Paolo Guinigi and the Court of Merchants.
The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (SASMARS)
When Paolo Guinigi became signore of Lucca in November 1400 the system of Anziani and councils by which Lucca had been ruled under the communal system came to an end. For nearly thirty years until he fell from power in 1430 no Anziani or councils were elected and the city and its territory were ruled by the signore, assisted by his secretary ser Guido da Pietrasanta, a handful of chancery officials and a small council of nine members selected by Paolo Guinigi himself. There was, however, one body to which these changes were not applied and that was the Corte deâ€™ Mercanti, the Court of Merchants, a powerful corporation of merchants, bankers and craftsmen, which had the supervision of the most important branches of trade and manufacturing, including international trade, silk manufacture, exchange and banking, the trade and manufacture of wool and linen cloth, gold and silver smiths, mercers and apothecaries. Each year all companies and individuals engaged in activities that came within its purview had to declare their partners, factors and other members, and any commercial disputes were to be heard by its judge and consuls. The Hospital of the Misericordia, the most important charitable institution of the city, which provided for orphans and foundlings as well as serving as a hostel for pilgrims and hospital for the sick, was under the supervision of the Court of Merchants.
Paolo Guinigi and the Court of Merchants,1017-3455,The Southern African Society for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.