Empires of the Sea: Maritime Power Networks in World History


Series: Cultural Interactions in the Mediterranean, Volume 4

Brill (First published, 2019)
361 pages including Index

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ISBN: 9789004407671 Product ID: 37576 Subjects: , Sub-subjects: , , , ,

Empires of the Sea: Maritime Power Networks in World History brings together studies of maritime empires from the Bronze Age to the Eighteenth Century. The volume aims to establish maritime empires as a category for the (comparative) study of premodern empires, and from a partly ‘non-western’ perspective. The book includes contributions on Mycenaean Sea power, Classical Athens, the ancient Thebans, Ptolemaic Egypt, The Genoese Empire, power networks of the Vikings, the medieval Danish Empire, the Baltic empire of Ancien Régime Sweden, the early modern Indian Ocean, the Melaka Empire, the (non-European aspects of the) Portuguese Empire and Dutch East India Company, and the Pirates of Caribbean.

The volume Empires of the Sea seeks to rethink preindustrial maritime empires by understanding them as dynamic, multilayered networks connecting several interest groups and brokers located on these networks’ coastal and insular nodes, viz. in port cities, emporia or naval bases. Particularly in Medi-terranean studies, network approaches have opened up new research avenues for the study of transregional economic exchange, cultural interactions, and religious change; these approaches are now themselves in need of new objectives and directions. One of our aims is to foreground the element of power politics and coercion to the existing focus on culture and economy. The emphasis that current empire studies place on cultural and political diversity as a principal characteristic of empire has made one historical question increasingly urgent: how were these heterogeneous sociopolitical patchworks controlled and integrated over large distances and in the face of changing historical circumstances?

Past empire studies often departed from the model of the modern colonial empire linked to the European nation state. The last decades, however, have seen the publication of a number of volumes dealing with a much wider variety of empires, often in a comparative perspective in order to recognize common characteristics and trends. This interest springs from the relatively recent realization that empires, together with city states, were the most common forms of political organization, and that most empires in world history were not European. These comparative empire studies have focused either on land empires or bundled together various types of empire. By contrast, this volume will examine one specific form of imperial domination, and one that has hitherto received little attention.

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

1. Introduction: Maritime Empires in World History
Rolf Strootman

PART 1 – The Middle Sea

2. A Thousand Black Ships: Maritime Trade, Diplomatic Relations, and the Rise of Mycenae
Jorrit M. Kelder

3. The “First Athenian Empire”? Athenian Overseas Interests in the Archaic Period
Floris van den Eijnde

4. Contested Hegemonies: Thebes, Athens and Persia in the Aegean of the 360S
Roy van Wijk

5. The Ptolemaic Sea Empire
Rolf Strootman

6. The Republic of Genoa and Its Maritime Empire
Thomas Kirk

Part 2 – The Northern Seas

7. Linguistics of Contact in the Northern Seas
Marco Mostert

8. Medieval Denmark as a Maritime Empire
Thomas K. Heebøll-Holm

9. Seventeenth-Century Sweden and the Dominium Maris Baltici — a Maritime Empire?
Olaf Mörke

Part 3 – The Oceans

10. Early Modern European Mercantilism and Indian Ocean Trade
Anjana Singh

11. The Melaka Empire, c. 1400–1528
Peter Borschberg

12. The Portuguese Maritime Empire: Global Nodes and Transnational Networks
Cátia Antunes

13. The Asian Foundations of the Dutch Thalassocracy: Creative Absorption and the Company Empire in Asia
Remco Raben

14. Pirate Networks in the Caribbean
Kris Lane



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