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Charles Verlinden (1983)

Les Radaniya et Verdun. A propos de la traite des esclaves slaves vers l’Espagne musulmane aux IXe et Xe siècles

In: Estudios en homenaje a Don Claudio Sánchez Albornoz en sus 90 anos, vol. 2, pp. 105-132, Facultad de Filosofia y Letras, Buenos Aires. Anexos de Cuadernos de historia de España.

Starting from two text sources, Ibn Khordadbeh’s “Kitab al-Masalik wa'l-mamalik” (Book of the routes and provinces) from the 9th century and Liutprand of Cremona’s “Antapodosis” from the 10th century, Verlinden examines the transport of Slav slaves to Muslim Spain.

Slaves from the Slav area had been brought in caravans to western Europe since the early 8th century and may have reached Muslim Spain passing through Frankish territory. Jewish merchants, which Ibn Khordadbeh called “Radaniya”, participated in this trade since the beginning and practiced castration of slaves.

Verlinden discusses the different trade routes over the Alpine passes to Venice on one hand, and through the Frankish reign on the other. The latter became more important in the 10th century due to the growing number of wars against Slavs on the frontiers of the Ottonian Empire. On this route slaves came to Verdun, which became a centre for the slave trade and castration. Verlinden has no doubt about the Jewish identity of the merchants.

One of the most important destinations of slave transports at this time was Muslim Spain. With the increasing number of Slav slaves in the 10th century, their export from Spain to the whole Muslim world also reached an apogee. According to Verlinden, the “Radaniya”, again, were the main agents of this trade.

For a critique of Verlinden’s theory, see Ashtor (1977) and Toch.

Spain Slavs Jews trade 9th century 10th century
by Annika Stello last modified 2010-04-29 08:47

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