A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps. Page: 56 of 493
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38 A HISTORY OF VERONA
In fact, from the very first it was not on agriculture that
the prosperity of Verona was based, fertile though the surrounding
district was, but on commerce and industry. Her
commerce with other cities developed with astounding rapidity
owing largely to her advantageous situation on the Adige and
two great trade-routes. Still more astounding, however, was
the rapid development of her native handicrafts and industries,
especially of the manufacture of fine woollen cloths, which became
famous throughout Italy very early and which was ultimately
to survive the independence of the city. Long before
the code of 1228 was drawn up, every trade and handicraft
in Verona was organized into a close body known as an Ars,
Misterium, or Scola, and ruled by a supreme official called a
Gastaldo. In early times these Gastaldi were appointed from
outside, some by private individuals, some by the Count, some
even by the Emperor himself., But by the beginning of the thirteenth
century, the Arts had won the privilege of electing their
own Gastaldi, and all that the Commune insisted on was that
no one should hold the office unless he exercised the trade or
craft of the Art he governed, the Gastaldi of the millers and the
dyers alone being excepted from this rule. The regulations in
the code of 1228 concerning the Arts are, however, few in number
and fragmentary in character. One statute forbade potters
to export tiles or bricks from Verona. Another fixed the
wages of master masons at four soldi a day in summer, and
three in winter, when the hours of work were shorter. If food
were provided, the workman received a soldo less a day, from
which it may be concluded that in 1228 the soldo was about
equivalent to the present shilling. A statute dating from I209,
prohibits all Arts from entering into any compact with the
object of forcing prices up. Only one decree refers to the
greatest of all the Arts, the Merchants, though it was apparently
considered of sufficient moment to be repeated twice. This
was the decree,1 which forbade appeals from the sentences
of the Podest, and Consuls of the Merchants in matters appertaining
to commerce, and ordered the immediate enforcement
of these sentences by the Podestl of the Commune. The stat1
No. 24 and 28. The Art was called the Domus Mercatorum.
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Allen, A. M. A history of Verona, by A. M. Allen. Edited by Edward Armstrong, with twenty illustrations and three maps., book, 1910; New York. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1025/m1/56/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .