online ZOOM lecture by Edmund Herzig | Oxford University
Abstract In the course of less than one hundred years, between the second half of the sixteenth century CE and the middle of the seventeenth century, the Armenian merchants of Julfa, a small town on the river Aras which today is located on the border between Iran and the Nakhchivan region of Azerbaijan, went from being significant players in the trade in raw silk from the Caucasus and Caspian provinces of the Safavid realm to the Levant to being one of the most successful merchant communities in the early modern global trading world, with a network that extended from the Atlantic seaboard of Europe, to Southeast Asia and even the Pacific. How do historians explain the meteoric rise of this small trading community from the Caucasus in a period which has traditionally been seen as one of the relentless expansion of European commercial capitalism at the expense of non-European competitors?
This lecture will consider the factors that contributed to the Julfans’ success, drawing attention to recent scholarship in the field and to the ways in which comparisons with other merchant communities have informed our understanding. Among these factors are the Julfa merchants’ forced displacement to the Safavid capital Isfahan and their relationship with the Safavid elite, the role of the tight-knit Julfan family and community structure as the social building block for commercial activities, the sophisticated commercial and financial techniques employed by the Julfans and their openness to new ideas and technologies, and their success in navigating the port cities, maritime routes and political complexities of the early modern trading world.
Please join the lecture with https://oeaw-ac-at.zoom.us/s/98371332869