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A Mediterranean Emporium: The Catalan Kingdom of Majorca Paperback – 26 Nov 2010


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Review

' … immensely useful … adds considerable depth to our appreciation of how the trade of the western Mediterranean actually worked.' Economic History Review

Book Description

This is the first account of a medieval Spanish kingdom that was of vital importance in the trade of the Mediterranean and beyond. Combining lands in southern France with the Balearic Islands, the Catalan kingdom of Majorca was home to Christian settlers, Jews and Muslims, and enjoyed maritime links as far afield as England and the Canaries.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x8facce88) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf4f24c) out of 5 stars Interesting Analysis of a Small Medieval Kingdom 20 Oct. 2005
By John W. Oliver - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After reading A Short Oxford History of Italy: Italy in the Early Middle Ages 476-1000, edited by Cristina LA Rocca, I decided I wanted to read the next book in the series A Short Oxford History of Italy: Italy in the Central Middle Ages 1000-1300, edited by David Abulafia. It was not readily available, but I was curious about what other work Abulafia had done. In my search, I came upon A Mediterranean Emporium: The Catalan Kingdom of Majorca. Intrigued, I picked up a copy from the local library and read through it.

First, I will admit that I knew very little about the Balearic islands before I read the book. I found the history to be rather informative. It spoke about the political, economic and cultural aspects of the Kingdom of Majorca. The book divided the subjects into chapters, addressing each issue separately. The chapters are as follows:

Part I Unity and Diversity

1 The Balearic setting

2 The kingdom and its historians

3 The constitutional problem

4 One kingdom, three religions: the Muslims

5 One kingdom, three religions: the Jews

Part II

6 The rise of the trade of Mallorca City

7 Commerce in the age of Vespers

8 Towards economic integration: the early fourteenth century

9 The trade of the autonomous kingdom in its last two decades

10 From the Mediterranean to the Atlantic

11 Thereshaping of Mallorca's ecomony, 1343-1500

Conclusion

Appendices

I Mallorca and Sardinia, 1267-1343

II The Montipellier inquest, 1338-1339

Through the course of the book, Abulafia aims "to see how coherently this kingdom functioned, particularly as a commercial crossroads between Europe and Africa. This is, then, a study of the kingdom's external connections, its `international status', both in trade and politics, rather than an attempt to describe its internal features: its agrarian development, its administration, both lay and ecclesiastical, its social relations." (p. xi, A Mediteranean Emporium). He does so effectively, depicting a full image of the lands and the rulers involved in its fate.

My main complaint is the use of quotes in the book. It is definitely an academic work, but Abulafia uses a number of untranslated quotes. While I see how providing the original language allows the more learned reader to interpret the language themselves, I would have appreciated a translation to have been provided in a footnote. I believe I could have taken more away from the book if he had done so.

In the end, I learned a lot from the book. Abulafia was thorough in his analysis. I am pressing on to read Italy in the Central Middle Ages 1000-1300 next. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to understand a little more of the economics of the Mediterranean in this period as well the history between Spain, France and North Africa. It definitely requires some perseverance, but it was worth it.
2 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cf4b3c0) out of 5 stars CROWN of ARAGON 4 April 2012
By TGC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There never was a Catalan Kingdom of Mallorca.

The Kingdom of Mallorca belonged to the CROWN of ARAGON. Under this Crown the following states were grouped: The Kingdoms of Aragón, of Valencia, of Mallorca, of Naples, of Sardinia, as well as Malta and the County of Barcelona.
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