Journal Article

Rules of Inclusion, Rules of Exclusion: The Hanseatic <i>Kontor</i> in Bergen in the Late Middle Ages and its Normative Boundaries

Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz

in German History

Volume 29, issue 1, pages 1-22
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0266-3554
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-089X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gerhis/ghq145
Rules of Inclusion, Rules of Exclusion: The Hanseatic Kontor in Bergen in the Late Middle Ages and its Normative Boundaries

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This article deals with the mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion in the Hanse, a medieval mercantile organization of towns and traders. The focus is on the rules governing the trade and life in the overseas settlements of the Hanse (the Kontore), especially in Bergen, Norway. Sources concerning the rules in Bergen cast new light on how traders (rather than towns) were included and excluded in the Hanseatic structures. They also show how some of the exclusive tendencies were stronger in the context of the Kontore than in the Hanse at large. The analysis investigates rules on the formal admission to and ejection from the Bergen Kontor, as well as rules on obedience, secrecy, rites of incorporation, social life and conflict prevention. The study discloses how the Bergen Kontor, and the Hanse in general, turned from an inclusive into an exclusive body.

Keywords: Hanse; late medieval trade; mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion; Kontore; rites of incorporation; secrecy

Journal Article.  13055 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European History

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