Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Slavery in the Mediterranean

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study-unit explores the concept and practice of slavery in the Mediterranean from the eighth to the eighteenth centuries. The course will proceed chronologically as well as thematically, exploring the evolution of slavery from antiquity to the medieval and early modern eras in the Christian and the Muslim regions of the Mediterranean. Students will have the opportunity to read a range of primary and secondary sources from different historical periods and geographical locations, including the Maltese Islands.


Themes that we will examine include changing notions of slavery from antiquity to Christianity to Islam; the mechanism of the slave trade within the Mediterranean and beyond (the Sahara, the Black Sea and the western Atlantic); the experience of slavery from captivity to enslavement to (for some) manumission; rebellion; race and slavery; the role of slaves as concubines, soldiers and rulers; and the links between war and slavery. The overall scope of the study-unit is to discover the broad diversity of Mediterranean slavery over many centuries and in the context of different political, economic and social realities.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Identify how slavery was structured in the Mediterranean from c.800 to c.1800;
2. Analyze the role of race, gender, family, and religion in slavery;
3. You will gain a more complex understanding of slavery in all its diversity.


1. Refine and develop the ability to analyze and synthesize complex topics with nuanced arguments;
2. Refine and develop the ability to write clearly and concisely.

Reading List:

D. Blumenthal. Enemies and Familiars. Slavery and Mastery in Fifteenth-Century Valencia. Ithaca, NY, 2009.
S. Bono. Schiavi. Una storia mediterranea. Bologna, 2016.
G. David and P. Fodor, eds. Ransom Slavery along the Ottoman Borders (Early Fifteenth-Early Eighteenth Centuries). Leiden, 2007.
G. Fiume. Schiavitù mediterranee. Corsari, rinnegati e santi di età moderna. Milan, 2010.
J. Heers. The Barbary Corsairs. Warfare in the Mediterranean, 1480-1580. Barnsley, 2006.
G. Wettinger. Slavery in the Islands of Malta and Gozo, ca.1000-1812. Malta, 2002.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Examination (1 Hour) Yes 100%

LECTURER/S Mark Aloisio

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It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.