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Hospitaller interactions with servile and enslaved peoples at sea and on land, from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century.

McDermott, Nicholas 2022. Hospitaller interactions with servile and enslaved peoples at sea and on land, from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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This thesis reassesses the relationship between the Knights Hospitaller and enslaved peoples. The Hospitallers held slaves in the Mediterranean for centuries and their use of slaves was widespread and significant; the Order undertook raids to capture slaves, members of the Order were served by personal slaves and slaves rowed the Order’s ships. Almost every part of the Order was in some way influenced by slaves, from building defences, to baking bread and maintaining weapons. However, the importance of slaves to the Order has been underestimated; this thesis argues that slaves were more than a by-product of the Order’s naval warfare but were fundamental to their operations and that the desire to gain slaves actually motivated the Order to undertake raids against non-military targets. Through the use of a holistic approach to Hospitaller slaveholding, this thesis highlights the fluid and varied nature of Hospitaller interactions with enslaved and servile peoples. This approach seeks to counter the homogenised view of slaves as one group with a collective identity and shared motivations; each slave’s individual situation was different, which resulted in different interactions with each other and with the Order. Focusing on the variety of these interactions provides a fuller and more detailed picture of the slave system on Rhodes and Malta and the Order’s slaveholding behaviours. Crucially the Order’s slaveholding did not occur in isolation, as the Order interacted with other slaveholding powers and engaged in many of the same slaveholding behaviours. Additionally, this thesis critically assesses the existing scholarship which has sought to present the Order’s slaveholding as more limited and humane. The thesis questions the pre-existing interpretations within the current scholarship and discourse and through this engages with the wider slavery and crusades discourses.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian Denominations
D History General and Old World > DF Greece
D History General and Old World > DG Italy
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 November 2022
Date of Acceptance: 11 October 2022
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 03:33

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