Vadas Ferenc (szerk.): A Wosinszky Mór Múzeum Évkönyve 15. (Szekszárd, 1990)
Handelsbeziehungen - Johann Callmer: The beginning of the Easteuropean trade connections of Scandinavia and the Baltic Region in the eighth and ninth centuries A. D.
The beginning of the Easteuropean trade connections of Scandinavia and the Baltic Region in the eighth and ninth centuries A. D. JOHAN CALLMER, LUND What is trade in Barbarian Europe in the eighth and ninth centuries A. D.? How can we know anything about trade from archaeological sources. What do the historical sources tell us about trade? What can anthropological and ethnographical studies of contemporary and recent traditional societies tell us about principles of trade in stateless societies and emergent state societies. These questions are important to consider before we go more explicitly to the problems of the Easteuropean trade connections of Scandinavia and the Baltic region (Stjernquist 1985, Callmer 1988). The classical question of the importance of and especially the role played by long distance trade for the development of society in the Baltic region is still a central problem for archaeologists dealing with the second half of the first millennium (Callmer 1977 19, 1982, Hyenstrand 1985). There is however a general consensus that the development of long distance trade in a complex centre - periphery relationship was of outmost importance for the transformation of Barbarian society (e. g. Renfrew 1975). Trade is a difficult concept to use in an analysis of traditional and even to some extent of contemporary society. Trade is only one of several activities with the help of which material goods could be chanelled from a geographically bounded area to another (cf Callmer 1982). Trade is also an ambiguous concept in itself since it requires at least two agents and it is not necessarily so that both sides view the activity as trade. A situation when only one side could classify the activity as trade is easily conceivable (Callmer 1988 269). Long distance trade may be defined as an activity full time or part time which comprises the transfer of material goods from one area to another. This activity is undertaken with an aim to gain a certain profit. It is thus wholly or partly a necessity for the existence of the agent of trade. Beside trade there are numerous varieties of exchange systems, many of which may also operate on long distance (Callmer 1982 140f). For the period in question we may point out certain types of regional or even interregional exchange which are not necessarily of a trade character e. g. the supply of iron to the island of Gotland in the Baltic from the mainland (Callmer 1988 263). We may also include systems of tribute. Early Medieval society in the Baltic region is characterized by systems of complex but instable political units comprising core regions and subordinate regions (ibidem 265). This relationship was certainly expressed in a tribute system including products of different regions, but it cannot be excluded, perhaps also comprising in a secondary way long distance imports (i. e. a secondary function of trade goods). Another 19