A Prosperous Realm beyond Borders: Byzantine-Islamic Trade in the Early Middle Ages, 9th–11th Centuries
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
7:00 PM EET (Greece) / 12:00 PM EST (U.S.)
Currently, there is no detailed study of the commercial relations between Byzantium and the Near East in the central Middle Ages, an astounding fact when one considers the enormous wealth, high population, and extensive urbanization in these two worlds as well as the size and complexity of the Byzantine and Islamic markets. Primary sources written in Medieval Greek and Arabic attest to intensive commercial exchanges between the Byzantines and the Abbasid and post-Abbasid polities from the ninth to the eleventh centuries. The purpose of this talk is to discuss the commodities exchanged, the merchants who traded them, and the routes that these merchants used to travel within a framework organized by political structures. A special emphasis will be on the eastern land frontier of Byzantium extending from Trebizond in the Pontos to the Cilician plains on the Mediterranean. The participants will be invited to a journey through the stalls of exotic spices in Constantinople brought all the way from the Indian Ocean as well as the textile shops in Baghdad filled with Byzantine linen.