Excellent trilogy and narrates the transition from European feudalism to early modern (i.e., mercantile) capitalism. Along the same lines but more modern and covering more ground is Wallerstein's "The Modern World System." Four volumes are out and a couple more still to come (but unlikely to be completed as Wallerstein probably doesn't have enough time left on this earth).
For those interested in the political, military, and geostrategic backdrop to financial markets, I would recommend "The Global Minotaur" by Yanis Varoufakis. I've had the book for a while but the reason it came to mind was a book review written by someone I know:
Not currently reading it but since Gore Vidal just died I'm reminded of his novel, "Creation," set in 500 BC. It's the fictional account of a Persian diplomat at the height of Persian empire (Darius, Xerxes, Artaxerxes), who makes extended visits to other power centres of the era (India, China, Greece). The era is interesting because it involved a "deepening" of civilisation -- centralised state power was being built and consolidated in India and China, and thinkers and mystics such as the pre-Socratics, Buddha, Confucius, and Zoroaster were coterminous with the age.