Studies Association



Dear MSA Colleagues,

The table of contents for the Fall 2017 issue of Mediterranean Studies, vol. 25.2, has recently been posted on the MSA website, and I thought you might like some more information about it. This issue features four major articles and three book reviews.  

One article, "Theban Autochthony and Athenian Ideology in the Phoenissae of Euripides," is by Stephen Nimis. It focuses on the concept of autochthony, the idea that a people did not migrate to the country where they now live, but were born "from the earth itself". Both the ancient Athenians and the Thebans had myths claiming they were autochthonous, and Nimis discusses the way Euripides explores this theme in Phoenician Maidens, a play about Theban myth that was performed in Athens.  

In her article, "Held to Account: Medieval Scribes at Sea," Emily Sohmer Tai describes the responsibilities of maritime scribes in the medieval Mediterranean. The scribe's register of a ship's cargo served as the official record of what the ship was carrying. This responsibility presented the scribe with opportunities for enrichment, but a scribe could face severe punishment if his register proved to be inaccurate.  

In "People Before Print: Gens de Lettres, the Ottoman Printing Press, and the Search for Turkish Literature," Jonathan Haddad discusses the arrival of the first printing press in Turkey in 1727. The news of the Turkish printing press was hailed in Paris as a sign of the westernization of the Ottoman empire, but Haddad argues that this view is misleading and that it obscures the ways that literature was actually experienced by the Turkish people. 

 Adam Franklin-Lyons' article, "Fourteenth-Century Rent Management in Catalonia: A Case Study of the Pia Almoina of Barcelona," focuses on the success of the Pia Almoina, the Cathedral poorhouse of Barcelona, despite the famine of the early fourteenth century and the Black Death in 1348. The Pia Almoina's policy of connecting scattered pieces of land through large agricultural purchases and their

flexibility in the types of rent they accepted (including rents in kind) allowed them to expand while other poorhouses struggled.  

Since 2016, Mediterranean Studies has also published book reviews, and the Fall 2017 issue features three of them. John Watkins reviews Zara Torlone's Vergil in Russia: National Identity and Classical Reception; Luigi Andrea Berto reviews Ian Wood's The Modern Origins of the Early Middle Ages: and Monique O'Connell reviews The Deeds of Commander Pietro Mocenigo.  Book reviews are proving to be a worthwhile addition to the journal, and we plan to publish more of them. If you are interested in potentially writing a book review for Mediterranean Studies, please send me a one-page CV and describe the types of books you would be interested in reviewing. Put "Reviewing Books for Mediterranean Studies" in the subject heading. My email address is:

If you would like to subscribe to Mediterranean Studies, you may purchase a one-year subscription at the reduced rate of $17.00 for MSA members. Follow this link:

If you would like to purchase a single copy, please write to me at:     


Sue Shapiro


Mediterranean Studies

Mediterranean Studies Association

8 Merrymount Drive, North Dartmouth, MA 02747  USA