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Trade, politics and loyalty 600 years ago: Bruges highlights adventurer Anselm Adornes |  is reading

Trade, politics and loyalty 600 years ago: Bruges highlights adventurer Anselm Adornes | is reading

Adventurous life

A resident of Bruges of Italian descent, who undertakes daring journeys, but meets his end in Scotland? The life story of Anselm Adornes reads like an adventure novel.

“He clearly belonged to the leading class of society,” says Noel Gernert, former head of the Bruges City Archives. “He was involved in the city's government and finances, had good relations with the Duke of Burgundy, and was at the head of an important textile dyeing business.”

A business family on the rise

The Adornis clan felt like a fish in water in the international trade, banking world, and Bruges merchant elite, which was very international in the 15th century, explains Jean Dumoulin, professor of medieval history at Ghent University.

“It is a typical example of a merchant family who at some point becomes noble through social mobility. This Jerusalem church shows their ambition to rise and radiate symbolic social status.”

Anselm lived like a nobleman, a knight, with all the trimmings. “Tournaments, heraldry, a private place of worship, a grave monument, and the promise in his will to give money to the poor. It was the way of life of someone of great status,” says Dumoulin.

The man who cleverly managed to avoid boycotting the Wool

Anselm Adornes also made interesting journeys, which were widely discussed at the exhibition in Bruges. Towards Scotland, for example, and that had to do with his own work.

He managed to break the boycott of the wool trade. Which pleased the Scottish king and his hometown of Bruges. Irony: Anselm was eventually killed years later in Scotland by opponents of the king.

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