The Fuggers of Augsburg: Pursuing Wealth and Honor in Renaissance Germany

Overview

As the wealthiest German merchant family of the sixteenth century, the Fuggers have attracted wide scholarly attention. In contrast to the other famous merchant family of the period, the Medici of Florence, however, no English-language work on them has been available until now. The Fuggers of Augsburg offers a concise and engaging overview that builds on the latest scholarly literature and the author’s own work on sixteenth-century merchant capitalism. Mark Häberlein traces the history of the family from the ...

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The Fuggers of Augsburg: Pursuing Wealth and Honor in Renaissance Germany

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Overview

As the wealthiest German merchant family of the sixteenth century, the Fuggers have attracted wide scholarly attention. In contrast to the other famous merchant family of the period, the Medici of Florence, however, no English-language work on them has been available until now. The Fuggers of Augsburg offers a concise and engaging overview that builds on the latest scholarly literature and the author’s own work on sixteenth-century merchant capitalism. Mark Häberlein traces the history of the family from the weaver Hans Fugger’s immigration to the imperial city of Augsburg in 1367 to the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648. Because the Fuggers’ extensive business activities involved long-distance trade, mining, state finance, and overseas ventures, the family exemplifies the meanings of globalization at the beginning of the modern age.

The book also covers the political, social, and cultural roles of the Fuggers: their patronage of Renaissance artists, the founding of the largest social housing project of its time, their support of Catholicism in a city that largely turned Protestant during the Reformation, and their rise from urban merchants to imperial counts and feudal lords. Häberlein argues that the Fuggers organized their social rise in a way that allowed them to be merchants and feudal landholders, burghers and noblemen at the same time. Their story therefore provides a window on social mobility, cultural patronage, religion, and values during the Renaissance and the Reformation.

University of Virginia Press

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE

This translation of Haberlein's 2006 German work traces the history of the Fugger family from the late-14th to the mid-17th century.... Written in concise, accessible prose and including a useful family genealogy and a thorough bibliography, this should prove a useful addition to college and university libraries.... Recommended.

B. Ann Tlusty

This is a readable and meticulously researched account of the fabulously wealthy house of Fugger. The author explores the Fuggers’ personal and professional relationships against a shifting backdrop of local and international politics, family life, and commerce during the Renaissance in the first in-depth examination of this extraordinary family available in English.

Kathy Stuart

This eminently readable history of the rise of the Augsburg merchant dynasty of the Fuggers is an enormously welcome—and timely—addition to the English-language scholarship on early modern Germany, and indeed on early modern Europe as a whole. The Fuggers were involved in the rise of early capitalism, globalization, technological innovation, the patronage of Renaissance art, papal and imperial politics, and confessional conflict in the age of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation. As they amassed their spectacular fortune, the Fuggers struggled with the sometimes conflicting demands of profit, religion, ethics, and honor—which makes this book very topical as we grapple with the ethical quandaries and inequities of global capitalism in our own time.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Mark Häberlein, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Bamberg in Germany, is author of The Practice of Pluralism: Congregational Life and Religious Diversity in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1730–1820.

University of Virginia Press

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Table of Contents

Preface to the American Edition vii

Fugger ("von der Lilie") Genealogy: Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries x

Introduction 1

1 The Fugger Family in Late Medieval Augsburg 9

2 Jakob Fugger the Rich: The Making of an Enterprise, 1485-1525 31

3 Anton Fugger, the House of Habsburg, and the European World Economy 1525-1560 68

4 Decline or Reorientation? The Fugger Firms, 1560-1650 99

5 Servants and Masters: The Personnel of the Fugger Companies 125

6 Patronage and Self-Display 149

7 The Fuggers in Sixteenth-Century Urban Society 173

8 Citizens and Noblemen: Investment Strategies, Career Patterns, and Lifestyles 199

Conclusion 221

Notes 225

Bibliography 253

Index 271

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Interviews & Essays

S12

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