medieval times, in order to trade, you needed to find or use:
Traders - people to do the actual trading
Something to trade - everyone wanted luxury
goods, but what did Western Europe have to offer in return?
Storage - a safe place to store your goods
Marketplace - a place to offer your goods for
The Marketplace: While lords and kings considered the problem
of how to trade profitably, serfs and peasants acted. The roads were
filled with traders carrying goods to market. The marketplace was a
local affair. It was held each week. Local goods were traded. In the
beginning, people bartered for goods.
Fairs: Soon a new kind of marketplace appears
- the trade fair. A fair was a big deal. A fair might last for two
weeks. To hold a fair, you needed a grant from the king or from the fief
owner - you needed permission.
Often there was a tax that sellers had to
pay to the landowner or to the king to be able to sell their wares.
Sellers were in effect renting a space at the trade fair for a two week
period. People probably fussed about the tax, but they had to admit it
was fair, and they paid it. That gave the landowners a new form of
The fairs were held outside, open to the
elements. Goods were displayed in the rain, snow, sleet, and mud.
Sellers had no choice really. They had paid a fee. They needed to sell
The fair attracted pickpockets and other
petty thieves. Some sellers rented space in homes to protect their
goods. Some slept near their goods to protect them. Some people spent
the night in inns, sheltered from the weather.
Fairs were noisy, dirty, exciting places.
Musicians, jugglers, and entertainers worked the fair for the coins
tossed at them. Sellers hawked their wares. Buyers bargained loudly. The
people loved them.
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