Mediterranean Identities in the Premodern Era: Entrepôts, Islands, Empires. Transculturalisms, 1400–1700. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing, 2014. Cloth. xiv + 272 pp., 1 map and 3 figures. isbn: 9781409455998. $109.95.
Much of the most exciting and original work being done in medieval and early modern history is being carried out through the lens of the Mediterranean, a perspective which invites us not only to engage in fresh vectors of comparison but also to interrogate established paradigms, be they geographic, chronological, or methodological. The present volume, which is related to the very active Mediterranean Studies group at the University of
The Mediterranean world in the Middle Ages was a zone of multiple and overlapping identities. In this zone of competing principalities and elites, various groups identified with a particular doctrinal ideology (what we will call “ecumenian”). However, this was also a zone that was characterized by the interpenetration of religious and ethnic communities. Muslims, Jews, and Christians of various denominations and orientations lived amongst each other, rubbing and jostling shoulders socially, competing and collaborating economically, serving in each others’ administrations and armies, pleading in each others’ courts, passing through each others’ homes and beds, and occasionally killing or otherwise inflicting