Chapter

The Circulation of Men and Credit: <i>The</i> Commenda <i>and the Family Firm</i>

Sebouh David Aslanian

in From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780520266872
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947573 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520266872.003.0006
The Circulation of Men and Credit: The Commenda and the Family Firm

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This chapter explores the role of the commenda contract in Julfan trade during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by situating the commenda within the context of the “family firm,” the basic organizational unit of Julfan commerce. It explores the legal and economic institution of the commenda contract among the Julfan merchants and argues that the commenda was the principal mechanism among Julfans for the circulation of men and credit. As a means of bringing together a principal merchant, known as a khwaja among the Julfans, the commenda was an economic institution of possibly Islamic origins and was widely used in the Mediterranean in the medieval period. The chapter surveys the origins and functions of the Mediterranean commenda and through a rigorous examination of Julfan commercial law and of surviving commenda contracts points out the crucial differences of this legal-commercial institution among Julfan merchants.

Keywords: Julfan; commenda; family firm; merchants; credit; Mediterranean; commercial law; trade; khwaja

Chapter.  19258 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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