index - CoMOR - Configurations of european fairs. Merchants, Objects, Routes (1350-1600) Access content directly
The CoMOR project

The financial crisis of 2008 contributed to re-invigorating research in economic and financial history and revive, despite the relatively brief nature of the crisis, studies of markets over long periods. More recently, attacks against structures which have governed modern international commerce have thrown institutional studies into doubt and provoked questions about the very future of globalized markets.

It is within this context of questions and doubts that the CoMOR project takes up the history of European fairs from the perspective of “market integrations”. Towards the end of the Middle Ages, fairs formed a system resting on a tightly organized schedule (“calendar of fairs”) which permitted merchants to meet in specific places on specific dates, known well in advance. At the same time, these fairs facilitated the interconnection between local and regional markets (rural as much as urban) and the trans-regional commercial networks. During the sixteenth century, a decoupling occurred between merchandise and financial fairs linked to the shift from financing products to pure money markets. The chronological boundaries of the project have as such been chosen in order to best account for these major transformations: from the decline of the old fair systems at Champagne, around 1320, through a cycle dominated by the fairs at Lyon, to the decline of the fairs at Besançon around 1630. The CoMOR project is particularly attached to studying the relational aspects (and their changes) of these merchant gatherings, the roles and the behaviours of the participants. These exchanges will be mapped for the first time in their spatial and temporal dimensions through an integrated database and GIS tracing the merchants through their fairs, items, itineraries, and rhythms. This fundamental digital axis of the project will be brought to life by the French team with respect to Digital Humanities and the German team for Spatial Humanities. The investigation centers on France, Germany, and Italy, the specialties of the core consortium researchers, with, we hope and expect, expansions towards other economic and cultural regions near the end of the project.

The Franco-German team in charge of CoMOR brings a number of specific ad-vantages to the project. Most importantly, a complementary specialization in different eras: French medievalists and early modernist Germans. This is followed by the shared closed focus on the project's main terrain, Southern Germany to Lyon, with both teams also counting among their members specialists in Northern Italy. Finally, while each team brings with it certain academic dispositions – in France, the strong emphasis on social history and sociology of economy, in Germany, a tradition of Handelsgeschichte, the history of finance and exchange – they share an ambition to contribute to the history of the European economy, rooted in the study of the integrating effects of fairs on economic and social patterns over the longue durée.

Why this HAL collection ?

  • To report all publications and products resulting from the project
  • To provide access to the full text of publications in accordance with the expectations of funders in an Open Science perspective


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Erfurt : S. Rau -

Ciham : JL. Gaulin -