Risky Business (2000)

Film details

  • Featuring

    Peter Jay

  • Country

    United Kingdom

  • Year


  • Type



The third programme in a six-part series in which Peter Jay investigates human economic history. In this programme covering 450 AD to 1497 AD, he travels to Egypt to reveal the story of the world's first entrepreneurs, who flourished in the Islamic world, along with the rise of the notion of risk-taking in pursuit of profit. The centre of Islamic trade from about 950 to 1500 AD was Cairo, where he examines the Genizah documents recovered from the Ben Ezra synagogue which provide insights into the methods of Jewish traders from as early as 800 AD. He also travels through Italy where, in the Middle Ages, governments first spotted the potential benefit of backing business. Crucial developments in agriculture which allowed northwest Europe to emerge from a dark age are also explored, together with the emergence of Venice as the dominant maritime trading state of the eastern Mediterranean, and the catastrophe of the Black Death.

Cast & Credits

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