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Italian Slave Girls For Sale

The Italian city of Capua (KYE-poo-ah) was once the city of princes but the centuries have lessened its significance. As the Second Italian War rages on, the city has fallen. The women are rounded up and taken to Rome to be sold as slaves. There is no word on what the Pope and Cardinals think of the morality of this sale but Popes of the past have accepted and given slaves as gifts. It was not a common occurrence because slavery didn't make much sense for the services that a Pope or Cardinal would find useful. It happened often enough, though. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Do I really have to say this? Why buy a slave girl when you can rent one by the hour? So to speak. These slave girls likely were not being used for what you think they were being used for. Secondly, indentured servitude made more sense than slavery since servant contracts are cheaper and the servant feels more-or-less responsible for working off his debt. Also, in those days, wives and children were used as collateral for business loans. They lived with the banker as hostages and performed manual labor. Finally, slavery today is seen as something happening to people of color but "Italian slave girls for sale" puts the lie to that assumption. People of the 1400s and 1500s had their likes and dislikes of appearance but it had nothing to do with an idea of superior or inferior races. That sort of thinking is a modern phenomenon.

The Secret Treaty of Granada

Italy is being turned upside down as the Second Italian War produces conquest after conquest for the French. France and Spain have secretly agreed to divide the Kingdom of Naples and Pope Alexander the 6th has blessed what is called the Treaty of Granada. It was created in 1500 but it is finally signed this year. What they don't realize is that the Kingdom of Naples is made up mostly of seasonally nomadic shepherds who pass between borders several times a year... which begs the question: who gets the taxes? It won't take long before this treaty breaks down and the fighting begins once more. [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This treaty reminds me of the Sykes-Picot (sykes PEE-co) Agreement where England and France secretly agreed to split up the Arab states between them after World War One and the Ottoman Empire fell. After that agreement was revealed, it caused the great distrust of the West that we see in the Middle East today. [5] [6]

Why Sharia Law Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time *

Al-Ghawri didn't want the job. He was 60 years old and a former slave who had risen to a high position but when the current Sultan went missing, the amirs cast around for someone to take his place. Al-Ghawri knew that the Mamluk justice system needed serious reform. If you had enough money, a local amir could make justice happen for you. To any point of view this type of system is ripe for corruption. Al-Ghawri becomes Sultan and establishes central courts based on Sharia legal principles and bans all others. A power struggle erupts, and it is clear the amirs are not going to comply for several reasons, not least of which is that change will take away a major source of income. The Sultan will try again later but in the end he will fail. [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, Sharia law seems unduly strict and brutal yet in the early days it was an improvement over the kind of corruption and brutality of medieval custom. For comparison, in 1501 Pope Alexander the 6th allowed slave girls to be sold in Rome and the Spanish Inquisition allowed torture and burning at the stake. It is obvious that Christian, Islamic and Jewish legal systems all have brutish laws on the books that modern religious people find uncomfortably embarrassing. Christians and Jews have found ways to circumvent those laws without abandoning their core principles. Islam must find a way to do the same and sell it to their laity. The modern day has no place for the brutish elements of a medieval law system. [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1501, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. A History of Civilization in Italy from 1304-1576 A.D., The Story Of Civilization. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 9781567310160. “In 1488 Pope Innocent VIII received a hundred Moorish slaves as a present from Ferdinand the Catholic, and distributed them as gratuities among his cardinals and other friends. In 1501, after the capture of Capua, many Capuan women were sold as slaves in Rome. But these stray facts illustrate the morals rather than the economy of the Renaissance; slavery rarely played a significant role in the production or transport of goods.” 
  2. Capua - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 January 2015.
  3. Alex Shrugged notes: I found this little fact about Italian slave girls while doing other reading.
  4. Italian War of 1499--1504: Treaties - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 January 2015.
  5. Sykes--Picot Agreement - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 January 2015. “The agreement effectively divided the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire outside the Arabian peninsula into areas of future British and French control or influence.”
  6. The Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. historylearningsite.co.uk (2014). Retrieved on 14 January 2015. “The agreement was never completely fulfilled by the peace settlements but it did lead to the Arab people not fully trusting the British or French governments at times in the future.”
  7. (2010) New Cambridge History of Islam Vol. 2: Western Islam 11th-18th Centuries (BOOK), Maribel Fierro (editor), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521839570. “The platforms stationed at the gates of the grand amirs' houses 'sold' justice to the larger population. The influential among the julba employed military police to maintain order in their courts and enforce their decisions. Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri (906-22/ 1501-16) tried on two occasions to centralise the judicial system and ban all courts but the shar'i, but was soon compelled to yield to the amirs' pressure and leave these courts active” 
  8. Twelver - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 13 January 2015.
  9. amir - definition of amir. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 14 January 2015. “n. 1. a prince, commander, or head of state in some Islamic countries.”
  10. Al-Ashraf Qansuh al-Ghawri - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 15 January 2015.
  11. Alex Shrugged notes: As an Orthodox Jew I find it embarrassing to admit that I know of certain Jewish groups who will meet out justice on a fellow Jew (that means beat the tar out of him) after being convicted of a crime by a Jewish court. It is rare and illegal in the United States but happens here anyway... sometimes. Certainly my group would never do this but it does happen. In Israel, such people are jailed rather than beaten since the crimes they commit are crimes in Israel but not necessarily jail-able crimes in the United States.

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