KUSHCH T.V. Pirates of the Aegean: Eastern Mediterranean Sea Robbery in the 15th Century

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.19

Tatiana V. Kushch

Doctor of Sciences (History), Head of the Department of Ancient and Medieval History,

Ural Federal University,

Prosp. Lenina, 51, 620000 Yekaterinburg, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. Geopolitical changes in the Eastern Mediterranean following the Fourth Crusade destabilized the situation in the region which became the area of conflict of the Greeks, Latins, and Turks. Their rival caused the power vacuum which influenced political and economic development in the region under study. This article addresses the phenomenon of the 15th-century piracy in the context of ethnopolitical changes in the Aegean.

Methods. Taking the results of the comparative analysis of Western European and Byzantine sources as the background, the author of this article evaluates the scope of the Eastern Mediterranean piracy and the place of this phenomenon in the political processes that changed the regional leader.

Analysis. In the beginning of the period under study, Catalans and Genoese did a great part of sea robbery by plundering ships and devastating coastal areas. However, later on they gradually moved the focus of their actions to the Adriatic. The most important changes occurred in the actions of Ottoman pirates, who significantly enlarged their presence in the area in question. Under the unstable political situation in the area with an actually absent evident regional political leader, piracy became a tool of political struggle. The Turkish government used the struggle against the pirates as a way of strengthening its maritime power and the pretext for occupying new territories.

Results. Shaping of Pax Turcica resulted in the gradual decrease of piracy by the late 15th century, and the stabilization of the Aegean and Pontic maritime traffic. From that time on, sea robbery concentrated in the waters of the Adriatic, Cyprus, and Levantine Seas where piracy continued flourishing.

Key words: Eastern Mediterranean in the Late Middle Ages, piracy, the Aegean, Ottoman conquests.

Citation. Kushch T.V. Pirates of the Aegean: Eastern Mediterranean Sea Robbery in the 15th Century. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 245-254. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2019.6.19.

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Pirates of the Aegean: Eastern Mediterranean Sea Robbery in the 15th Century by Kushch T.V. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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