New Books Network

Daniel Hershenzon

The Captive Sea

Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean

University of Pennsylvania Press 2018

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network June 5, 2019 Al Zambone

For hundreds of years, people living on the coasts of  the Mediterranean Sea enslaved one another. Moslems from North Africa captured Italians, French, and...

For hundreds of years, people living on the coasts of  the Mediterranean Sea enslaved one another. Moslems from North Africa captured Italians, French, and Spaniards; and North African Moslems were in turn enslaved by those nations. As prisoners, their ransom and redemption became a form of commerce, which in a curious way created communication networks that brought together these different peoples. Captivity integrated the Mediterranean.

That is in part the argument of today’s guest on Historically Thinking, Daniel Hershenzon, an Assistant Professor in the Literature, Cultures, and Languages Department at the University of Connecticut. His new book is The Captive Sea: Slavery, Communication, and Commerce in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). It’s a book that is the best possible kind of historical revisionism, challenging us to revise the way that we think about an “accepted past.”


Al Zambone is a historian and the host of the podcast Historically Thinking. You can subscribe to Historically Thinking on Apple Podcasts.