Pepper, Wine (and Wool) as the Dynamic Factors of the Social and Economic Development of the Middle Ages
Like the same author's "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity", this
brief and amusing essay was written originally in English and printed privately
in 1973. Then, in 1988, the two essays were translated into Italian and printed
together in a successful volume entitled "Allegro ma non troppo". But the original
edition of both essays had never been published, neither in Italy nor elsewhere.
Last year Il Mulino finally distributed "The Basic Laws", which enjoyed great
success in bookshops. This year the publisher has done the same with the other
essay, in which Cipolla outlines medieval history in his unflappable British
style; his account includes the Normans who stayed at sea for long periods of
time in order to avoid their wives, as well as Peter the Hermit, who encouraged
the Crusades because he liked spicy foods and wanted to restore the pepper trade
with the Far East. It's a sort of parallel, plausible history: partly true,
partly not - tongue-in-cheek, ma non troppo.
Carlo M. Cipolla taught at the University of California, Berkeley and the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa.
Anteprima del testo delle prime cinque pagine a stampa del primo capitolo.
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