Friedrich Nerly, Greek sailors on a Venetian canal — Wikimedia Commons

When The Mediterranean Spoke The Same Language… More Or Less

Learning to speak sabir — a mix of Italian, French, Spanish, and Arabic — was essential if you were a sailor or a merchant in the Middle Ages. It also came in handy if you were an Ottoman pirate. Maybe even a banker. Or a Christian renegade hiding in Algiers. Or, unfortunately for you, a slave.



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Giulia Montanari

Thirty-something public registrar in Italy. Can’t parallel park to save my life. Join Medium with my referral link: