Today in Labour History
Spartan Rules for Hanseatics
Hanseatic merchants had to comply with strict rules and ordinances on relations with women. Statutes pertaining to the Hanse Kontor of Bergen (Norway) in the 15th century state that any man who persuaded a local girl or married woman to commit immoral acts would be expelled from the settlement. A very explicit rule was established at the Hanse Diet in Lübeck on 28 May 1498: merchants were strictly forbidden to become engaged or to marry non-Hanseatic women. Nor was it allowed to keep any woman, Hanseatic or non-Hanseatic, on Kontor premises. Spatial and economic reasons seem to have played a role. The presence of wives and children on the premises would have meant that the tenements would have to be organized differently, which would have raised the costs. Marriage with a local woman would mean that the merchant released himself from the control of the Hanse and integrate into local society, thus becoming a serious rival to the Kontor.
Justyna Wubs-Mrozewica, Traders, Ties and Tensions...(2008) 143-145