Documents

 

"Judging the Franks: Proof, Justice, and Diversity in Late Medieval Alexandria and Damascus", Comparative Studies in Society and History 2016; 58(2):350–378

Abstract: This article describes how Islamic and Frankish legal devices complemented each other and were even combined to settle disagreements in the late medieval Middle East. For this purpose, it focuses on two legal institutions that provided responses to the biases of Islamic law against non-Muslims and to the prejudices of Franks against the local law. The first are the notaries sent to the Mamluk cities by the Venetian government to draw up legal documents and to support the transactions of Venetian merchants. The second are the new royal or siyāsa courts implemented by the sultans, where justice was dispensed by government officials instead of by traditional judges, or qāḍīs. Specifically, the article discusses, in a comparative manner, what constituted proof for Christians and Muslims, whether minorities could bear testimony or not, and how notaries and judges dealt with unbelievers. A common notarial culture, together with the expansion of siyāsa jurisdiction over the affairs of foreigners, brought about a much deeper legal interplay than has previously been understood. Ultimately, it is argued that Mediterranean medieval societies had evolving attitudes toward justice and diversity, and approached their own legal traditions in ways compatible with the conflict resolution, while constantly borrowing legal concepts about difference from each other.

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"Florentine Networks in the Middle East in the Early Renaissance", To cite this article: Francisco Apellániz (2015), Mediterranean Historical Review, 30:2, 125-145

Though Florentines represented a minority group in the Mamluk sultanate and their business interests were relatively minor, a common identity laid the foundations for their commercial associations. Yet identity was put at play by members of these networks in very different manners, and their common belonging, it will be argued, was subjected to manipulation and differently perceived and displayed within the same group, and, according to circumstance, by the same actors. Deprived of the normative and institutional configuration of the European communities, and isolated from government control, Florentine identity in the Middle East was blurred when compared with existence in Italian cities where merchants and exiles flocked in large numbers and whose activities were closely monitored by the Florentine government. Instead, Florentines in the East coalesced into groups that could be more easily entered or left through the manipulation of practices, such as language, family origins, or legal norms such as citizenship.

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" Venetian Trading Networks in the Medieval Mediterranean ", The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2013) 44: 2, 157-179

Ambiguous attitudes towards belonging are often difficult to trace in the archives: the nature of most Mediterranean sources and research leads historians to focus on elite figures, whose family names can be easily noticed in the documents as charge holders, and whose careers and family lines can be easily reconstructed in the long run. Through the use of network analysis, the present article identifies the role of lower-rank players such as Jews, Greeks, colonial subjects and uprooted individuals within the exclusive commercial networks of Venice, validating the hypothesis that those characters were crucial for the functioning of the Venetian networks. A complementary, micro-analytical focus on individual agency describes how lower-rank merchants and brokers manipulated legal, cultural and religious categories to integrate themselves into the Venetian networks, but also to abandon them when the assets of enjoying a second-rank Venetian belonging proved insufficient.

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"Alexandrie, l’évolution d’une ville-port (1360-1450)", : Alexandrie médiévale 4 - édité par C. Décobert, J.-Y. Empereur et C. Picard, Alexandrie, CEAlex, 2011, p. 195-212

Cette contribution a pour but de souligner l’importance des communautés étrangères pour comprendre la transformation d’Alexandrie en une ville-port. Nous aurons recours à des séries de données en provenance de plusieurs registres notariaux, rédigés par les notaires vénitiens envoyés en Égypte et qui passaient leurs actes dans les funduqs et les rues de la ville. La description des pratiques sociales (du mariage jusqu’à l’enterrement) et la structuration de cette communauté étrangère non seulement par nations, mais aussi par genres et statuts sociaux, nous montre une évolution du groupement, plutôt que son déclin. La communauté du xive siècle, liée à l’expansion vénitienne et aux dernières croisades, évolua en perdant son caractère régional, pour devenir vers les années 1450 un milieu d’affaires complexe et élitaire. Cette hypothèse sera en outre appuyée par l’observation des espaces marchands et de leur utilisation par la communauté étrangère.

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"Collaboration des réseaux marchands à Alexandrie (XIVe-XVe siècles)", dans : From Florence to the Mediterranean and Beyond: Essays in Honor of Anthony Molho, Florence, Leo. S. Olshki, 2009,  581-601

Concernant l’étude du fonctionnement des réseaux marchands, certains chercheurs ont mis l’accent sur les aspects organisationnels et sur la rationalité économique de leurs entreprises, d’autres ont souligné la correspondance entre réseaux et nations, et d’autres, enfin, ont insisté sur l’importance de facteurs comme la famille, la religion ou la culture. Notre but est d’esquisser brièvement, à l’aide de quelques exemples, quel était le rapport entre les réseaux marchands, les nations, et ces groupes construits sur des éléments tels que la religion ou l’appartenance ethnique. Dans un premier temps, nous nous pencherons donc sur le cas de certains groupes « dépendants », c’est-à-dire provenant de la périphérie d’entités politiques en formation, et collaborant avec les plus importantes nations marchandes, comme Gênes et Venise. Nous essayerons ensuite de comprendre quel fut à moyen terme le résultat de cette interaction, avant d’étudier les conséquences que celle-ci eut pour l’ensemble du réseau des marchands alexandrins. Les marchands et leurs vicissitudes constituent sans aucun doute l’un des matériaux privilégiés pour construire l’histoire de la Méditerranée. Notre contribution s’intéresse à une dimension particulière de ce thème, en l’occurence l’interaction entre différents hommes d’affaires et communautés marchandes. Le gouvernement de Venise envoyait au Moyen Orient des notaires en tant qu’attachés des consulats, qui se relevaient, en principe, tous les deux ans. D’après les registres de ces notaires, des hommes de plus d’une cinquantaine d’origines différentes se trouvèrent à Alexandrie au cours de la période comprise entre mi-quatorzième et mi-quinzième siècles.

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Fig. 1. Graphe représentant l'Interaction entre marchands à Alexandrie (1399-1401)

 

"The Funduqs of Damascus seen by Frankish Notaries and Merchants" in: Travel in the Middle Ages, M. Sureda (ed), Barcelona, IEMed, 2015, p. 65-71 / 266-270 (4500 words, bilingual edition Catalan-English)

Based on Venetian notarial records and on Arabic chronicles, the articles addresses the development of a new business zone to the north west of the Medina, outside the walls and the Bab al-Faraj gate, promoted by the sultans Sayf-ad-Din Barquq (1382-1399), al-Mu’ayyad Shaykh (1412-1421) and Sayf-ad-Din Barsbay (1422-1437). The urban development of this area reflects the interest of the Circassian sultans (1382-1517) in capturing global trade and attracting European capital.

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“An Unknown Minority Between the dār al-harb and the dār al-Islām” in : Dār al-islām / dār al-harb, Territories, People, Identities, Edited by G. Calasso and G. Lancioni, Studies in Islamic Law and Society series, n.40, Brill 2017

By crossing references from both arabic sources and Genoese and Venetian archives, this article approaches a minority involved in the commercial and cultural crossroads of the Eastern Mediterranean, a place where linguistic and religious groups frequently trumped political borders. I will be referring to a group of people designated in fifteenth-century Venetian sources as Fazolati and by Genoese ones as Faiholati. The term’s precise meaning is obscure and has long resisted identification by specialists, yet my focus will go to a jurisdictional conflict in 1421, triggered by the Sultan’s attempt to expel all foreigners infringing Islamic rules of extraterritoriality. The role played by the Fazolati during this episode can help us understand, I argue, how Mediterranean peoples dealt with dār al-ḥarb / dār al-Islam divide in their daily contacts at marketplaces and in courts.

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