1st Edition

Piracy and Captivity in the Mediterranean 1550-1810

Edited By Mario Klarer Copyright 2019
    296 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    296 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Piracy and Captivity in the Mediterranean explores the early modern genre of European Barbary Coast captivity narratives from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. During this period, the Mediterranean Sea was the setting of large-scale corsairing that resulted in the capture or enslavement of Europeans and Americans by North African pirates, as well as of North Africans by European forces, turning the Barbary Coast into the nemesis of any who went to sea.

    Through a variety of specifically selected narrative case studies, this book displays the blend of both authentic eye witness accounts and literary fictions that emerged against the backdrop of the tumultuous Mediterranean Sea. A wide range of other primary sources, from letters to ransom lists and newspaper articles to scientific texts, highlights the impact of piracy and captivity across key European regions, including France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Scandinavia, and Britain, as well as the United States and North Africa.

    Divided into four parts and offering a variety of national and cultural vantage points, Piracy and Captivity in the Mediterranean addresses both the background from which captivity narratives were born and the narratives themselves. It is essential reading for scholars and students of early modern slavery and piracy.

    Lists of figures


    Notes on Contributors


    Mario Klarer

    Part 1 Labor and Law

    1. Trading Identities: Balthasar Sturmer’s Verzeichnis der Reise (1558) and the Making of the European Barbary Captivity Narrative

    Mario Klarer

    2. Unkind Dealings: English Captivity Narratives, Commercial Transformation, and the Economy of Unfree Labor in the Early Modern Period

    Daniel Vitkus

    3. Ambivalences of Recognition: The Position of the Barbary Corsairs in Early Modern International Law and International Politics

    Walter Rech

    4. "Free, Unfree, Captive, Slave:" António de Saldanha, a Late Sixteenth-Century Captive in Marrakesh

    Peter Mark

    Part 2 Home and Hybridity

    5. "Renegades:" Converts to Islam in American Barbary Captivity Narratives of the 1790s

    Anna Diamantouli

    6. Identity Crises of Homecomers from the Barbary Coast

    Robert Spindler

    7. "Arab Speculators:" States and Ransom Slavery in the Western Sahara

    Christine E. Sears

    Part 3 Diplomacy and Deliverance

    8. Michael Heberer: A Prisoner in the Ottoman Navy

    Robert Rebitsch

    9. Piracy, Diplomacy, and Cultural Circulations in the Mediterranean

    Khalid Bekkaoui

    10. A Comparison of Confraternity Models in the "Redemption of Slaves" in Europe: The Broederschap der alderheylighste Dryvuldigheyt of Brugge/Bruges and the Scuola della Santissima Trinità of Venice

    Andrea Pelizza

    Part 4 Oppositions and Otherness

    11. A Huguenot Captive in ‘Uthman Dey’s Court: Histoire chronologique du royaume de Tripoly (1685) and Its Author

    Gillian Weiss

    12. Khayr al-Din Barbarossa: Clashing Portraits of a Corsair-King

    Diana de Armas Wilson

    13. Two Arabic Accounts of Captivity in Malta: Texts and Contexts

    Nabil Matar


    Mario Klarer is a professor of American Studies at the University of Innsbruck. He is the author of several Routledge textbooks, monographs on literature and the visual arts as well as literary utopias. His forthcoming publications include a primary text anthology of Barbary Coast captivity narratives and a digital edition of the Ambraser Heldenbuch.