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In Distant Places Among Alien People: Slavery, Friendship, and Tatar-Venetian Relations in the 15th Century

Apr 30
Royce 306, 10745 Dickson Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
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Guest Speaker: Hannah Barker (Arizona State University)

In 1455, the Venetian patrician Giosafat Barbaro encountered an old friend in surprising circumstances. As a young merchant in the Black Sea port of Tana, Barbaro had met and befriended a local Tatar notable named Chebechzi. At the end of his time in Tana, Barbaro returned home expecting never to see Chebechzi again. He certainly did not expect to find him enslaved in a Venetian wine shop ten years later. At the moment, Barbaro acted immediately to assert Chebechzi’s freedom and help him return home. Later in life, Barbaro also wrote a memoir in which he reflected on this incident and the meaning of his friendship with Chebechzi and other Tatars.

Barker’s talk will situate Barbaro’s reflections in the broader contexts of slavery and freedom, friendship and reciprocity, and the complex web of medieval Venetian-Tatar power relations.

Hannah Barker is an associate professor of history at Arizona State University. Her research centers on connections between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea in the late medieval period, especially the trade in slaves which flourished during the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries.


Apr 30
Event Categories:


Center for Near Eastern Studies


Royce 306
10745 Dickson Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095 United States
+ Google Map