14,8 x 21,0, 2023
The history of captivity in the early modern Mediterranean has been studied exclusively through European and Ottoman/Turkish sources. But from Aghadir to Alexandretta, the language of piety, travel, religious disputation, and chronicle was Arabic (sometimes written as Garshuni). An extensive archive has survived in Arabic describing the experiences of Muslims, Eastern Christians, and Jews in European captivity. After all, from the middle of the seventeenth century on, British and French fleets, with their advanced naval capabilities, seized large numbers of captives from the ‘other shore’ (to cite Braudel) – captives who have been ignored in scholarship but survive in numerous sculptures from Spain and Germany to Malta and Hungary.
This study continues the research into the Arabic archive by introducing further accounts about captivity by European pirates and privateers, showing how the Mediterranean became the scene of Christian masters and Arabic-speaking slaves. Not surprising, by the nineteenth century, a Moroccan traveler prayed that the Mediterranean become a barrier/hājiz against European depredations.
Nabil Matar received his BA and MA from the American University of Beirut, and his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge. He has taught at the University of Jordan, the American University of Beirut, and the Florida Institute of Technology, where he served as Department Head. He is currently Presidential Professor in the President’s Interdisciplinary Initiative on Arts and Humanities at the University of Minnesota, and the Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities.
Since 1986, he has published numerous studies on captivity and piracy in the early modern Mediterranean, including British Captives in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, 1563–1760 (Brill, 2014), and Mediterranean Captivity through Arab Eyes, 1517–1798 (Brill, 2021). His forthcoming book is Refashioning the Ottoman East: Luther, Calvin, and the Papacy through Arab Eyes, 1517–1798 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2024).