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«The Crusades from the Perspective of Byzantium and the Muslim World edited by Angeliki E. Laiou and Roy Parviz Mottahedeh published by Dumbarton Oaks ...»

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He himself wants to stop practices that harm the commonweal, especially the custom of seizing the cargo of shipwrecks and sometimes even demolishing the ship. The penalty he decrees is harsh: those who do not heed his orders will be hanged from the ship’s mast or will be impaled on the coast, so that they will be visible from afar and become a lesson to those who see them. Andronikos holds responsible not only those who physically plunder the ships, but also the imperial officials who govern the area, as well as the landlords whose tenants engage in such activities. Given Andronikos’ reputation as a man of his word, Choniates tells us that the officials wrote to those who ruled the provinces in their names, and the landlords to their agents, not to harm the shipwrecks. As a result, nothing was stolen, no ships were destroyed, no anchors taken away, and the people of the coastlands as well as the officials helped the shipwrecked sailors and merchants to recover all their possessions.138 Choniates relates this imperial order at some length, using it as the single detailed illustration of his general statement that Andronikos tried to ease the lot of the poorer people, partly by insisting on fair and predictable taxation (no multiplication of dues), and partly by stopping the sale of offices and by appointing officials who would not use their office to enrich themselves. It is thus presented as part of the populist policy of this otherwise hateful (at least to Choniates) emperor. But it is, in fact, much more than that.

It is a stage in the development of a law of the sea, established in a harsh and inelegant way, to be sure, that aims to protect merchants and to minimize claims. Although noth

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ing in the text suggests that this was prompted by foreign merchants or was to apply to them, the international implications are clear. Even Choniates’ opening statement, that this was “an extremely irrational custom that is practiced only among the Romans” suggests that international concerns were present. Andronikos’ measure was made necessary both because of the increased volume of maritime trade and because the increased presence of foreign merchants created a situation where the emperor was responding to pressures for safety in sailing, pressures coming not only from his own subjects but also from foreigners. The measure carries imperial orders one step further: people are to help salvage goods. And it is general enough to be applicable to both Byzantine and foreign shipping, despite Andronikos’ well-known hostility to the Latins.

Indeed, a number of incidents in the Black Sea at the turn of the century show both the need for a proper law of salvage and the fact that the powers of the area still considered that, in the absence of treaties to the contrary, salvaged goods belonged to the fisc. One incident implicated merchants both Byzantine and Turkish. Around 1200,139 Alexios III sent to the Black Sea a certain Constantine Frangopoulos, ostensibly to examine the cargo of a ship sailing from Phasis and shipwrecked near Kerasous—a clear indication that the fisc was claiming goods salvaged from foreign ships.140 The man, perhaps on imperial orders, perhaps (as Alexios later claimed) not, plundered merchantmen sailing to and from Constantinople, near Samsous, it seems,141 and killed some of the merchants. The loot—or part of it—came to Alexios who added it to his treasury, oblivious to the complaints of the merchants. But some of them were subjects of the sultan of Konya. Since this happened at a time when a treaty (or the renewal of a treaty)142 was being discussed, the sultan tied the treaty negotiations with the reparation demands of the merchants. Eventually, the sultan got, along with other things, “50 pounds of silver” as damages for his merchants.143 The other incident happened in 1223 and involved Russian merchants fleeing Sudak and shipwrecked near Sinope. The Turks claimed the right to keep salvaged goods, “according to a custom with regard to a place where there existed no concessions.”144 The laws on salvage, which began in the Byzantine Empire, developed significantly in the Crusader states and returned to Byzantium to develop further. They spread all over the eastern Mediterranean in the thirteenth century, in one form or another, depending on the model that was being followed.

The treaties between the sultan of Konya Kaikaus I and Hugh I of Lusignan of Cyprus in 1216 contain clauses on both piracy and salvage, as does the Byzantine-Genoese treaty

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of 1192. In both states it seems that salvaged goods of foreigners were seized; the treaties put an end to that, promising the return of the surviving men and their merchandise.145 Hugh I promised that if pirates attack and pillage a ship and its merchandise and go to Cyprus, the spoils will be returned to the rightful owners, if the king captures the pirates.

And in cases of shipwreck, “the surviving men as well as the salvaged goods shall be kept safe and restored, and not seized as per the prevailing unjust custom”; similar provisions, although somewhat differently worded, were included in the sultan’s letter to Hugh, which repeats and confirms the terms of the treaty.146 A few years later, in 1220, Alaeddin Kaikobad, sultan of Konya, signed a treaty with ` Jacopo Tiepolo, podesta of the Venetians in Constantinople. A lengthy clause addresses the issue of salvage and, in vaguer terms, of piracy (or rather, of Venetian ships being chased by ships of other powers). On the issue of shipwreck, the sultan promises not only that the goods of Venetians would be restored, but also that his subjects would help the Venetians recover them—a clause that appears only in the Russian-Byzantine treaty of 911 and implicitly in Andronikos’ measure.147 The same privilege was given to the Venetians by the lord of Rhodes, the Caesar Leo Gabalas, in 1234: “et omnes a gente mea habebunt subsidium et favorem.”148 The privilege granted by Theodore I Laskaris to the Venetians (Jacopo Tiepolo again) in 1219 contains two clauses that make reciprocal arrangements for ships and merchants of the two powers, to return their property to the men who survive the shipwreck. The Venetians are given the added privilege, contained already in the Byzantine privilege of 1198, but appearing for the first time in the Pactum Warmundi in 1123, that the goods of Venetians who died in the Empire of Nicaea would revert to their heirs.149 Italian treaties with Egypt, after the middle of the thirteenth century, also incorporate clauses promising safety for men and goods in case of shipwreck.150 What all of this indicates is that a law of the sea was developing in the twelfth century and into the thirteenth, which regulated certain important matters and which eventually applied to all merchants active in the area and to the states whose subjects they were.





´ Lambros, “ JH JEllhnikh,” 48–50; A. Savvides, Byzantium in the Near East: Its Relations with the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum in Asia Minor, the Armenians of Cilicia and the Mongols, .. c. 1192–1237, Byzantina keimena kai ´ ` meletai 17 (Thessaloniki, 1981), 141–42; C. Cahen, “Le commerce anatolien au debut du XIIIe siecle,” in idem, Turcobyzantina et Oriens Christianus (London, 1974), no. , 93.

´ Lambros, “ JH JEllhnikh,” 52.

Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden, 2:223; the reciprocal privilege to the sultan’s men is found on pp. 223–34;

it includes a clause that, if the man dies, his property will be given to his heirs, which harks back to the Venetian privileges in the Pactum Warmundi and the Byzantine treaty of 1198 (Pozza and Ravegnani, I trattati, doc.

11, p. 136). The sultan also promises that any Crusaders found on Venetian ships will not be imprisoned but will be freed. There do not seem to be extant privileges to the Genoese: Cahen, “Le commerce anatolien,” 98–99.

Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden, 2:321–22; cf. M. Angold, A Byzantine Government in Exile: Government and Society under the Laskarids of Nicaea, 1204–1261 (London, 1975), 114. Again, no privileges to the Genoese seem to have been issued.

Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden, 2:206–7.

See, for example, the treaty with Venice, in 1254, Tafel and Thomas, Urkunden, 2:484: “et omnes Veneti sint salui et securi in personis et hauere et toto suo navigio.” Cf. the treaty of 1290 with Genoa, and of 1281 with Byzantium (below, 189–91).

[ 186 ] Byzantine Trade Italian merchants, Byzantines, and Turks were all covered by the same protections, at least in the law of salvage. Crusader states, the sultanate of Konya, the Byzantine Empire, and then the Empire of Nicaea, and Egypt, incorporated in their agreements with each other the same or similar arrangements. There are intriguing connecting lines between some of these agreements: for example, the occasional appearance in this connection of the guarantee of the inheritance of merchants dying abroad; the similarities in phraseology between the treaties of Hugh of Cyprus and Kaikaus I on the one hand, and Manuel I’s agreements with the Genoese on the other. Most important, not in any intrinsic way, but for our topic, is the similar concern expressed by Andronikos I and Hugh ´ ´ I of Cyprus regarding the “unjust custom” (ejpikrathsasan adikon sunhqeian) (Hugh “ ´

I) or the irrational custom (eqou" ajlogwtatou) (Andronikos I) of plundering ship wrecks. Both men opposed this custom, and treaties incorporated clauses that forbade the seizure of goods and sometimes pledged help for their recovery. There was, thus, an effort throughout the eastern Mediterranean to improve the conditions of trade and travel, an effort that almost certainly originated with the concerns of Western merchants and Crusaders, who plied these seas, but that led to measures that became generally adopted. Political considerations connected with the politics of crusading and the Crusader states were important indeed for the adoption and spread of such institutions, but the motive force behind them was commercial. The old Byzantine laws regulating these issues became simplified as their substance was generally adopted. Gone is the distinction between the first year of the seizure of goods and subsequent years; gone also the obligation to return the goods in quadruple for the first year; these elements had disappeared already at the time of Andronikos I, but equally, his extremely severe measures were unique to him. Complex arrangements would have been impossible to implement in this mobile world, hence the simplicity. The simplification is evident as early as the Pisan privilege of 1111, which, along with the Pactum Warmundi, is the basic document.

The law of the sea and mercantile law were also constantly evolving, as may be seen from the provisions regarding the goods of men dying outside their own country, whether with a testament or intestate. While this issue cannot be examined here, it may be noted that the process of its development is very similar to that of the law of salvage.

The principle of the devolution of property to a man’s heirs or his fellow nationals, rather than to the fisc of the country in which he died, a very important principle for merchants, appears first in the privilege granted to the Genoese by Baldwin I of Jerusalem (1105)151 and the Pactum Warmundi in 1123. It then took the form of the return of the goods to Venetian authorities, but by the middle of the twelfth century, in the Crusader states, the right devolved to the heirs.152 In the Byzantine Empire such certainly was not yet the practice in 1165–66, when the considerable property of the Pisan merchant Signoretto, who was also a burgensis, was claimed by the fisc.153 It appears for the first time in the treaty of 1198 with Venice. There can be no doubt that this principle devel

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oped in the Crusader states, traveled to Byzantium some ninety years later, and became generalized in the eastern Mediterranean, including Egypt, in the course of the thirteenth century.

III. Trading with Muslims Regarding Byzantine trade with the Muslims during the period of the Crusades, the available information is sporadic and can perhaps best be understood in the light of what has already been said regarding the institutional and structural changes in the conditions of trade in the Byzantine Empire and in the eastern Mediterranean generally.154 Quite as was the case with Western merchants, the ideology of Holy War did not interrupt trade between the Byzantines and the Muslims; the opposite in fact was the case with Western merchants,155 whose presence and business in Egypt increased in the course of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, with a short interruption for a few years after 1187.

Byzantine trade with Egypt continued in the course of the twelfth century, as we know from the testimony of Benjamin of Tudela,156 as well as from a few narrative and documentary sources such as the affair regarding the piratical activities of Guglielmo Grasso and his fellow corsairs. However, S. Goitein’s statement that the Geniza documents show a shift of importance, suggesting an increased presence of Western merchants relative to the Byzantines, must stand.

Some other observations may also be made. The relations of the Byzantines with Muslim powers had always had a strong political and military component, which overwhelmed private and commercial relations, existent but difficult to discern in the sources. The statement has been made by M. Canard with regard to the tenth century.157 It remains true in the twelfth century and then again in the second half of the thirteenth and the fourteenth century, for the Byzantines not only had political and ceremonial relations with the Muslim rulers of Egypt, but also considered themselves and were considered by others as having a special role to play in the protection of the Christian populations of the Egyptian state. As a result, virtually all of the commercial contacts that are visible to us from Byzantine or Muslim sources appear in the context of political relations. It is primarily the Geniza documents that show an ongoing commercial activity of the Byzantines in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that is quite independent of official exchanges of embassies.

On the topic generally, cf. S. Labib, “Egyptian Commercial Policy in the Middle Ages,” in Cook, Studies ¨ ¨ in the Economic History of the Middle East (as above, note 122), 63–77, and idem, Handelsgeschichte Agyptens im Spatmittelalter, 1171–1517, Vierteljahrschrift fur Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte Beihefte 46 (Wiesbaden, 1965).



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