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The Circulation of Men and Credit: The Role of the Commenda and the Family Firm in Julfan Society

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This essay explores the role of a partnership arrangement known as the commenda in Julfan trade during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by situating it within the context of the "family firm," the basic organizational unit of Julfan commerce. It studies the legal and commercial role of the commenda in Julfan trade and argues that, in the Julfan context as in the context of medieval European and Near Eastern trade, the commenda provided the ideal means for the circulation of merchants, goods, and credit across vast distances. Cette contribution examine le rôle du contrat dit commenda dans les activités menées par les négociants arméniens de Joulfa au cours des dix-septième et dix-huitième siècles en le replaçant dans le cadre de la 'firme familiale' qui fut à la base de l'unité organisationnelle de ce commerce. Le rôle légal et commercial du commenda dans ces activités sera étudié, en soutenant que dans le contexte de Joulfa, tout comme dans celui de l'Europe médiévale et du Proche-Orient, le commenda représentait le moyen idéal facilitant la circulation des commerçants, des biens et du crédit sur de vastes distances.

Affiliations: 1: Columbia University


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