Abstract Prof. Chris Wickham
Chris Wickham (Faculty of History, University of Oxford)
Abstract: Islamic, Byzantine and Latin exchange systems in the Mediterranean, 750-1050
There was relatively little break in economic relationships between Europe and the Islamic world after the seventh-century conquests, because the links from Europe across the Mediterranean had been weak for some time; the only major European city whose economy was transformed was Constantinople, and luxury trading never suffered a break. In the centuries after 650, economic links were, however, slowly reestablished. Three developments marked that out: first, the slave trade (itself however limited by the restricted role for slaves in the Islamic world by comparison with the early Roman empire); second, the development of Sicily as a major hub of central Mediterranean exchange (made more significant by the revival of the economies of al-Andalus and Ifrīqiya in the tenth century); and, third, the development of an internal demand in Europe itself, beyond al-Andalus, which could made a Mediterranean-wide exchange system operative. That third development was late in time, but its roots are just beginning to be visible around 1000.