peter’s Day (29 June) and

Numismatica, Acta Universitatis Carolinae – Philosophica et Historica 1, 1993. Prague 1995, 35 note 3 uses the
less suitable term “bracteate-type denier”.
46
R. Zaoral, Die böhmischen und mährischen Münzen des Schatzfundes von Fuchsenhof. In: B. Prokisch – T. Kühtreiber (eds.), Der Schatzfund von Fuchsenhof (Studien zur Kulturgeschichte von Oberösterreich 15). Linz 2004,
95 – 132; Id., České a moravské ražby z pokladu Fuchsenhof [Bohemian and Moravian mints from the Fuchsenhof
hoard]. Numismatický sborník 20 (2005) 61 – 108.
47
J. Doležel, Středověká miskovitá (lotová) závaží v českých a moravských nálezech [Medieval dished weights in
the Bohemian and Moravian finds]. In: Přehled výzkumů 49. Brno 2008, 198 – 201.
48
F. Cach, Nejstarší české mince [The oldest Bohemian and Moravian coins] III.  Praha 1974, 55 – 56.  J.  Sejbal,
Základy peněžního vývoje (note 45), 125, puts the striking of middle bracteates in Moravia a little later, in the
1280s and 1290s.
49
R. Zaoral, Die böhmischen und mährischen Münzen (note 46), 124; Id., České a moravské ražby (note 46), 100.
50
T. K rejčík, Mincovnictví Přemysla Otakara II. (note 42), 209 – 224. See also V. Vaníček, Velké dějiny zemí Koruny
české [History of the lands of the Bohemian Crown] III, 1250 – 1310. Prague – Litomyšl 2002, 328 – 329.
51
J. Šebánek – S. Dušková (eds.), CDB V/2. Prague 1981, No. 681.
52
L. Jan, Václav II. a struktury panovnické moci [Wenceslas II and structures of a royal power]. Brno 2006, 122.
53
This compulsory exchange of money was perceived as a burden. Vilémov Monastery (East Bohemia), for example,
was granted a charter dated 22 March 1276 exempting it from exchanging old money for new. Likewise, the Jews
were obliged to purchase a certain amount of money from particular mints once a week. RBM II, No. 1009. See
also J. Šusta, Dvě knihy českých dějin 1: Poslední Přemyslovci a jejich dědictví, 1300 – 1308 [Two books of Czech
history I: The last Přemyslides and their heritage, 1300 – 1308]. 2Prague 1926 (reprinted Prague 2001), 91.

156

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

at Candlemas (2 February)54. The striking itself took place in mints which were operated on the
basis of inherited tenancies by private entrepreneurs (concessores), while the Prague assay office
provided quality control of the coining metal55. In Prague as in Venice, three or four city officials
with responsibility for gold and silver (so-called litkupníci) were entrusted with the mediation of
commercial transactions involving registered precious metals56. Whenever real estate was sold
the purchaser was asked to add one lot of silver “pro purificando argento”. This was in fact a tax
amounting to one sixteenth of a pound in weight, as is evident from a deed issued by the Vyšehrad
chapter on 12 September 127957.
The minting of 13th-century coin led to a temporary increase in the price of silver. The reduced
content of precious metal in the coins was the reason why unminted metal became a more wide­
spread form of payment on the market than coin itself58. To merchants it represented an advantageous counter-value for imported goods. It could often be carried without excessive customs duties,
it was less expensive to transport, and it was unaffected by climatic conditions. These findings are
supported by Jiří Majer, who has calculated that about 90 per cent of silver mined in Czech lands
during the 13th century was sold in unminted form59. The non-punishable use of unminted metal
was established primarily by being deployed for larger payments and taxes60. The Venice mint allowed silver alloys to be purchased in 1273 and thus assisted in making their use more widespread.
This practice was still common at the beginning of the 14th century. Southern German and Italian
merchants took precious metals in various forms with them when they travelled, including silver
ore, silver and gold jewellery, valid and devalued coins as well as silver alloys61. A variety of metal
objects of this kind was found in the Fuchsenhof hoard discovered in Upper Austria which was
hidden around 1276/78 and might be interpreted as an example of a supply of silver bound for the
Venetian Fondaco dei Tedeschi62.
Owing to the gradual reduction of the precious metal content in coins the profit on unminted
metal would seem to have been larger than has been assumed hitherto63. This is attested by one of
the principles listed in the capitulary of the German Nation of 1278, according to which the price
of silver alloys is to be accepted as stipulated by the doge and his council, whereas the price for

J. Emler (ed.), Regesta diplomatica nec non epistolaria Bohemiae et Moraviae (thereinafter RBM) II: 1253 – 1310.
Prague 1882, Nos. 2324 – 2343, in particular No. 2334.
55
CDB V/1, No. 794.
56
M. Dvořák, Císař Karel IV.  a pražský zahraniční obchod [Emperor Charles IV and foreign trade in Prague]
I. Pražský sborník historický 34 (2006) 22.
57
RBM II, No. 1189.
58
The supply of Venice with unminted metal is analysed in more detail by L. B. Robbert, Il sistema monetario. In:
Storia di Venezia II. Roma 1995, 409 – 436. See also I. Blanchard, Mining (note 2), 936 – 970 and A. M. Stahl,
Zecca (note 25), passim.
59
J. M ajer, Development of Quality Control in Mining, Metallurgy, and Coinage in the Czech Lands (up to the
19th Century). In: History of Managing for Quality. Milwaukee (Wisconsin) 1995, 264 – 266; Id., Rudné hornictví
v Čechách, na Moravě a ve Slezsku [The ore mining in Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia]. Prague 2004, 60.
60
An example of a larger payment made with the non-punishable use of unminted metal is documented in the socalled Saar memorials from 1250, according to which a magnate weighed out his son-in-law 10 pounds of gold
and 104 pounds of silver. See FRB II, 528.
61
K. Fischer, Regensburger Hochfinanz. Die Krise einer europäischen Metropole. Regensburg 2003, 185. Chunks
of fine precious metal were also changed into Venetian grossi and ducats later on, as is evident from the accounts
book of the Regensburg Runtinger family from 1383 – 1407. F. Bastian, Das Runtingerbuch 1383 – 1407 und verwandtes Material zum Regensburger-südostdeutschen Handel und Münzwesen I–III. Regensburg 1935 – 1944.
62
B. Prokisch – T. Kühtreiber (eds.), Der Schatzfund von Fuchsenhof (note 46); R. Zaoral, České a moravské ražby
z pokladu Fuchsenhof (note 46), 61 – 108.
63
As pointed out in F. C. Lane – R. C. Mueller, Money and Banking in Medieval and Renaissance Venice I.: Coins
and Money of Account. Baltimore – London 1985, 134 – 142. See also F. C. Lane, Exportations vénitiennes d’or et
d’argent de 1200 à 1450. In: Études d’histoire monétaire XIIe – XIXe siècles. Textes réunis par J. Day. Lille 1984,
29 – 48.
54

157

Roman Zaoral

minted silver is not mentioned at all64. The early 14th-century merchant manual by Zibaldone da
Canal gives instructions for the conversion of unminted metal und claims that Venetian moneydealers purchased unminted silver from Germany and Hungary which was not very pure, in consequence of which they subsequently refined it65.
The last will and testament of Bruno of Schauenburg, Bishop of Olomouc (1245 – 1281), dated
1267, attests to widespread payments in unminted silver being made in Moravia. According to this
document, taxes were paid exclusively in unminted silver. The will also provides evidence of a specific medium of payment represented by unminted denier flans. Bruno’s efforts to preclude losses
associated with coin depreciation in clerical incomes were made in the context of these measures,
as attested by a stipulation that wages for two hundred priests in the amount of 12 deniers should
be paid not in common devalued coin but in unminted metal66.
The 13th-century merchant was not limited by protective measures to the same degree as in
later ages, there being no great barriers for him to pass with his goods67. There was as yet no strong
compulsion to process silver through the local mint. Attempts to introduce this in Venice and a
little later in Kuttenberg represent an innovation which was not immediately successful68. A large
number of merchants repeatedly sought to evade these regulations. The schemes they employed
to do so sometimes enjoyed success, such as on 14 December 1322, when the Major Council of
Venice was forced to spare Konrad Spitzer, a merchant of Regensburg, punishment for delaying
the registration of imported gold and silver69. However, this luminary of the mercantile world
carried on with his sharp business practices in Bohemia, ending up in prison yet again in Prague
in 132470. The question of whether miners and smelters should strike silver without delay or not
seems to have been a subject of debate in many places in Europe at that time, as is evident from
the fact that in the early 14th century miners from the contado of Siena tried to obtain a certificate
of their freedoms from the city council to be able to carry unminted silver in any way they liked71.
The high earnings of the Prague patricians, deriving from colonization, mining and the silver trade, enabled the elites in Bohemia and Moravia to purchase a wide range of foreign luxury
goods. Demand was considerable. Via foreign merchants they were able to purchase “cheap” (in
terms of silver) cottons and linens woven in Syria and Egypt, silk72, painted or enamelled glass
manufactured in Italy and Syria, as well as a whole range of spices from India and Arabia that
passed through the Levant. Thus silver of Bohemian origin flowed in the form of Venetian grosso
to the eastern Mediterranean, and in 1261 – 1278 even as far as Tabriz, the capital of the Persian
Khanate, where a mint was opened in 1271 to process these burgeoning supplies73. As it was also

G. M. Thomas (ed.), Capitular (note 14), chapter 73.
A. Stussi (ed.), Zibaldone da Canal, Manoscritto mercantile del sec. XIV. Venice 1967. See also an English edition by J. E. Dotson, Merchant Culture in Fourteenth Century Venice: The Zibaldone da Canal. Binghampton,
N.Y. 1994, 32.
66
A. Boczek (Hg.), Codex diplomaticus et epistolaris Moraviae (thereinafter CDM) III. Olomouc 1841, 402 – 408.
67
J. Mezník, Praha před husitskou revolucí [Prague before the Hussite revolution]. Prague 1990, 25.
68
In 1305 Wenceslas II tried to interdict the import of unminted metal from Bohemia by Regensburg merchants. See
J. Widemann (ed.), Regensburger Urkundenbuch I (Monumenta Boica 53, N. F. 7). München 1912, 111 – 112, No.
219.
69
K. Fischer, Regensburger Hochfinanz (note 61), 185.
70
J. Janáček, L’argent tchèque (note 2), 247 – 249.
71
P. Spufford, Power and Profit. The Merchant in Medieval Europe. New York 2003, 365.
72
A list of domestic and foreign textiles contained among the archaeological finds has been published by
H. Březinová, Textilní výroba v českých zemích ve 13.–15. století [Textile production in Czech lands during the
13th–15th centuries]. Prague – Brno 2007.
73
I. Blanchard, Mining (note 2), 946 – 947. See also P. Spufford, Power and Profit (note 71), 347.
64
65

158

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

possible to buy these articles in Prague and Brünn, they seem to have become available even to
persons outside the royal and episcopal courts74.
Glass beakers decorated with coloured enamels, which were made in Murano between 1280
and 1350, have been discovered in the holdings of Bohemian and Moravian patricians. The Prague
finds concern not only Prague Castle but derive mostly from places connected with the activities
of foreign merchants. Thus they cannot be interpreted solely as gifts or souvenirs from crusades
but also as part of long-distance trade. Two glass specimens were found at Petrská Street, an area
traditionally associated with a German settlement, while the rest come from the immediate neighbourhood of the Old Town square and the Tyn court (so-called Ungelt), which served as a customs
duty point. A find from Sněmovní Street, situated close to the main square of the Lesser Town,
established as a royal town in 1257, can also be contextualized with foreign inhabitants and their
trading activities75. These glass artefacts, which consist mostly of cups and dishes, with bottles and
beakers occurring only rarely, originated in Syria (Aleppo), northern Italy (Murano), Byzantium
(Constantinople, Corinth) and the region of south-western Germany.
The Italians who settled in Prague and Brünn facilitated not only the importation of glass
but also fostered a culture of the use of beakers made from a previously unknown material. The
Brünn finds of lead (Náměstí Svobody 17), melting-pots (Rabínova Street/Náměstí Svobody) and
coining dies (Jakubská Street 4) provide evidence of a metal trade and efforts to upgrade its value
by means of coinage76. The origins of the glass indicate that there were a significant numbers of
Italians among the merchants trading in it, some of whom resided in Brünn77. In contrast to the
finds from Prague and Brünn, Venetian glass from Olmütz (Olomouc) shows evidence of personal
contacts with bishops and canonry. Quite common types of bright green glass of Italian origin
occurred not only in the mercantile centres but also directly in the mining regions, as is evident
from finds made in Iglau, Altenberg bei Iglau (Staré Hory) and Troppau (Opava)78. Islamic glass
occurs in finds from Prague, Brünn and Znaim (Znojmo)79. Imported glass was, however, not
limited to metal trade centres and mining regions alone. To a certain degree it also spread to the
castles of Pürglitz (Křivoklát) and Kuttenberg in Central Bohemia, Tabor in South Bohemia as
well as Kremsier (Kroměříž) and Ungarisch Hradisch (Uherské Hradiště) in southern Moravia80.
At some point towards the end of the 13th century the Venetians started to imitate Islamic glass.

Documentary evidence of the Venetian glass trade in Prague at the end of the 13th century has been located by
F. Graus, Die Handelsbeziehungen (note 11), 94 note 119. It concerns an entry in the deeds of Břevnov Monastery
from 1296: It. cristalinam monstranciam Venetiis emptam pro 7 mar. See RBM II, 1202, No. 2752. The finds of
Venetian and Islamic glass in Bohemia and Moravia are subject of a number of works. See, for example, E. Černá
(ed.), Středověké sklo v zemích Koruny české [Medieval glass in the lands of the Bohemian Crown]. Most 1994;
E. Černá – J. Podliska, Sklo – indikátor kulturních a obchodních kontaktů středověkých Čech [Glass – indicator
of cultural and trade contacts in medieval Bohemia]. In: P. Sommer – V. Liščák (eds.), Odorik z Pordenone (note
7), 237 – 256; H. Sedláčková, Ninth- to Mid-16th Century Glass Finds in Moravia. Journal of Glass Studies 48
(2006) 191 – 224. Z. Smetánka, Archeologické etudy [Archaeological Etudes]. Prague 2003, 56 deals with the sale
of imported glass in 13th-century Prague.
75
E. Černá – J. Podliska, Sklo (note 74), 240 – 245.
76
In 1297 Brünn obtained from the king mining rights within six miles, analogous to the mines near the towns of
Iglau, Kolin or Časlav. See A. Boczek – J. Chytil (eds.), CDM V. Brünn 1850, 61 – 62. See also H. Sedláčková,
Ninth- to Mid-16th Century Glass Finds in Moravia (note 74), 199 – 203.
77
L. Jan, Václav II. (note 52), 127 – 137.
78
H. Sedláčková, Středověké sklo z Jihlavy [Medieval glass from Iglau]. In: Zaměřeno na středověk. Zdeňkovi
Měřínskému k 60. narozeninám. Prague 2010, 442 – 447.
79
E. Černá, Islamisches Glas im mittelalterlichen Böhmen. In: Ibrahim ibn Yaqub at-Turtushi: Christianity, Islam
and Judaism Meet in East-Central Europe, c. 800 – 1300 A.D. Prague 1996, 103 – 106.
80
See the map of Italian glass finds in medieval Moravia published by H. Sedláčková, Italské sklo ve středověku
na Moravě [Italian glass in medieval Moravia]. In: Gotika severní Itálie. České země a Furlansko ve středověku.
Mikulov 2009, 46.
74

159

Roman Zaoral

In the 14th century, however, imported glass gradually disappears from archaeological finds and is
replaced by products of domestic glass.
The glass found in Brünn is concentrated in the area of the main square with the church of St
Nicholas, founded by Italian colonists, and near the tower house in the neighbourhood of the Old
Town Hall, which presumably served as a mercantile centre. All sorts of glass have been found
there, including such luxury items as a Hedwig beaker or unusual Pordenone-type bowls. At that
time dishes represented a common category of glass object. Hedwig beakers were made in the
Near East using high relief wheel-engraving, a technique unknown in medieval Europe. Dating to
1235 – 1275, this example was found in the grounds of a building near the main square of Brünn
(Náměstí Svobody) and documents the presence of rich patricians in Brünn even before the 1250s.
Ulrich Schwarz (Oldřich Černý), a wealthy and politically active burgher who took part in the
crusade of 1248, has been proposed as the owner of this beaker81.
Italian and Islamic glass came to Bohemia and Moravia via Venice by two routes. There is
a striking concentration of quality glass in finds made in western Hungary, southern Moravia,
south-western Slovakia and Lower Austria on one hand and southern Germany on the other, all of
which are associated with the Viennese route via the Tarvisio Pass and the Regensburg route via
the Brenner Pass82. One of the first written records of the glass trade on the Viennese route comes
from the customs book of Wiener Neustadt and is dated 28 May 124483. An account from 1282
referring to southern Germany states that merchants transporting glass in a wagon were exempted from import duty up to a value of 10 liras. According to prices known from 1288 this might
represent anything from 400 to 1,300 vessels, depending on the type84. Italian glass, however, did
not only come from Venice. In the 13th–15th centuries more than 60 glass works are recorded in
Italy, although their range of products was not wide85. The production of individual glass works
must have been enormous. The annual yield of all glass works producing so-called Venetian glass,
i.e. on Italian territory, as well as in Dalmatia and Crete, is estimated to have averaged around
760,000 vessels86. Although hollow glassware mostly arrived in transalpine countries between
1270 and 1350, both the numbers of finds and the types and variants have led some researchers to
believe that most products in fact originated concurrently during the last third of the 13th century,
when this high-quality glass spread to a large part of Europe87. As this glass is connected with an
elaborate culture of fine dining focused on wine consumption, the exchange of silver for glass had
an important cultural as well as trading context.
Luxury wares such as the Brno-type beakers from Mečová street and the Nuremberg-type
bottles seem to have been custom-made. They are known from the aristocratic context at Prague
A find of 13th-century Moravian coins in the port of Caesarea (Israel) is indicative of a presumed crusade by other
unnamed pilgrims from Moravia to Palestine. See R. Zaoral, Numismatic Evidence on Czech Pilgrims in 13th
Century Caesarea. In: D.  Doležal – H. Kühne (eds.), Wallfahrten in der europäischen Kultur - Pilgrimage in
European Culture. Frankfurt am Main 2006, 73 – 79.
82
See the map of Brno-type beakers (Mečová Street) and of Nuremberg-type bottles found in Europe in:
M.  Janovíčková – H. Sedláčková, Obchod se sklem ve střední Evropě ve 13. a 14. století na příkladu konvic
typu „Mečová“ a stolních láhví typu „Norimberk“ [Glass trade in 13th- and 14th-century Central Europe using the
example of Brno, Mečová-type beakers and Nuremberg-type bottles]. In: P. Sommer – V. Liščák (eds.), Odorik z
Pordenone (note 7), 268.
83
K. Tarcsay, Mittelalterliche und neuzeitliche Glasfunde aus Wien. Altfunde aus den Beständen des Historischen
Museum der Stadt Wien. In: Beiträge zur Mittelalterarchäologie in Österreich, Beiheft 3. Wien 1999, 13.
84
C. Pause, Spätmittelalterliche Glasfunde aus Venedig. Ein archäologischer Beitrag zur deutsch-venezianischen
Handelsgeschichte. In: Universitätsforschungen zur prähistorischen Archäologie 28. Bonn 1996, 114.
85
M. Mendera, Glass production in Tuscany 13th to 16th century: the archaeological evidence. In: J. Veeckmann
(ed.), Majolica and Glass. From Italy to Antverp and beyond. The transfer of technology in the 16th – early 17th
century. Antwerpen 2002, 263 – 294.
86
C. Pause, Spätmittelalterliche Glasfunde (note 84), 101 – 102.
87
M. Janovíčková – H. Sedláčková, Obchod se sklem (note 82), 263.
81

160

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

Castle, the residence of the margraves of Moravia and kings of Bohemia in Brünn, local castles
in Kuttenberg (central Bohemia) and Tabor (southern Bohemia) and in smaller numbers also from
localities in the ownership of the church (Olmütz) and the urban patriciate (Prague, Brünn, Bratislava, Vienna and Nuremberg). Concentration of the same, unique glass types at different places
in Europe cannot be accidental. It might be explained as a single consignment sent out from one
centre of production88.
A number of written records concern the importing of textiles. One of these is a reminder
sent by Doge Jacopo Contarini to Queen Kunigunde, Ottokar’s widow, for “two lions”. Although
this record has survived only as a transcript, according to J. B. Novák it is a letter based on a real
document which was part of Queen Kunigunde’s formulary89. It is not certain whether the two lions
referred to were living animals or works of art. In all likelihood it was a reference to cloth with a
design of alternating lions and trees which was handed down in the collections of Prague Castle
and in which the sarcophagus of the king of Bohemia was draped90. King Ottokar also received
customs fees from the Danube trade route in the form of rare textiles91.
Mutual contacts are also supported by sporadic finds of Venetian coins at the castles of
Prague and Olmütz92 as well as by the 19th-century account of the exceptional hoard of Florentine
florins found in the small southern Moravian town of Jarmeritz (Jaroměřice nad Rokytnou) and
dating to the second half of the 13th century93. Another source is associated with the Prague court.
According to the Reimchronik of Ottokar of Styria, the Bohemian king Wenceslas II sent master
jewellers to Italy before his coronation in 1297 in order to purchase gemstones for the making of
a new crown and sceptre94.
On the other hand it is true that the import of luxury goods was rather exceptional in 13th-century Bohemia and had only marginal importance within the overall structure of its trade relations.
Connections with merchants from neighbouring countries and the import of a common range of
goods far exceeded contacts with Italy, as is evident from the customs tariffs at Prague, Leitmeritz
(Litoměřice) and Passau, which were limited to a relatively small list of items including cloth,
salt, wine, spices, metal articles and weapons95. While Venice evinced interest in native metal only,
the range of articles exported from Bohemia-Moravia to southern German towns was broader and
included corn, fur, wax, cattle, horses, weapons and occasionally cheap Bohemian and Moravian
cloth as well.
Accordingly, trading capital enabled only some wholesale merchants in Prague to participate
occasionally in more complicated credit transfers. In 1262 the Florentine banking house of Dal
Ibidem, 266 – 267.
J. B. Novák, Kritika listáře královny Kunhuty [Criticism of Queen Kunigunde’s memorials]. In: J.  Bidlo –
G. Friedrich – K. K rofta (eds.), Sborník prací historických k šedesátým narozeninám prof. dra Jaroslava Golla.
Prague 1906, 124 – 125.
90
M. Bravermanová, Co se také stávalo s ostatky panovníků [What also happened to rulers’ remains]. In: Příběh
Pražského hradu. Prague 2003, 202. See also N. Bažantová, Pohřební roucha českých králů [Burial garbs of the
Bohemian kings]. Prague 1993.
91
J. Emler (ed.), FRB IV: Chronicon aulae regiae. Prague 1884, 150.
92
Z.  Nemeškalová-Jiroudková  – K.  Tomková, Benátská mince z  Pražského hradu [A Venetian coin from Prague
Castle]. In: Acta Universitatis Carolinae – Philosophica et historica 1, 1993. Z pomocných věd historických XI –
Numismatica. Prague 1995, 114 – 115; V. Dohnal, Olomoucký hrad v raném středověku [The Olomouc castle in the
early Middle Ages]. Olomouc 2001, illustration plates.
93
J. Pošvář, Florentské dukáty v nálezu z Jaroměřic n. Rok. z roku 1815 [Florentine ducats in the find of Jaroměřice
nad Rokytnou from 1815]. Numismatické listy 21 (1966) 77 – 78.
94
J. Seemüller (ed.), Ottokars österreichische Reimchronik (Monumenta Germaniae Historica, Deutsche Chroniken
V/2). Hannover 1893, verses 69039 – 69050.
95
R. Nový, Funkce obchodu a mince v  pozdně přemyslovských Čechách [The role of trade and coin in late
Přemyslide Bohemia]. Numismatické listy 35 (1980) 13 – 17. See also F. Tadra, Kulturní styky Čech s cizinou [The
cultural contacts of Bohemia with foreign countries]. Prague 1897, 34 – 43.
88

89

161

Roman Zaoral

Burgo allegedly settled a debt incurred by King Ottokar owed to the papal court which derived
from his divorce of his first wife Margaret of Austria and the legalization of his three natural
children96. If we ignore the fact that this account is perhaps not entirely reliable, it was surely not
a common situation in a region where the money trade was handled by Jewish usurers97.
The trading interests of German and Italian entrepreneurs in Bohemia and Moravia and the
stimulation they received in the 1290s led to Prague playing a part in the 13th-century trade revolution as “a city with extraordinary consumption conditions within the scope of a local market”98
in which a relatively numerous Italian colony was settled99. Thanks to presence in the city of the
royal court and numerous church institutions, customers included individuals whose incomes came
from virtually all over the country. The central position of Prague meant that at least until the 1350s
the Old Town merchants supplied most of smaller towns in Bohemia and Moravia with foreign
goods. The Stapelrecht (staple right), established around the turn of the 14th century, among other
stipulations forbade foreign merchants to carry on retail sales, restricting them to selling wholesale
to domestic merchants only100. Nevertheless, because they depended only to a very small degree
on the benefits that this right conferred on Prague merchants, foreign wholesalers did not lose out.
They had direct connections with other trade centres and their financial potential and personal
contacts protected them from competition101.
Venice’s restrictive policy towards the German merchants in the 1280s and 1290s gave the
Florentine entrepreneurs, who controlled international financial operations, an unrivalled opportunity. Moreover, Bohemian silver stopped being sent to Venice as the sole terminal destination in
Italy, although it may have been re-exported from there to Florence102. The Venetians seem to have
been replaced by the Florentines around 1300, not only in Bohemia but also in Hungary, where the
Venetians had been active from a much earlier date103. The best known case is that of the Florentine banking company in Bohemia formed by one Rinieri, Apardo and Cyno the Lombardian. The
identification of these individuals is difficult. Apardo probably came from the influential Florentine
Donati family104; the origin of Rinieri, the head of the company, is, however, unclear. The Czech
historian Libor Jan identifies him with the Peruzzi family105, while Marco Veronesi assigns him
to the Macci family. Veronesi connects Verius with the same Macci family and holds him to be

J. Čechura, Peněžní a finanční aktivity ve středověkých Čechách [Money and financial activities in medieval Bohemia]. In: F.  Vencovský  – Z.  Jindra – J. Novotný  – K.  P ůlpán  – P.  Dvořák a kol., Dějiny bankovnictví v  českých zemích. Praha 1999, 28 – 29. This account seems to relate to questionable data mentioned by
F. L. Hübsch, Versuch einer Geschichte des böhmischen Handels. Prag 1849, 112 – 113. In the same year Pope
Urban IV allegedly seized money in Venice that was intended for purchasing goods for Ottokar’s court. A critical
view of this account is taken by H. Simonsfeld, Der Fondaco II (note 14), 80.
97
This situation only changed in connection with the “extinction of Jewish debts” as a result of the anti-Jewish
pogroms of 1349, 1385 and 1390. This opened up new opportunities for business enterprises in the Holy Roman
Empire, with merchants from Nuremberg taking the best advantage of the new situation. See W.  von Stromer,
Hartgeld (note 15), 110.
98
This characteristic in connection with Prague was first noted by J. Janáček, Řemeslná výroba v českých městech
v 16. století [The craft production in the 16th century Bohemian towns]. Prague 1961, 187.
99
P. Spufford, Power (note 71), 134.
100
J. Mezník, Der ökonomische Charakter Prags im 14. Jahrhundert. Historica 17 (1969) 56 – 58.
101
J. Mezník, Praha (note 67), 63.
102
Unminted “German” silver appears in an early (ca.  1290) list at Florence compiled some forty years later
(ca. 1330), under the guise of “della bolla di Venegia”, bars of silver stamped at the Venice mint. See Ph. Grierson, The coin list of Pegolotti. In: Studi in onore di Armando Sapori. Milan 1957, 485 – 492.
103
M. Štefánik, Počiatky obchodných stykov Uhorska s Benátskou republikou za dynastie Arpádovcov [The origins
of trade contacts of Hungary with the Republic of Venice under the Árpád dynasty]. Historický časopis 50 (2002)
553 – 568.
104
L. Jan, Václav II. (note 52), 133 – 135.
105
Ibidem, 146.
96

162

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

Rinieri’s successor in the office of mint-master in Kuttenberg106. At the same time, around 1300, the
Macci banking house was involved in the export of precious metal from Hungary. Andrew III, King
of Hungary from 1290 to 1301, banked 4,500 florins with this house alone107. If this identification is
correct, then it would mean that both Central European kingdoms entered into economic relations
with Florence through the Macci family, whose trading activities in the transalpine region seem
to have started in Prague in 1299 and continued in 1322 at the trade fairs in Nördlingen, where a
Rainerio de Macis is documented108.
These partners established a private trading and financial company which acted as a bank and
rented from the king the office of mint-master together with a mine and including royal incomes
from smelted precious metals (so-called urbura) with the aim of carrying out thoroughgoing monetary reform109. Despite the failure of Ottokar’s reforms, the experience eventually provided a basis
for its successful implementation. The Florentine financiers were able to demonstrate their knowledge and experience thanks to the high quality of Bohemian and Moravian coins that had resulted
from previous reforms110. They carved out an exclusive niche for themselves in the Prague trade
with foreign countries, being exempt from the ordinance stipulating that goods of foreign provenance could only be sold with written authentication of their origin, which meant that they could
deal in luxury consumer goods without restrictions. King Wenceslas II granted them hereditary
ownership of a house in Brünn that had formerly belonged to the son of a deceased mint-master
called Eberhard and which came with an appropriate acreage of land and a farmstead together with
two mills with fulling rooms, houses, gardens, orchards, a fishery and other property111. Until 1305
they dealt in real estate, and were also briefly entrusted with authority in the economic administration. In that same year they sold their estate to a butcher named John, a burgher of Brünn, for 330
pounds of Prague groschen of Moravian weight, as attested by the deed of sale dated 23 February
1305, in which Rinieri is named as captain of Cracow, Apardo as vice-chamberlain, while Cyno is
merely referred to as “de Florentia”112. Nevertheless, anticipation of the fabulous profits to be made
from conducting business in the lands of the “silver” king evidently proved illusory, as Apardo set
out for Bohemia in 1311 in order to claim the many debts that were owed him. In 1316 King John
the Blind (1310 – 1346) acknowledged the debt of his predecessors on the Bohemian throne in the
amount of 28,000 silver pounds. Claims on a sum of this order were in fact unenforceable and it
seems that the company subsequently became bankrupt113.
The Italian influence on the currency reform of 1300 is demonstrated by the Mining Law of
King Wenceslas II, entitled Ius Regale Montanorum, which was drawn up by Gozzius of Orvieto,
an Italian professor of law, on the basis of the older German Mining Code of Iglau. This introduced
M. Veronesi, Heinrich von Luxemburg und die italienische Hochfinanz: Mittelalterlicher Staatskredit, der Prager
Groschen und das florentinische Handelshaus der Macci. In: E. Widder – W. K rauth (eds.), Vom luxemburgischen
Grafen zum europäischen Herrscher – Neue Forschungen zu Heinrich VII. Luxemburg 2008, 218 – 220.
107
R. Davidsohn, Geschichte von Florenz IV/2. Berlin 1925, 312, 567.
108
See note 106.
109
In the light of recent research, which attests Rinieri’s presence in Bohemia from 1299 onwards, the still generally
accepted commentary of Josef Šusta which emphasizes the mediating role played by Peter of Aspelt in the realization of Wenceslas II’s currency reform would seem to be mere fiction. See L. Jan, Václav II. (note 52), 144 – 146.
For a detailed account of Florentine activities in the kingdom of Bohemia see W. R eichert, Oberitalienische Kaufleute und Montanunternehmer in Ostmitteleuropa während des 14. Jahrhunderts. In: U. Bestmann – F. Irsigler –
J. Schneider (eds.), Hochfinanz. Wirtschaftsräume. Innovationen. Festschrift für Wolfgang von Stromer I. Trier
1987, 269 – 356; Id., Mercanti e monetieri italiani nel regno di Boemia nella prima metà del XIV secolo. In: M. Del
Treppo (ed.), Sistema di rapporti d’élites economiche in Europa (secoli XII–XVII). Napoli 1994, 337 – 348.
110
I. Pánek, Das Münzvermächtnis des 13. Jahrhunderts in Böhmen. Numismatický sborník 12 (1973) 65 – 74.
111
The mention of a fulling-mill is considered as probable evidence for domestic cloth production in late 13th-century
Brünn. See RBM II, No. 1880.
112
RBM II, No. 2019.
113
L. Jan, Václav II. (note 52), 147 – 148.
106

163

Roman Zaoral

Roman law to the Kingdom of Bohemia, specifying administrative and technical terms and conditions for operating the mines, such as the part taken by the king in mining and coinage, regulations
pertaining to working safety, legislation on wages and working hours114.
The favourable conditions for trade and financial transactions created in the 13th century were
then fully developed during the following period, thanks to the expansion of the southern German
towns. When the Council of Vienne imposed a veto on trade with Muslims in 1312, Bohemia and
Hungary became the most important producers of precious metal in late medieval Europe. The silver and other metals supplied by Kuttenberg to the Venice mint peaked between 1330 and 1380115.
Bohemian silver – bracciali cioe buenmini or braccali coniata – in the form of quality Prague
groschen was not melted down in the Venice mint but re-exported from Venice to other Italian
towns as well as to Famagusta (Cyprus) and Lajazzo (Lesser Armenia)116. Zibaldone da Canal
mentions silver from Germany (l’argento che vien d’Alemagna) in 1320, and Francesco Pegolloti
states that the Prague groschen from the Kuttenberg mint referred to as buenmini dalla magna
(“Bohemian from Germany”) came to Venice via Vienna117. The Prague groschen (grossi boemi)
thus became one of the most common silver denomination in 14th-century Italy, as is evident, for
example, from the pilgrim book of Siena118. Nevertheless, unlike Bohemian florins, which had been
struck in Prague since 1325, Prague groschen were never hoarded in Italy.
The Viennese, on whom the staple right was conferred in 1312, profited from this trade. John
the Blind, King of Bohemia, and Charles Robert of Anjou, King of Hungary, made a contract
against the Viennese monopoly in 1327 with the aim of preventing Bohemian silver being sent
to Italy via Austria. From then on, all silver reserves from the Bohemian-Moravian mines were
rerouted to the West, thus strengthening the position of Nuremberg. Moreover, the fall in the price
of gold on the Venetian market in 1328 – 1335 fuelled the rise of the silver trade119.
The acceptance of the basic principles of northern Italian currency reform, which consisted in
improving the quality and weight of coin and led to the creation of a flexible currency system and
ultimately to the integration of gold denominations in a new system of European silver standard,
constituted an important precondition for the consolidated economic development of the Bohemian
kingdom in the 14th century. Massive supplies of silver and quality coin in the form of the Prague
groschen attracted the attention of prospectors, merchants and financial entrepreneurs from far and
wide. The import volume of Flemish cloth120, saffron and wine121 into Bohemia grew steadily. High
quality one-ounce gold in the form of gold wire woven into expensive garments at Lucca, Milan
and Venice may already have been imported by the end of the 13th century122. Imports of goods
H. Jireček (ed.), Codex juris Bohemici I. Prague 1867, 265 – 435. For an analysis of this law see G. Ch. Pfeifer,
Ius Regale Montanorum. Ein Beitrag zur spätmittelalterlichen Rezeptionsgeschichte des römischen Rechtes in
Mitteleuropa. Ebelsbach 2002.
115
J. Janáček, České stříbro a evropský trh drahých kovů v první polovině 14. století [Bohemian silver and the European precious metal market in the first half of the 14th century]. In: Historiografie čelem k budoucnosti. Prague
1982, 549 – 563.
116
F. B. Pegolotti, La pratica della mercatura (note 30), 60, 81. See also I. Blanchard, Mining (note 2), 951 – 952.
117
P. Spufford, Money (note 2), 137 – 138.
118
G. Piccinni – L. Travaini, Il Libro del pelegrino (Siena 1382 – 1446). Affari, domini, monete nell’Ospedale di Santa
Maria della Scala. Naples 2003. See also R. Zaoral – J. Hrdina, Peněžní hotovosti římských poutníků ve světle
poutnické knihy ze Sieny, 1382 – 1446 [The cash holdings of pilgrims to Rome in the light of the pilgrim book of
Siena, 1382 – 1446]. Numismatický sborník 23 (2008) 191 – 204.
119
P. Spufford, Money (note 2), 271.
120
J. Emler (ed.), RBM III. Prague 1890, No. 747.
121
RBM III, No. 965. Flemish cloth from Ghent, Ypres and Poperinghen was already being sold on the Prague market
by the 13th century. See F. Graus, Český obchod se suknem ve 14. a počátkem 15. století [The Bohemian trade with
cloth in the late 14th – early 15th century]. Prague 1950, 102.
122
Such garments were brought to Prague on the orders of the royal court. See notes 90 and 91. The 14th-century import
of one-ounce gold is traced by W. Eikenberg, Das Handelshaus der Runtinger zu Regensburg. Göttingen 1976, 132.
114

164

Silver and Glass in Trade Contacts between Bohemia and Venice

from Venice are documented by the authentication tests of Venetian products from 1304 and 1333,
which were often counterfeited in Prague123. However, the influx of luxury goods had a drawback
for the Czech lands, taking on such dimensions in the 14th and 15th centuries that it suppressed the
expansion of domestic artisanal production124.
There is no doubt that silver constituted the instrument by which the Kingdom of Bohemia
became more effectively connected with the advanced economic centres of Europe. At the same
time symptoms of a passive balance of trade started to increase, with the Italians selling more
goods and services to the Cisalpine regions than vice versa. Significant amounts of money left the
Czech lands in the context of campaigns, pilgrimages to the Holy Land organized at the expense
of the Venetians, and last but not least with payments to the papal court. Another reason for this
imbalance was a difference between the real and nominal value of coins, which had already been
recognized at the start of the groschen reform in 1300. The real worth of 12 parvi, equivalent to
the Prague groat, was cut by 2.77 per cent in comparison with their nominal worth, and this trend
deepened over time125. Nonetheless, despite certain negative tendencies, long-distance trade helped to connect various cultural regions in Europe and to even out the contrasts between them, a
circumstance which I view as one of the most important processes of late medieval history.

PhDr. Roman Zaoral
Charles University, Faculty of Humanities
U Kříže 8, 158 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic
zaoral@post.cz

F. Graus, Die Handelsbeziehungen (note 11), 94.
J. Janáček, Der böhmische Aussenhandel in der Hälfte des 15. Jahrhunderts. Historica 4 (1962) 39 – 58.
125
R. Nový, Nominální a reálná hodnota mince doby husitské [The nominal and real coin value of the Hussite
period]. In: Acta Universitatis Carolinae  – Philosophica et historica 2-1988. Z pomocných věd historických
VIII. Prague 1989, 82.
123
124

165