Olivia Remie Constable is an associate professor in the History Department at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Trade and Traders in Muslim Spain: The Commercial Realignment of the Iberian Peninsula 900–1500 (CUP, 1994) and Medieval Iberia: Readings from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish Sources (1997).
In The Open Sea, J. G. Manning offers a major new history of economic life in the Mediterranean world in the Iron Age, from Phoenician trading down to the Hellenistic era and the beginning of Rome's imperial supremacy. Drawing on a wide range of ancient sources and the latest social theory, Manning suggests that a search for an illusory single "ancient economy" has obscured the diversity of lived experience in the Mediterranean world, including both changes in political economies over time and differences in cultural conceptions of property and money. At the same time, he shows how the region's economies became increasingly interconnected during this period.
The Open Sea argues that the keys to understanding the region's rapid social and economic change during the Iron Age are the variety of economic and political solutions its different cultures devised, the patterns of cross-cultural exchange, and the sharp environmental contrasts between Egypt, the Near East, and Greece and Rome. The book examines long-run drivers of change, such as climate, together with the most important economic institutions of the premodern Mediterranean--coinage, money, agriculture, and private property. It also explores the role of economic growth, states, and legal institutions in the region's various economies.
A groundbreaking economic history of the ancient Mediterranean world, The Open Sea shows that the origins of the modern economy extend far beyond Greece and Rome.
The significance of these practices changed over time in the eyes of Christian warriors, priests, and common citizens who came to dominate all corners of the Iberian peninsula by the end of the fifteenth century. Certain "Moorish" fashions occasionally crossed over religious lines, while visits to a local bathhouse and indulgence in a wide range of exotic foods were frequently enjoyed by Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. Yet at the end of the Middle Ages, attitudes hardened. With the fall of Granada, and the eventual forced baptism of all Spain's remaining Muslims, any perceived retention of traditional "Moorish" lifestyles might take on a sinister overtone of disloyalty and resistance. Distinctive clothing choices, hygienic practices, and culinary tastes could now lead to charges of secret allegiance to Islam. Repressive legislation, inquisitions, and ultimately mass deportations followed.
To Live Like a Moor traces the many shifts in Christian perceptions of Islam-associated ways of life which took place across the centuries between early Reconquista efforts of the eleventh century and the final expulsions of Spain's converted yet poorly assimilated Morisco population in the seventeenth. Using a wealth of social, legal, literary, and religious documentation in this, her last book, Olivia Remie Constable revealed the complexities and contradictions underlying a historically notorious transition from pluralism to intolerance.
In the absence of documentary and similar sources, the possibility of investigating the quantitative aspects of trade is all but eliminated. However, in those areas of trade which have been described as qualitative, such as the variety of goods exchanged, the specialization of the merchant class, and the complexity of business methods, legal and other literary sources provide a great deal of valuable information. It is with the institutions of partnership and commenda in the early Islamic period, two of the qualitative components of trade, that Abraham L. Udovitch makes his primary focus in Partnership and Profit in Medieval Islam.
Al-Hasan al-Wazzan--born in Granada to a Muslim family that in 1492 went to Morocco, where he traveled extensively on behalf of the sultan of Fez--is known to historians as Leo Africanus, author of the first geography of Africa to be published in Europe (in 1550). He had been captured by Christian pirates in the Mediterranean and imprisoned by the pope, then released, baptized, and allowed a European life of scholarship as the Christian writer Giovanni Leone. In this fascinating new book, the distinguished historian Natalie Zemon Davis offers a virtuoso study of the fragmentary, partial, and often contradictory traces that al-Hasan al-Wazzan left behind him, and a superb interpretation of his extraordinary life and work.
In Trickster Travels, Davis describes all the sectors of her hero's life in rich detail, scrutinizing the evidence of al-Hasan's movement between cultural worlds; the Islamic and Arab traditions, genres, and ideas available to him; and his adventures with Christians and Jews in a European community of learned men and powerful church leaders. In depicting the life of this adventurous border-crosser, Davis suggests the many ways cultural barriers are negotiated and diverging traditions are fused.
Religious Foundations of Western Civilization introduces students to the major Western world religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—their beliefs, key concepts, history, as well as the fundamental role they have played, and continue to play, in Western culture.
Contributors include: Jacob Neusner, Alan J. Avery-Peck, Bruce D. Chilton, Th. Emil Homerin, Jon D. Levenson, William Scott Green, Seymour Feldman, Elliot R. Wolfson, James A. Brundage, Olivia Remie Constable, and Amila Buturovic.
"This book provides a superb source of information for scientists and scholars from all disciplines who are trying to understand religion in the context of human cultural evolution."
David Sloan Wilson, Professor, Departments of Biology and Anthropology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York
This is the right book at the right time. Globalization, religious revivalism, and international politics have made it more important than ever to appreciate the significant contributions of the Children of Abraham to the formation and development of Western civilization.
John L. Esposito, University Professor and Founding Director of the Center for Muslm-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology, and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Advanced Theology at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.
General Interest/Other Religions/Comparative Religion