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Society, Economy in the Carolingian Times

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Since the time of the Barbaric Invasions, and according to a tendency which had already appeared, early, by the times of the decline of the Roman empire, most of the daily life of the inhabitants of Europe had definitively taken refuge in the countryside. Thus, they had came back to before the time of the Roman empire, the one of the great traders, and of the cities where the 'plebs' was nourished through the distribution of goods and entertained through the games. Great trade routes kept existing for a while, they swiftly disappeared and were replaced by commercial circuits focused upon Austrasia, the heartland of the Carolingians. Larger trade routes re-appeared however albeit they were located on the outskirts of the Carolingian empire only. Cities, in the Carolingian times have just shrunken down to small agglomerations which are deeply inserted into the surrounding country. Simply, most of the 15 million inhabitants of the Carolingian empire -10 of those for the Gauls- are peasants. Their life, from Germany to Gaul and Italy, unfolds in the frame of agricultural territories, which are more or less circled by the forests -more in Germany, less in Gaul and obviously less still in Italy. The forests are the place of the ermits and the hunting. A slight global warming and a form, despite the appearance, of stability under the Merovingians, brougth an important increase of the people, with lands being opened. The large epidemies which occurred before and the famines of the grave type are not a pleague anymore. The inhabitants of the Carolingian empire, whether being from a Gallo-Roman extraction, or Franks, either are freemen, or they do belong to one of the miscellaneous categories of the personal statuses. They can be "colones", who are half-freemen who are, by status, attached to their land, which they are keeping to be the landowner of but which they often freely gave to a larger landlord from who they expected more safety or more land; those men are following the fate of their land. 'Lites', on the other hand, just have the use and the fruits of their land and the property no more only, as they are not freemen at all, paying a yearly census for that, like the hint of it. From the 8th to the 9th century A.D. colones (which represented the vast majority of the populations), lites and slaves, the lesser categories which already existed under the Merovingians, merged into the one of 'serfs.' The slaves tend to disappear due to bans from the Church or the disappearance of industries as they turn into 'servi casati,' or 'serfs with a attributed land,' or into liberated people who remain under the patronage of their former owner. Such former slaves, turned free, constitute a additional social mass to the military or the court. That new status joins the one of the colones and lites and even the one of people who have used the 'commendatio' at the lowest level but, numerically, that new set keeps few. Serfs may own their land but, above all, the are owing a important service to their master (or 'dominus'). As they inhabit a servile mansus, with a lesser surface, is also owing heavier duties. Serfs eventually ended being hereditarily linked to land, to their tenure. Serfs since the 11th century will have their status cross-influence with the one of the free peasants, or 'vilains,' in the future manoirs. As a large part of the population is part of the large domains, those concepts of a personal status, generally, are tending to fade, to the benefit of the status of the lands. The lands, thus, are considered either 'free' or 'servile' and their duties determined accordingly. Freemen may hold servile lands and reciprocally. Marriage between people of a different status occurred too and this too blurred the lines as, at last, the trend seen among the Carolingian rulers to have the pyramidal scale of the obedience eventually back to them, at the summit, eventually increases the uniformisation of the personal statuses. The Carolingian society thus is lying more in a logics leading from the Greats and the clerics to the smaller vassals and the peasants of the domains belonging to all those, which is a logics of a pre-feudal pyramid by which the Carolingian rule is more and more structured. Outside the large domains, however, a large nomber of allodial lands still exist, which are lands the small owners of which managed to preserve the independency. Of note is that the Greats tend to pressure freemen to confiscate their land as they are incresing duties everywhere. That trend to an uniformisation of the people of the Carolingian empire is hinted too further through some softening brought to the 'national' laws, as the legal system, then, is still taking into account the ethnical origin of such or such person, like being a Salian -or Ripuarian- Frank, a Burgundian, or a Alaman, for example. The rulers, through the capitularies, are uniformizing the laws more and more

The Countryside

All along the Carolingian dominions, it's the large domains which are composing the fundamental stucture of the society, in terms of how the land is cultivated and the societal relationships organized. Despite that independent villages had increased during the 8th century A.D., those entirely disappeared during the 9th as great domains are now termed like a 'potestatis,' and their inhabitants 'homines de potestatis.' The mansus system get fragile as mansus are divided. No technical innovation occurs the one of the triennal fallow instead of biennal. No clearing is extant as forests are developing. Those large domains are -rarely- domains which came from the Roman times and were anciently versed into the royal treasure- or the domains of the Carolingian king, originating from a varied patrimony and sources, and often increased through the conquest process. The domains too are belonging to the Greats of the Frankish kingdom and they are featuring the same variety as far they age or origin are concerned. The domains, in the Carolingian empire, may still be hold temporarily only by a landlord, with the quality of being a benefit warranted by the rulers, or they may be belonging to the property entirely of the owner. The Carolingian mayors of the palace, then the Carolingian kings and emperors became the largest landowners in the Frankish world. A superficy of 1,000 to 2,000 hectares is the average one of these large domains or the equivalent of what will next be a parish. They are called 'fiscus', too, as they represent a basis for a series of fiscal duties owed by the land owner. Lands by the 6th century A.D. are still worked according to the system of the Gallo-Roman era villa, with hundred of slaves that is as the disparition of the sources of slavery however is beginning to bring a mutation towards exploitation by tenants. By the Carolingian era, that evolution had been completed now, with the way how a domain is cultivated made according to a way which structures men too! The landlord is keeping, around his house, a part of the lands, which he puts into exploitation for himself. Those lands are called 'terra indominicata'. On another hand, he allocated to the peasants, on a hereditary basis, the other lands he owns, under the form of smaller sets of lands. Those are called a 'mansus' and those lands, globally, are called the 'terra mansicata'. There was to be a very strong expansion of tenures by the 9th century A.D. at the reserve's expense. The lands exploited directly by the landlord are cultivated through the work of landless peasants (like serfs) and through duties in work owed by the tenants of the mansi like the duties owed for their mansus. Those hours, or days of work, are used at the time of the large, yearly agricultural moments, like the labours, the harvest, the winegrape harvest, the axing of wood in the forests, or the transports of the harvests. The tenants of the mansi are owing too other duties, in money, or in work, like, for example, for the maintenance of a local road, or a bridge as they are obliged too, for some of them, to pay a yearly census, recognitive of the dependent status of their land. Those works and duties are function of the status of the land the tenant is holding, as a servile land is owing more (with heavy agricultural works) than a free one (which often are performing transports as they hold a carriage). That way of how to exploit the land, in the Carolingian times, is differing from how that was done under the Merovingians, when the Roman model of the large domains, or 'villae', with a larger porportion of slaves and of free peasants grouped into villages, were the largely dominant one for the Frankish dominions. It might that the new, Carolingian form come from how the Austrasians domains were handled and, when speaking about that transition, one speaks of the emergence of a Carolingian model of the villae. The weight of the duties is not, for the time, imposed in excess, as the tenants can exonerated themselves of those by paying some sum of money to the landdlord, or performing some artisanal work to the benefit of him. The days of work for the master of the domain often are interfering with their own work they have to perform on their their mansus. That organization is true for Gauls and Frankish lands but it varies function of regions. In Saxony, which has been recently conquered, villae are larger as they are too administrative units and the terra indominicata is worked by slaves only and tenants exempt of duties. In Lombardia the same but slaves hold a little tenure and tenant owe a part of their crops

Let's now describe more vividly how life, in the countryside, was unfolding! First, at the center of the domain, the house of the landlord is lying, with the housins for this domestics and landless peasants. Around there, you'd find the 'curtis' where the heavy agricultural tools may be found, like the water-mill, or the grapewine pressoir as the orchard and vegetable garden are nearby. Somewhat more away, you'd find the lands the exploitation of which is made at the benefit of the landlord, with the lands themselves and, too, barns, cellars, and workshops of the craftmen (as the villa, with its craftsmen, is also a center of manufacture, where one finds blacksmiths, armourers, saddlers, shield-makers, cobblers, carpenters, masons, tailors, furriers, glove-makers, parchment-makers, etc. as women are weaving) as the terra indominicata also holds vineyards and meadows around as the whole is also counting woods and moors. More apart from that first set of organization, one found the villages, into which the houses of the tenants were grouped, and the lands of the mansi. Those was, most of the time, neatly delimited in their borders, with marks, ditches, rings or palissades, function of what is cultivated or tended. At the margins, or mixed into, those terroirs, one found the forest and ponds. Part of the 'indominicatum,' the part of the domain belonging to the master of the domain, his house, the barn, cellars, workshops, master's cultivable lands, collective-use lands and woods and meadows. Now what's produced in a domain! Wheat first and the other cereals. The tenants often produce wheat for the duties owed only, as they are growing lesser cereals, like the rye, the epautre, or the sarrazin, with the peas and favolas for themselves. The avoine, another cereal, is cultivated for the duties. Textile plants, which are the lin and the chanvre, are part, too, of the fields. The peasants of the time don't still use the rotation of the crops, except for some more advanced domains like those of the Church. Enriching the earth is made only with the remains of the harvest burried as the manure of animals is produced in too small quantities and used in the courtyard only; they are using however chalk and argile for that. As the iron is too costly, the peasants are using wooden ploughs only, which do not plough the earth in depth; that leads too to that the horses are not shoed, with oxes pulling the plough. Wineyards are another important sight in the fields of a domain! Tending the herds is made on some fields -limited in number, as the lesser productions obtained from the land then, need that a lot of lands be dedicated to cultivation- and the forests. The horses, for war, the oxes for the attelages, the sheeps for their wool, along with the cows, goats, and she-sheeps -used for their milk, and cheese- are the animals tended at the time. A courtyard dedicated to growing vegetables, and a one to tending the birds are adding, for the curtis of the landlord included, to the products obtained from the fields. The landlord, in more, is owning an orchard. In terms of production, they passed, as far as wheats were concerned, from 0.7 hl per hectare (or 1,6 grain for one sowed) in the 9th century A.D. to 4 in the 13th century A.D. which was due to the shoulder collar (appearing about 800) and the heavy plough which allow tighed sowing. As far as rare products like salt, oil or flax, are concerned, some domains are buying faraway lands to have those producted

This, thus, is eventually bringing, as far as the aliments are concerned, onto the table of the landlord, and the peasants, a varied set of agricultural products! At the exception of course of the aliments which will be brought in Europe later only, mostly from Americas once the pre-Colombian Americas discovered and conquested, from the 16th century onwards, by the Spaniards and Portuguese. So, what are the people of the Carolingian empire eating, daily? Cereals first, of those, of course, bread. Vegetables then (mostly under the form of soups, with raves, turnips, chou, pumpkins, favolas, and pois chiches); milk too; pork -like the meat and charcutery- and pork mainly as the other animals, like the oxes or the sheeps are killed episodically only, when the newer generations are able to replace them for the works in the fields or the production of wool. Birds (eggs mostly for the tenants; chickens, ducks, oies for the landlord). Fruits from the orchard (apples, pears, cherries, prunes, etc.) for the landlord, and from the forest for the peasants. Cheeses. Wine, cervoise (the ancestor for beer), cider, poiré, and other fruits' juices are the beverages. As far as the wine is concerned, no bottle is used then as it will be used beginning in the 17th century only. No liege cork is used for the tonnels as they are using wood and chanvre tampers or oiled lin. The liege cork, which had been invented by the Etruscans had been forgotten at the time as it was re-discovered by the 16th century A.D. only. Alcohol as far as it is concerned, appeared with certainty by the 2nd millennium B.C. In Mesopotamia. The technique of distilling and the still would have been discovered in Egypt by the missionaries of St Patrick and brought back in Ireland as soon as by 432 A.D. The first alcoholic beverages however, did not appear in Europe until the 11th century and for a long time it kept mostly a medicinal use. In the meantime, it was the Arabs who had developed distillation for the manufacture of perfumes and medicines. Oriental spices are the condiments on the landlord's table, as ail, onions and the other herbs are on those of the tenants (the parsil is still used however like a medicinal herb only). Cooking is made with nut's oil North and olive oil South, with honey and vinegar too. Salt is gathered from the marais-salants along the shores of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, as, North it's produced from the fire-evaporation of sea-water. Hunting, for the landlord, the forests -for both the landlord and the tenants- ponds (or the sea) are usefully bringing some more materials, like the wild beasts, fruits and roots, the honey, and the fishes, which are salted or dried. Forests further are providing for more, like the wood for the constructions, the furnitures, the heating and the other agricultural, and craftwork uses. The pond, or the oseraies are providing for the osier. The workshops of the craftmen are yielding tissues, wool goods, or tools. They lighted their housings then through oil-lamps, wax candles, and resinous, wood torches. The clothing is the one of the Franks, with pants, a shirt, leg-hoses and bands, a tunique and a large cape, as they are relatively not sex-differentiated. As far as housing is concerned, the people in the Carolingian times, the landlords are housed in stone houses as the peasants in agreable houses of torchis, with their roof of chaulms as, more rarely, they can live too, North, in houses of pisés with bardeaux on the roof, or, South in houses made of dry rock-plates, with tuiles on the roof. Families are having 2-3 living living children as clearings are showing the global population might have increased at the time. That, generally, also brought some lack of workforce

The Cities, in the Carolingian Times, Remain Marginal

The Greek, then the Roman civilization, were ones of the cities. The occupation of Gauls, Brittany, Spain, or along the limes of the Rhine and the Danube river, led to that the Romans built cities, Rome-fashion! Those cities either was deviced from the ground up -either like new Roman settlements, or built in replacement of an ancient Celtic settlement, for example- or they developed from the settlement previously occupied by a Roman, military camp. The Roman cities, beginnning about 230 A.D., with the first hints of troubles and decline in the Roman empire, with those troubles lasting until about 300 A.D. and then keeping again during the 4th century, to eventually trigger the Barbaric Invasions in the 5th, did entranched themselves behind walls they built through the re-use of materials taken from the public or private momuments and buildings. Those walls and the area embedded are called a 'castrum'. With the christianisation, the castrum came to be perpetuated as is was there that the bishops settled, with their quarters, main churches and other clerics housings! Sometime, another, major religious building, under the form of an abbey, is built outside the walls of the castrum, upon the tomb of the Christian martyr who had founded the Christian presence in the area. The cities of the Carolingian times most often are featuring a mere 2,000 to 3,000 inhabitants! Due to the collapse of the large trade routes, those cities are not any large centers of influence anymore, and, excepted any exception, they are becoming, locations where people are dwelling only, among other housing possibilities, like the domains and the villages in the countryside. The cities are nourished by the surroundings countryside as the merchants, or crafmen of the cities are organising themselves into professional associations. In Gauls and the Frankish heartland, walls were undone as "portus" appeared along rivers. In Germania, two dozens of 'Königshöfen' have been built, which reunite a 'burg' and a 'vicus' and secure the roads as they thus got distant from the Roman model with building aroung the castle and church. Towns are sometimes the place to a commercial activity. The Carolingian Renaissance, however, makes that one tends to rehaul cities. Despite having become a marginal structure in the Carolingian world, the cities however are the seat of the count and the bishop, and thus they are the symbolic center of powers. Progressively in the 9th century A.D. brotherhoods, ghilds and 'collectes' appear which are gatherings for a common purpose as they obtain collective rights named 'communia.'

Austrasia-Focused Trade Then the Routes of the Northmen

It is Henri Pirenne who, by the 1920's, had asserted that it were the Arabic invasions which had closed the Mediterranean trade by the 7th century A.D. Other thesis argue that, by those times, there already existed the emergence of a new trade center on the shores of the North Sea. That were the fact of Frisians who had begun to trade up to the Baltic Sea (furs, amber, fabrics, silver ore, etc.) and even to take contact with the East through Russian rivers and the Caspian. That new Frisian trade further prefered silver coins as, after 700 A.D., for example, they were to not mint any silver money before the next 600 years in Gaul anymore. A policy of clearing new fields during the 7th and 8th centuries A.D. increased that move of the West's center of gravity. It would have been that dynamism thus which would have diverted the West from trading with the East and then would have turned the exclusive trade area during the Carolingian times. Great abbeys (the surplus of which provide for a large part of trade) then bought lands in the area of Quentovic, the main harbour in Gaul to that new trade, and requiring cart duties as wine, wheat, craft and weapons from the Seine, Meuse and Rhine rivers regions turning to the North Sea, Cornwall, or Slavic confines. It was also a time when October fairs of St-Denis came to be known

Autarky of large domains participated from a ideology. One had to live from one's lands and to be self-sufficient. Such a privilege given to land was to also contribute to patronages as land was power. Craftsmen are allowing to the domains' autarky as those in the cities are fading. Some architects or jewelers are still extant as they are lent from one patron to another. Frisia only might hold a real production, that of textile as authors are not even sure it is really independent from the domanial system. It will not be until the 10th century A.D. that two commercial hubs will really exist with Venice (and the remains of Byzantine Italy) trading with Islamic lands and Northmen who are with England and Russia through the North and the Baltic Sea. Crusades only were later to re-open the Mediterranean. Large-scale trade routes, as they had been inherited from the Roman empire, had weakened since the 6th century A.D. Before the Carolingian era, it was the 'Syrians' -- they named that way any people from the East -- who had the monopoly of trading between the western kingdomes and the East, like fabrics, ivories, metal work, jewels and manuscripts as influences -- not only commercial ones -- also journeyed through the pilgrims in the Holy Land or the monks coming from the East to establish monasteries in the West. At that time, one could still find, in the Frankish realm, silk, ivory, papyrus, spices or frank-incense, or dattes. By the 7th century those trade routes swiftly declined. The southern shores of the Mediterranean are now under the Islamic rule as Arabs are denying any right to trade with the West. Even when pacific relationships settles between both worlds, piracy keeps paralyzing trade. That Arabic rupture, on a other hand, separated definitively, in terms of trade, Byzantines and the West as the West closed upon itself. A tendency already is to a form of autarcy in the West: wax is used instead of the olive oil, parchment instead of papyrus, and the Syrians vanish. Spices and silk are expensive now. Already too, silver is becoming the reference alloy for the money, as it's not accepted in the East, which prizes gold. The beginnings of a trade's decline in the West by the 6th century A.D. seem to come too with a first apparition of a trade system based along the Meuse river, which comes from the seaports of the North Sea which commerce with England and Scandinavian countries (that might hint to how Neustria and then Austrasia acquired their power). Moreover, at the time, the Rhine river is remaining a significant trade route between Italy and the Baltic Sea. Commerce however kept slowing, with the disparition of gold coins minting or the dispersion of the monetary workshops, which is a sign that the long and medium range trade is slowing

thumbnail to a chart of the trade routes in the Carolingian timesclick to a chart of the trade routes in the Carolingian times

With the Carolingian times taking on, the Franks of Austrasia, by their nature, are more interested by the North and the East of Europe, as the Arab conquest is closing the trade routes of the East, and their pirats a threat now in the Mediterranean Sea! As far as trade is concerned, the Carolingian rulers acted through morals (forbidding usury, for example) and minting (from 100 workshops under Pippin the Great, they reached 30 under Charlemagne and located in some cities which likely were themselves located close to silver mines). Times however kept to barter mainly as monetary economy reached its lowest in the West for long. Old Roman roads kept being the basic network as they journeyed 6 miles a day with oxes, and 19-22 with horses (without shoulder collar). Generally, traders used a mix of river and terrestrial routes. Local markets were numerous but fairs with exotic products were not. Some large-scales routes still exist, towards Byzantium, the Black Sea or the Arabic world, through some harbours in Italy, or the Radhanites, those Jewish traders which replaced the Syrians. Some stress that the life of trade and invention wasn't nearly as moribund as is commonly supposed at that time. The Austrasians however are people from the Rhine, and Moselle river banks leading to that totally new trade circuits thus are appearing, between England, Frisia, the Rhine and the Danube rivers, working in the Frankish lands, or the dominions they are controlling. A pound of silver (about 326 grams) is worth 20 sous and 1 sou is worth 12 denaries. The preeminency of silver like the money is called, under the Carolingians, the 'silver monometallism' as it matches much localized trade circuits. The circuits of tade, under the Carolingians is oriented North and the Rhine, German, and Danubian areas, as it's Frisian, or Anglo-Saxons merchants who are performing the trade. The Anglo-Saxons are controlling the routes between South of England and Normandy. Normandy, through the shores of the northern Chanel, are trading with Frisia. Nantes or Noirmoutiers are trading with Ireland. Maastricht, Duurstede, Rouen, Boulogne are the comptoirs of those circuits. Frisian and English traders are journeying South down to Marseille, where they are trading their tissues for ceramics and glass products. Such cities like Verdun, Dinant, Namur, or even St. Denis or Amiens are relay-places towards Flanders, England or even the Rhine lands the goods coming from the inside of the territories of the Carolingian empire, like, for example, the Burgundian wines. As far as those goods are concerned, monasteries and abbeys, most of the time, are the places of departure of them because those goods are the excedents of the large domains, in terms of agricultural products, like wheat and wine. All those location for this re-focused trade routes are too the places where the Frankish rulers are picking up duties, or the monks missionarizing. At the lower level, further, some locations or cities are the possible places where possible, very low-level, localized trade is performed. The counts only, at that level, are interacting as they have a better knowledge of the area. The traders of the Austrasian-related routes, as far as they are concerned, are grand, professional traders when it's about the Frisians and the Anglo-Saxons. They built comptoirs along their routes. Smaller merchants, and even colporters exist too. As far as the exportation of the excedents from the abbeys and monasteries is concerned, the chariots and ships are steered by men -'coloni' or serfs- of those domains. For the trade, the merchants are using the ancient roads of the Roman times. The Alpine passes -the Grand St. Bernard, the Montcenis- are allowing to Italy as they short-circuited the ancient axis which was linking the Mediterranean and the Rhine, through the Rhône and the Saône valleys. Venice, in Italy, is there where those roads of the Alps are reaching to, as the fate of the city is rising since, to the detriment of the former harbours in the Adriatic Sea. The Pyreneans passes -Roncevaux, Tourmalet, Somport- are used too. From England, the Frankish world is importing plomb and etain -as lacking metals- along with draps. The Frisian draps are prized too. The Viking merchants, North, are bringing the furs bought and found in Russia and Scandinavia (martre, vair, hermine, zibeline, bear, wolf) which are prefered against the Carolingian products, like the shep, fox, rabbit, castor and belette ones. Ivory is always imported from the East, and amber from the Baltic Sea. The Carolingian, as far as it is concerned, is exporting the wheat which is found in excedent in the domains, the wines of Burgundy, Moselle, and the Rhine, honey, and garance

->Mountain Passes in the Carolingian Times
Those passes served altogether to trade, and to war

Downstream of these passes, since Roman times, were 'cluses,' narrow places that allowed control, like those of the Val de Susa after the Mont Cenis, the Valle d'Aosta after the Great St Bernard, or Verona after the Brenner, etc. These passages then served as places where the rights upon merchants were levied. Those cluses generally, before the feudal fragmentation, marked the frontier of the great territorial entities of the Carolingian Empire or, before, of kingdoms

Beginning somewhen after 750 A.D., the Frisian traders are declining, albeit they improved their ships, the cargo-version of those being able to transport more tons. The circuits of the trade, like described just above are keeping to be relatively the same as more important, renewed trade routes tend to develop at the border of the Carolingian empire, with the Viking Baltic sea, the Slavian banks of the Elbe river, or the Danubian marches which are freed from the Avars! Frisons and Northmen -in fact the Vikings, Danish or Swedes, who are merchants before turning plunderers- are now controling the Baltic seas as the harbors of Hedeby (current Denmark, a area where goods are transported by land between the Baltic and the North seas at the effect of avoiding the dangers of navigation around the Jutland Peninsula), Birka (current Sweden), or Reric are the starting points of ships which carry beaver and martrer furs down to harbors of the Elbe (like Hamburg, which was created by Charlemagne, and Bardovik), the Weser (Bremen), or the Rhine river (Dorestadt). Frisons are even navigating the Rhine upwards as they have trading posts in Köln, Mainz, Worms or Strasburg. The portage routes of the Volga and the Dniepr rivers' sources, on a other hand, the Swedes, through the country of the Rus -a people which, under the name of Varegues, they are colonizing- are journeying down to the Black and the Caspian seas. Birka or Hedeby are the great Viking emporiums, along with Västergarn, in the island of Gotland. From those Northmen, the Carolingian empire is buying amber, furs and leather from Russia or even goods the merchants are bringing back from their contacts with the Arabic merchants of the East, like the cornaline, or the silk from China... Northmen, as far as they are concerned, are buying woolen sheets, Rhine wines, bronze and glass products from the Franks. On the slavic banks of the Elbe river, the city of Magdeburg is trading with the metallurgic centers of the shores of the Baltic Sea. Regensburg is playing the same role of main trade center for the regions of the Danube, and central Europe. Despite all that renewal, the commerce with Byzantines since Venice never made its way into the Frankish empire. Those renewed routes of the trade still keeps to be the object of varied duties taken by the sovereigns as the Carolingian rulers however are ill-knowing those new, large-scale trade routes as they just see that they are existing as they are knowing the end ports of them, in the Empire self, or somewhat beyond. The only trade which is under a control of the state is the one of the salt, in the land of the Lombards, as the kings and emperors may too intervene in the trade in times of hunger which, on a other hand, is hinting to the existence of a local and occasional market limited to neighbouring regions. A capitulary of 744 A.D. is even forcing bishops to hold a marketplace in their city of residence as that was rare or with few customers. But, above all, on the other hand, the Carolingians are controlling all what is concerning the routes, proper. Those routes. on one hand, are allowing the state to pick up the duties, as those revenues are now providing for the decrease of the booties, as the phase of the conquests is mostly over. The bridges, on the other hand, for example, are useful too in terms of the military and the strategy, allowing for a more swift motion of the armies. The campaign against the Avars, for example, which had, in part, used the river route of the Danube, made spring the idea that the Rhine and the Danube might be joined through a canal as that would allow too that the trade routes of the both rivers to be switched in. That famed endeavour of the 'Carolina fossae', like it was called, a 1,2-mile long canal between the Altmühl, an affluent of the Danube and the Regnitz, a one to the Main river, between Regensburg and Bamberg, could not be brought to an end, as the terrain, subject to be affected by running, rainy waters, had the banks of the canal continually collapsing and that the engineers did not have forecasted that the Regnitz would have had to be enlarged and canalised!

The collapse unto the Austrasian hearland of the trade routes, during the Carolingian times, should not make forget however that, from the 7th century to the year 1,000 A.D., western Europe is still linked to the East and the Far East due to those large trade routes which are managed by the Radhanites, who are Jewish merchants, and who are maintaing that link between the Carolingian empire and down to India! Those traders are journeying either throught their sea routes of the Mediterranean Sea, or their land routes, through Spain and North Africa. The large scale trade finally was to exist only for the benefit of a rich and small clientele -kings, Church, Great who represented only a few thousand people and it was handling rare products from the East or the North. The trade also benefited from the 'military stations', the 'Königshöfen,' which had been established along strategic routes. Those major trade routes also revived or developed merchant settlements, or 'portus,' around their landings along the coasts or on the rivers, like Rouen, Quentovic, Duurstede North, Hedeby in Scandinavia, the cities of the Scaut (Valenciennes, Ghent, Tournai), the Meuse (Dinant, Namur, Huy) or the Rhine (Mainz) for example

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