Papal Bans and Muslim East during the Middle Ages: East-West Trade in the Light of Notarial Acts (1162-1350)
Keywords: Papal Bans, Muslim East, Near East, Mamluks, Trade
Despite the fact that the political dynamics between the Muslim East and Christian West during the Middle Ages have attracted attention and undergone thorough investigation in the relevant literature, commercial relations and socioeconomic interactions between Latins and Muslims have stayed a long-neglected subject. Indeed, there is a common misconception among the European historians that Near East trade was under the hegemony of Western maritime powers from the twelfth century onwards. Without doubt, the main reason for the popularity of this traditional belief is the 'Eurocentric' and 'bi-polar' approach that has dominated the Western historiography for a long period of time. Likewise, another neglected subject is the economic sanctions that were imposed on the Muslim East by the Papacy. There is also a common belief among scholars that the economic sanctions imposed on the Muslim East were successfully implemented by the Papacy. Although a limited number of studies focussing on the economic sanctions imposed on the Muslim East have investigated the diplomatic and ideologic aspects of the subject, they are silent about the trade volume and the activities of Muslim merchants. Addressing this gap in the literature, the current study focuses on the eff ectiveness of the Papal sanctions and trade volume between the East and the West by examining the notarial records of the period. Furthermore, the main aim of this article is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the commercial activities of Latin merchants in the Muslim East. By doing so, socio-economic interactions between Muslim and Latin merchants will also be under the examination.