8th International Conference of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean

24-27 June 2024, Edinburgh.

‘Being Human: Rhythms, Actions, Inter-actions in the Medieval Mediterranean’


The keynotes lectures will be delivered by:

Iñaki Martín Viso (University of Salamanca)

‘Murder and Adultery in North-Western Iberia (Tenth-Twelfth Centuries): From Local Conflict to Social Control’

The charters of North-Western Iberia preserve an interesting number of texts related to different conflicts in local societies. This keynote will focus on two of the most important types of offences: murder (homicidio) and adultery. Murder appears in the texts in a double dimension: on the one hand, the mentions of the deaths of some individuals; on the other hand, the references to deaths committed in the territory of a village, whose inhabitants had to pay a fine, called homicidio (homicide). Regarding adultery or fornication, the charters generally refer to women (with a clear gender bias) or to priests or monks. The texts mention such sexual relations in the context of the imposition of punishments by authorities. The paper will reflect on the significance of all these tensions in local societies and on the concept of punishment as a mechanism to create and maintain social control by lords and kings.

Hannah Barker (Arizona State University)

‘No One Ought Ever to Forget About Friendship: Slavery, Emotion, and Tatar-Venetian Relations in the Memoirs of Giosafat Barbaro’

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. In 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. My 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.


The theme of the Eighth International Conference of the Society for the Medieval Mediterranean (SMM) is ‘Being Human: Rhythms, Actions, Inter-actions in the Medieval Mediterranean’.

Scholars are invited to explore the ‘human’ histories of the Mediterranean, especially the multifaceted interactions which took place in and around the sea from quotidian and cross-cultural perspectives. Attention will be paid to the rhythmic and cyclical nature of human activity in the Mediterranean and in the maritime cities and towns surrounding it.

We invite papers that examine the theme from different disciplinary perspectives, including History, Archaeology, Literature, Linguistics, Art History, Religious Studies/Theology, among others. We welcome research papers that, through the analysis of diverse types of sources, apply innovative approaches and stimulate debates that will enhance our understanding of individual and collective perceptions and experiences of human interactions in and across the medieval Mediterranean.

Topics of the conference could include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Cross-cultural contacts, interactions, assimilation and/or conflicts
  • Rhythms of activity, e.g., sailing seasons, fishing and farming, markets, and the impact of natural conditions
  • Religious interactions, e.g., of pilgrims, missionaries, travellers and scholars
  • Diplomatic interactions, e.g., of emissaries, translators and merchants
  • Daily interactions, e.g., love, sex, marriage, family, friends and neighbours
  • Military interactions, e.g. of mercenaries and crusaders
  • Interactions between peoples of the Mediterranean and the wider world
  • Slavery, liberty and captivity
  • Pirates, renegades and rule-breakers
  • Migration, movement and settlement
  • Material evidence of exchange and interactions
  • Construction and/or deconstruction of ‘identities’
  • Narrative, visual and materials depictions of the everyday and the commonplace

Applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for panels of three 20-minute papers each for 1.5 hour sessions, and should nominate a chair. We will do our best to accommodate applications for individual papers but panels will be prioritised.

Language: Papers will be delivered in English. However, panel chairs will be allowed to accept discussions in any other language, while guaranteeing, if needed, translation into English.

EXTENDED Deadline:

Panel proposals, in the form of a session title, session abstract (150–200 words), and 3 paper titles with short abstracts (100–150 words) as well as the name of a nominated chair where there is a preference should be submitted to socmedimedit@gmail.com by 31 January 2024.

Paper proposals, in the form of a paper title and short abstract (100–150 words) should be submitted to socmedimedit@gmail.com by 31 January 2024.

For more information about the conference see https://www.societymedievalmediterranean.com/2024-edinburgh

Please note that this content was not originated by FCELH but it has been posted here because it may be of interest to members and others interested in English local history. For any queries please contact:

The Society for the Medieval Mediterranean
Dr Mike Carr
Senior Lecturer in Late Medieval History
Director of Quality
Dissertation Coordinator for History
School of History, Classics and Archaeology | The University of Edinburgh
Office 00M.28|William Robertson Wing

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