In The Silk Industries of Medieval Paris, Sharon Farmer convincingly advances three related arguments. First, Paris had not small‐scale fabrication of silk ornaments, but a significant silk industry, at least from the end of the thirteenth century until the end of the fourteenth century, that employed many women, some in prestigious positions. Second, these women rose to prominence in ways their counterparts in the Mediterranean, the Lowlands and northern France did not. Third, the technical knowledge for this industry came from many parts of the Mediterranean. Farmer is able to show how immigrants in relatively large numbers helped to found and maintain the Parisian silk trade, underlining the ways in which France was built on immigrants, not native French peasants as the Annalists had it. Her astute reading of court records, guild regulations and household accounts allows her to demonstrate her points while providing a rich picture of this industry and the social relations it engendered. Much of her evidence comes from a lively and comprehensive examination of tax records that enable her to construct a prosopography, delineated in three appendices. These records show, for example, that significant numbers of Mediterranean immigrants came to Paris and remained there, often
Gender & History – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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