Nume: Cristian LUCA

Tema: Elitele transilvane şi patronii lor: strategii sociale, opţiuni politice şi structuri comunitare (secolele XIII-XX)

Partener: Academia Română, Filiala Cluj, Institutul de Istorie George Bariţiu – Centrul de Studii Transilvane, Cluj-Napoca

Proiect: The Mercantile Elite in 17th Century Transylvania: the Emergence and the Role of the Greek and Aromanian Merchants in the Exchange Economy of the Autonomous Principality

Date de


CRISTIAN LUCA, born in Bucharest, in 1974. M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Bucharest, is currently Lecturer in Late Medieval and Early Modern History of South–Eastern Europe at the Lower Danube University of Galaţi (Romania). Former Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow to the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and Postdoctoral Research. Former Pre and Postdoctoral Fellow of the Department for Foreign Affairs of the Italian Government, was also «Nicolae Iorga» Fellow at the Romanian Institute for Culture and Humanistic Research at Venice. He was awarded with «Dimitrie Onciul» Academic Award (2007) of the Romanian Academy and «Teresa Ferro» Memorial Award (2008) of the Italian Cultural Institute at Bucharest. Is author of numerous studies on the History of the Romanian Principalities, Eastern Europe and Northern Italian Peninsula during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century.

The Mercantile Elite in 17th Century Transylvania: the Emergence and the Role of the Greek and Aromanian Merchants in the Exchange Economy of the Autonomous Principality

The activities of the Balkan merchants had beneficial and lasting consequences for the Central and South–Eastern regions of Europe and represented a factor of progress for the developing societies of the Early Modern Age. Merchants with a keen spirit of enterprise deeply involved in the commercial transactions of the Ottoman Levant, the Greeks and Aromanians gradually affirmed their control, from the second half of the 16th century onwards, on the largest portion of the commercial exchanges between the Ottoman Empire, Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania and the Italian Peninsula or the Habsburg dependencies. Owing to the excellent relations with the central and provincial political hierarchies from the Ottoman Empire, as well as to their efficient business management, the Greek and Aromanian merchants imposed themselves as indisputable leaders in the international trade of the Central and South–Eastern European regions. Thus, by the volume of the commercial transactions and by the large investments of capital, they assumed a dominant position in the markets of these territories although ethnically, they represented a mere minority. The role of Greeks and Aromanian merchants, as a social segment that contributed substantially to the progress of South–Eastern and Central Europe societies, was pointed out by Traian Stoianovich. However, this line of research has so far not been followed in the international historiography, despite some valuable studies focusing on sequential aspects, which allow us to feel the necessity of a global and detailed analysis dedicated to the contribution of these ethnic minorities to the progressive transformations which Western influences brought into Central–Eastern Europe.

This research project aims both at making a comparative analysis of Western and South–Eastern and Central–European historiographies on the involvement of Greeks and Aromanians in the commercial transactions in Central–Eastern Europe, and at studying the historical sources regarding this period, already identified during the researches in Italian (especially Venetian) archives. At the same time, it should be mentioned that the works published in the 16th–18th centuries, travel books, commercial and navigation treaties etc. also contain important information regarding the progress of economic exchanges in early modern Central–Eastern Europe. A closer insight into South–Eastern and Central–Europe historiography, its critical analysis and its correlation with Western European and American historiography are compulsory conditions for achieving the desired result: an analysis of these merchants’ contribution to the Central–Eastern Europe international commerce and their role in the development of the societies in which they settled.


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