Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(826 words)

Traditionally a counting-house has been understood as the scriptorium or shop (in modern language, the office) of medieval and early modern merchants. The term goes back to French comptoir (“counter,” from Latin computare, “count,” “calculate”), which suggests an original reference to a table or desk used for writing or trading. The counting-house became a central feature of commercial activity in the high Middle Ages, when merchants no longer traveled with their merchandise but settled in one place. With increasing literacy, the counting house became the “organizatio…

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Denzel, Markus A., “Counting-house”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 05 February 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_022572>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20170206

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