The Simplified Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith -- Book 3, Chapter 3b: The development of commerce after the fall of the Roman empire

Chapter 3b: The development of commerce after the fall of the Roman empire

14 The Italian cities were the first in Europe raised by commerce to any considerable degree of opulence. 15 The people of trading cities afforded some food to the vanity of the great proprietors by importing the improved manufactures and luxuries of richer countries. 16 A taste for the finer and more improved manufactures was introduced by foreign commerce into countries which had no such works. 17 The manufactures fit for distant sale were introduced in two ways.
  1. 18 Sometimes they were introduced by the violent operation of merchants who imitated foreign manufacturing.
Castruccio Castracani
Castruccio Castracani
19 At other times, manufactures for distant sale group up naturally by the gradual refinement of coarser manufactures which must always be done even in the poorest countries.
Next: Chapter 4a: How commerce contributes to society