chapter  II
7 Pages


Naturally, such factors as geographical conditions, the contours of the soil, the direction and navigability of water-courses, and the configuration of sea-coasts, by the direction which they imposed on the circulation of men and goods, at the same time determined the situation of the first commercial settlements. But almost invariably these sites were already inhabited when the afflux of merchants restored them to renewed activity. Some-and this was the case in Italy, Spain, and Gaul-were already occupied by an episcopal “city”; others-for example, in the Low Countries, and the regions to the east of the Rhine and the north of the Danube-were already the site of a bourg-that is, a fortress. The reason for this is easily understood.