Sites of Consumption in Early Modern Europe

Evelyn Welch

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561216
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Sites of Consumption in Early Modern Europe


In 1535, the Venetian patrician Francesco Priuli began a new account book for his household's daily expenditure. Despite his elevated standing, he kept it in his own hand, noting with precision how his money was spent, where, when, and on what. There are a number of things to note about this patrician family's behaviour. One is that a major mercantile city such as Venice already offered a wide range of shopping spaces and opportunities in the early sixteenth century (and had for many years). Also, forms of payment varied and could take place long after the goods had been transferred. Moreover, Priuli's purchases (and his occasional sales) make it clear that Venice's large second-hand markets provided economic security. This article focuses on sites of consumption in early modern Europe, first considering the moral aspects of the division of labour and then discussing the spectacles of consumption. It also examines credit, the sites of bargaining and exchange of material goods, and activities such as lotteries, second-hand dealers, pawnbrokers, and auctions.

Keywords: consumption; Venice; Europe; Francesco Priuli; shopping; credit; second-hand markets; division of labour; spectacles; material goods

Article.  9291 words. 

Subjects: History

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