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C. E. Beneš

This introduction contextualises the thirteenth-century Dominican Jacopo da Varagine (also known as Jacobus de Voragine) as a historical figure and author, introducing the history and urban culture of medieval northern Italy as well as the genre of the civic chronicle. It outlines the history of medieval Genoa, an Italian city-state developing in ways that were both typical (in struggling with factional conflict) and atypical (as a hub of international trade). Finally, the introduction provides a short biography of Jacopo, reviews his vast scholarly output, and introduces his Chronicle: its transmission tradition, methodologies, main sources, and chief themes.

in Jacopo Da Varagine’s Chronicle of the city of Genoa
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Family matters: Slavery, commerce and culture

This chapter provides an introduction to the Hibbert family and their trans-generational activities within the slave economy. It gives an overview of the frameworks, key themes and historiographical debates which the book engages with. It argues for the centrality of the family as a unit for analysis in understanding trade and colonisation in the Atlantic world. It considers the importance of the family and marriage to the maintenance of the slaving system in terms of the transference and management of capital, property and commercial interests. More intimately it suggests the ways in which family structures were reconfigured by the experience of transatlantic slavery. The role of culture is explored in relation to both the reinvestment of slave-based wealth and the establishment of racial hierarchies based on ideas of civilisation. Shifting between the narrative of the family and the nation, the chapter examines how microhistories can act as a useful lens for analysing broader issues of identity, legacies and historical memory.

in The bonds of family
Editor: C. E. Beneš

This book provides the first English translation of the Chronicle of the city of Genoa by the thirteenth-century Dominican Jacopo da Varagine (also known as Jacobus de Voragine). While Jacopo is better known for his monumental compilation of saints’ lives, the Golden legend, his lesser known Chronicle of Genoa exemplifies the important medieval genre of the civic chronicle. The work mixes scholarly research about the city’s origins with narrative accounts based on Genoese archival sources, more didactic and moral reflections on the proper conduct of public and private life, and personal accounts of Jacopo’s own experience as archbishop of Genoa from 1292 until his death in 1298. Divided into twelve parts, the work covers the history of Genoa from its ancient origins up to Jacopo’s own day. Jacopo’s first-hand accounts of events in which he himself participated—such as the great civic reconciliation of 1295, over which he himself presided—provide a valuable contrast to the more scholarly and didactic sections of the work. Together they form an integrated, coherent approach to urban history, which illustrates some of the most important styles of historiography in the Middle Ages.

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This chapter charts the rise of the family in Jamaica, from the arrival of its colonial founder Thomas Hibbert senior in 1734 until the abolition of slavery in 1834. It gives an overview of their commercial activities, including their business partnerships, slave factorage and money lending. It documents their shift into plantation management and ownership as the family laid deeper roots on the island. Where possible, evidence of the treatment of the enslaved people on the Hibberts’ estates has been included. This material offers a window into the brutal exploitation which underpinned the family’s material comfort and commercial success. As part of their rise into the plantocracy, the Hibbert men adopted positions of considerable political and civic power. The chapter argues that it was the combination of commercial, landed and political power which enabled the Hibberts to become a dominant force in the Jamaica trade. Using the diaries of Robert Hibbert junior it explores the social and cultural world of the planter-merchant elites as well as the intergenerational relationships between the Hibbert men who worked and lived together in Kingston. The chapter ends with a consideration of some of the legacies of slavery which continue to shape Jamaica.

in The bonds of family
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This chapter explores the role that London’s merchants played in supporting the slave economy. Having successfully established themselves in Jamaica, the Hibberts opened a new merchant house in London in 1770 to capitalise on the trade in slave-produced commodities. This chapter documents the structure and organisation of the family’s commercial partnerships across two generations. It gives an account of the Hibberts’ activities as ship, dock and warehouse owners, distributors, insurers and financiers. In doing so it highlights the multifaceted ways in which different affiliate industries in Britain benefited from the system of slavery. It gives details of the family’s business relationships with some of Jamaica’s most powerful planters including Simon Taylor, Nathaniel Phillips and John Tharp. It offers an analysis of the material culture of the counting house, arguing that this was central to the performance of mercantile respectability. It also considers the Hibberts’ involvement with one of the great commercial projects of the late eighteenth century – the building of the West India Docks. It argues that George Hibbert’s leading role in the transformation of the Isle of Dogs created a lasting monument to London’s participation in transatlantic slavery.

in The bonds of family
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This chapter explores the Hibberts’ familial and commercial roots in north-west England in the eighteenth century. Interweaving family and local history, the chapter examines how the Manchester economy became integrated into the system of transatlantic slavery. Building on recent work which has examined the relationship between slavery, cotton and capitalism, it traces the development of a distinctive network of merchants bound together by religious and familial ties who were involved in the cloth trade and the slave economy. Analysing the records of the Unitarian Cross Street Chapel, the chapter reconstructs the personal and business relationships of some of its most prominent families. Documenting the marriages of several generations of Hibbert men and women, the chapter considers how the family consolidated their position through alliances which enriched and expanded their commercial interests. It also gives an account of how the gendered expectations of mercantile families shaped the childhood experiences of sons and daughters. It concludes with a reflection on how Manchester’s links to the slaving past have been represented and remembered within the city’s public histories.

in The bonds of family
C. E. Beneš

Part eight offers three chapters of advice for good citizenship: citizens ought to be thoughtful and mature in making decisions; they ought to be virtuous rather than slaves to vice; and they ought to have the greatest zeal for the commonwealth.

in Jacopo Da Varagine’s Chronicle of the city of Genoa
C. E. Beneš

Part eleven presents an annalistic narrative of Genoese history from its origins to 1133, divided into nineteen chapters. Each chapter describes a single bishop of Genoa and narrates city and world events during his tenure.

in Jacopo Da Varagine’s Chronicle of the city of Genoa
C. E. Beneš

Part five reviews some highlights of medieval Genoese history by teleologically addressing the city’s nature and size (qualis et quanta) at the time of its foundation, in the time of its growth, and in Jacopo’s own day (‘at the time of its perfection’).

in Jacopo Da Varagine’s Chronicle of the city of Genoa
C. E. Beneš

Part four describes Genoa’s conversion to Christianity in late antiquity. This part has three chapters: chapter one introduces Roman polytheism (‘idolatry’ or ‘paganism’); chapter two claims that Genoa was the first city in Italy, or one of the first, to be converted to Christianity. Chapter three uses logic to make the same claim.

in Jacopo Da Varagine’s Chronicle of the city of Genoa