Prior to the short-lived conquest of Sardinia by Mujāhid, the Muslim amir of Denia, during 1015–16, the island had been the object of numerous raids from the Iberian Peninsula or from Ifrīqiya that can be broadly grouped by period, such that most are attested during the first half of the 700s; a handful are reported from the early 800s with another occurring around 934/5. Since the 16th century, historians of Sardinia have considered these incursions fundamentally important to understanding its unusual political development and its gradual shift from the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa towards local lordship under the giudicati. The consequences that have been attributed to Muslim raids are wide-ranging. Apart from material damage, they include: the contraction of its population towards the hills; the isolation of Sardinia, politically and socioeconomically; the reorganisation of its military for defensive purposes; its political partition into four giudicati as well as the strategic re-positioning of the island on a contested Muslim–Christian religious frontier. It has even been suggested that the Muslims would never have been able to conquer North Africa and Spain had they not raided Sardinia first. This traditional historiography has remained relatively unchallenged, although the ‘Muslims in Sardinia’ question has recently been re-opened by Walter Kaegi’s new hypothesis suggesting that raids began much earlier than previously imagined. On the other hand, research into Arabic sources indicates that few, if any, of the early raids happened at all. These two positions cannot both be right, but this paper will forward a new explanation and a solution to the problem.
The island of Sardinia, between the 8th and 9th centuries, was deeply connected with the Mediterranean politics and in the middle of the statal evolution of the far possessions of the Byzantine Empire. The ancient documents and the archaeological and the historical sources are currently trying to solve the problem of what appened in the Sardinian administrative structure, for what were the causes of the passage from the Byzantine domination to the autonomous government of the Giudicati. How many informations about can come from the numismatic evidence?
This paper deals with the images of the Byzantine Empire and the Greeks, presented in Lorenzo de Monacis’s chronicle (1420s). The Byzantines and the Greeks of colonial Crete were described in a derogatory manner in this official Venetian narrative. The author of the paper focuses on three groups of portraits of the Greek elite in this source: the Byzantine and Nicaean emperors, the Cretan archons, and the Orthodox clergy. The attempt has been made to explain how the Greek imagery was operated in colonial practice and in construction of the imperial myth of Venice.