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Post Offices of Europe 18th – 21st Century

A Comparative History


Muriel Le Roux and Sébastien Richez

The cursus publicus, established by the Roman Empire to connect all its conquered territories, may be considered to be the ancestor of all modern post offices. Therefore, mail service networks are part of an organization, dating from Antiquity, which is common to the entire European community.
From the 18th century onwards, the French mail service network may be divided into three successive phases. First, the consolidation of the transportation system that was being set up. Second, the development of the system’s ability to deal with increasing traffic (through broader human resources). Thirdly, the diversification of its operations and the development of its technical modernisation.
What was the situation in other European countries? Are there similarities and differences in how their networks were set up and organized? Finally, how did European Post Offices cooperate with each other in spite of their differences?
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For “Archaeology of the Equestrian Postal Services”.Cases of Post Houses in France and Italy: Armando Serra


Armando SERRA

In disuse, now, for more than a century, the mounted courier postal service (here called by the neologism “equestrian postal service” for convenience and precision) reveals its archaeological character through evidence collected in France and Italy, a selection of stationary and moveable artefacts, analogous to the summa division of other archaeologies.

The equestrian postal services, which used linear infrastructures (esp. streets and bridges – the basic public capital to exploit), consisted essentially of a network of terminal infrastructures, i.e. territorial postal stations on the territory of one state or nation (in connection with those of bordering states.) Working with an exclusive on the means of production and a public monopoly of the service, the stations were, from the economic point of view, micro-productive units for the ground transport of passengers (with baggage) and objects (postal in the broadest sense: missives, packets, bundles of merchandise, monetary “groups”, etc., according to the circumstances). Each station, equipped with stationary capital (building/s), moveable capital (means of transport like horses and motorized energy, inanimate means of transport like vehicles, horse trappings, forage, tools, and furnishings) and the hired labor (postilions and others, like the stable boys), was managed by the post master “postman,” its entrepreneur (likened to the “mayor” in Chateau de Port Royal and in two cases in Fontenay-sur-Loing).

Emerging at the end of the Middle Ages, state letter mail is the political prius of the mounted courier postal services which were its beneficiary. Equestrian postal services,...

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