The solidarity and the network system of the Genoesse merchant family in the Later Middle Ages: the case of the Lomellini
By Yoko Kamenaga Anzai
Paper given at The Communications and Networks of Medieval Cities in the West: The Sixth Japanese-Korean Symposium on Medieval History of Europe – held at Keio Gijyuku University (2007)
Introduction: The medieval Genoese merchant, regardless to say, developed their commercial activity from the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, to the and of the Black sea. The character of their activity is often imaged to attribute by rather ambiguous and contradictory words: occasionally ‘individualism’ and occasionally ‘albergo’ that is often considered a large family with strong tie. Either ‘individualism’ or ‘albergo’. Without this preoccupation, we need a full-dress investigation based on historical sources and have to focus on a specific family as case study to deliberate about it.
Actually, how and by what ties did the Genoese merchant act? In this paper I try to disclose some answers of this problem throughout the case of a Genoese merchant family: the Lomellini. The Lomellini was a noble family originally from Lombardy. In the end of the 12th century, their name appears in Genoese records. Through the 13th century we can find the public activities of several members of the family in Genoese records, but they were not impressive. On the other hand, through the 14th century, this family enhanced its economic and political status. The most famous figure of the family in this century was Napoleone Lomellini. He was a member of the anziani and was known as multum dives et magnus mercator: a very rich and grand merchant. His father was common, not a rich merchant, so it is assumed that he became successful by himself without only rather than inheriting property from his father. He had three brothers and one sister. He married twice and had 20 children. We can find out the name of his sons in the cartulary drawn by notary Giuliano Canella in 1408-1421. Analyzing these main sources I will manifest the behavioral pattern and the bonds of the sons of Napoleone. This research will offer an example of the solidarity or net-work system in Medieval Genoese merchant society.