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A guild is an association of
artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional or strictly decorative, for example fur ...

artisan
s and
merchant A merchant is a person who trades in Commodity, commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in commerce, business or trade. Merchants have operated for ...

merchant
s who oversee the practice of their craft/trade in a particular area. The earliest types of guild formed as organizations of tradesmen, belonging to: a
professional association A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) usually seeks to further Further or Furthur may refer to: *Furthur (bus), ''Furthur'' (bus), the Merry Pranksters' psychedelic bus * ...
, a
trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the integrity of their trade, improving safety standard ...
, a
cartel A cartel is a group of independent market participants who Collusion, collude with each other in order to improve their profits and dominate the market. Cartels are usually associations in the same sphere of business, and thus an alliance of r ...

cartel
, and/or a
secret society A secret society is a club or an organization whose activities, events, inner functioning, or membership are concealed. The society may or may not attempt to conceal its existence. The term usually excludes covert groups, such as intelligence a ...
. They sometimes depended on grants of
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
from a
monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: Language * He (pronoun) In Mod ...

monarch
or other ruler to enforce the flow of trade to their self-employed members, and to retain ownership of tools and the supply of materials, but were mostly regulated by the
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...

city
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department ...

government
. A lasting legacy of traditional guilds are the
guildhalls
guildhalls
constructed and used as guild meeting-places. Guild members found guilty of cheating the public would be fined or banned from the guild. Typically the key "privilege" was that only guild members were allowed to sell their goods or practice their skill within the city. There might be controls on minimum or maximum prices, hours of trading, numbers of apprentices, and many other things. These rules reduced free competition, but sometimes maintained a good quality of work. Often these rules made it difficult or impossible for women, immigrants to the city, and non-Christians to run businesses working in the trade. An important result of the guild framework was the emergence of
universities A university () is an of (or ) and which awards s in several . Universities typically offer both and programs in different schools or faculties of learning. The word ''university'' is derived from the ''universitas magistrorum et scholari ...

universities
at
Bologna Bologna (, , ; egl, label=, Bulåggna ; lat, Bonōnia) is the capital and largest city of the region in . It is the seventh most populous city in Italy with about 390,000 inhabitants and 150 different nationalities. Its is home to more t ...
(established in 1088),
Oxford Oxford () is a city in England. It is the county town and only city of Oxfordshire. In 2017, its population was estimated at 152,450. It is northwest of London London is the capital city, capital and List of urban areas in the United Ki ...
(at least since 1096) and
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...
(); they originated as guilds of students (as at Bologna) or of masters (as at Paris).


History of guilds


Early guild-like associations

Following the unification of the
city-state A city-state is an independent sovereignty, sovereign city which serves as the center of political, economic, and cultural life over its contiguous territory. They have existed in many parts of the world since the dawn of history, including c ...
s in
Assyria Assyria (), also called the Assyrian Empire, was a n kingdom and of the that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BCE (in the form of the city-state) until its collapse between 612 BCE and 609 BCE; thereby spanning ...

Assyria
and
Sumer Sumer ()The name is from '; ''kig̃ir'', written and ,approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land". means "native, local", ifrom ''The Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary''). Literally, "land of the native (local, noble) lor ...

Sumer
by
Sargon of Akkad Sargon of Akkad (; akk, 𒊬𒊒𒄀 ''Šar-ru-gi''), also known as Sargon the Great, was the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire The Akkadian Empire () was the first ancient empire of Mesopotamia after the long-lived civilization of Sumer. ...

Sargon of Akkad
into a single empire ruled from his home city circa 2334 BC, common Mesopotamian standards for
length Length is a measure of distance Distance is a numerical measurement ' Measurement is the number, numerical quantification (science), quantification of the variable and attribute (research), attributes of an object or event, which can be us ...

length
,
area Area is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value in ...

area
,
volume Volume is a scalar quantity expressing the amount Quantity or amount is a property that can exist as a multitude Multitude is a term for a group of people who cannot be classed under any other distinct category, except for their shared fact ...

volume
,
weight In science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (procedural knowledge ...

weight
, and
time Time is the continued of and that occurs in an apparently succession from the , through the , into the . It is a component quantity of various s used to events, to compare the duration of events or the intervals between them, and to of ...

time
used by
artisan Wood carver in Bali An artisan (from french: artisan, it, artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects partly or entirely by hand. These objects may be functional or strictly decorative, for example fur ...

artisan
guilds in each city were promulgated by
Naram-Sin of Akkad Naram-Sin also transcribed Narām-Sîn or Naram-Suen ( akk, 𒀭𒈾𒊏𒄠𒀭𒂗𒍪: '' DNa-ra-am D Sîn'', meaning "Beloved of the Moon God Sîn", the "𒀭 ''Dingir'' (, usually transliteration of cuneiform, transliterated DIĜIR, ) is a ...
(c. 2254–2218 BC), Sargon's grandson, including for
shekel Shekel or sheqel ( akk, 𒅆𒅗𒇻 ''šiqlu'' or ''siqlu,'' he, שקל, plural or shekels, Phoenician: ) is an ancient Near Eastern coin, usually of silver Silver is a chemical element In chemistry, an element is a pure Ch ...
s.
Code of Hammurabi Law 234
Code of Hammurabi Law 234
(c. 1755–1750 BC) stipulated a 2-shekel
prevailing wage In government contracting, a prevailing wage is defined as the hourly wage A wage is the distribution from an employer of a ''security'' (expected return or profits derived solely from others) paid to an employee. Like interest is paid out t ...
for each 60- gur (300-
bushel A bushel (abbreviation: bsh. or bu.) is an imperial Imperial is that which relates to an empire, emperor, or imperialism. Imperial or The Imperial may also refer to: Places United States * Imperial, California * Imperial, Missouri * Imperi ...
) vessel constructed in an
employment contract An employment contract or contract of employment is a kind of contract A contract is a legally binding agreement that defines and governs the rights and duties between or among its parties Image:'Hip, Hip, Hurrah! Artist Festival at Skagen', ...
between a
shipbuilder Shipbuilding is the construction of ships and other Watercraft, floating vessels. It normally takes place in a specialized facility known as a shipyard. Shipbuilders, also called shipwrights, follow a specialized occupation that traces its roo ...

shipbuilder
and a
ship-owner A ship-owner is the owner of a merchant vessel A merchant is a person who trades in commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in business Bu ...
. Law 275 stipulated a
ferry at Samothrace island, Northern Aegean, Aegean Sea. File:Spirit of America - Staten Island Ferry.jpg, The Staten Island Ferry in the United States shuttles commuting, commuters between Manhattan and Staten Island in New York City. A ferry is ...

ferry
rate
rate
of 3-
gerah A gerah () is an ancient Hebrew unit of weight and currency, which, according to the Book of Exodus (30:13), was equivalent to of a shekel. God tells Moses, the payment for life ransom during the census taking is half a shekel, "which weighs ten ge ...
per day on a
charterparty A charterparty (sometimes charter-party) is a maritime contract between a shipowner and a "charterer" for the hire of either a ship for the carriage of passengers or cargo, or a yacht for pleasure purposes. Charter party is a contract of carriage o ...
between a ship charterer and a
shipmaster A sea captain, ship's captain, captain, master, or shipmaster, is a high-grade licensed mariner 200px, A sample United States Merchant Marine license issued by the United States Coast Guard in 2006 A licensed mariner is a sailor who holds a li ...

shipmaster
. Law 276 stipulated a 2-gerah per day
freight rate A ''freight rate'' (historically and in ship chartering simply freight) is a price at which a certain cargo is delivered from one point to another. The price depends on the form of the cargo, the mode of transport (truck, ship, train, aircraft), t ...
on a contract of affreightment between a charterer and shipmaster, while Law 277 stipulated a -shekel per day freight rate for a 60-gur vessel. A type of guild was known in
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
times. Known as ''
collegium A (plural ), or college, was any association in ancient Rome with a legal personality. Such associations could be civil or religious. The word literally means "society", from (‘colleague’). They functioned as social clubs or religious ...
'', ''collegia'' or ''corpus'', these were organised groups of merchants who specialised in a particular craft and whose membership of the group was voluntary. One such example is the ''corpus naviculariorum'', a collegium of based at Rome's . The Roman guilds failed to survive the
collapse Collapse or its variants may refer to: Concepts * Collapse (structural) * Collapse (topology), a mathematical concept * Collapsing manifold * Collapse, the action of collapsing or telescoping objects * Ecosystem collapse An ecosystem ...
of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. A ''collegium'' was any association that as a
legal entity In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by it ...
. In 1816, an archeological excavation in
Minya, Egypt MinyaAlso spelled ''definitive article, el...'' or ''al...'' ''...Menia, ...Minia'' or ''...Menya''. ( ar, المنيا  ; ) is the capital of the Minya Governorate in Upper Egypt. It is located approximately south of Cairo on the western ban ...
(under an
Eyalet Eyalets (Ottoman Turkish Ottoman Turkish ( ota, لِسانِ عُثمانى, , ; tr, Osmanlı Türkçesi) was the standardized register (sociolinguistics), register of the Turkish language used in the Ottoman Empire (14th to 20th centuries ...
of the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire (; ', ; or '; )info page on bookat Martin Luther University) // CITED: p. 36 (PDF p. 38/338). was an empire that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, Northern Africa between the 14th ...
) produced a Nerva–Antonine dynasty-era tablet from the ruins of the Temple of Antinous in Antinoöpolis,
Aegyptus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of s originally told by the , and a of . These stories concern the and , the lives and activities of , , and , and the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own and practices. Mode ...

Aegyptus
that prescribed the rules and membership dues of a
burial societyA burial society is a form of friendly society. These groups historically existed in England and elsewhere, and were constituted for the purpose of providing by voluntary subscriptions for the funeral expenses of the husband, wife or child of a mem ...
''
collegium A (plural ), or college, was any association in ancient Rome with a legal personality. Such associations could be civil or religious. The word literally means "society", from (‘colleague’). They functioned as social clubs or religious ...
'' established in
Lanuvium Lanuvium, modern Lanuvio, is an ancient city of Latium vetus, some southeast of Rome, a little southwest of the Via Appia. Situated on an isolated hill projecting south from the main mass of the Alban Hills, Lanuvium commanded an extensive view o ...
,
Italia Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of Italian Peninsula, a peninsula delimited by the Alps and List of islands of Italy, several islands surrounding it, whose t ...

Italia
in approximately 133 AD during the reign of
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of in . His father was of senatorial rank and was ...

Hadrian
(117–138) of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
. Following the passage of the ''
Lex Julia A ''Lex Julia'' (or: Lex Iulia, plural: Leges Juliae/Leges Iuliae) was an ancient Roman law that was introduced by any member of the Julian family. Most often, "Julian laws", ''Lex Iulia'' or ''Leges Iuliae'' refer to moral legislation introduced ...
'' during the reign of
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
as
Consul Consul (abbrev. ''cos.''; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
and
Dictator A dictator is a political leader who possesses absolute power. A dictatorship A dictatorship is a form of government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the c ...
of the
Roman Republic The Roman Republic ( la, Rēs pūblica Rōmāna ) was a state of the classical Roman civilization, run through public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an indiv ...
(49–44 BC), and their reaffirmation during the reign of
Caesar Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles througho ...

Caesar Augustus
as ''
Princeps senatus The ''princeps senatus'' (plural ''principes senatus'') was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the ''cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequ ...
'' and
Imperator The Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with" ...

Imperator
of the
Roman Army The Roman army (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in ...
(27 BC–14 AD), ''collegia'' required the approval of the or the
Emperor An emperor (from la, imperator The Latin word "imperator" derives from the stem of the verb la, imperare, label=none, meaning 'to order, to command'. It was originally employed as a title roughly equivalent to ''commander'' under the Roma ...
in order to be authorized as legal bodies. Ruins at
Lambaesis Lambaesis (Lambæsis), Lambaisis or Lambaesa (''Lambèse'' in French Algeria, colonial French), is a Ancient Rome, Roman archaeological site in Algeria, southeast of Batna City, Batna and west of Timgad, located next to the modern village of Taz ...
date the formation of burial societies among Roman Army soldiers and
Roman Navy The Roman navy ( la, Classis, lit=fleet) comprised the naval forces of the Ancient Rome, ancient Roman state. The navy was instrumental in the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean Basin, but it never enjoyed the prestige of the Roman legions. Throug ...
mariners A mariner is a sailor. Mariner or Mariners may also refer to: Computing * CBL-Mariner, a free and open source cloud infrastructure operating system based on Linux and developed by Microsoft * Mariner (browser engine), a canceled project to enhanc ...

mariners
to the reign of
Septimius Severus Lucius Septimius Severus (; 11 April 145 – 4 February 211) was Roman emperor from 193 to 211. He was born in Leptis Magna (present day Al-Khums, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa (Roman province), Africa. As a young man he advanced thro ...
(193–211) in 198 AD. In September 2011, archeological investigations done at the site of the
artificial Artificiality (the state of being artificial or man-made) is the state of being the product of intentional human manufacture, rather than occurring naturally through processes not involving or requiring human activity. Connotations Artificiality of ...
harbor A harbor (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American Engl ...

harbor
Portus Portus was a large artificial harbour of Ancient Rome. Sited on the north bank of the north mouth of the Tiber, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, Tyrrhenian coast, it was established by Claudius and enlarged by Trajan to supplement the nearby port of Ostia A ...

Portus
in
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
revealed inscriptions in a
shipyard A shipyard (also called a dockyard) is a place where ships A ship is a large watercraft that travels the world's oceans and other sufficiently deep Sea lane, waterways, carrying goods or passengers, or in support of specialized missions, ...

shipyard
constructed during the reign of
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Trajanus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors use ...

Trajan
(98–117) indicating the existence of a shipbuilders guild. ''Collegium'' also included
fraternities A fraternity (from Latin language, Latin ''wiktionary:frater, frater'': "brother (Christian), brother"; whence, "wiktionary:brotherhood, brotherhood") or fraternal organization is an organization, society, club (organization), club or fraternal ...
of Roman priests overseeing
ritual sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of food, objects or the lives of animals or humans to a higher purpose, in particular divine beings, as an act of propitiation or worship. Evidence of ritual animal sacrifice has been seen at least ancient Hebrew and ...

ritual sacrifice
s, practicing
augury Augury is the practice from ancient Roman religion Religion in ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion In religious studies, an ethnic religion is a religion or Belief#Religion, belief associated with a particular ethnic group. ...

augury
, keeping
scriptures Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for c ...
, arranging
festivals A festival is an event ordinarily celebrated by a community and centering on some characteristic aspect of that community and its religion or cultures. It is often marked as a local or national holiday, mela, or Muslim holidays, eid. A festival ...
, and maintaining specific religious cults. In
medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...

medieval
cities, craftsmen tended to form associations based on their trades, Confraternities of textile workers, masons, carpenters, carvers, glass workers, each of whom controlled secrets of traditionally imparted technology, the "arts" or "mysteries" of their crafts. These Confraternities differed from guilds in that their authority came from the Catholic Church, unlike guilds, whose authority came from the government. Confraternities often formed to prevent or oppose a guild forming in an industry. Usually the founders were free independent master craftsmen who hired apprentices.


Post-classical guild

There were several types of guilds, including the two main categories of merchant guilds and craft guilds but also the and religious guild. Guilds arose beginning in the
High Middle Ages The High Middle Ages, or High Medieval Period, was the period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in musical c ...
as craftsmen united to protect their common interests. In the German city of Augsburg craft guilds are mentioned in the Towncharter of 1156. The continental system of guilds and merchants arrived in England after the
Norman Conquest The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Duchy of Brittany, Bretons, County of Flanders, Flemish, and men from other Kingdom of France, French ...
, with incorporated societies of merchants in each town or city holding exclusive rights of doing business there. In many cases they became the governing body of a town. For example, London's Guildhall became the seat of the Court of Common Council#The Court of Common Council, Court of Common Council of the City of London Corporation, the world's oldest continuously elected local government, whose members to this day must be Freemen of the city. The Freedom of the City, effective from the Middle Ages until 1835, gave the right to trade, and was only bestowed upon members of a Guild or Livery. Early Egalitarian community, egalitarian communities called "guilds" were denounced by Catholic clergy for their "conjurations" — the binding oaths sworn among the members to support one another in adversity, kill specific enemies, and back one another in feuds or in business ventures. The occasion for these oaths were drunken banquets held on December 26. In 858, West Francian Bishop Hincmar sought vainly to Christianise the guilds. In the Early Middle Ages, most of the Associations in Ancient Rome#Trade associations, Roman craft organisations, originally formed as confraternity, religious confraternities, had disappeared, with the apparent exceptions of stonecutters and perhaps glassmakers, mostly the people that had local skills. Gregory of Tours tells a miraculous tale of a builder whose art and techniques suddenly left him, but were restored by an apparition of the Virgin Mary in a dream. Michel Rouche remarks that the story speaks for the importance of practically transmitted journeymanship. In France, guilds were called ''corps de métiers''. According to Viktor Ivanovich Rutenburg, "Within the guild itself there was very little division of labour, which tended to operate rather between the guilds. Thus, according to Étienne Boileau's Book of Handicrafts, by the mid-13th century there were no less than 100 guilds in Paris, a figure which by the 14th century had risen to 350." There were different guilds of metal-workers: the farriers, knife-makers, locksmiths, chain-forgers, nail-makers, often formed separate and distinct corporations; the armourers were divided into helmet-makers, escutcheon-makers, harness-makers, harness-polishers, etc. In Catalan towns, especially at Barcelona, guilds or ''gremis'' were a basic agent in the society: a shoemakers' guild is recorded in 1208. In England, specifically in the City of London Corporation, more than 110 guilds, referred to as livery company, livery companies, survive today, with the oldest years old. Other groups, such as the Worshipful Company of Tax Advisers, have been formed far more recently. Membership in a livery company is expected for individuals participating in the governance of ''The City'', as the Lord Mayor and the Remembrancer. The guild system reached a mature state in Germany and held on in German cities into the 19th century, with some special privileges for certain occupations remaining today. In the 15th century, Hamburg had 100 guilds, Cologne 80, and Lübeck 70. The latest guilds to develop in Western Europe were the ' of Spain: e.g., Valencia (1332) or Toledo (1426). Not all city economies were controlled by guilds; some cities were "free." Where guilds were in control, they shaped labor, production and trade; they had strong controls over instructional capital, and the modern concepts of a lifetime progression of apprentice to artisan, craftsman, and then from journeyman eventually to widely recognized master craftsman, master and grandmaster began to emerge. In order to become a master, a journeyman would have to go on a three-year voyage called journeyman years. The practice of the journeyman years still exists in Germany and France. As production became more specialized, trade guilds were divided and subdivided, eliciting the squabbles over jurisdiction that produced the paperwork by which economic historians trace their development: The metalworking guilds of Nuremberg were divided among dozens of independent trades in the boom economy of the 13th century, and there were 101 trades in Paris by 1260. In Ghent, as in Florence, the Wool#History, woolen textile industry developed as a congeries of specialized guilds. The appearance of the European guilds was tied to the emergent money economy, and to urbanization. Before this time it was not possible to run a money-driven organization, as commodity money was the normal way of doing business. The guild was at the center of European handicraft organization into the 16th century. In France, a resurgence of the guilds in the second half of the 17th century is symptomatic of Louis XIV and Jean Baptiste Colbert's administration's concerns to impose unity, control production, and reap the benefits of transparent structure in the shape of efficient taxation. The guilds were identified with organizations enjoying certain privileges (
letters patent upLetters patent transferring a predecessor of the Nancy Nancy may refer to: Places France * Nancy, France, a city in the northeastern French department of Meurthe-et-Moselle and formerly the capital of the duchy of Lorraine ** Arrondiss ...
), usually issued by the monarch, king or state (polity), state and overseen by local town business authorities (some kind of chamber of commerce). These were the predecessors of the modern patent and trademark system. The guilds also maintained funds in order to support infirm or elderly members, as well as widows and orphans of guild members, funeral benefits, and a 'tramping' allowance for those needing to travel to find work. As the guild system of the City of London declined during the 17th century, the Livery Companies transformed into mutual assistance fraternities along such lines. European guilds imposed long standardized periods of apprenticeship, and made it difficult for those lacking the capital to set up for themselves or without the approval of their peers to gain access to materials or knowledge, or to sell into certain markets, an area that equally dominated the guilds' concerns. These are defining characteristics of mercantilism in economics, which dominated most European thinking about political economy until the rise of classical economics. The guild system survived the emergence of early Capitalism, capitalists, which began to divide guild members into "haves" and dependent "have-nots". The civil struggles that characterize the 14th-century towns and cities were struggles in part between the greater guilds and the lesser artisanal guilds, which depended on piecework. "In Florence, they were openly distinguished: the ''Arti maggiori'' and the ''Arti minori''—already there was a ''popolo grasso'' and a ''popolo magro''". Fiercer struggles were those between essentially conservative guilds and the
merchant A merchant is a person who trades in Commodity, commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in commerce, business or trade. Merchants have operated for ...

merchant
class, which increasingly came to control the means of production and the capital that could be ventured in expansive schemes, often under the rules of guilds of their own. German social historians trace the ''Zunftrevolution'', the urban revolution of guildmembers against a controlling urban patriciate, sometimes reading into them, however, perceived foretastes of the class struggles of the 19th century. In the countryside, where guild rules did not operate, there was freedom for the entrepreneur with capital to organize cottage industry, a network of cottagers who spun and wove in their own premises on his account, provided with their raw materials, perhaps even their looms, by the capitalist who took a share of the profits. Such a dispersed system could not so easily be controlled where there was a vigorous local market for the raw materials: wool was easily available in sheep-rearing regions, whereas silk was not.


Organization

In Florence, Italy, there were seven to twelve "greater guilds" and fourteen "lesser guilds" the most important of the greater guilds was that for judges and notaries, who handled the legal business of all the other guilds and often served as an arbitrator of disputes. Other greater guilds include the wool, silk, and the money changers' guilds. They prided themselves on a reputation for very high-quality work, which was rewarded with premium prices. The guilds fined members who deviated from standards. Other greater guilds included those of doctors, druggists, and furriers. Among the lesser guilds, were those for bakers, saddle makers, ironworkers and other artisans. They had a sizable membership, but lacked the political and social standing necessary to influence city affairs. The guild was made up by experienced and confirmed experts in their field of handicraft. They were called master craftsmen. Before a new employee could rise to the level of mastery, he had to go through a schooling period during which he was first called an apprenticeship, apprentice. After this period he could rise to the level of journeyman. Apprentices would typically not learn more than the most basic techniques until they were trusted by their peers to keep the guild's or company's secrets. Like ''journey'', the distance that could be travelled in a day, the title 'journeyman' derives from the French words for 'day' (''jour'' and ''journée'') from which came the middle English word ''journei''. Journeymen were able to work for other masters, unlike apprentices, and generally paid by the day and were thus day labourers. After being employed by a master for several years, and after producing a qualifying piece of work, the apprentice was granted the rank of journeyman and was given documents (letters or certificates from his master and/or the guild itself) which certified him as a journeyman and entitled him to travel to other towns and countries to learn the art from other masters. These journeys could span large parts of Europe and were an unofficial way of communicating new methods and techniques, though by no means all journeymen made such travels — they were most common in Germany and Italy, and in other countries journeymen from small cities would often visit the capital. After this journey and several years of experience, a journeyman could be received as master craftsman, though in some guilds this step could be made straight from apprentice. This would typically require the approval of all masters of a guild, a donation of money and other goods (often omitted for sons of existing members), and the production of a so-called "masterpiece", which would illustrate the abilities of the aspiring master craftsman; this was often retained by the guild. The medieval guild was established by charters or letters patent or similar authority by the city or the ruler and normally held a monopoly on trade in its craft within the city in which it operated: handicraft workers were forbidden by law to run any business if they were not members of a guild, and only masters were allowed to be members of a guild. Before these privileges were legislated, these groups of handicraft workers were simply called 'handicraft associations'. The town authorities might be represented in the guild meetings and thus had a means of controlling the handicraft activities. This was important since towns very often depended on a good reputation for export of a narrow range of products, on which not only the guild's, but the town's, reputation depended. Controls on the association of physical locations to well-known exported products, e.g. wine from the Champagne, France, Champagne and Bordeaux regions of France, tin-glazed earthenwares from certain cities in Holland, lace from Chantilly, Oise, Chantilly, etc., helped to establish a town's place in global commerce — this led to modern trademarks. In many German and Italian cities, the more powerful guilds often had considerable political influence, and sometimes attempted to control the city authorities. In the 14th century, this led to numerous bloody uprisings, during which the guilds dissolved town councils and detained patricianship, patricians in an attempt to increase their influence. In fourteenth-century north-east Germany, people of Wends, Wendish, i.e. Slavic peoples, Slavic, origin were not allowed to join some guilds. According to Wilhelm Raabe, ''"down into the eighteenth century no German guild accepted a Wend."''


Fall of the guilds

Sheilagh Ogilvie, Ogilvie (2004) argues that guilds negatively affected quality, skills, and innovation. Through what economists now call "rent-seeking" they imposed deadweight losses on the economy. Ogilvie argues they generated limited positive externalities and notes that industry began to flourish only after the guilds faded away. Guilds persisted over the centuries because they redistributed resources to politically powerful merchants. On the other hand, Ogilvie agrees, guilds created "social capital" of shared norms, common information, mutual sanctions, and collective political action. This social capital benefited guild members, even as it arguably hurt outsiders. The guild system became a target of much criticism towards the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. Critics argued that they hindered free trade and technological innovation, technology transfer and business development. According to several accounts of this time, guilds became increasingly involved in simple territorial struggles against each other and against free practitioners of their arts. Two of the most outspoken critics of the guild system were Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Adam Smith, and all over Europe a tendency to oppose government control over trades in favour of laissez-faire free market systems grew rapidly and made its way into the political and legal systems. Many people who participated in the French Revolution saw guilds as a last remnant of feudalism. The d'Allarde Law of 2 March 1791 suppressed the guilds in France. In 1803 the Napoleonic Code banned any coalition of workmen whatsoever. Smith wrote in ''The Wealth of Nations'' (Book I, Chapter X, paragraph 72): Karl Marx in his ''The Communist Manifesto, Communist Manifesto'' also criticized the guild system for its rigid gradation of social rank and the relation of oppressor/oppressed entailed by this system. It was the 18th and 19th centuries that saw the beginning of the low regard in which some people hold the guilds to this day. In part due to their own inability to control unruly corporation, corporate behavior, the tide of public opinion turned against the guilds. Because of industrialization and modernization of the trade and industry, and the rise of powerful nation-states that could directly issue patent and copyright protections — often revealing the trade secrets — the guilds' power faded. After the French Revolution they gradually fell in most European nations over the course of the 19th century, as the guild system was disbanded and replaced by laws that promoted free trade. As a consequence of the decline of guilds, many former handicraft workers were forced to seek employment in the emerging manufacturing industries, using not closely guarded techniques formerly protected by guilds, but rather the standardized methods controlled by corporations. Interest in the medieval guild system was revived during the late 19th century, among far-right circles. Fascism in Italy (among other countries) implemented Corporatism#Fascist corporatism, corporatism, operating at the national rather than city level, to try to imitate the corporatism of the Middle Ages.


Influence of guilds

Guilds are sometimes said to be the precursors of modern
trade union A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the integrity of their trade, improving safety standard ...
s. Guilds, however, can also be seen as a set of self-employed skilled craftsmen with ownership and control over the materials and tools they needed to produce their goods. Some argue that guilds operated more like cartels than they were like trade unions (Olson 1982). However, the journeymen organizations, which were at the time illegal, may have been influential. The exclusive privilege of a guild to produce certain goods or provide certain services was similar in spirit and character with the original patent systems that surfaced in England in 1624. These systems played a role in ending the guilds' dominance, as trade secret methods were superseded by modern firms directly revealing their techniques, and counting on the state to enforce their legal monopoly. Some guild traditions still remain in a few handicrafts, in Europe especially among shoemakers and barbers. These are, however, not very important economically except as reminders of the responsibilities of some trades toward the public. Modern antitrust law could be said to derive in some ways from the original statutes by which the guilds were abolished in Europe.


Economic consequences

The economic consequences of guilds have led to heated debates among economic historians. On the one side, scholars say that since merchant guilds persisted over long periods they must have been efficient institutions (since inefficient institutions die out). Others say they persisted not because they benefited the entire economy but because they benefited the owners, who used political power to protect them. Ogilvie (2011) says they regulated trade for their own benefit, were monopolies, distorted markets, fixed prices, and restricted entrance into the guild. Ogilvie (2008) argues that their long apprenticeships were unnecessary to acquire skills, and their conservatism reduced the rate of innovation and made the society poorer. She says their main goal was rent seeking, that is, to shift money to the membership at the expense of the entire economy. Epstein and Prak's book (2008) rejects Ogilvie's conclusions. Specifically, Epstein argues that guilds were cost-sharing rather than rent-seeking institutions. They located and matched masters and likely apprentices through monitored learning. Whereas the acquisition of craft skills required experience-based learning, he argues that this process necessitated many years in apprenticeship. The extent to which guilds were able to monopolize markets is also debated.


Women in guilds

For the most part, medieval guilds limited women's participation, and usually only the widows and daughters of known masters were allowed in. Even if a woman entered a guild, she was excluded from guild offices. It's important to note that while this was the overarching practice, there were guilds and professions that did allow women's participation, and that the Medieval era was an ever-changing, mutable society—especially considering that it spanned hundreds of years and many different cultures. There were multiple accounts of women's participation in guilds in England and the Continent. In a study of London silkwomen of the 15th century by Marian K. Dale, she notes that medieval women could inherit property, belong to guilds, manage estates, and run the family business if widowed. The ''Livre des métiers de Paris (Book of Trades of Paris)'' was compiled by Étienne Boileau, the Grand Provost of Paris under King Louis IX of France, Louis IX. It documents that 5 out of 110 Parisian guilds were female monopolies, and that only a few guilds systematically excluded women. Boileau notes that some professions were also open to women: surgeons, glass-blowers, chain-mail forgers. Entertainment guilds also had a significant number of women members. John, Duke of Berry documents payments to female musicians from Le Puy, Lyons, and Paris. Women did have problems with entering healers' guilds, as opposed to their relative freedom in trade or craft guilds. Their status in healers' guilds were often challenged. The idea that medicine should only be practiced by men was supported by some religious and secular authorities at the time. It is believed that the Inquisition and witch hunts throughout the ages contributed to the lack of women in medical guilds."GUILDS, WOMEN IN" in "Women in the Middle Ages", Greenwood Press 2004, pp. 384-85


Modern

Professional organizations replicate guild structure and operation. Professions such as architecture, engineering, geology, and land surveying require varying lengths of apprenticeships before one can gain a "professional" certification. These certifications hold great legal weight: most states make them a prerequisite to practicing there. Thomas W. Malone champions a modern variant of the guild structure for modern "e-lancers", professionals who do mostly telework for multiple employers. Insurance including any professional legal liability, liability, intellectual capital protections, an ethical code perhaps enforced by peer pressure and software, and other benefits of a strong association of producers of knowledge, benefit from economies of scale, and may prevent cut-throat competition that leads to inferior services undercutting prices. And, as with historical guilds, such a structure will resist foreign competition. The free software community has from time to time explored a guild-like structure to unite against competition from Microsoft, e.g. Advogato assigns journeyer and master ranks to those committing to work only or mostly on free software.


Europe

In many European countries guilds have experienced a revival as local trade organizations for craftsmen, primarily in traditional skills. They may function as forums for developing competence and are often the local units of a national employer's organisation. In the City of London, the ancient guilds survive as livery company, livery companies, all of which play a ceremonial role in the city's many customs. The City of London livery companies maintain strong links with their respective trade, craft or profession, some still retain regulatory, inspection or enforcement roles. The senior members of the City of London Livery Companies (known as liverymen) elect the sheriffs and approve the candidates for the office of Lord Mayor of London. Guilds also survive in many other towns and cities the UK including in Preston, Lancashire, as the Preston Guild Merchant where among other celebrations descendants of burgesses are still admitted into membership. With the City of London livery companies, the UK has over 300 extant guilds and growing. In 1878 the London livery companies established the City and Guilds of London Institute the forerunner of the engineering school (still called City and Guilds College) at Imperial College London. The aim of the City and Guilds of London Institute was the advancement of technical education. "City and Guilds" operates as an examining and accreditation body for vocational, managerial and engineering qualifications from entry-level craft and trade skills up to post-doctoral achievement. A separate organisation, the City and Guilds of London Art School has also close ties with the London livery companies and is involved in the training of master craftworkers in stone and wood carving, as well as fine artists. In Germany there are no longer any ''Zünfte'' (or ''Gilden'' – the terms used were rather different from town to town), nor any restriction of a craft to a privileged corporation. However, under one other of their old names albeit a less frequent one, ''Innungen'', guilds continue to exist as private member clubs with membership limited to practitioners of particular trades or activities. These clubs are corporations under public law, albeit the membership is voluntary; the president normally comes from the ranks of master-craftsmen and is called ''Obermeister'' ("master-in-chief"). Journeymen elect their own representative bodies, with their president having the traditional title of ''Altgesell'' (senior journeyman). There are also "craft chambers" (''Handwerkskammern''), which have less resemblance to ancient guilds in that they are organized for all crafts in a certain region, not just one. In them membership is mandatory, and they serve to establish self-governance of the crafts.


India

India's guilds include the Students Guild, Indian Engineers Guild, and the Safety Guild. Other professional associations include the Indian medical Association, Indian Engineers, Indian Dental Association, United nurses Association, etc. Most of them use Union, Association or Society as suffix.


North America

In the United States guilds exist in several fields. Often, they are better characterized as a labor union — for example, The Newspaper Guild is a labor union for journalists and other newspaper workers, with over 30,000 members in North America. In the film and television industry, guild membership is generally a prerequisite for working on major productions in certain capacities. The Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, East, Writers Guild of America, West and other profession-specific guilds have the ability to exercise strong control in the cinema of the United States as a result of a rigid system of intellectual-property rights and a history of power-brokers also holding guild membership (e.g., DreamWorks Pictures, DreamWorks founder Steven Spielberg was, and is, a DGA member). These guilds maintain their own contracts with production companies to ensure a certain number of their members are hired for roles in each film or television production, and that their members are paid a minimum of guild "scale," along with other labor protections. These guilds set high standards for membership, and exclude professional actors, writers, etc. who do not abide by the strict rules for competing within the film and television industry in America. Real-estate brokerage offers an example of a modern American guild system. Signs of guild behavior in real-estate brokerage include: standard pricing (6% of the home price), strong affiliation among all practitioners, self-regulation (see National Association of Realtors), strong cultural identity (the Realtor brand), little price variation with quality differences, and traditional methods in use by all practitioners. In September 2005 the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors, challenging NAR practices that (the DOJ asserted) prevent competition from practitioners who use different methods. The DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission in 2005 advocated against state laws, supported by NAR, that disadvantage new kinds of brokers. ''U.S. v. National Assoc. of Realtors'', Civil Action No. 05C-5140 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 7, 2005). The practice of law in the United States also exemplifies modern guilds at work. Every state maintains its own bar association, supervised by that state's highest court. The court decides the criteria for entering and staying in the legal profession. In most states, every attorney must become a member of that state's bar association in order to practice law. State laws forbid any person from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law and practicing attorneys are subject to rules of professional conduct that are enforced by the state's high court. Medical associations comparable to guilds include the state Medical Boards, the American Medical Association, and the American Dental Association. Medical licensing in most states requires specific training, tests and years of low-paid apprenticeship (internship and residency) under harsh working conditions. Even qualified international or out-of-state doctors may not practice without acceptance by the local medical guild (Medical board). Similarly, nurses and physicians' practitioners have their own guilds. A doctor cannot work as a physician's assistant unless (s)he separately trains, tests and apprentices as one.


Australia

Australia is home to several guilds. The most notable of these is The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, created in 1928 as the Federated Pharmaceutical Services Guild of Australia. The Pharmacy Guild serves "5800 community pharmacies," while also providing training and standards for the country's pharmacists. Australia's other guilds include the Australian Directors Guild, Australian Director's Guild, representing the country's directors, documentary makers and animators, the Australian Writers' Guild, Australian Writer's Guild, the Australian Butcher's Guild, a fraternity of independent butchers which provides links to resources like Australian meat standards and a guide to different beef cuts, and The Artists Guild, a craft guild focusing on female artists.


In fiction

* In the Dune universe, ''Dune'' universe, an organization known as the Spacing Guild controls the means of interstellar travel and thus wields great power. * In video games, guilds are used as associations of players or characters with similar interests, such as dungeons, crafting, or Player versus player, PVP (player vs player) combat. * In ''The Mandalorian'', there is a bounty hunter guild. * In Terry Pratchett's ''Discworld'' novels, the guilds of the city of Ankh-Morpork and their political interplay with the city patrician feature prominently. * In ''The Venture Brothers'', most super-villains in the series belong to The Guild of Calamitous Intent, which regulates their menacing activities towards their respective protagonists, while also shielding said villains from criminal prosecution. Much of the show's story-line revolves around politics within the Guild.


See also

* Bourgeois of Brussels * Bourgeois of Paris * Catholic Police Guild * Cohong – Chinese guilds of merchants * Collegium - Roman associations similar to medieval guilds * Community of practice * Company of Merchant Adventurers of London * Company of Merchant Adventurers to New Lands * Cooperative * Craft Unionism * Distributism * Evolution of Timpani in the 18th and 19th centuries#Early European Use of Timpan, Timpani Guilds * Germania (guild) – merchants' guilds in Valencia, Spain * Guildhall * Guilds of Brussels * Guild of Saint Luke — painter's guilds * Guild of St. Bernulphus * Guild socialism * Hanseatic League * List of guilds in the United Kingdom * Meistersinger - a German guild of poets, songwriters, and musicians * Merchant * Puy (society), Puy - a French guild of poets and musicians * Retail * Shreni – association of merchants, traders and artisans in India * Trade Guilds of South India * Trade union * Za (guilds) – merchants' guilds in Japan


Notes


References

* * — essays by scholars covering German and Italian territories, the Netherlands, France, and England; plus guilds in cloth spinning, painting, glass blowing, goldsmithing, pewterware, book-selling, and clock making. * Comparative study of the origins and development of merchant guilds in Europe, esp. their emergence during the late Middle Ages and their decline in the Early Modern era * * * *


Further reading

* Gordon Emery, Curious Chester (1999) * * * *
Ogilvie, Sheilagh. 2019. ''The European Guilds: An Economic Analysis''. Princeton University Press.
covers 1000 to 1880. * Rosser, Gervase. ''The Art of Solidarity in the Middle Ages: Guilds in England 1250-1550,'' Oxford University Press, 2015, https://books.google.com/books?id=A0rTBgAAQBAJ


External links


Medieval Guilds - World History Encyclopedia
*
Medieval guildsSt. Eloy's Hospice
The last Guild House in Utrecht (city), Utrecht * {{Authority control Crafts Guilds, Medieval economics