A Challenging but Productive Year Despite all the obstacles that 2020 has put in our way, our network has managed to adapt and continue to facilitate the production and exchange of top-class research on mobility in the Mediterranean. We successfully moved our major events online and developed new innovative strategies to facilitate the sharing of knowledge with network members and beyond. We launched a new podcast series, Contagion, exploring the history of pandemics and public health in the Mediterranean space. The series, co-produced with the Cyber Review of Modern Historiography (Cromohs) and edited by network member Dr David Do Paço, is available to listen to here: https://oajournals.fupress.net/index.php/cromohs/contagion Our Visual Reflection series, edited by Dr Paola von Wyss-Giacosa, offered fascinating insights into the history of mobility in the Mediterranean space through the analysis of visual and material culture. You can catch up with the wide range of contributions to it here: http://www.peopleinmotion-costaction.org/news-views/. This year has also seen the publication of a number of books and journal articles connected to research conduct as part of the PIMo project. You can find full details here: http://www.peopleinmotion-costaction.org/publications/ If you would like to [...]
Ida Caiazza, Love, Gender, and Migration across the Sea: The Myth of Hero and Leander (Turner, Rubens, Lioret, Ovid)
Wild dashed the Hellespont its straited surge, And on the raised spray appeared Leander’s fall. These were the last two lines of the seven that, at the exhibition of the Royal Academy of London, 1837, accompanied Turner’s The Parting of Hero and Leander. (Figure.1) The first five lines described the imminent morning and the fading night, Love and Hymen, the “terraced steep”, all the “tokens of departure” depicted in the borders of the painting. The conclusive verses focused on its central elements: the rough sea, the coming storm, the premonition of death. The myth of Hero and Leander is the Greek archetype of a story of forbidden love and death, many times retold, in which one of the protagonists, one could argue from Turner’s verbal/visual interpretation, is the sea. The sea, in fact, stands out in Turner’s painting, being the focal point of the viewer’s perspective; in the written comment, it appears with its specific name (in Greek) and its metaphoric value as Leander’s lethal obstacle is explicitly revealed. Figure 1: Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Parting of Leander and [...]
Call for Papers, Objects in the Text and the Text on the Objects, WG1 Workshop, Lisbon, February 24-25th, 2021.
As part of our tangible cultural heritage, historic objects play an essential role in the construction of our social memory. Objects have different meanings and uses for different individuals and communities, and many objects have embedded texts or are accompanied by texts. All have different functions. These texts are intimately connected to the objects and, usually, but not always, help us to understand their role in the community, society or within the context in which they are used, reused or displayed, as in the case of objects kept in museums, archives and collections. The range of texts appearing on objects is very broad. They may contain information about the production or the producer of the object, references or a tribute to its owner, an explanation of the function they have or are meant to have (as in the case of amulets with apotropaic formulas, flags, items of clothing or co ins, for example). They may contain narratives of different kinds, or they may also have a more distinct decorative function such as the Arabic calligraphic script adorning all sort of [...]
Another Bright Year Ahead for PIMo In September of this year the PIMo Cost Action held its Second Annual Management Committee Meeting, online and in person at the Sabanci University's Sakip Sabanci's Museum in Instanbul. Attendees heard of the rich and diverse activities and outputs of the PIMo network over the last year as well as the exciting plans for the year ahead. In this Newsletter, we want to draw your attention to something upcoming opportunities and events, as well as highlighting some of the recent outputs that will be of interest. PIMo Training School, 'Moving Goods for Charity Across the Mediterranean (15th–19th centuries), 24-27 January 2022 Deadline for Applications November 20 2021. This training school, hosted jointly by the Centro Studi sui Monti di Pietà (Bologna) and Biblioteca Roncioniana (Prato), explores the history of charitable forms of exchange in the Mediterranean space. The School’s main objective is to offer an opportunity for research development, training, and exchange of ideas for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers working in the fields of Mediterranean Studies, Economic History, Religious Studies, Late Medieval and Early [...]
On 15 September 1684, blank cannon shots greeted the arrival of an Ottoman flag in Loreto (Ancona). The silk flag (now in the Museum of Cracow) measures 639x321cm and displays an embroidered decoration consisting of Quranic verses, stars, medallions and the so-called Dhu al-Fuqar, a double-bladed sword associated with the figure of ‘Ali (599–661), cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad (d. 632). The banner was a donation sent by the Polish king, John III Sobieski (1629–96), to the Marian sanctuary of Loreto. Before arriving in Loreto, it passed through Rome so that Pope Innocent XI (1611–89), who had received another sumptuous flag the previous year, could admire it. The flag came from the Siege of Párkány (today Štúrovo), a battle that followed the liberation of Vienna in autumn 1683, in preparation for the conquest of Buda that occurred in 1686. The gift of the banner to the Marian sanctuary was an ex-voto. Since the victory in Lepanto (1571), the Madonna of the Rosary had assumed the role of custodian of the Catholic lands against the growing Ottoman threat. At [...]
It is said in the myths of the Greeks that the Phoenician Princess Europa was playing on the seacoast of her city of Tyre with her attendants when she was lured by the great Greek God Zeus who had disguised himself as a white bull and abducted her to Crete where he made her queen. Figure 1 : Titian, The Rape of Europa, ca. 1560/1562, oil on canvas, Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, Boston. Source: Commons.wikimedia.org Europa eventually gave her name to the continent north of Greece in a clear symbolic reference to the passing of Civilization from the East Mediterranean to the continent that was hitherto nameless, and thus unselfconscious. This mythical cycle was completed by the story of Cadmus, Europa’s brother who was sent by his father, the king of Tyre, to look for his kidnaped sister. Cadmus did not find her, but he ended up settling in Greece and founding the city of Thebes, of which he became king. He then taught the Greeks the Phoenician alphabet, from which the Greek alphabet was derived; that is, Cadmus gave [...]
Lucas Burkart, Marco Polo on the Pearl River Delta: The Venetian Middle Ages and Italy’s Colony in China
Visitors to the Museo Correr in Venice expect venezianità – and are duly rewarded by the museum’s exhibits and style of presentation: dogal portraits, paintings of the lagoon city, the piazzetta, the Rialto bridge or the church of Santa Maria della Salute. The collection, originally assembled during the first third of the nineteenth century, has since perpetuated an image of Venice’s past as historical grandeur. The late romantic vision of John Ruskin’s “The Stones of Venice” (1851) provided its programmatic foundations; today’s mass tourism with between 20 and 30 million yearly visitors reflects it in the same way as the Venice Time Machine project: a factory of dreams! Figure 1: Marco Polo, c. 1880, H118cm, W78cm, D55cm, Museo Correr, Venice, inv. Cl. XIX 0172. ©Musei Veneziani. Since 1881, the collection also contains a wooden, almost life-size seated figure, which doesn’t quite fit this impression (Fig. 1). Its eyes and facial traits, the moustache, the long robe as well as its gesture and the posture of the right leg and foot appear as if they stem from a different (dream) world. [...]
The first Monti di Pietà or mounts of piety, public banks that provided solidaristic credit, date from the 1460s. It is generally thought that the first was founded in Perugia in 1462, while the Monte di Bologna opened its doors about a decade later, in 1473. The service offered was similar to that of the loan bank-pawnbrokers mainly managed by Jewish bankers that had been present in almost all towns in Italy since the 13th century. The Monti differed from this previous institution in a significant way. First of all, from the outset they were public institutions whose aim was to meet citizens’ economic needs by offering a service that could be classed as providing a form of welfare. Another significant difference lay in their target of customers, the so-called pauperes pinguiores (the least poor of the poor), to whom they granted small loans at favourable conditions requiring the sole reimbursement of 5% per annum in management fees, with the aim to help the clients to get through periods of misfortune. But the key novelty of the Monte’s service was [...]
PIMo wishes you a safe, restful and productive summer Dear colleagues, After what has been an incredibly challenging academic year for us all the summer is finally in sight. We are immensely proud here in PIMo of how we have managed to continue to facilitate new and exciting forms of knowledge production and exchange on the history of displacement in the Mediterranean despite all of the obstacles the pandemic has put in our way. We are also particularly excited to share our various plans for the coming months, including funding opportunities to facilitate research and the sharing of knowledge as travel gradually opens up in some places, as well as a range of online and hybrid events that will facilitate the excellent work that has defined our network from the beginning. We hope that as many of you as possible will engage with our planned events, follow our outputs through our website and share the various funding opportunities we are making available widely. As always, we are grateful for your support and are available to answer your questions and facilitate [...]
Giorgio Giacosa, Trade wars and counterfeiting in the Mediterranean: The zecchino of Venice and the imitations and counterfeits issued by the republic’s rivals in a ruthless trade war.
The Mediterranean has always been the seam between East and West, between different ethnic groups and civilizations often in bitter conflict but bound together by a web of enduring economic and trading interests. In this context, in the last four centuries of the Middle Ages, some of the Italian maritime cities, driven by strong political and economic revival in Europe, embarked upon a policy of expansion towards the East, supported by the construction of powerful trading and military fleets. The extreme decadence of the Byzantine Empire, mercilessly highlighted by the Crusades, together with the gradually increasing strength of the hostile Muslim potentates in Asia Minor and North Africa, prompted the Italian and Catalan maritime cities to adopt an out-and-out policy of force to consolidate ever-more widespread and deep-rooted trading interests. Such a policy inevitably triggered conflicts and wars between the maritime cities themselves. Two of these, Genoa and Venice, emerged victorious in these struggles. Destined to dwarf every other trading power in the Mediterranean, at the same time they would be in a perpetual state of conflict with each other [...]