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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Merchants, Pirates and Crusaders in the late medieval Mediterranean (PGHC11405)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course focuses on the Mediterranean in the later Middle Ages: a region of extreme religious and political fragmentation in which Latins, Greeks, Turks and Mamluks all vied for power but rarely enjoyed supremacy. It concentrates on a number of remarkable merchants, pirates and crusaders were able to carve out their own domains in this region, motivated by profit and adventure, but also by religious zeal and a desire to defend Christian lands. The course will utilize a range of translated sources, including documents from the archives of Genoa and Venice, merchant handbooks, crusade treatises and travel narratives.
Course description The course will give students the opportunity to learn about the Mediterranean during an important transitive period in which the Byzantine and Crusader states of the central Middle Ages were replaced by the rising Mamluk and Ottoman empires who would dominate the region in the early modern period. It will focus on a number of individuals, including Roger of Lauria, the famed Italian admiral who was the commander of the Aragonese fleet during the War of the Sicilian Vespers, the Genoese adventurer Benedetto Zaccaria, who established a crusader dynasty on the island of Chios, and the mercenary band known as the Catalan Grand Company, who ruled Athens as a pirate-duchy from 1311-1388. Special attention will be paid to the chronicle of the Catalan mercenary Ramon Muntaner and his exploits in the region. Topics for discussion will include the interplay between crusading ideals and the needs of trade between different cultural and religious groups, notions of allegiance and identity amongst the Latins in the east, maritime warfare and logistics, and the role merchants played in constructing images of Islam in western Europe.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate in seminar discussion, presentations and essays a detailed and critical command of the body of knowledge concerning trade and crusade in the late medieval Mediterranean
  2. upon relevant scholarship concerning late medieval crusading and cross-cultural interaction, primary source materials concerning Italian trade, crusading and warfare, and conceptual discussions about Mediterranean history
  3. Demonstrate the ability to develop and sustain original scholarly arguments in oral and written form in seminar discussions and presentations by independently formulating appropriate questions and utilising relevant evidence considered in the course
  4. Demonstrate in seminar discussions, presentations, and essays originality and independence of mind and initiative; intellectual integrity and maturity; an ability to evaluate the work of others, including peers; and a considerable degree of autonomy
Reading List
Burns, R.-I., 'The Catalan Company and the European powers, 1305-1311', Speculum 29 (1954), 751-771. JSTOR.

Carr, M., & Chrissis, N. (eds), Contact and Conflict in Frankish Greece and the Aegean, 1204-1453 (2014). DF611 Con & E-Resource.

Epstein, S.A., Genoa and the Genoese, 958-1528 (1996), esp. pp. 202-11. DG637 Eps.

Kinoshita, S. & Jacobs, J., 'Ports of call: Boccaccio's Alatiel in the Medieval Mediterranean', Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 37.1 (2007), 163-9. E-Resource.

Lane, F.C., Venice: A Maritime Republic (1973), esp. pp. 119-34. DG676 Lan.

Lock, P., The Franks in the Aegean, 1204-1500 (1995). DF609 Loc.

Jacoby, D., 'The eastern Mediterranean in the later middle ages: An island world?', in Byzantines, Latins, and Turks in the Eastern Mediterranean World after 1150, ed. J. Harris et al. (2012), pp. 93-117. DE94 Byz.

Miller, W., 'The Zaccaria of Phocaea and Chios, 1275-1329', The Journal of Hellenic Studies 31 (1911), 44-55. JSTOR.

Pryor, J.H., 'The Naval Battles of Roger of Lauria', in J.H. Pryor, Commerce, Shipping and Naval Warfare in the Medieval Mediterranean (1987), item VI, pp. 179-216. Serj. Coll. .9(262) Pry.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsMerchants Pirates Crusaders
Course organiserDr Michael Carr
Tel: (0131 6)50 2554
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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