The Use of Non-Commercial Networks for the Study of Byzantium’s Foreign Trade
The Case of Byzantine-Islamic Commerce in the Early Middle Ages
Building upon the anthropological studies, I would like to put forward a fresh outlook on the nature of Byzantium’s foreign exchanges in the example of the Byzantine-Near Eastern relations from the 7th to the 11th centuries. Examining the types of objects/people/information exchanged (i.e. diplomats, merchants, booty, gifts, military technology etc.) and the ways they moved through different modes of exchange (commerce, plunder etc.) critically and comparatively would help every Byzantinist elucidate areas that are less well understood, such as commercial exchanges; it also makes us aware of the fact that the categories presented above are ideal types, and that objects and people had multiple and changing identities while different modes occasionally coalesced.