The Carolingian cocio: On the Vocabulary of the Early Medieval Petty Merchant

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The word cocio (i.e. petty merchant or broker in classical Latin) was a rare term that after a long absence in written Latin reappeared in several Carolingian texts. Scholars have posited a medieval semantic shift from ‘merchant’ to ‘vagabond’. But this article argues that this consensus is erroneous. The Carolingian cocio continued to refer to petty commercial agents, that is, to small merchants. Furthermore, the term’s appearance in capitularies and its subsequent medieval vernacular afterlife together suggest that the term was borrowed from (unattested) proto-Romance usage. A corrected history of the early medieval use of cocio illuminates the relationship between spoken and written Latin as well as aspects of social, religious, and economic history in the Carolingian period, and speaks to the promise of language to shed light on economic realities.
Seiten (von - bis)57-81
FachzeitschriftEarly Medieval Europe
Frühes Online-Datum31 Okt. 2023
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Feb. 2024

ÖFOS 2012

  • 601012 Mittelalterliche Geschichte


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