Empires of the Sea

Maritime Power Networks in World History


Empires of the Sea brings together studies of maritime empires from the Bronze Age to the Eighteenth Century. The volume aims to establish maritime empires as a category for the (comparative) study of premodern empires, and from a partly ‘non-western’ perspective. The book includes contributions on Mycenaean sea power, Classical Athens, the ancient Thebans, Ptolemaic Egypt, The Genoese Empire, power networks of the Vikings, the medieval Danish Empire, the Baltic empire of Ancien Régime Sweden, the early modern Indian Ocean, the Melaka Empire, the (non-European aspects of the) Portuguese Empire and Dutch East India Company, and the Pirates of Caribbean.
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Rolf Strootman is associate professor of History at Utrecht University. He studies imperialism and cultural encounters in the ancient Mediterranean. He is the author of Courts and Elites in the Hellenistic Empires (2014) and co-editor of Persianism in Antiquity (2017). Floris van den Eijnde is assistant professor of History at Utrecht University. He studies Iron Age and Archaic Athenian society. He co-edited Feasting and Polis Institutions (2017) and is editor of the Brill series Cultural Interactions in the Mediterranean. Roy van Wijk studies at Utrecht University and is now researcher at the Université de Fribourg, Switzerland. He is currently working on a PhD on the interstate relations between Attica and Boeotia from the Archaic to the Hellenistic period. Contributors are: Catia Antunes, Peter Borschberg, Thomas Heebøll-Holm, Jorrit Kelder, Thomas Kirk, Kris Lane, Olaf Mörke, Marco Mostert, Remco Raben, Anjana Singh, Rolf Strootman, Floris van den Eijnde, Roy van Wijk.
"I highly recommend Empires of the Sea to ancient historians studying Mediterranean empires. Altogether, the volume should act as a gateway for historians to think comparatively and to challenge what we take for granted about Greco-Roman imperialism." - Tim Sorg, in: BMCR 2020.05.21
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction: Maritime Empires in World History
Rolf Strootman

Part 1
The Middle Sea

2 A Thousand Black Ships: Maritime Trade, Diplomatic Relations, and the Rise of Mycenae
Jorrit M. Kelder
3 The “First Athenian Empire”? Athenian Overseas Interests in the Archaic Period
Floris van den Eijnde
4 Contested Hegemonies: Thebes, Athens and Persia in the Aegean of the 360s
Roy van Wijk
5 The Ptolemaic Sea Empire
Rolf Strootman
6 The Republic of Genoa and Its Maritime Empire
Thomas Kirk

Part 2
The Northern Seas
7 Linguistics of Contact in the Northern Seas
Marco Mostert
8 Medieval Denmark as a Maritime Empire
Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm
9 Seventeenth-Century Sweden and the Dominium Maris Baltici – A Maritime Empire?
Olaf Mörke

Part 3
The Oceans

10 Early Modern European Mercantilism and Indian Ocean Trade
Anjana Singh
11 The Melaka Empire, c. 1400–1528
Peter Borschberg
12 The Portuguese Maritime Empire: Global Nodes and Transnational Networks
Catia Antunes
13 The Asian Foundations of the Dutch Thalassocracy: Creative Absorption and the Company Empire in Asia
Remco Raben
14 Pirate Networks in the Caribbean
Kris Lane

Anyone concerned with World History, and specifically those interested in maritime history and the comparative study of empires.