European and Islamic Trade in the Early Ottoman State: The Merchants of Genoa and Turkey

European and Islamic Trade in the Early Ottoman State: The Merchants of Genoa and Turkey

European and Islamic Trade in the Early Ottoman State: The Merchants of Genoa and Turkey

European and Islamic Trade in the Early Ottoman State: The Merchants of Genoa and Turkey

Synopsis

By using untapped Latin and Turkish sources, and focusing on the trading partnership between the Genoese and the Turks, Kate Fleet demonstrates how this interaction contributed to the economic development of the early Ottoman state and to Ottoman territorial expansion. Where previous literature has emphasized the military prowess of the early Ottomans and their role as "the infidel," this book considers their economic aspirations and their integration into the economy of the Mediterranean basin. This readable, authoritative study illuminates an obscure period in early Ottoman history.

Excerpt

At the beginning of the fourteenth century the world of the eastern Mediterranean was a counterpane of political powers with small states forming and large ones in decline. The Seljuks of Rum, dominant in Anatolia since the twelfth century, had been defeated at the battle of Kosedag, north-west of Sivas, in 1243 by the Mongols, who then became the major power in the region. By 1300, however, Mongol power in Anatolia had declined. The Byzantine state was a mere remnant of its former glory, losing even its capital in 1204 to the fourth crusade. Although the emperor Michael VIII Palaeologos was able to regain the city in 1261 the empire's Asiatic possessions had by now been reduced to a small strip of land in western Anatolia. From this time the Byzantine rulers set out in a constant, but fruitless, search for help from the west in an attempt to guarantee their state's survival.

Off the coast of Anatolia, the patchwork of islands scattered through the Aegean was under Latin or Byzantine control. The Genoese were established in Chios, first under the control of the Zaccaria family from the early fourteenth century to 1329, and then, from 1346, under the Maona. The Genoese family of the Gattilusio controlled Lesbos (Mytilene) from 1354. The Genoese were also established in Phokaea (modern Foca), on the Anatolian coastline opposite Chios, initially under the Zaccaria family, from the late thirteenth century, and in Pera, on the European side of the Golden Horn opposite Constantinople, from 1267. Venice controlled Crete and Negroponte, and Venetian lords ruled in many of the islands including

This chapter is an historical outline of events, serving as a background to the discussion on trade. For more detailed histories, see in particular Franz Babinger, Mehmed the Conqueror and his Time, trans. Ralph Manheim, ed. with preface William C. Hickman, Bollingen Series 96) (Princeton, 1978); Michel Balard, La Romanie génoise (Xlle-debut du XVe stick), ASLSP, n.s. v.l 8 (92), fasc. I; Bibliotheque des Ecoles Francaises d'Athenes et de Rome 235 (Genoa and Paris, 1978), vols. I-II;Claude Cahen, Pre-Ottoman Turkey. A General Survey of the Material and Spiritual Culture and History c. 1071–1330 (London, 1968); Colin Imber, The Ottoman Empire 1300–1481 (Istanbul, 1990); Halil Inalcik, The Ottoman Empire. The Classical Age 1300–1600 (London, 1973); Elizabeth A. Zachariadou, Trade and Crusade, Venetian Crete and the Emirates of Menteshe and Aydin Library of the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and PostByzantine Studies, 11 (Venice, 1983).

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