In Distant Places Among Alien People: Slavery, Friendship, and Tatar-Venetian Relations in the 15th Century
In 1455, the Venetian patrician Giosafat Barbaro encountered an old friend in surprising circumstances. As a young merchant in the Black Sea port of Tana, Barbaro had met and befriended a local Tatar notable named Chebechzi. At the end of his time in Tana, Barbaro returned home expecting never to see Chebechzi again. He certainly did not expect to find him enslaved in a Venetian wine shop ten years later. At the moment, Barbaro acted immediately to assert Chebechzi’s freedom and help him return home. Later in life, Barbaro also wrote a memoir in which he reflected on this incident and the meaning of his friendship with Chebechzi and other Tatars.
Barker’s talk will situate Barbaro’s reflections in the broader contexts of slavery and freedom, friendship and reciprocity, and the complex web of medieval Venetian-Tatar power relations.
This event is co-sponsored by CNES and the Islamic Studies Program