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The Near WestMedieval North Africa, Latin Europe and the Mediterranean in the Second Axial Age$
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Allen Fromherz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780748642946

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748642946.001.0001

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Axis of the Middle Sea

(p.86) 3 Tunis
The Near West

Allen James Fromherz

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter explores the history and culture of Tunis, which prospered in the ninth century from trade, slavery, naval-merchant exchange, and raiding. Located on the western coast of Italy, the opportunity of the sea made a protected and strategic port city such as Tunis capable of thriving. Although it never became a city at the level of Rome or Cairo, Tunis was often close to this status. It had been on the verge of empire at its height, a stopover point for ideas and movements far more extensive than its immediate surroundings. Tunis at one point would be recognized in Mecca and Madina as the capital of the Caliph — leader of the Islamic world. It eventually became a significant center of learning, trade, and commerce that not only raided but also rivaled European cities well into the medieval period.

Keywords:   Tunis, port city, Mecca, Madina, Caliph, Islamic world, medieval period

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