Lecture by Janel Fontaine

14 February 2023 - 15:30 — 14 February 2023 - 18:00

Supplying the slave trade in 10th-century Prague

  • 14 February
  • 15.30 hours
  • IISH, Max Nettlau Room

On February 14th Janel Fontaine, affiliated to the University of Glasgow, will hold a lecture at the IISH.

Abstract: Prague has played a central role in discussion of early medieval slave trading for seventy years in western European historiography and over a century in Czech studies. Regular references to slave trading in surviving source material coincide with the rise of the Přemyslid family, who held their seat at what is now Prague Castle. By the end of the tenth century, their power consolidation and territorial expansion had led to their status as the most powerful noble family in Bohemia. Throughout Prague’s parallel development as an administrative center and market, it appears to have functioned as a hub of slave trading activity which likely peaked in the second half of the tenth century. This paper will focus on the question of how the Prague market was supplied with enslaved people. Focusing on supply allows us to add nuance to discussion of early medieval slave trading networks and to consider how Prague both supported and relied upon connections with other groups in central and eastern Europe. 

Discussant: Lola Digard, University of Amsterdam

Bio: Janel Fontaine holds a PhD in History from King’s College London. From 2018-2021 she was a Past & Present Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, and has taught medieval and global history at King’s College London and the University of Glasgow. Her first monograph, Slave Trading in Early Medieval Europe is forthcoming with Manchester University Press. She is currently an affiliate of the University of Glasgow and works as an archaeologist for Treasure Trove Scotland at the National Museum of Scotland.

IISH Seminar: This lecture is part of the monthly IISH Seminar series.
In principle, seminars take place every first Tuesday of the month. The seminar is open to the public, but with regard to accommodation, we would like you to register, jacqueline.rutte@bb.huc.knaw.nl, under the mention of 'lecture'.

Janel Fontaine