The 32nd Annual Walton Lecture in honor of Gennadius Librarian Francis R. Walton (1961-1976) was delivered by Molly Greene, on October 30.
The lecture entitled “1453: How Important Was It?” was based on Greene’s current project regarding a history of the Greeks and the Greek world under Ottoman rule for a multi-volume series being published by Edinburgh University Press. This gave her the opportunity to think about the big questions: what did Greek identity consist of during the Ottoman period? What role did the Patriarch play in the life of the Empire’s Christians? What is the relationship between the fortunes of the Empire and developments within the Christian community? And finally how important was 1453? During her lecture she discussed all these questions.
Molly Greene studies the history of the Mediterranean Basin, the Ottoman Empire, and the Greek world. Her interests include the social and economic history of the Ottoman Empire, the experience of Greeks under Ottoman rule, Mediterranean piracy, and the institution of the market. After earning a B.A. in political science at Tufts University (1981), Professor Greene spent several years living in Greece and then completed a Ph.D. in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton (1993), where she studied Ottoman history. Upon graduating she joined the Princeton faculty with a joint appointment in the History Department and the Program in Hellenic Studies.
Her first book, A Shared World: Christians and Muslims in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2000), examines the transition from Venetian to Ottoman rule on the island of Crete, which the Ottomans conquered in 1669. Challenging the assumption of a radical rupture with the arrival of the Ottomans, Greene shows that the population of Crete had been drawn into the Ottoman world long before the conquest and that important continuities linked the Venetian and the Ottoman periods. Greene also challenges a simple model of Christian-Muslim antagonism in the eastern Mediterranean and argues that the tension between Latin and Orthodox Christianity was just as important in shaping the history of the region.
Professor Greene’s book Catholic Corsairs and Greek Merchants: A Maritime History of the Mediterranean, 1450-1700, has just been published with Princeton University Press.