Black Sea Migrations in the Long Thirteenth Century: Bodies, Things, Ideas, Princeton University and Zoom, September 22–23, 2023
The Black Sea witnessed a great influx of new populations in the thirteenth century as peoples from across Eurasia came to settle on its coasts and hinterlands, transforming the character of the region. After the fall of Constantinople in 1204 during the Fourth Crusade, western Europeans–spearheaded by the Venetians and French, and subsequently the Genoese–extended their commercial reach, gaining access for the first time to the basin and establishing colonies and outposts on its northern coast. In the same period, the overland route to Central and East Asia came under Mongol control. These developments were accompanied by the destabilisation of existing polities, as well as the displacement of Slavs, Turks and other peoples. Many of the casualties of the new socio-political structures that emerged were deprived of their freedom and forced to embark on new lives as enslaved persons in the Mamluk Sultanate or the city states of northern Italy.
This conference examines the role both of the major ports and cities of the region — such as Constantinople, Pera, Kiev, Caffa, Sudak, Tana, Sarai Batu and Trebizond – and of the agrarian and pastoral communities of the hinterlands in shaping the trans-regional movement of people, goods and ideas between Asia, Europe and Africa.
This conference will be offered as a hybrid with attendees both in-person on online via a Zoom webinar. Registration is required for either format.