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Alasdair Grant

“Cross-Confessional Captivity in the Later Byzantine World, ca. 1280–1460”

Alasdair Grant

University of Edinburgh, Byzantine Studies Junior Fellow, Spring

In the later Middle Ages, Muslim Turkish raiders took captive large numbers of Greek Orthodox, many of whom were sold to and traded by Catholic Venetian, Genoese, and Catalan merchants—who sometimes themselves participated in raiding. Grant’s project draws mainly on clerical correspondence, notarial documents, and narrative historiography to glimpse individual captives’ experiences, and asks what these can tell us about the ways different religious groups interacted in the later medieval Mediterranean. He suggests that these experiences reflect everyday, on-the-ground realities that impacted upon debates surrounding unity and disunity between Orthodox and Catholic Christianity, and upon the structures of Christian communities in the face of Islamic expansion.

Alasdair Grant is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Edinburgh, jointly supervised at the University of St Andrews. He is a graduate of the Universities of St Andrews (in Latin and medieval history) and Oxford (in late antique and Byzantine studies), and has held a visiting researcher placement at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz. In addition to his doctoral research, he has published on holy war in the Italian maritime cities and on Latin accounts of the Mongol invasions. He is a cofounder of Edinburgh’s annual international graduate conference in late antique, Islamic, and Byzantine studies.