A Culture of Trust

Ottoman Merchants and Venetian Notaries in the Early Modern Period

Maria Pia Pedani    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia    



The aim of this paper is to study the presence of Ottoman merchants in Venice in the Modern Age. The Ottoman shipping partnership as well as the Venetian commenda were based on the mudarebe (classical Islamic shipping partnership) and several examples of this kind of partnerships may be found even between Christians and Muslims. Notarial deeds were above all proxies and often give information on merchants, their number and even their private life. Some of them were agents but there were also family companies and Ottoman grandees who were involved in international trade. Communities of merchants both in Istanbul and in Venice were also sometimes created. Last but not least, these sources contain also some examples of insurance made by Muslims to protect their goods. In general in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Ottoman merchants who traded in Venice were not alone, but they could refer to a real commercial network. Ancient historiographical theories say that in the Modern Age Ottoman Muslims were not interested in international trade and that they left it completely in Christian and Jewish hands, however documents tell us a completely different story, a story of contacts, exchanges, and even confidence and friendship.

Sept. 27, 2018
March 10, 2018
Jan. 19, 2018

Keywords: Ottoman Economic HistoryOttoman merchantsInsurances historyCommercial partnerships historyVenetian notaries

Copyright: © 2018 Maria Pia Pedani. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.