Housing the Stranger in the Mediterranean World: Lodging, Trade, and Travel in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Cambridge University Press
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The Greek pandocheion, Arabic funduq, and Latin fundicum (fondaco) were ubiquitous in the Mediterranean sphere for nearly two millennia. These institutions were not only hostelries for traders and travelers, but also taverns, markets, warehouses, and sites for commercial taxation and regulation. In this highly original study, Professor Constable traces the complex evolution of this family of institutions from the pandocheion in Late Antiquity, to the appearance of the funduq throughout the Muslim Mediterranean following the rise of Islam. By the twelfth century, with the arrival of European merchants in Islamic markets, the funduq evolved into the fondaco. These merchant colonies facilitated trade and travel between Muslim and Christian regions. Before long, fondacos also appeared in southern European cities. This study of the diffusion of this institutional family demonstrates common economic interests and cross-cultural communications across the medieval Mediterranean world, and provides a striking contribution to our understanding of this region.
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About the author

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).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
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Published on
Jan 15, 2004
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Pages
441
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ISBN
9781139449687
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economic History
History / Europe / General
History / Europe / Medieval
History / Social History
Social Science / Islamic Studies
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A major new economic history of the ancient Mediterranean world

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.

What do clothing, bathing, or dining habits reveal about one's personal religious beliefs? Nothing, of course, unless such outward bodily concerns are perceived to hold some sort of spiritual significance. Such was the case in the multireligious world of medieval Spain, where the ways in which one dressed, washed, and fed the body were seen as potential indicators of religious affiliation. True faith might be a matter of the soul, but faith identity could also literally be worn on the sleeve or reinforced through performance of the most intimate functions of daily life.

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.

From the point of view of economic history, the ideal way to study any institution of commercial law would be to compare the information contained in legal codes and treatises with the material relating to its application in economic life as manifested by actual contracts, letters, and business records found in archives and other repositories. In the case of the early centuries of the Islamic period, available sources unfortunately preclude such a procedure. Theoretical legal texts exist in abundance, but any corresponding documentary material is for all practical purposes non-extant. In order to determine if the framework in which the trade and commerce of the early Islamic period was carried on--a trade known to have been active and important--we must of necessity rely on legal treatises for most of our information, which trying wherever possible to call upon whatever meager help other literary sources may provide.

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.

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