Labor Organizations in Ancient and Medieval Times

The interests of labor or how the lower orders earned their living or conducted their affairs was never well recorded. By Carroll D. Wright, J.D.United States Commissioner of Labor, 1885-1905 NOTE: This article, now in the public domain, was written by Mr. Wright in 1905 and the terminology reflects the time and usage in that[…]

Guilds: Skilled Privilege in the Middle Ages

Introduction A guild is an association of artisans or merchants who oversee the practice of their craft/trade in a particular area. The earliest types of guild formed as confraternities of tradesmen, normally operating in a single city and covering a single trade. They were organized in a manner something between a professional association, a trade[…]

Guilds from the Ancient to Medieval Worlds

Guilds secured the monopoly and the commerce of the cities, controlling the various activities and selling all kinds of goods. Already in the Roman era, associations of people practicing the same trade are attested: in the first century, they actively participated in the political life of the city (as shown by the electoral graffiti of[…]

A History of Guilds from the Medieval Era

Guilds started as small associations of skilled artisans, experienced and confirmed experts in their field of handicraft. Introduction A guild is an association of craftspeople in a particular trade. The earliest guilds may have been formed in India circa 3800 B.C.E., and certainly existed in Roman times. They particularly flourished in Medieval Europe, where they[…]

Guilds: Drivers of Manufacturing and Commerce in the Middle Ages

Guilds dominated local politics and influenced national and international affairs. Introduction Guilds existed throughout Europe during the Middle Ages. Guilds were groups of individuals with common goals. The term guild probably derives from the Anglo-Saxon root geld which meant ‘to pay, contribute.’ The noun form of geld meant an association of persons contributing money for some common purpose. The root also[…]