Program

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships , ACLS Fellowship Program

Project

Catch and Release: Piracy, Slavery, and Law in the Early Modern Ottoman Mediterranean

Project

Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean, 1570-1700

Department

History

Catch and Release: Piracy, Slavery, and Law in the Early Modern Ottoman Mediterranean

This dissertation examines the impact of pirate slave-raiding in the late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Eastern Mediterranean from the Ottoman perspective, focusing on its consequences for the region, the Ottoman state, and, crucially, the individual victim. It argues that increasing maritime violence in the Mediterranean after the 1570s had a tremendous effect on the formation of international law, the conduct of diplomacy, the articulation of Ottoman imperial and Islamic law, and their application in local Ottoman courts. Utilizing a wide range of Ottoman and Venetian archival and manuscript sources, it explores the Ottoman administrative response to piracy and tells the stories of some of those legally and illegally enslaved in Ottoman waters.

Piracy and Law in the Ottoman Mediterranean, 1570-1700

This project examines the legal and administrative impact of piracy in the eastern half of the Mediterranean in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It argues that rising maritime violence after the 1570s had a tremendous effect on the formation of international law, the conduct of diplomacy, the articulation of Ottoman imperial and Islamic law, and their application in local Ottoman courts. Utilizing a wide range of Ottoman, Venetian, and English archival and manuscript sources, this project shifts the spotlight away from the pirates and onto the administrators, jurists, and victims—those who had to contend most with the consequences of maritime violence. The “Ottoman Mediterranean” was a unified legal space; the challenge of piracy defined its contours.