Archives par mot-clé : Libye

Tuscan Sources and late medieval Libya : an exploration – online

Intervention d’Ingrid Houssaye Michienzi au webinar « Revisiting the History of Medieval libya (7th-16th centuries). Sources, Analyses, Projects », 15 juin 2022.

From the 12th century onwards, despite persistent signs of mutual aggression, the merchant cities of northern Italy and the Maghreb developed their relations in the direction of their economic interests. The rise of those trading cities as Genoa, Pisa, Venice and Florence had brought them to the position of centers of naval, military and economic power, in a position to intervene extensively in the Mediterranean area. The development of shipbuilding and trading fleets offered means of transport to connect more distant coasts. For Florence, it relied mostly on the Pisan fleet. At the same time, commercial techniques were developed through trade associations (that allowed to share the costs and profits of large-scale maritime trade), through insurance systems (to limit the risks of navigation on the most dangerous routes) and through the appearing of large merchant companies, mostly for Florence, which were established through representatives in the major European and Mediterranean trading centers.

The sources we have for Tuscany regarding Libya are thus mainly linked to this commercial boom and expansion in the Mediterranean. They come from the merchant circles that dominated the political structures of the various communes and republics. I will mainly focus on sources concerning the cities of Pisa, Florence and Prato. I will offer you a non-exhaustive overview of the sources we have, presented in a typological manner: first the official documents, then merchant ones and finally more literary sources. I will sometimes go away from Tuscany to compare with documents from other merchant cities of the Italian peninsula.