Uncovering the Medieval Slave Trade – A Conversation with Hannah Barker (Episode #147)

Before Columbus had even set foot in America, medieval Europe and the Islamic Middle East already had a long history in trading and exploiting slaves. An important branch of the slave trade involved buying captives from the shores of the Black Sea and trafficking them through the Mediterranean to the commercial cities of Italy or to Egypt, where many of them became slave soldiers or even rulers (called “Mamluks”). We discuss the history of the trade, who these thousands of slaves were and what became of them with Hannah Barker of Arizona State University, author of “That Most Precious Merchandise: The Mediterranean Trade in Black Sea Slaves, 1260-1500.”

Quick Sample:

Image: Pillar capital with sculpted faces of foreign peoples, including Turk and Tatar, Doge’s Palace, Venice.

Other books & authors mentioned:

Marshall Sahlins, “The Original Affluent Society”
Yuval Noah Harari, “Sapiens”
James C. Scott, “Against the Grain”
Claude Levi-Strauss, “The Savage Mind”
Victor Turner, “The Ritual Process”
Karl Wittfogel, “Oriental Despotism”
John Rawls, “A Theory of Justice”
Francoise de Graffigny, “Letters of a Peruvian Woman”
Niccolo Machiavelli, “Discourses on Livy”
Jared Diamond, “Guns, Germs, and Steel”
JN Heard, “The Assimilation of Captives on the American Frontier in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries,” LSU thesis
David Graeber, “On Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit,” “Debt: The First 5000 Years”
Karl Polanyi, “The Great Transformation”
Mark Fisher, “Capitalist Realism”
Orlando Patterson, “Slavery and Social Death”
Bruno Latour, “We Have Never Been Modern”
Roberto Calasso, “The Ruin of Kasch”
Ivan Illich
Rene Girard
Richard Wolff
Thomas Sowell
Divya Cherian

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