Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures | 06 December 2017

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Lot no.


List of slaves suitable for shipwork, to be sent to Pisa for sale , in Italian

Sold for £1400

Est: £1000–1500

List of slaves suitable for shipwork, to be sent to Pisa for sale , in Italian, on a paper bifolium [Italy, or just perhaps North Africa, opening years of seventeenth century (probably 1606)]

Bifolium, with single column list of 47 names and descriptions, most prefixed with a number (perhaps value) and some with years (presumably of their enslavement), all in a scrawling but legible Italian hand, all under title “Lista de schiavi di non Ricatto, buoni al Remo, et da potensi vendere che sono in Pisa”, some slight inkburn and folds from early storage as a letter, but overall in good condition, endorsed “1606 Nova schiavi” on outside, each leaf 310 by 215mm.; bound in card covers

This list details the names, ages, occasional familial links (there are 3 brothers: “Hadar de faraatt”, “Aidar di faraatt” and “Ali di faraatt”), origin points (“d’Aleppo”, “di Cairo”, “di Natolia” “del Mar’ Nero”) and dates and points of capture (from 1602-1608, and often identified as members of warbands such as that of “Nasuf Rais”) of slaves suitable for shipwork. The names, such as “Meemett’ di Mustafa” [Mohammed di Mustafa] and “Giafer di Abdela” [Jafar di Abdela] show that all of them came from the Middle Eastern populations of the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. Slavery in Europe remained as common during the Renaissance as it was during the Middle Ages, and right into the Early Modern period institutions such as the Knights of Malta involved themselves in the regular seizure of Muslim shipping and the forcing of the sailors into slavery. As Europe modernised and the Muslim world advanced in military might, so European slavers looked across the Mediterranean to Africa for opportunity, and from the sixteenth century onwards slaves in Europe were overwhelmingly from that region. Studies of southern Portugal set the percentage of Africans among the population of urban centres there at an enormous 6-7%, and in Valencia an entirely black confraternity was founded in 1472 by freed slaves to help their fellows in captivity. However, despite such numbers and progressive moves, contemporary literature reveals the same tide of prejudices and dehumanisation associated with the practise in later centuries.

Western and Oriental Manuscripts and Miniatures

Wednesday 06 December 2017, 2.00pm

Bloomsbury London
Bloomsbury House
24 Maddox Street


Saturday 2 December
11am - 4pm
Sunday 3 December
11am - 4pm
Monday 4 December
9.30am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 5 December
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Day of Sale from 9.30am

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