If you were to address a powerful and affluent noble with a wide monopoly over trade in the 11th-13th centuries, what would you call them? (Assuming you are of lesser rank to them) Would it be Sir, Lord, Master? If there is any information on specific titles from different regional languages, Swedish/German/Danish would be preferred. Any insight would be much appreciated.

  • I believe the only widespread "trade monopolies" in Western Europe for the time of interest are three oligarchies: the Republics of Venice and Genoa - both with elected for life heads of state titled a Doge - and the Hanseatic League - a very loose federation of Imperial Cities without an overall head of state as near as I can tell. In neither case would any Feudal Lord have been accepted in any role in either of the Italian Republics or the Hanseatic League, as his training would have been in non-commercial fields. Nov 11, 2019 at 3:26
  • "Assuming you are of lesser rank to them" -- With the exception of the odd nobles who engaged in commercial activities, in which case the usual title would apply, and of the leaders of the two merchant republics that Pieter has already raised, merchants were of the same rank as your everyday peasant. Your question seems to be building on the assumption that this wasn't the case. Nov 11, 2019 at 6:41
  • I suppose I should have been more specific. I am writing about an early 13th century merchant, whose father is a predominant member of a developing Hanseatic League in Visby, Gotland. The powerful merchant guild, at this time (not yet established as the Hanseatic League), controlled most of the trade and flow of commerce throughout cities like Visby and Lübeck. I wondered if, since these extremely wealthy merchants were practically ruling nobles in their own right, they were addressed uniquely with titles of respect. The wealth-based class distinction at this time led me to ask the question.
    – Koios
    Nov 12, 2019 at 16:33


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