modern mediterranean

Let’s talk about Enjolras part 2

Coming from Nice, Enjolras is used to a warmer climate. He’s not a massive fan of winter. Enjolras does go pale in winter, and his hair gets darker, but in the summer sun as his skin darkens his hair gets paler again.  (but of course that doesn’t bother him… at all… noooo he’s not vain at allllllll). This provides endless fascination for Grantaire. “He’s not always the same colour it’s fascinating!! I want to paint him over and over cos he’s never the same shade! Is that weird?”

WIP Part 1 - done! Again, this is only part 1. The rest of it will be coming out shortly (read that as: ‘at least 2 - 3 more parts). This first set includes the following cookbooks:
2. Fine Cooking
3. Bloody  Good Baking (obviously, from the UK)
4. Sweet & Simple Gluten-Free Baking
5. Fifty Shades of Chicken (Clearly, the author has never seen a chicken coop)
6. Miette
7. Saveur
8. Cook’s
9. One Bowl Baking (this will never happen in my kitchen)
10. Egg Shop
11. Inspiralize Everything (my grandchild does this without a book)
12. Quay
13. Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook
14. Sugarbaby
15. Love & Lemons
16. French Market Cookbook (it’s written in English)
17. First Mess
18. Modern Caribbean Flavors
19. The Yellow Table
20. Make Friends With Cupcakes
21. Fannie Farmer Cookbook
22. Betty Crocker Cookbook
23. Sunset Mexican Cookbook (this is also written in English)
24. The Original Slow Cooker Cookbook
25. The Blossom Cookbook
26. The Essential New York Times Cookbook
27. Bite Me
28. The Testicle Cookbook: Cooking With Balls (yes, this is a real cookbook)
29. Pyromaniac’s Cookbook (yes, this is also a real cookbook)
30. Food Swings
31. Quick-Fix Cooking With Road Kill (not only is this real, the recipes are amazing)
32. The Star Wars Cookbook: Wookie Cookies
33. The Food Lab (science nerds in the kitchen)
34. Sous Vide At Home
35. Modernist Cuisine
36. The Kitchen Matrix (physics nerds in the kitchen)
37. Around The Fire
38. Vineyard Cookbook
39. The Happy Herbivore (for vegans, vegetarians….and rabbits)
40. Eat Well: Be Well
41. Canning
42. Batch
43. The Modern Arkansas Table
44. Modernist Cuisine: Vol 2
45. Canning 101
46. Bubbe & Me
47. The Modern Mediterranean Table
48. The Modern Caveman’s Cookbook
49. Brown Betty
50. Candle 79 (I couldn’t find the first 78, but apparently they’re somewhere)
51. Sweet Spot
52. The Chinese Cookbook (also written in English)


Pirates and Corsairs from the point of view of the Ottomans

Excerpt from Joshua Michael White’s Catch and Release: Piracy, Slavery, and Law in the Early Modern Ottoman Mediterranean, University of Michigan, 2012. A very interesting book, and relatively accessible despite the thorny subject. I’d also suggest it to anyone interested in Barbary pirates (blow high! blow low! and so sail we!), because it’s a very complex and nuanced situation, and doesn’t deserve the black and white narrative it got. (Hardly surprising, considering that until recently, almost all research on the subject managed to completely ignore Ottoman sources.)

A Pirate By Any Other Name: The Ottoman Vocabulary of Maritime Raiding

[The Ottoman bureaucrat, poet, and historian] Mustafa Ali introduced the connection between the two opposing legal poles of Mediterranean maritime raiding—piracy and corsairing—and the two words most frequently associated with the practitioners of both—levend and korsan. These terms are those used most frequently in Ottoman Turkish to denote pirates, naval irregulars, and corsairs. The question of what separated pirates from privateers is not easily unraveled, however, for they were very much opposite sides of the same coin. A corsair is understood to be the particularly Mediterranean label for a privateer, one who engages in maritime raiding in the context of war (in this instance, holy war) and with the authorization of a sovereign entity. The corsair or privateer wages public war, privately. In contrast, to those “individuals who despoil others through privately exercised force and without urgent reasons to do,” the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius wrote in 1605, “we give the name ‘pirates’ when their activities take place upon the sea.” Grotius’ definition of the pirate will serve us well here. However, even he seemed unsure where to place the raiders of North Africa or, for that matter, those of Malta, who on the one hand could be considered to be operating on behalf of a sovereign entity—that is Algiers, Tunis, or Tripoli, which could all be treated as independent states—in which case they were privateers, or not, given Ottoman sovereignty there, in which case they were pirates.

If the North African corsairs were indeed privateers from the perspective of Tunis or Algiers, they were not necessarily seen as engaging in lawful war in Istanbul when they targeted the sultan’s own subjects or those of states with which he had made peace. In that vein, Mustafa Ali admonished his readers in a verse to “think of jihad as an island: on its right is a sea of wealth, on the left is corruption.” The line between legal and illegal raiding was thin indeed. The right claimed by corsairing entities to raid and enslave any and all adherents of the enemy faith collided with political and legal realities that identified people by their subjecthood as well as confession and extended special protections to some. In such instances where Ottoman law was breached, the Ottoman central administration would still refer to the raiders as korsan or levend, but often in conjunction with epithets like rebel, criminal, and thief.

The meaning of the word levend is somewhat ambiguous and varied according to context. It could denote officially recognized Ottoman corsairs, independent freebooters with no ties to the state, or naval auxiliaries more generally. […] The word was used for auxiliary forces on land as well, though by the second half of the sixteenth century it had also acquired the meaning of “bandit” due to the fact that numerous demobilized infantrymen turned to this activity to support themselves. […] The Turkish words korsan and korsanlık, derived from the Arabic kursan which in turn was derived from the Italian corsaro, carry the meaning of “pirate” and “piracy” respectively in modern Turkish. In the early modern period, however, as some scholars have pointed out, they would be more accurately rendered as “corsair/privateer” and “corsairing/privateering.” Both Ottoman and foreign (Christian) maritime raiders, including those from North Africa and Malta, could be called korsan, whereas non-Ottoman corsairs/pirates were almost never called levend.

The inconsistency and ambiguity of Ottoman usage was somewhat mitigated in administrative documents by the occasional use of various modifiers and word collocations that help to clarify Ottoman views of such actors or their methods. […] Some of these, like harami levend (robber levend) and levend eşkiyası (bandit/outlaw or rebel levend) can be quite clearly interpreted to mean pirate—one whose actions were considered criminal by the state—though in some instances they might indicate auxiliaries gone rogue. In the Ottomans’ treaties with the Venetians, early references to pirates were to “robber ships” (harami gemisi) and only later in the sixteenth century did the texts begin replacing the sea-robber appellation with levend and korsan.

However, the usage of korsanlık to mean exclusively corsairing or privateering as we might understand these terms, with all their religious and statist connotations, was in fact not consistent over time and space. In the seventeenth century, even small-scale raids by Greek Christian pirates on their co-religionists in the Aegean, committed without state authorization or the cover of religious justification—that is to say, acts of piracy in the most basic sense—were sometimes characterized as korsanlık by Ottoman scribes. Thus, the semantic distinction between simple piracy and corsairing that some scholars insist upon was not quite as firm in the seventeenth century as has been portrayed. For our part, we are most concerned with acts of maritime raiding that the Ottoman center (and its European treaty-partners) considered unacceptable or illegal, and so referring to these as acts of piracy is a necessary concession for coherence.

How the practitioners of maritime raiding conceived of their activities, what justifications they employed, and how they selected their victims are questions that are worth asking. However, they are questions that are ultimately of less importance when considering an Ottoman administrative and legal response that was concerned with the subjecthood and confession of the raiders but otherwise made little distinction between them whenever the targets they chose ran counter to the Ottoman central government’s wishes. Besides, a significant number of those we might call pirates were not engaged in predatory raiding full-time, but did so whenever it was convenient and profitable. This was certainly the case for the English sailing ships that began to appear in the Mediterranean in ever greater numbers after 1580 and which, even when laden with cargo for legitimate trade, often raided indiscriminately. In 1599, for example, the vessel carrying England’s new ambassador to the Sublime Porte, Henry Lello, and the accession gift for Sultan Mehmed III tarried repeatedly in its journey across the Mediterranean to take prizes, including some belonging to Ottoman subjects. Beyond the English, many others alternated between raid and trade with alacrity. For us, then, the question is not so much who is a pirate, or what is a pirate, but when is a pirate? That is, at what point did maritime raiding become illegal, and what was to be done about it?

Unlike privateering, piracy is by definition unlawful. Pirates were the “common enemies of all,” a designation originating in ancient Rome and current in early modern Europe, one which the Ottomans by and large shared and espoused in their treaties with Venice and others. The jurisdiction to punish pirates extended to all. Modern linguistic conventions do not map well onto Ottoman usage, but we must take care not confuse popular notions of holy war with Ottoman conceptions of legitimate and illegitimate sea robbery, which could be and often were practiced by the same individuals and groups—the cessation of conflict often transforming privateers into pirates for continuing to do what they had been doing all along. This was certainly true for the Ottomans vis-à-vis Venice after 1573 and for the English vis-à-vis Spain after 1604. Thus, what remained guerre de course or korsanlik on the local level—or “customary raiding,” as sea raiders from Herceg Novi on the Adriatic would claim in 1627 after a peacetime attack on nearby Venetians—was to the Ottoman imperial center a criminal act. It was, in essence, piracy, even if we might hesitate to anachronistically apply the label pirate to those the Ottomans called “rebels” and “thieves” when they attacked Ottoman subjects or those of their allies. The tendency of outsiders like the English to call all Mediterranean sea robbers pirates when their Venetian victims called them “corsari” and the Ottomans “korsanlar” or “levendler” should not obscure the more important, less semantic, differentiation between legal and illegal acts of maritime violence.

All this took place in a context in which the practitioners of maritime violence increasingly operated outside the boundaries of declared war and beyond the control of the states that had once closely patronized their kind. That they were joined in the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by a plethora of local and long-distance actors of murky origins and no discernible agenda besides their own financial betterment only complicated matters. While we must recognize that the corsairs of Malta and Barbary were not the exactly the same creatures as the Corsican pirate captain cruising the Aegean or the Ottoman Muslim amphibious bandit prowling the Adriatic coast, they were all part of the broader pattern of maritime violence that arose in this period, profoundly connected by method, result, and response. The rise of violence perpetrated by uncontrollable non-state or quasi-state actors demanded that administrators, diplomats, and jurists tighten the legal net to include those who served the state’s interests and exclude those who violated them. Braudel observed that “privateering,” by which he meant the Mediterranean corso, “often had little to do with either country or faith, but was merely a means of making a living.” This fact certainly accounts for the extraordinary mobility of seamen across religious and political boundaries, adopting and shedding allegiances when it served their interests. Maritime work was a trade, after all, and sailors and captains were first and foremost tradesmen who sought work where it as available and profitable, including in North Africa.

The influx of English seamen to North Africa following the conclusion of England’s long conflict with Spain in 1604 provides ample evidence for this. In any event, the line between trade and raid—really just another form of trade—was not especially rigid, nor were the religious fault lines that were meant to determine the selection of victims. All this meant that it was the task of Ottoman authorities on land to better define what was and was not acceptable at sea, when, and why. The question of pirate vs. corsair ends up being one of perspective to some extent, but without taking into account self-perception, we may profitably refer to any targeted raid deemed unacceptable by the Ottoman sultan to be an act of piracy. Thus, the levend captain with an official commission who nevertheless conducted unauthorized raids on Ottoman subjects or the ships of Ottoman treaty-partners and whose actions met with official disapproval would be, in this instance, a pirate.

The primary, theoretical distinction between the Mediterranean corsair as opposed to the Atlantic privateer or the true pirate was the religious dimension to their targeting. That is, even if their attacks were unauthorized, Muslim corsairs were supposed to plunder and enslave Christians and vice versa, whereas the privateer attacked the ships of the sovereign(s) specified in his letter of marque and the pirate was indiscriminate in selecting his prey. Yet the gulf between theory and practice was vast and the continuum of maritime violence contained no lack of raiders exceeding their charge. The Muslim korsans and levends of the North African, Adriatic and Ionian coasts and the corsari of Malta and Livorno routinely despoiled their co-religionists. What they did not regularly do, however, was enslave them.

[@we-are-pirate , @we-are-captain, perhaps @we-are-lawyer]