From Prizes Of War To Domestic Merchandise: The Changing Face Of Slavery In Catalonia And Aragon, 1000-1300

Document Type


Publication Date


Published In



"From Prizes of War to Domestic Merchandise: The Changing Face of Slavery in Catalonia and Aragon, 1000-1300." Most investigations of medieval slavery have concentrated on the disappearance of Roman slavery before the year 1000 or on the expanding slave trade in the fourteenth and fifteenth century. This article examines how new power relations affected the nature of slavery in Catalonia and Aragon between 1000 and 1300, as the military balance in the Iberian peninsula shifted in favor of the Christian north. Acquired through war and distributed through a tributary economy, Muslim slaves were at first not easily integrated into the world of their owners. The rise of a commercial economy, however, transformed slavery into primarily an urban phenomenon. As artisans and prosperous burghers acquired slaves for domestic labor, women began to appear much more frequently than men on the slave market and were more firmly attached to the households of their owners than earlier. Slavery was therefore not a mere vestigial element of a vanished Roman world; rather, it takes us to the heart of social change in the medieval Mediterranean. Six documents are included in the appendix.

This document is currently not available here.