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Black Sea Emporia and the Mongol Empire: A Reassessment of the Pax Mongolica

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The term Pax Mongolica indicates a period of time (c. 1280-1360) during which Mongol domination seemingly guaranteed security on the Eurasian commercial routes. At this time the Italian maritime powers of Genoa and Venice established their commercial “emporia” on the Black Sea. This essay examines the links between Mongol-controlled continental Asia and Italian-controlled maritime trade by separating the sphere of interests of the Venetian and Genoese governments from the sphere of activities of private merchants, whose presence in China and Central Asia depended heavily upon Mongol support. The end of the Pax Mongolica had a different impact on both of these two spheres.

Le terme Pax Mongolica indique une période (environ 1280-1360) pendant laquelle la domination mongole assurait apparemment la sécurité des itinéraires commerciaux eurasiatiques. A cette époque les puissances maritimes de Gênes et de Venise établissaient leurs ‘emporia’ commerciaux sur la Mer Noire. Cette contribution étudie les liens entre l’Asie continentale contrôlée par les Mongols et le commerce maritime, contrôlé par les Italiens en séparant la sphère d’intérêt des gouvernements vénitiens et génois de la sphère d’action des commerçants privés, dont la présence en Chine et Asie centrale dépendait du soutien mongol. La fin de la Pax Mongolica devrait affecter ces deux sphères de façon différente.


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