Trading values: Negotiating masculinity in late medieval and early modern europe

Juliann Vitullo, Diane Wolfthal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


With the rise of the monetary economy in the late thirteenth century, Europe underwent a radical transformation as the new symbolic system of money restructured every aspect of life, from urban space and religious practices to gender roles and the production of art and literature. Over the next 300 years Europeans struggled with complex ethical issues, which were rooted in the apparent contradiction between the Christian ideals of poverty and charity, on the one hand, and the pervasive role of money and the desire to accumulate wealth, on the other. Definitions of avarice, usury, charity, and poverty were fiercely debated in both text and image, revealing the tensions inherent in a culture that was both Christian and capitalist. This essay will explore late medieval and early modern texts and images that suggest that the rise of the monetary economy produced a new ideal of masculinity, that this ideal engendered anxiety concerning men’s proper relationship to money, and that both women and children played a role in easing that anxiety. This essay rests on the assumption, well supported by recent research, that economic and theological ideas circulated throughout western Europe, spread by mendicant preachers, humanist writers, and international merchants, and that these ideas affected the values, art, and literature of the time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMoney, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages42
ISBN (Electronic)9781351916851
ISBN (Print)9781315248707
StatePublished - Dec 5 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Trading values: Negotiating masculinity in late medieval and early modern europe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this