Book Chapter

The spread of Hindu-Arabic numerals among practitioners in Italy and England (13th-16th c.): two moments of a European innovation cycle?

  • Raffaele Danna

Together with introducing a set of key innovations in commercial practices, the merchant-bankers of the commercial revolution of the 13th century were also the first European economic agents to adopt Hindu-Arabic numerals. As practical arithmetic provided the mathematical foundation for commercial innovations, studying its European spread provides a particularly suitable angle to study the diffusion of practical knowledge in the pre-modern period. Italy was the early adopter of these techniques, while in England these practices became widespread at the onset of the little divergence. In this paper, I discuss in comparative perspective the social diffusion of this knowledge in Italy and England, and its wider impact. On the one hand, this analysis makes it possible to show a number of parallels between the trajectories followed by these societies. On the other hand, it allows to observe the complex interactions between practical knowledge and wider economic, institutional, and social changes.

  • Keywords:
  • Knowledge diffusion,
  • learning,
  • economic growth,
  • commercial revolution,
  • little divergence,
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Raffaele Danna

Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies Pisa, Italy

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Chapter Information

Chapter Title

The spread of Hindu-Arabic numerals among practitioners in Italy and England (13th-16th c.): two moments of a European innovation cycle?

Authors

Raffaele Danna

Language

English

DOI

10.36253/979-12-215-0092-9.06

Peer Reviewed

Publication Year

2023

Copyright Information

© 2023 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Bibliographic Information

Book Title

L’economia della conoscenza: innovazione, produttività e crescita economica nei secoli XIII-XVIII / The knowledge economy: innovation, productivity and economic growth, 13th to 18th century

Editors

Giampiero Nigro

Peer Reviewed

Number of Pages

456

Publication Year

2023

Copyright Information

© 2023 Author(s)

Content License

CC BY 4.0

Metadata License

CC0 1.0

Publisher Name

Firenze University Press

DOI

10.36253/979-12-215-0092-9

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979-12-215-0091-2

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979-12-215-0092-9

Series Title

Datini Studies in Economic History

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2975-1241

Series E-ISSN

2975-1195

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