Malacca to Antwerp: Michiel Foscari’s global network (1482-1506)
A Ph.D. by the European University Institute, Francisco Apellániz has taught Islamic and Ottoman History at the Université Aix-Marseille at Aix-en-Provence. His work considers the intricacies of cultural and commercial exchanges between Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East through a series of topics derived from his interest on identity manipulation, mixed networks and legal relations. Recently published essays consider legal attitudes towards the Franks adopted by late medieval Islamic societies and the emergence of new ones under the Ottomans. He is the author of Pouvoir et finance en Méditerranée pré-moderne : le deuxième Etat mamelouk et le commerce des épices (1389-1517) (Barcelona 2009).
This project approaches the global network of a small-size Renaissance company led by the Venetian nobleman Michiel Foscari (d.1506). As partner of Jakob Fugger and a veteran in the trade with Germany, Foscari purchased central-European copper and silver that exchanged for spices in Egypt. Over twenty years, Foscari’s agents interacted with Arab entrepreneurs who took Indian spices to Alexandria and sent Foscari’s metals back to Asia. By reading the company's Egyptian letters and books of account against the background of Arabic sources produced in the Red Sea, my project explores the implications derived from the participation of a small-size Renaissance firm on much larger networks of Arab, Persian and Indian traders involved in the spice trade