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Antonino Campagna


Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (ED 113)
Università di Roma Sapienza

École d’histoire de la Sorbonne – UFR09 (IHMC)
Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
17 rue de la Sorbonne, 75231 Paris Cedex 05


Sujet de thèse : Tra Roma e Algeri. Modelli di interazione e di collaborazione nel Mediterraneo alla fine del XVI secolo

Directeurs de thèse : Emmanuel Betta et Serena di Nepi (université de Rome « La Sapienza ») et Guillaume Calafat

Date de première inscription : octobre 2021

Thèmes de recherche

  • Storia-sociale del Mediterraneo
  • Guerra di corsa e schiavitù tra XVI e XVII secolo
  • Emigrazioni e pratiche di inserimento sociale
  • Ritualità condivise, eterodossie ed ortodossie nel Mediterraneo

Présentation de la thèse

In my research I study the Arciconfraternita del Gonfalone of Rome, a charity institution whom goal was to redeem christian captives/slaves in Barbary coast or, in general, Ottoman Empire. I focus my analysis on the social and economic networks mobilised by Guardiani and Deputati to accomplish their purpose. The life and the activity of Arciconfraternita lasted from 1582 until the middle of XIX century.

During XVI century, many institutions of this kind appeared in Italy, supporting in a more “laic” way the activities of Trinitaries and Mercedaries, two religious orders engaged in redeeming slaves since XIII and XIV century. The Gonfalone’s activity started following the “burocratic” and normative exemple of Neapolitan Santa Casa della Redenzione but, since the first years of activity, the Deputati had to face with a lot of difficulties and problems that obliged them to pursue their goal in a very personal way.

During the first, almost, ten years of its activities, the Institution interact with slaves, slaves owners, merchant and corsair with the mediation of local merchants (such as Agi Mehmet “mercante Moro d’Algeri”) or agents (diplomatic, commercial and political) from France. The last year of Gonfalone’s activities was strictly tied with the presence and the wealthy of french diaspora in Algiers and Tunis, through which they menaged to move moneys and men from one Mediterranean shore to another. This complex but fascinating system is well rapresented by the private of official/public letters sent by the missionaries and the Gonfalone agents to Barbary coast, through which we can see, at least with the eyes of a missionary or a slave, what was a part of the social life of a corsair city ; at least that part of social life strictly interwined with ransoms, corsairs and strangers.

The Jesuit Father Mancinelli depict, in a different kind of documents (more official but not less subjective), the relationships between “christians” and “muslims”, in a place such was Algiers where the “trans-cultural” paradox was revealed by practice of mutual assisting and network-building, that often ignored borders.

During the XVII century, apparently, the activities of Arciconfraternita were suspended and restarted about one hundred years later. During the XVIII century the documentation shows a more complex and interwined network of agents and tools, giving us the opportunity to follow more strictly, and for a longer period of time, the ransom activities and the social practicies connected with them.

The research doesn’t want to follow only the “administrative” life of the Arciconfraternita, neither establish the real utility of their operations. Its main goal is to understand, or try to, the networks created by the Institution, tryng to follow their creation and the functioning of this “social support”, piece by piece.

Through the eyes of Legati Apostolici, Missionaries and slaves, merchants and bankers, I’ll try to understand what was the functioning of such a complex system, examining the movement of interaction between agents of various social and territorial backgrounds. Normative and normed behaviours, of course, will define this universe of networks and connections such as short-circuits, critical issues and exceptions. The redemption market, as it was defined by the more recent studies and essays on the subject, was a really complex system made up not primarily by institutions but especially by man. The “normative” part, the rules, the protocols, the orders, were based on reports and dispatches, mainly a subjective construption. This ego-procedural-narrative structured the agents behaviour on their first attempt of communication with the (supposed) “other”. The counter-procedural process, created by the daily interaction with that world recreate and modified the behaviour, obliging the agents to adjust their narrative and their way to interface with the no-more-new reality. This dialogue between men (man) and reality is what we can find from the documentations.

In this rationalization work, the agents had to interact, within different layers, on many levels of reality : from the official and “trans-cultural” to the daily, un-official and porous world that sorrounded them. Institutional agents and slaves had to look behind to their native places, look forward to their future accomplished goals (usually gain freedom, for themself or for others). Between these, there were the new community and every kind of individual, captives or merchants, redeemers or brokers, had to face with this.

Publié le 15 octobre 2021, mis a jour le mardi 22 novembre 2022

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