University of Malta

Study-Unit Description
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TITLE History of Trade and Commercial Relations in the Mediterranean

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Arts

DESCRIPTION This programme is an exciting opportunity to study the Mediterranean through its history of trade and of the commercial relations between its peoples – those of and those in the Mediterranean. And if the programme takes Fernand Braudel’s definition of the Mediterranean, as it in fact does, then its history (as will be shown) covers most of the history of Europe too. The social, economic, political, and military dimensions of the phenomenon of trade and commercial relations are explored in their widest significance. The history of culture and mentality is also explored to develop a comprehensive understanding of a maritime way of life that marked most Mediterranean communities. Key issues discussed within the unit include:

AD 800 – AD 1204. The Pirenne Thesis. The Crusades
The Italian Cities (Amalfi, Genoa, Venice)
The Commercial Revolution (the eleventh century)
Commercial Privileges and Consulates
The Pattern of Mediterranean Trade in the Thirteenth Century
Venetian Supremacy in the Levantine Trade
Trade and Commercial Relations in the fourteen and fifteenth centuries
Oceanic discoveries and their impact on the Mediterranean
The Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean

Study-unit Aims:

• To establish the pivotal role played by trade in a maritime people’s economy;
• To understand the nature and character of everyday life dependent on the regular flow of continuous exchanges of vital and luxury commodities;
• To compare and assess evolving systems of land and sea communication.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• evaluate (indeed to compare and contrast) the quality of life of a maritime and mercantile community with another at different stages in the long history of Mediterranean;
• assess the continuous process of change in the evolution of communication in matters of trade and commerce.

2. Skills:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• define a specific task, locate the necessary information through some simple search techniques, and select reliable resources;
• organise notes, present one’s ideas in lucid and convincing form and evaluate one’s own work;
• show evidence of learning and research skills that can be applied to a variety of settings and challenges.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts
Braudel, Fernand, The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II, trans S. Reynolds (London 1972-73)
Fusaro, Maria, et al, Trade and Culture Exchange in the Early Modern Mediterranean (London, 2010)
Tabak, Faruk, The Waning of the Mediterranean 1550-1870: A Geohistorical Approach (Baltimore, 2008)
Norwich, J.J., The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean (London, 2006)
Horden Peregrine & Nicholas Purcell, The Corrupting Sea: A Study of Mediterranean History (Oxford, 2000)

Supplementary Readings
Haris, W.V. (Editor), Rethinking the Mediterranean (Oxford,2005)
Abulafia, David, The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean (London, 2011)
Abulafia, David, The Western Mediterranean Kingdoms 1200-1500: The Struggle for Dominion (Essex, 1997)
D’Angelo, Michela, et al (Editors), Making Waves in the Mediterranean / Sulle Onde del Mediterraneo (Messina, 2006)


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (3 Hours) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Victor Mallia Milanes

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2017/8, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.
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