This dissertation is a quantitative study of the spatial business strategies of 130 late medieval
and 16th-century European commercial and banking firms, the business networks of which
have been put together for a structural analysis of the European city network between ca.
1300 and ca. 1600. Concretely this investigation has been carried out through the application
of an interlocking network model – specifically developed for the study of the present-day
global city network produced by the office networks of business service firms – to this
historical case study, in order to challenge predominantly hierarchical conceptualisations of
city networks which are often influenced by central place theory. After a methodological
section, in which solutions are designed for reconciling the geographical model with the
particularities of historical research, a first part of the analysis focuses on agency within the
network, identifying and reconstructing the multiple spatial strategies used by the different
agents. In a second part the overall structure and dynamics in the network are investigated,
revealing the operation of Christaller’s traffic principle, as well as a cyclical variation in
emphasis on continental and maritime nodes within the European city network. More
generally, this study demonstrates that the functioning of dynamic transnational networks
based upon complementarity and cooperation rather than competition is not limited to our
contemporary globalised world, but can also be found in particular historical societies.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.