The Greek pandocheion, Arabic funduq, and Latin fundicum (fondaco) were ubiquitous in the Mediterranean sphere for nearly two millennia. These institutions were not only hostelries for traders and travelers, but also taverns, markets, warehouses, and sites for commercial taxation and regulation. In this highly original study, Professor Constable traces the complex evolution of this family of institutions from the pandocheion in Late Antiquity, to the appearance of the funduq throughout the Muslim Mediterranean following the rise of Islam. By the twelfth century, with the arrival of European merchants in Islamic markets, the funduq evolved into the fondaco. These merchant colonies facilitated trade and travel between Muslim and Christian regions. Before long, fondacos also appeared in southern European cities. This study of the diffusion of this institutional family demonstrates common economic interests and cross-cultural communications across the medieval Mediterranean world, and provides a striking contribution to our understanding of this region.

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