Social Aspects And Roles Of Medieval Merchants In The Middle Ages

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Merchants in the middle ages were business people who participated in retail and trade. The term “merchant” comes from the Latin term “mercer” which means trafficking and from the French term “mercies” which means wares. Thus, the medieval merchant was seen as both a trader and trafficker of wares across countries. The middle ages merchant sourced for his products during his travels and would then sell them in markets and shops or at fairs.
Medieval society divided itself between three societal categories that included the clergy, the peasants and the fighters. Merchants were not considered as part of these three categorizations and were largely discriminated against. The clergy, the peasants and the nobility considered the merchant as one who was seeking to enrich himself at the expense of society. Meanwhile this same society increasingly depended on merchants for the distribution of much needed goods.
In the early emergence of the merchant class, the clergy was vehemently opposed to merchant activities such as banking and trading. The clergy convinced the community that these activities were evil and against God’s will. As such, people would blame the merchants for natural catastrophes including disease, floods or famine as a punishment to the community from God.
Notably, the nobility were particularly disdainful of the merchants who, in the eyes of the nobility, were perceived as misers. The nobility’s behavior was in contrast to that of the merchants; the noblemen
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