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The Jewish Merchants in the Light of Eleventh-Century Geniza Documents

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image of Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

This article deals with various aspects of trade in the 11th century as attested by documents written by Jewish merchants, or regarding them, found in the Cairo Geniza. The following topics are discussed: (a) Partnership; it seems that all transactions were carried out by way of partnership, each party acting in a different locality, and dealing with imports and exports from one country to the other. (b) The methods of accounting, based on regular reports between partners. (c) The ways of marketing the goods. (d) The payments, and matters of credit, price reductions, etc. (e) Disputes between merchants, and the ways of settling them, an oath being the most conclusive argument. (f) The nature and functions of a kind of leader of the merchants, wakīl al-tujjār.

Cet article traite de différents aspects du commerce au 11ème siècle, tels qu'ils sont attestés dans les documents écrits par des marchands juifs, ou dans des documents qui les concernent, préservés dans la Geniza du Caire. Les points principaux en sont : (a) L'association; il semble que toutes les transactions s'effectuaient par l'intermédiaire d'associés, chacun des associés agissant dans une localité différente et pratiquant en commerce d'importations et d'exportations d'un pays à l'autre. (b) Les systèmes de comptabilité qui étaient fondés sur des comptes-rendus réguliers échangés entre les associés. (c) Les méthodes de vente. (d) Les modes de payement, de crédit, les réductions de prix, etc. (e) Les conflits entre les marchands et les actions entreprises pour les résoudre. (f) Les fonctions du wakīl al-tujjār, le "chef des marchands".


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