Enduring City-States: The Struggle for Power and Security in the Mediterranean Sea

This thesis will examine medieval and early modern city-states in the Mediterranean as illustrative of political, commercial and military responses to threats and opportunities in the premodern period.

Evoking Tales in a Medieval Ceiling: Sulayman’s / Solomon’s Birds in the Capella Palatina of Palermo

A great multitude of birds populate the painted ceilings sheltering the palatine chapel of Palermo, constructed for King Roger of Sicily; these birds appear to shelter and rest in the great ceiling. As ceilings were often made to represent the sky, thee pictorial associations of birds and ceilings is only logical.

Linking the Mediterranean: The Construction of Trading Networks in 14th and 15th-century Italy

When the Mediterranean Sea is discussed historically, it is never a simple question of geography. Its meaning remains somewhat indeterminate. It refers to intellectual journeys that do not circumnavigate any one particular region; it indicates periods that splash over.

Mirrors of the World: Alexander Romances and the Fifteenth Century Ottoman Sultanate

The beginning of the fifteenth century offered a narrative link between the Ottoman and Alexandrine historical contexts that has been overlooked thus far.

Beyond Honor and Shame: Rabbinic Control of Jewish Women in Medieval Egypt

This lecture explores how the Restrictions imposed on women in Mediterranean societies both past and present are often understood to reflect a gendered model of ‘honor and shame’ that conditions men’s status on their female relatives’ sexual purity. 

A Rabbi, a Priest, and an Imam Walk into a Coffee Shop: Talking about Other People’s Religions in the Middle Ages

This lecture focuses on three medieval scholars – one rabbi, one priest, and one imam – who had a lot to say about their rival religions, arguing that there is much more going on when they did so than just ugly denunciation.

Mapping a New View of the Medieval World

Maps do more than show us the way and identify major landmarks – rivers, towns, roads and hills. For centuries, they also offered a perspective on how societies viewed themselves in comparison to the rest of the world.

Charlemagne’s Denarius, Constantine’s Edicule, and the Vera Crux

In 806 a much-discussed silver denarius bearing the likeness of Charlemagne was issued. This is called the “temple-type” coin due to the (as yet unidentified) architectural structure illustrated on the reverse side, and which is explicitly labeled as representing the epitome of “Christian Religion.”

Real and imaginary journeys in the later Middle Ages

For a proper understanding of the actions of men in the past it is necessary to have some idea of how they conceived the world and their place in it, yet for the medieval period there is a serious inbalance in the sources.

10th century find points to medieval sea routes around Ibiza

A bronze candelabra discovered by a diver in Ibiza in the 1970s is offering clues to the maritime history of this region.

Maurice, Son of Theodoric: Welsh Kings and the Mediterranean World AD 550-650

Among the many petty rulers of early medieval Wales was a king whose name can be rendered Maurice, son of Theodoric.

An abbot between two cultures: Maiolus of Cluny considers the Muslims of La Garde-Freinet

In July 972, Muslim raiders from the citadel of Fraxinetum (modern La Garde-Freinet) abducted Abbot Maiolus of Cluny and his entourage as they crossed the Great Saint Bernard Pass ( Mons Iovis ) in the western Alps.

Marvels and Allies in the East. India as Heterotopia of Latin Europe in the 12th Century

It has long been said that Latin Europe lost its connection to the East, specifically to Asia, in the early Middle Ages. But this is only part of the truth. From late Antiquity on, there were Christians in many places between the Mediterranean Sea and China.

Traveler’s Tips from the 14th Century: The Detours of Ibn Battuta

What advice can Ibn Battuta provide the globe-trotting public of the 21st century?

Western Turks and Byzantine gold coins found in China

In general, before the 1980’s, most scholars treated these finds as evidences for the frequent connection between Byzantine and China, which could be further associated with the seven-times visits of Fulin (Rum) emissaries recorded in Tang literature. However, after the 1980’s, more and more researchers tended to take these gold coins as a result of prosperous international trade along silk road.

Catalonia’s Mediterranean Expansion: An Instance of Colonialism?

It is apparent that not all historians agree on what Catalonian expansion means, and what expansion meant to Catalonia.

‘Defending the Christian Faith with Our Blood’. The Battle of Lepanto (1571) and the Venetian Eastern Adriatic: Impact of a Global Conflict on the Mediterranean Periphery

The battle of Lepanto, which took place on the 7th of October 1571, was the greatest naval battle of oar driven vessels in the history of the Mediterranean1. It was then that the mighty Ottoman navy suffered its first and utter defeat in a direct confrontation with Christian forces, joined in the Holy League. Its purpose was to help Venice in the defence of Cyprus, stormed by the Ottoman troops in July of 1570, but to no avail, as on the 3rd of August 1571 the island was taken by the Ottomans.

The European Reconquest of North Africa

The chief structural features of Africa Minor are simple. The territory consists of a long strip of land bounded on the north by the Mediterranean,on the south by the Sahara, on the east by the Gulf of Tripoli and the Libyan Desert, on the west by the Atlantic.

Danger from the high seas: Pirates shaped the history of the Mediterranean for 3000 years

Eye patch, peg leg and hook arm – these are the attributes commonly connoted with pirates. What many might not know is that pirates had been painting the waters of the Mediterranean red for almost 3,000 years.

Why There May Have Been Contacts between Slovenes and Jews before 1000 A.D.

The first documented evidence of a Jewish presence in Slovenia dates from the 13th century, when Yiddish- and Italian-speaking Jews migrated south from Austria to Maribor and Celje, and east from Italy into Ljubljana. This is a good three centuries after the first mention of Jews in the Austrian lands.

The Trebuchet

Recent reconstructions and computer simulations reveal the operating principles of the most powerful weapon of its time

Early Islamic Maritime Technology

This paper examines the extent to which the events of the 7th century were actually responsible for alterations to the maritime technology and associated practices of the Mediterranean during the early Islamic period.

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