Leslie Carr-Riegel was a Fellow of the Kolleg from September 2022 to August 2023.
Leslie Carr-Riegel studied at Kalamazoo College in the United States before transferring to complete her BA degree at the American University in Rome. She took her first MA from the University of Durham with the thesis titled: The Power of Poo: Waste and the Medieval Environment A Comparative Study of Three Cities – Siena, London, and Gdansk. She is a certified English language instructor and spent two years in China teaching at the Tianjin Construction University. She completed her second MA at the Central European University with the thesis titled: Waste Management in Medieval Krakow: 1257 – 1500. She continued her doctoral studies at the Central European University during the course of which she acted as a Junior Fellow at the Medici Archive in Florence and as an Intern at the Krakow History Museum. She defended her doctoral dissertation in 2021 with the thesis titled: Italian Traders in Poland 1300-1500. For the last two years she has worked as a Teaching Fellow with the Princeton University Global History Lab.
The Right of Reprisal in Practice as Used Against Late Medieval Florentine Merchants
The right of reprisal, also referred to also as the community responsibility system, was a form of medieval mercantile customary law whereby individuals from one community were granted the right to seek redress from members of another community for a wrong done by one of their own. This right, authorized merchants to seize the person and/or property of other traders from a different locality, in retribution for acts committed by members of the offending community thereby addressing through a civil process the problem of debt security. In this way, traders were discouraged from leaving unpaid debts in a distant town, as they would receive pressure both from that polity and their own, as their poor behaviour affected the entire group. Unknown in ancient times, this medieval answer to the issue of how to ensure proper payment for goods given in good faith or loans arranged between traders from a different community developed in Europe during the eleventh century in response to increasing long-distance trade. For long-distance traders, the risk of loss due to bad debts was significantly higher; and so the right of reprisal arose as one of the means to ensure accountability.
Till now, most of the research on the right of reprisal has dealt with its normative legislation and debate over its legitimate usage and efficacy as a ward against moral hazard and insolvency. Individual cases on the other hand, have received far less attention, and these have further rarely, if ever, been placed in a comparative perspective. This research proposes to analyse real case examples of reprisals involving Florentine merchants as a means to assess the way this “common custom” was exercised in practice.
Carr-Riegel, Leslie, A Merchant of Venice in Poland: The Life and Times of Pietro Bicherano, in: Networking in Late Medieval Central Europe. Friends, Families, Foes, forthcoming 2022.
Carr-Riegel, Leslie, Cosmatesque Art, in: The Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages, London 2020.
Carr-Riegel, Leslie, Waste Management in Medieval Europe, in: The Encyclopedia of the Global Middle Ages, London 2020.
Carr-Riegel, Leslie, Italian Mint Masters in Medieval Poland, in: Annual of Medieval Studies at CEU vol 25, 2019, 93-106.
Carr-Riegel, Leslie, Laundry Ladies in Medieval Poland, in: Mielke, Christopher/Znorovszky, Andrea-Bianka (Eds.), Same Bodies, Different Women. Other Women in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, Budapest 2019.
Carr-Riegel, Leslie, Paving Towns, Medium Aevum Quotidianum 72, Krems 2016, 5-40.