Past Event

Columbia Medieval Studies Seminar: Columbia Medieval Studies Seminar: Italian Academy Fellow Özden Mercan THE GENOESE COMMUNITY IN BYZANTINE/OTTOMAN CONSTANTINOPLE (14 TH -15 TH C.)

October 29, 2019
5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Columbia University Faculty House


The presence of Italian communities in Constantinople dates back to the late eleventh century when the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I gave certain privileges and concessions to the Genoese and the Venetians. Trade was one of the primary reasons for the Italians to migrate and settle in the Byzantine capital Constantinople, a city that embodied a diversity of cultures, ideas, religions, people and goods. This talk will specifically focus on the Genoese community in Constantinople and examine the dynamics that regulated their relations with first Byzantine and later Ottoman administrations from the fourteenth to the late fifteenth centuries. Establishing a semi-autonomous rule in Pera/Constantinople during the late Byzantine period, the Genoese became important settlers of the imperial city connecting it with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean through their trading networks and colonies. Although the conquest of Constantinople

by the Ottomans in 1453 changed the status of the Genoese community, most of the Genoese families continued to stay in this city and adapted themselves to the newly emerging conditions. By analyzing the evidence from the contemporary chronicles, Genoese notarial sources, and Ottoman documents, this talk will address the experiences of the Genoese under the Byzantine and Ottoman rules and examine how they handled co-existing with a society of differing faith, language and culture. It will also discuss how the Genoese sought to keep their commercial interests and maintain their order in the vibrant and cosmopolitan setting of Ottoman Constantinople.

The talk at 5:30pm will be followed by dinner at Faculty House at 7:00pm. All those who wish to dine with Ozden Mercan should contact Carly Quijano at by Wednesday, October 23rd. Dinner is a fixed buffet menu, which costs $30 per person. Payment is only by check made out to “Columbia University

The event will be held in Faculty House, 64 Morningside Drive. As usual, social hour will be from 5-6, dinner 6-7, and the talk 7-8:30. The cost for dinner, payable by check only, is $30.  When you RSVP please indicate whether or not you plan to come to dinner; please give 10 days advance notice.