Slavery in medieval mediterranean-(PDF) The Medieval Mediterranean Slave Trade | youval rotman - 2searchblogs.com

In Aragon, conquered Muslims were promised judicial autonomy as part of the surrender treaties signed with King Jaime I of Aragon. The General Bailiff could seize, try and imprison Muslims for criminal activity and frequently did so in cases of sexual relations between Muslims and Christians. In Islamic law, criminal convictions for adultery could be punished with public flogging or stoning; but under Christian courts, punishment was enslavement to the Crown. As a result, the number of Muslim slaves sold in Christian markets increased significantly. The Church sanctified the slave trade by arguing that religious differences justified slavery.

Slavery in medieval mediterranean

Simon and Sp. Download pdf. In Antiquity war had been always a major source of slaves. At Acre, Slavery in medieval mediterranean the two faiths shared a converted mosque as well as a suburban shrine, Muslim visitors were treated fairly and efficiently. Like the Old and New Testaments and Greek and Roman law codes, the Quran takes the institution of slavery for granted, though it urges kindness toward slaves and Acne sensitive skin manumission, especially for slaves who convert to Islam. He increased the number of mamelukes slave soldiers until they amounted to 5, horse and 1, foot. The same social and economic importance of slavery as a dynamic institution continued into the medieval period, although its juridical definition radically changed. The Arab markets were the destination of the Italian traders, Venetians among others.

Movie pregnant. Navigation menu

The Macmillan Company, No Tertiary Sources Like Wikipedia. Random House. New York. The Mediterrajean Origins of Irish Society. Without a large central authority and its laws, the pirates themselves started to mrditerranean much influence. The basic definition of slave in Romano-Byzantine law was: [65]. Roman and Persian institutions of slavery may emdieval influenced the development of institutions of slavery in Islamic law and jurisprudence. The revolutionary invention of the wheel. Under Gaelic custom, prisoners of war were routinely taken as slaves. Views Read Edit View history. Early Modern Captivity. The Ottoman eastern Mediterranean was the scene of intense piracy. Slavery in medieval mediterranean caused serfdom to gain prevalence over slavery in Europe? Just to elaborate where I'm coming from, you often hear about roman slavery, and then about early modern slavery starting with the discovery of the new world, Slavery in medieval mediterranean to the Pregnancy clothing zurich brandschenkestr War.

To browse Academia.

  • The Barbary slave trade refers to the slave markets that were lucrative and vast on the Barbary Coast of North Africa , which included the Ottoman provinces of Algeria , Tunisia and Tripolitania and the independent sultanate of Morocco , between the 16th and middle of the 18th century.
  • In Aragon, conquered Muslims were promised judicial autonomy as part of the surrender treaties signed with King Jaime I of Aragon.
  • To nominate someone else as a Quality Contributor, message the mods.

In Aragon, conquered Muslims were promised judicial autonomy as part of the surrender treaties signed with King Jaime I of Aragon. The General Bailiff could seize, try and imprison Muslims for criminal activity and frequently did so in cases of sexual relations between Muslims and Christians.

In Islamic law, criminal convictions for adultery could be punished with public flogging or stoning; but under Christian courts, punishment was enslavement to the Crown.

As a result, the number of Muslim slaves sold in Christian markets increased significantly. The Church sanctified the slave trade by arguing that religious differences justified slavery. Christian law accepted the institution of slavery and permitted Christians to keep non-Christian slaves. According to James Boswell in The Royal Treasure , the slave trade in Muslims was energised following the first outbreak of the Black Death in Corsairs from Valencia, Barcelona, Majorca, Venice and Genoa acquired slaves along the coasts of the Muslim kingdoms of Granada and those of North Africa, selling them in Christian markets.

Employees became increasingly unaffordable to many Iberians and they took to buying slaves instead to cut expenses, leading directly to a dramatic increase in the slave trade. An ordinance from the city of Barcelona in the late s clarifies that this had become common practice following the Plague:. Demand for slaves in Aragon was so high in the late 14th century that the supply started to diversify and Orthodox Christian slaves, including Circassians, Russians, Slavs, Bulgarians, Albanians and Greeks, all began to appear in Iberia from areas around the Eastern Mediterranean.

When relations between the eastern Christian churches and the western Roman Catholic Church deteriorated in , Eastern Orthodox Christians were considered legitimate targets of the western European slave traders.

When the trade in Eastern Orthodox slaves was at its highest, in , the historian Francisco Javier Marzal Palacios has estimated that they represented over 50 per cent of the total Valencian slave population. King Juan I of Aragon gave eastern Orthodox Christian slaves in his kingdom the right to claim their freedom in court in It was only with the Ottoman capture of Constantinople, however, that slave traffic from the eastern Mediterranean into Iberia really tapered off.

The European population finally resumed sustained growth in the s. Race, rather than religion, became the new marker of difference that made enslavement legitimate.

Skip to main content. Justifying Slavery. Johan MacKechnie Published 20 April Ms Ar f. Byzantine Empire Social. In Praise of Older Women. A Second British Revolution.

Get Miscellanies , our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week.

When she became regent, her government outlawed slave-trading of Christians throughout the Merovingian empire. His findings run contrary to a branch of scholarship which argued that the Islamic conquests reintroduced slavery to the Mediterranean world. Please read our subreddit rules and FAQ before posting! To browse Academia. Some think that slavery was the exclusion of people from the public sphere and its institutions, whereas serfdom was a complex form of dependency that usually lacked a codified basis in the legal system. The slave trade in England was officially abolished in The Serf the Knight and the Historian.

Slavery in medieval mediterranean

Slavery in medieval mediterranean

Slavery in medieval mediterranean

Slavery in medieval mediterranean

Slavery in medieval mediterranean. The Sacking of Baltimore

Malta remained a slave market until well into the late 18th century. One thousand slaves were required to man the galleys ships of the Order. Sending slaves to Egypt, for example, was forbidden by the papacy in , , , , and, finally, , as slaves sent to Egypt would often become soldiers, and end up fighting their former Christian owners.

Although the repeated bans indicate that such trade still occurred, they also indicate that it became less desirable. Although the Corpus was lost to the West for centuries, it was rediscovered in the 11th and 12th centuries, and led to the foundation of law schools in Italy and France. According to the Corpus, the natural state of humanity is freedom, but the "law of nations" may supersede natural law and reduce certain people to slavery.

The basic definition of slave in Romano-Byzantine law was: [65]. It was, however, possible to become a freedman or a full citizen; the Corpus, like Roman law, had extensive and complicated rules for manumission of slaves.

The slave trade in England was officially abolished in In Poland slavery was forbidden in the 15th century; it was replaced by the second enserfment. In Lithuania , slavery was formally abolished in In fact, there was an explicit legal justification given for the enslavement of Muslims, found in the Decretum Gratiani and later expanded upon by the 14th century jurist Oldradus de Ponte : the Bible states that Hagar , the slave girl of Abraham , was beaten and cast out by Abraham's wife Sarah.

The Decretum, like the Corpus, defined a slave as anyone whose mother was a slave. Otherwise, the canons were concerned with slavery only in ecclesiastical contexts: slaves were not permitted to marry or to be ordained as clergy. To this may have been added some Muslims taken as captives of war. The Kingdom's largest city, Acre , had a large slave market; however, the vast majority of Muslims and Jews remained free.

The laws of Jerusalem declared that former Muslim slaves, if genuine converts to Christianity, must be freed. In , the Council of Nablus forbade sexual relations between crusaders and their female Muslim slaves: [71] if a man raped his own slave, he would be castrated, but if he raped someone else's slave, he would be castrated and exiled from the kingdom. Kedar argued that the canons of the Council of Nablus were in force in the 12th century but had fallen out of use by the thirteenth.

Marwan Nader questions this and suggests that the canons may not have applied to the whole kingdom at all times. No Christian, whether Western or Eastern, was permitted by law to be sold into slavery, but this fate was as common for Muslim prisoners of war as it was for Christian prisoners taken by the Muslims. Conversion was apparently used as an excuse to escape slavery by Muslims who would then continue to practise Islam; crusader lords often refused to allow them to convert, and Pope Gregory IX , contrary to both the laws of Jerusalem and the canon laws that he himself was partially responsible for compiling, allowed for Muslim slaves to remain enslaved even if they had converted.

An early economic pillar of the Islamic empire in Iberia Al-Andalus during the eighth century was the slave trade. The archaeological evidence of human trafficking and proliferation of early trade in this case follows numismatics and materiality of text [74]. This monetary structure of consistent gold influx proved to be a tenet in the development of Islamic commerce [75].

This major change in the form of numismatics serves as a paradigm shift from the previous Visigothic economic arrangement. Additionally, it demonstrates profound change from one regional entity to another, the direct transfer of people and pure coinage from one religiously similar semi-autonomous province to another. The medieval Iberian Peninsula was the scene of episodic warfare among Muslims and Christians although sometimes Muslims and Christians were allies.

Periodic raiding expeditions were sent from Al-Andalus to ravage the Christian Iberian kingdoms, bringing back booty and people. Contrary to suppositions of historians such as Marc Bloch , slavery thrived as an institution in medieval Christian Iberia. From the fifth to the early 8th century, large portions of the Iberian Peninsula were ruled by Christian Visigothic Kingdoms , whose rulers worked to codify human bondage. In the 7th century, King Chindasuinth issued the Visigothic Code Liber Iudiciorum , to which subsequent Visigothic kings added new legislation.

Although the Visigothic Kingdom collapsed in the early 8th century, portions of the Visigothic Code were still observed in parts of Spain in the following centuries. The Code, with its pronounced and frequent attention to the legal status of slaves, reveals the continuation of slavery as an institution in post-Roman Spain. The Code regulated the social conditions, behavior, and punishments of slaves in early medieval Spain.

The marriage of slaves and free or freed people was prohibited. Likewise, any children born to the couple would follow the father's condition and be slaves. Unlike Roman law , in which only slaves were liable to corporal punishment, [ citation needed ] under Visigothic law, people of any social status were subject to corporal punishment.

However, the physical punishment, typically beatings, administered to slaves was consistently harsher than that administered to freed or free people. Slaves could also be compelled to give testimony under torture. For example, slaves could be tortured to reveal the adultery of their masters, and it was illegal to free a slave for fear of what he or she might reveal under torture.

Slavery remained persistent in Christian Iberia after the Umayyad invasions in the 8th century, and the Visigothic law codes continued to control slave ownership. However, as William Phillips notes, medieval Iberia should not be thought of as a slave society, but rather as a society that owned slaves. Ian Wood has suggests that, under the Visigoths, the majority of the slave population lived and worked on rural estates.

After the Muslim invasions, slave owners especially in the kingdoms of Aragon and Valencia moved away from using slaves as field laborers or in work gangs, and did not press slaves into military service. Christians were not the only slaveholders in Christian Iberia. This role caused some degree of fear among Christian populations.

A letter from Pope Gregory XI to the Bishop of Cordoba in addressed rumors that the Jews were involved in kidnapping and selling Christian women and children into slavery while their husbands were away fighting the Muslims. In the early period after the fall of the Visigothic kingdom in the 8th century, slaves primarily came into Christian Iberia through trade with the Muslim kingdoms of the south.

Slaveholders in the Christian kingdoms gradually moved away from owning Christians, in accordance with Church proscriptions. The Christian kingdoms of Iberia frequently traded their Muslim captives back across the border for payments of money or kind. Indeed, historian James Broadman writes that this type of redemption offered the best chance for captives and slaves to regain their freedom.

Towards the end of the Reconquista, however, this source of slaves became increasingly exhausted. Muslim rulers were increasingly unable to pay ransoms, and the Christian capture of large centers of population in the south made wholesale enslavement of Muslim populations impractical.

Beginning with the first Portuguese slave raid in sub-Saharan Africa in , the focus of slave importation began to shift from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic World, and the racial composition of slaves in Christian Iberia began to include an increasing number of black Africans. Particularly in Moldavia there were also slaves of Tatar ethnicity, probably prisoners captured from the wars with the Nogai and Crimean Tatars. The exact origins of slavery in the Danubian Principalities are not known.

There is some debate over whether the Romani people came to Wallachia and Moldavia as free men or as slaves. In the Byzantine Empire , they were slaves of the state and it seems the situation was the same in Bulgaria and Serbia until their social organization was destroyed by the Ottoman conquest, which would suggest that they came as slaves who had a change of 'ownership'.

Historian Nicolae Iorga associated the Roma people's arrival with the Mongol invasion of Europe and considered their slavery as a vestige of that era, the Romanians taking the Roma from the Mongols as slaves and preserving their status. Other historians consider that they were enslaved while captured during the battles with the Tatars.

The practice of enslaving prisoners may also have been taken from the Mongols. The ethnic identity of the "Tatar slaves" is unknown, they could have been captured Tatars of the Golden Horde , Cumans , or the slaves of Tatars and Cumans. While it is possible that some Romani people were slaves or auxiliary troops of the Mongols or Tatars, the bulk of them came from south of the Danube at the end of the 14th century, some time after the foundation of Wallachia.

By then, the institution of slavery was already established in Moldavia and possibly in both principalities, but the arrival of the Roma made slavery a widespread practice. The Tatar slaves, smaller in numbers, were eventually merged into the Roma population. The ancient and medieval Near East includes modern day Turkey, the Levant and Egypt, with strong connections to the rest of the north African coastline.

All of these areas were ruled by either the Byzantines or the Persians at the beginning of late antiquity. Pre-existing Byzantine i. Roman and Persian institutions of slavery may have influenced the development of institutions of slavery in Islamic law and jurisprudence. Whatever the relationship between these different legal traditions, many similarities exist between the practice of Islamic slavery in the early Middle Ages and the practices of early medieval Byzantines and western Europeans.

The status of freed slaves under Islamic rule, who continued to owe services to their former masters, bears a strong similarity to ancient Roman and Greek institutions. However, the practice of slavery in the early medieval Near East also grew out of slavery practices in currency among pre-Islamic Arabs.

Like the Old and New Testaments and Greek and Roman law codes, the Quran takes the institution of slavery for granted, though it urges kindness toward slaves and eventual manumission, especially for slaves who convert to Islam. However, under sharia law, conversion to Islam did not necessitate manumission. Slaves were employed in heavy labor as well as in domestic contexts.

Because of Quranic sanction of concubinage, [] early Islamic traders, in contrast to Byzantine and early modern slave traders, imported large numbers of female slaves. In Egypt, Ahmad ibn Tulun imported thousands of black slaves to wrestle independence from the Abbasid Caliphate in Iraq in Patterns of preference for slaves in the Near East, as well as patterns of use, continued into the later Middle Ages with only slight changes.

Slaves were employed in many activities, including agriculture, industry, the military, and domestic labor. Women were prioritized over men, and usually served in the domestic sphere as menials, concubines, or wives.

References to this latter type of slavery are rare, however. It is a bit of a misnomer to classify these men as "slaves", because in the Ottoman Empire, they were referred to as kul , or, slaves "of the Gate", or Sultanate. The Islamic Near East extensively relied upon professional slave soldiers, and was known for having them compose the core of armies. Slavery was an important part of Ottoman society. The new force was based on the sultan's right to a fifth of the war booty, which he interpreted to include captives taken in battle.

The captive slaves were converted to Islam and trained in the sultan's personal service. The Janissaries eventually became a decisive factor in the Ottoman military conquests in Europe. The concubines of the Ottoman Sultan consisted chiefly of purchased slaves. Because Islamic law forbade Muslims to enslave fellow Muslims, the Sultan's concubines were generally of Christian origin.

The mother of a Sultan, though technically a slave, received the extremely powerful title of Valide Sultan , and at times became effective ruler of the Empire see Sultanate of women. Slavery in Poland existed on the territory of Kingdom of Poland during the times of the Piast dynasty , [] however slavery was restricted to POWs.

In some special cases and for limited periods serfdom was also applied to debtors. The First Statute was drafted in and came into power in by the initiative of the Lithuanian Council of Lords. In Kievan Rus and Russia , the slaves were usually classified as kholops. A kholop's master had unlimited power over his life: he could kill him, sell him, or use him as payment upon a debt. The master, however, was responsible before the law for his kholop's actions.

A person could become a kholop as a result of capture, selling himself or herself, being sold for debts or committed crimes , or marriage to a kholop. Until the late 10th century, the kholops represented a majority among the servants who worked lordly lands. Russian agricultural slaves were formally converted into serfs earlier in In the Golden Horde under Khan Tokhtamysh sacked Moscow , burning the city and carrying off thousands of inhabitants as slaves. For years the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan routinely made raids on Russian principalities for slaves and to plunder towns.

Russian chronicles record about 40 raids of Kazan Khans on the Russian territories in the first half of the 16th century. The laws from 12th and 13th centuries describe the legal status of two categories. According to the Norwegian Gulating code in about , domestic slaves could not, unlike foreign slaves, be sold out of the country.

This and other laws defined slaves as their master's property at the same level as cattle. It also described a procedure for giving a slave their freedom. A freed slave did not have full legal status; for example, the punishment for killing a former slave was low. A former slave's son also had a low status, but higher than that of his parents. The Norwegian law code from , Landslov Land's law , does not mention slaves, but former slaves.

Thus it seems like slavery was abolished in Norway by this time. In Sweden, slavery was abolished in British Wales and Gaelic Ireland and Scotland were among the last areas of Christian Europe to give up their institution of slavery. Under Gaelic custom, prisoners of war were routinely taken as slaves.

The Irish church was vehemently opposed to slavery and blamed the Norman invasion on divine punishment for the practice, along with local acceptance of polygyny and divorce. In considering how serfdom evolved from slavery, historians who study the divide between slavery and serfdom encounter several issues of historiography and methodology. Some historians believe that slavery transitioned into serfdom a view that has only been around for the last years , though there is disagreement among them regarding how rapid this transition was.

In northwestern Europe, a transition from slavery to serfdom happened by the 12th century. The Catholic Church promoted the transformation by giving the example. Enslavement of fellow Catholics was prohibited in and manumission was declared to be a pious act. However it remained legal to enslave people of other religions and dogmas. Generally speaking, regarding how slaves differed from serfs, the underpinnings of slavery and serfdom are debated as well.

Some think that slavery was the exclusion of people from the public sphere and its institutions, whereas serfdom was a complex form of dependency that usually lacked a codified basis in the legal system. Despite the scholarly disagreement, it is possible to piece together a general picture of slavery and serfdom. Slaves typically owned no property, and were in fact the property of their masters. Slaves worked full-time for their masters and operated under a negative incentive structure ; in other words, failure to work resulted in physical punishment.

Slaves were generally imported from foreign countries or continents, brought to Europe via the slave trade. Serfs were typically indigenous Europeans and were not subject to the same involuntary movements as slaves.

Serfs worked in family units, whereas the concept of family was generally murkier for slaves. The end of serfdom is also debated, with Georges Duby pointing to the early 12th century as a rough end point for "serfdom in the strict sense of the term".

There are several approaches to get a time span for the transition, and lexicography is one such method. There is supposedly a clear shift in diction when referencing those who were either slaves or serfs at approximately , though there is not a consensus on how significant this shift is, or if it even exists.

In addition, numismatists shed light on the decline of serfdom. There is a widespread theory that the introduction of currency hastened the decline of serfdom because it was preferable to pay for labor rather than depend on feudal obligations. Some historians argue that landlords began selling serfs their land — and hence, their freedom — during periods of economic inflation across Europe.

The absence of serfdom in some parts of medieval Europe raises several questions. Devroey thinks it is because slavery was not born out of economic structures in these areas, but was rather a societal practice.

In late Rome, the official attitude toward slavery was ambivalent. According to Justinian's legal code , slavery was defined as "an institution according to the law of nations whereby one person falls under the property rights of another, contrary to nature". Justifications for slavery throughout the medieval period were dominated by the perception of religious difference. Slaves were often outsiders taken in war. As such, Hebrew and Islamic thinking both conceived of the slave as an "enemy within".

In theory, slaves who converted could embark on the path to freedom, but practices were inconsistent: masters were not obliged to manumit them and the practice of baptising slaves was often discouraged. Consequently, northern European pagans and black Africans were a target for all three religious groups. Ethnic and religious difference were conflated in the justification of slavery. A major Christian justification for the use of slavery, especially against those with dark skin, was the Curse of Ham.

The Curse of Ham refers to a biblical parable Gen. Noah then curses Ham's offspring, Canaan , with being a "servant of servants unto his brethren".

Although race or skin color is not mentioned, many Jewish, Christian and Muslim scholars began to interpret the passage as a curse of both slavery and black skin, in an attempt to justify the enslavement of people of color, specifically those of African descent. Muslim sources in the 7th century allude to the Curse of Ham gaining relevance as a justifying myth for the Islamic world's longstanding enslavement of Africans.

The apparent discrepancy between the notion of human liberty founded in natural law and the recognition of slavery by canon law was resolved by a legal "compromise": enslavement was allowable given a just cause, which could then be defined by papal authority.

They have come to be known as the white slaves of Barbary. Slavery is one of the oldest trades known to man. People from virtually every major culture, civilization, and religious background have made slaves of their own and enslaved other peoples. However, comparatively little attention has been given to the prolific slave trade that was carried out by pirates , or corsairs, along the Barbary coast as it was called by Europeans at the time , in what is now Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, beginning around AD.

Anyone travelling in the Mediterranean at the time faced the real prospect of being captured by the Corsairs and taken to Barbary Coast cities and being sold as slaves. However, not content with attacking ships and sailors, the corsairs also sometimes raided coastal settlements in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, England, Ireland, and even as far away as the Netherlands and Iceland.

They landed on unguarded beaches, and crept up on villages in the dark to capture their victims. When a signal was given, they simultaneously charged into the homes, pulling the sleeping inhabitants from their beds.

Men were typically used for labor and women as concubines, while children were often raised as Muslims, eventually forming part of the slave corps within the Ottoman army. In the 13th and 14th centuries, it was Christian pirates, primarily from Catalonia and Sicily, that dominated the seas, posing a constant threat to merchants.

It was not until the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the 15 th century that the Barbary corsairs started to become a menace to Christian shipping. Around AD, European pirates brought advanced sailing and shipbuilding techniques to the Barbary Coast, which enabled the corsairs to extend their activities into the Atlantic Ocean, and the impact of Barbary raids peaked in the early to midth century. While the Barbary slave trade is typically portrayed as Muslim corsairs capturing white Christian victims, this is far too simplistic.

In reality, the corsairs were not concerned with the race or religious orientation of those they captured. And the corsairs were not only Muslim; English privateers and Dutch captains also exploited the changing loyalties of an era in which friends could become enemies and enemies friends with the stroke of a pen.

In comments which may stoke controversy, Davis claims that white slavery had been minimised or ignored because academics preferred to treat Europeans as evil colonialists rather than as victims. The Barbary slave trade is typically depicted as Muslims capturing white Christians, such as in the artwork above, but this is not entirely accurate. Image source. The slaves captured by the Barbary pirates faced a grim future.

Many died on the ships during the long voyage back to North Africa due to disease or lack of food and water. Those who survived were taken to slave markets where they would stand for hours while buyers inspected them before they were sold at auction. After purchase, slaves would be put to work in various ways. Men were usually assigned to hard manual labor, such as working in quarries or heavy construction, while women were used for housework or in sexual servitude. At night the slaves were put into prisons called 'bagnios' that were often hot and overcrowded.

However, by far the worst fate for a Barbary slave was being assigned to man the oars of galleys. Rowers were shackled where they sat, and never allowed to leave. Sleeping, eating, defecation and urination took place at the seat. Overseers would crack the whip over the bare backs of any slaves considered not to be working hard enough.

Galley Slaves of the Barbary Corsairs. Algiers was frequently bombarded by the French, Spanish and Americans, in the early 19th century. Eventually, after an Anglo-Dutch raid in on Algiers, the corsairs were forced to agree to terms which included a cessation of the practice of enslaving Christians, although slave trading of non-Europeans was allowed to continue. A Sea Fight with Barbary Corsairs, c. Occasional incidents continued to occur until another British raid on Algiers in , and finally, a French invasion of Algiers in , which placed it under colonial rule.

Tunis was similarly invaded by France in Tripoli returned to direct Ottoman control in , before finally falling into Italian hands in the Italo-Turkish War. The slave trade finally ceased on the Barbary coast when European governments passed laws granting emancipation to slaves. Featured image: A slave caught by Barbary pirates. Slavery and White Guilt — James Eden. Barbary pirates — Wikipedia. New book reopens old arguments about slave raids on Europe — The Guardian.

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies.

Log In Sign Up. Necipoglu, P. Magdalino eds. Youval Rotman. The Medieval Mediterranean Slave Trade. The geopolitical changes of the seventh and eighth centuries, which transformed the late Roman Empire into a medieval world composed of different civilizations, radically changed the economic dynamics of these regions and had major consequences on the Byzantine slave market. However, in what follows I would like to examine the Byzantine slave trade not only as a consequence of these dynamics, but also as one of their causes.

In other words, this paper considers the way in which international politics and economy, especially the economy of slavery, intertwined, and in fact became one. Modern research has traditionally argued that the political and social transformation of the Roman Empire in the early Middle Ages brought, among other changes, also a decline in the use of slaves. This view was challenged in the last twenty years by studies of slavery in the Caliphate, Latin Europe, Byzantium and the Mediterranean economy.

The sources of the period clearly show that slaves continued to be part of Mediterranean societies, and that no sudden break in their use can be detected. In these commercial dynamics eastern Europe proved to be a major source of European slaves for the Mediterranean societies, for Byzantium and the Caliphate in particular.

In what follows I would like to focus on these two civilizations, which held the largest slave markets in the period under discussion. The competition between these two markets affected international politics, and proved the importance of the slave market in the early and central Middle Ages. As we shall see, this competition was of major concern to Byzantium and affected Byzantine international politics as is attested in the international treaties that Byzantium signed in the central 1 See, in particular, M.

Rotman, Byzantine Slavery and the Mediterranean World, trans. Todd Cambridge, Mass. But see for a different view K. The Use of Slaves in the Byzantine World Among the four major sources of slaves—war, commerce, breeding, and selling of oneself into slavery—two concern the international arena: war and commerce. War had been a major generator of slavery in ancient times, and continued to be prevalent in Late Antiquity. It was complemented by a large importation of slaves.

Roman sources reveal a worldwide trafficking in slaves that were imported to the empire from Ethiopia, India and the Caucasus. The continuous wars between Byzantium and the Caliphate affected the entire geopolitical constellation of the eastern Mediterranean up until the arrival of the Crusades.

In Antiquity war had been always a major source of slaves. However, thanks to the exchanges of prisoners of war between the two states, the wars between Byzantium and the Caliphate did not become a major provider of slaves to either side. For the importation of slaves from Ethiopia, see F. Jahrhunderts P. Wolska-Conus, vol. Korzenszky, in Jus Graecoromanum, ed. Zepos and P. Zepos, vol. In case of a prospective exchange of prisoners, the captives should be kept for such a use: The Taktika of Leo VI, ed.

Dennis Washington D. The Patria of Constantinople, although a later source, provides a short description of the slave market of Constantinople. In any case the circulation of slaves into the empire through Abydos and the Dodecanese islands is well attested for the end of the eighth century by Theophanes Confessor. The caliph al-Wathiq ordered the purchase of Byzantine slaves in Baghdad and Raqqa in order to have the right number or people to ransom the Muslims captives.

See A. Vasiliev, Byzance et les Arabes, vol. See also M. XVII] and Y. Preger, vol. De Boor, 2 vols. Hildesheim, , A. Ashburner, in Jus Graecoromanum, ed.

Fiscal Treatise, ed. Jahrhunderts Hildesheim, , Koder Vienna, , 2. Egypt Average price of a woman 20 dinar Documents from Cairo Genizah18 Egypt Sale of a Byzantine rumiyya Estimated at 80 Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, woman dinar19 , note 45 14 For the equivalence between the nomisma and the dinar, see J. Cheynet, E. Malamut and C. Kravari, J. Lefort and C. Morrisson, vol.

Grumel, V. Laurent, J. Rhalles, M. Potles, vol. Africa was also an important source of slaves for the Arab world, but African slaves were not enough to meet the demands of this world, which made a distinction between African and European slaves. This can be explained by the long commercial itineraries that connected eastern Europe to the Arab markets.

The slave trade thus moved from north to south, and as far as the Arab world was concerned also from the south Africa to the north. The Slavs and the Bulgars appeared thus to be the main source of slaves for both Byzantium and the Arab world. As McCormick has shown, the circulation of human merchandise was conditioned also by the fact that the peoples of central and eastern Europe did not mint 19 According to Goitein, A Mediterranean Society, , the estimation given in the marriage contract is double the market price.

Oxford, , Damascus, , Guichard and M. Canard Paris, , passim. This explains the demand of these regions for Byzantine and Arab coins, which were found in the north, up to the Baltic Sea, and to the east, up to Lake Oka on the Volga. Jews who lived in the Muslim world could not buy Muslim slaves, nor could Byzantine Jews purchase Christian slaves.

Jews could therefore legally acquire only imported slaves. In fact, in Byzantium Jews were prohibited from converting their slaves to Judaism.

Such limitations were probably a factor in their specialization in the slave trade. See M. Kazanski, A. Nercessian, C. Zuckerman, ed. Simon and Sp. Troianos Frankfurt A. Constantinople is mentioned as a destination of the Radhaniyya in one of their itineraries, but only for the importation of spices.

All other routes, in contrast, including those of the slave trade, do not pass through the Byzantine Empire, in spite of the fact that a large slave market existed in Constantinople. The itineraries of the Radhaniyya bypassed Byzantium.

But, a quick glimpse at the map will show immediately that Byzantium is situated exactly between the source of slaves and their markets in the south-east. The main question is therefore: why did these itineraries not pass through the Empire? In what follows I would like to show that the Radhaniyya depended on the position of the international medieval slave markets and on the competition between them.

This also meant a central economic control based in Constantinople since the fourth century. The imperial control of trade took the form of taxes—kommerkia, handled by officials, kommerkiarioi, who were responsible for their collection. This system enabled the Byzantine state to control not only the circulation of merchandise in the empire, but thanks to the position of the Byzantine seaports, also the international commercial circulation between the three Byzantine seas: the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Adriatic.

The particularity of human merchandise was its potential escape, in which case the regulations stated that the captain was made responsible to reimburse their value to their owner. Eight years later Nikephoros I restored the taxes and introduced a special measure concerning specifically the slave trade: all slaves who did not pass through the customs at Abydos were subject to a new tax of two nomismata per slave.

Magdalino Istanbul, , ; S. The Byzantine customs system of the eighth-ninth centuries, therefore, resulted not only in the control of the trading routes between the Aegean, the Adriatic and the Black Sea, but de facto also created a certain monopoly on the slave trade in the eastern Mediterranean. From an Arab middle- eastern point of view, the main source of European slaves, eastern Europe, was the hinterland of Byzantium.

For the Byzantines there were itineraries in the Balkans and Black Sea to import slaves directly from eastern Europe. The Byzantines were in fact in competition with the Caliphate over this merchandise. Zografski et al. As we saw, slave traders as well as other traders coming from the Arab world preferred to avoid Byzantine territory because of the Byzantine restrictions on foreign merchants.

Slavery in medieval mediterranean

Slavery in medieval mediterranean