Memorandum of understanding – University of Copenhagen

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Memorandum of understanding, COST A36

161st CSO Meeting, 15 – 16 March 2005
Proposal for a new COST Action:


Proposer: Peter Fibiger Bang
University of Copenhagen
Department of History
Karen Blixens Vej 4
DK-2300 Cph S, Denmark
Tel: +45 35 32 82 54
Fax: +45 35 32 82 41

COST National Coordinator: Gorm Bramsnæs
Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation
Danish Research Agency - International Office
88, Artillerivej
2300 Copenhagen S
Tel: +45 35446343
Fax: +45 32573543

TC SSH Rapporteur: Bogdan Van doninck 
Federal Sciences Policy Office
Wetenschapsstraat 8  
Tel: +32/2/238 34 88
Fax: +32/2/230 59 12


for the implementation of a European Concerted Research Action
designated as
COST Action Axx
Tributary Empires Compared:
Romans, Mughals and Ottomans in the Pre-industrial World
from Antiquity till the Transition to Modernity
The Signatories to this Memorandum of Understanding, declaring their common intention to participate in the concerted Action referred to above and described in the Technical Annex to the Memorandum, have reached the following understanding:
1.  The Action will be carried out in accordance with the provisions of document COST 400/01 "Rules and Procedures for Implementing COST Actions", the contents of which the Signatories are fully aware of.

2.  The main objective of the Action is to produce a better understanding of classical tributary empires and the problems relating to segmented, loosely integrated and partly overlapping forms of power and authority through the establishment of a European network for the comparative study of the Roman, Ottoman, Mughal and related empires.

3.  The economic dimension of the activities carried out under the Action has been estimated, on the basis of information available during the planning of the Action, at Euro 7.58 million in 2004 prices.

4.  The Memorandum of Understanding will take effect by being signed by at least five Signatories.

5.  The Memorandum of Understanding will remain in force for a period of 4 years, calculated from the date of first meeting of the Management Committee, unless the duration of the Action is modified according to the provisions of Chapter 6 of the document referred to in Point 1 above.


Tributary Empires Compared:
Romans, Mughals and Ottomans in the Pre-industrial World
from Antiquity till the Transition to Modernity

A. Background

We live in a post-imperial age; but many of the problems of empire are still with us. The vast imperial multi-ethnic conglomerations, colonial as well as continental, which controlled most of the globe less than a century ago have all disintegrated or been dismantled. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the collapse of its empire in eastern Europe and central Asia mark the completion of this process. Imperialism is now largely a discredited phenomenon. This is historically unique, a reflection of radical social change.
In the place of empire, a new international order based on sovereign nation states have been substituted. The sovereign state developed in post-renaissance Europe as a negation of empire. Where the latter claimed to exercise universal dominion, the former asserted the right only to a particular territory. The imperial peace strove to comprise a multiplicity of particular rights, cultures and religions by striking compromises with local élites. The sovereign state sought to concentrate and centralise power by eradicating local particularism and privilege. Imperial power was extensive and wide-ranging, the nation-state intensive and penetrating.
Though the predominant mode nowadays, the sovereign nation state is faced with serious challenges. It has not travelled equally well everywhere. In many former imperial territories and colonies, it has proven extremely difficult to organise the fractured and diverse societies on the principles of state uniformity. Interethnic conflicts and fierce communal violence have been a frequent result of the competition arising between opposing groups fighting to dominate the state. State failure becomes a very real threat, such as it is presently in Irak – the former British mandate haphazardly carved out of the Ottoman empire. At the same time, the accelerating pace of globalization puts new strains on old consolidated nation states. They experience an increasing need to engage in multilateral co-operation and submit to transnational political bodies.
Our understanding of politics and power, however, has been shaped by the sovereign nation state. That creates considerable uncertainty and difficulty in charting and analysing this set of new developments. Theoretically we are not well prepared to tackle the problems of segmented, loosely integrated levels of power and overlapping forms of authority. The question of empire has been reopened. Is a unilateralist tendency in US foreign policy a premonition of the coming of a new empire and the imposition of a PAX AMERICANA, is one question now frequently asked. Similarly, is the European Union, as a matter of fact, an empire in the making? Recently, in assessing the long-term consequences of September 11, Robert Cooper, the scholar diplomat, described the Union as a co-operative empire.
The analysis of Cooper is a symptomatic expression of the present confusion and inadequacy in our understanding of empire. To Cooper, drawing on the PAX ROMANA, empire signifies order, stability and security. Empire or empire-like institutions, therefore, presents an attractive solution to the disorder prevailing in the many areas with weak or failed nation-states. Cooper’s notion of order, however, is more informed by the expectations of the nation-state than past imperial experience. Most empires, in fact, have tolerated vast pockets of only very loosely integrated communities, ripe with banditry and semi-independent élites and clan-clusters. Other groups of “barbarians” they were content to leave to themselves outside the empire, perhaps even bribing them to keep away, as the least expensive solution; warfare was costly and military efforts would rarely repay in “backward” areas. Empires had to economise their means of power and organisation, only employing them very sparingly. For, as Tacitus, the Roman historian, reminded his readership of imperial administrators: No peace…can be had without arms, no arms without pay, no pay without tribute (Hist. 4, 74).
Imperial order, with its capacity to sit on top of very diverse social systems, contradicts our common expectations. It seems able to combine mutually opposing phenomena, order and disorder in surprising and unexpected ways. We lack the tools properly to understand the imperial experience of our past in order better to address the problems of our future. This is not only true at the level of policy formation. Specialised study of tributary empires, such as the Roman, Ottoman and Mughal empire, struggle equally. These empires are studied byin disciplines shaped in various ways on the moldmould of the nation-state. Roman historians have traditionally given most attention to the Latin west, whereas the Greek-speaking east, including Egypt, have only gradually entered the main-stream of Roman scholarship. Ottoman studies have mostly been the preserve of Turkish history and Mughal history is a branch of Indian history. In all these disciplines, however, historians encounter similar problems of conceptualisation. On the one hand, they find the development of complex forms of social order, such as considerable urbanizationurbanisation, extensive trade, elaborate bureaucratic registration and legal systems. On the other, they find extensive political money making, networks of patronage and semi-autonomous local élites substantially diverting state-resources. Normally, the two kinds of phenomena are considered contradictory opposites. In classic, tributary empires, however, the two are closely interdependent. Political money making, corruption in common parlance, for instance, seems to have constituted the basis of most of the market developments in these social systems.
Basic research into the mechanisms governing imperial polities is called for to make it posssible to transcend the straight-jacket of the sovereign nation state in understanding processes of state-formation and power. To do that comparative history is necessary. This Action aims to bring specialists working on tributary empires such as the Roman, Ottoman and Mughal, together in a European network in order to develop better models of the working of imperialism. COST seems the natural context for such an undertaking.
Until quite recently comparative analysis of classical empires was the preserve of a relatively select group of historically interested sociologists. Conceptually, starting with the work of Max Weber on power, considerable headway has been made in the analyses of Eisenstadt, Kautsky, Mann, Doyle and Goldstone. Empirically much of this work still needs to be tested, developed and refined. During particularly the last couple of decades, however, influence from these conceptual studies has begun to trickle down into the work of historians working on individual empires. A number of efforts have been made to introduce a comparative dimension to the specialised study of classical empires, e.g. by Hopkins, Garnsey & Saller, Whittaker, Faroqhi, Kunt, Crone, Haldon, Wickham & Wong. Following these works, which for the most part have only received a readership within their own areas, there has been a growing awareness of the potential value in establishing a sustained empirically based interdisciplinary dialogue on classical empires. This has been pioneered in a small group of recent publications, e.g. Bang, Alcock et al., Lieven and Bang & Bayly. The network is thus intended to make a significant contribution to an emerging field of research, attempting to put the comparative analysis of empires on a more solid empirical base.
The focus on “classical” Eurasian empires is deliberate, but is not intended as exclusive. Modern colonial European empires were already in many ways shaped by notions of state sovereignty and nationalism. To produce the desired result, it is necessary to observe the workings of empire in “pure” form before the onset of modernisation.  A further advantage is the greater distance in time separating the classical empires from the present. The emphasis of network activities, therefore, will be on the imperial tradition as it developed in the ancient Mediterranean and Middle East and from there spread across Persia into India and into Europe. The Roman, Ottoman and Mughal Empires form a natural nucleus here, as the most extensively studied imperial formations within the group. It is, however, important to emphasise that as a comparative and interdisciplinary project the network also invites contributions from other imperial experiences to complement the main perspective and bring out both contrasts and analogies with greater clarity. Among the participants one will, for instance, find specialists working on the Chinese empire, The Russian and more modern forms of empire (indeed one of the initiators is a specialist of late Mughal and early British imperial history), the Persian empires, the Khalifat and the Byzantines. Theoretical contributions from sociology or political science are also welcomed, just as scholars working on the Aztec and Incas. The objective is to stimulate dialogue across disciplines.

B. Objectives and benefits

The main objective of the Action is to produce a better understanding of classical tributary empires and the problems relating to segmented, loosely integrated and partly overlapping forms of power and authority through the establishment of a European network for the comparative study of the Roman, Ottoman, Mughal and related empires.
Secondary objectives and benefits:
It is the ambition to make this European network the leading international forum for the comparative study of classical empires.
The network will mark an important contribution to our understanding of forms of social power and state organisation which lie outside the national state.
There have, prior to this initiative, been important, but sporadic attempts to start a comparative discussion relating to these empires. None of these, however, have created a continuous debate between the individual disciplines. They have been isolated and lacked broader support. The network format is intended to ensure the continuity of effort and create the broader base for interdisciplinary discussions needed for a lasting effect. The network, therefore, should be able to profit from and develop previous work in the area by setting comparative research on classical empires on a more permanent footing and thus contribute towards the breaking down of unproductive barriers between different specialised fields of scholarship.
As a further effect of this, the network has the potential to stimulate new research and attract the attention, not least, of young European researchers.
And, it should make a significant contribution to spawning a dialogue between various branches of scholarship, between specialised disciplines, and between different faculties.
Not the least important benefit of the cross-disciplinary work of the network will be to help break down the “orientalist” gap, itself an unfortunate inheritance of the age of colonial empires, between our understanding of state-formation in the west (Europe) and in the east (Asia).
The network, furthermore, aims to make an important contribution to current debates on the character of empire and imperialism. This should be of interest to scholars working in such disciplines as sociology and political science and help to improve the knowledge on which advisors and decision makers act today.

C. Scientific Programme

The activities of the Action will take place in Working Group meetings and conferences (see section D & E). During preparatory consultations (see History), a number of topics and problems have been identified in the present understanding of tributary empires. Each of these will be addressed by a Working Group meeting or during a conference. Below, these problems or themes are listed in a preliminary chronological sequence. It will be an important task of the Management Committee gradually to adjust and modify the remaining programme in the light of the results and experience from Action’s activities and research. The guiding principle for the Action’s research programme has been to combine theoretical approaches with a strong empirical orientation. Only through a cross-disciplinary approach is it possible to achieve the goal of the Action. The core-membership of the Action, therefore, will comprise historians working empirically in different fields but with a strong shared interest in conceptualisation. At the Working Group meetings, it will be the aim to bring more theoretical contributions, e.g. from specialists in the history of ideas, sociology, and political science, into dialogue with the contributions of more empirical scholars working in different branches of history. The Action, in other words, will explore the interdisciplinary territory between the humanitiesarts and the politicalsocial sciences, frequently referred to as historical sociology.
During the first year of work the Action will address and critically assess the basic models available for understanding tributary empires at two Working Group meetings. Speakers and themes for the first years’ work are basically in place.

WG 1: Historical Sociology and Universal Empire

This WG Working Group will look at broad models of imperial systems. Through the ages the universal empires of the agrarian age have been seen as either the harbinger of law, order and peace or on the contrary as the epitome of despotism, tyranny and oppression. Both images of “empire” still dominate popular perception and current intellectual theorising. In that way, the “grand spectacle” of empire continues to fascinate and occupy our attention as witnessed by the massive success of works so diverse as Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of Great Powers (1989) and Hart & Negri’s speculative, neo-marxist manifesto Empire (2000).
The Working Group will attempt to re-examine this intellectual tradition in the first instance as represented by some of the great thinkers of historical sociology such as Montesquieu, Adam Ferguson, Marx, Max Weber, Ernest Gellner and their general models of  imperial states, but in the second instance also in broader fashion by looking at some of their predecessors. Herodotus, (Plato, Aristotle), Polybios, Tacitus, Ibn Khaldun, Abu Fazl, to name but some of the more prominent, would all seem to warrant closer attention in any attempt to understand the experience of universal agrarian empires. The aim, however, is not to produce “pure” intellectual history. The objective is to improve our comparative understanding and models of the tributary empires in history. Hence Working Group will discuss the theoretical tradition in close connection with present historiographies of “traditional” empires such as the Roman, Ottoman, and Mughal. What characterises these imperial polities as state-systems? Central themes will include: Models of tributary empires; Poly-ethnicity: co-existence and conflict/resistance of different ethnic and cultural groups (Romans, Greeks, Jews; Muslims and Hindus; Turks, Orthodox Christians, and Arabs), elites and peasants, and cities and pastoralists or brigands. The character of frontiers, patrimonial-bureaucratic systems, types of imperialism, character of the imperial polity and elite formation.

WG 2: The imperial household and court

The household of the emperor and its place within the state has been a hard nut to crack. Roman historiography is full of lengthy debates about the status of the imperial privy purse, the fiscus. Was it the emperor’s personal fortune or was it the state treasury? A similar debate has raged within Ottoman and Mughal studies on the imperial household. Was it a bureaucratic institution or was it a patrimonial, organism conducted along lines of personal patronage? This seminar will seek to improve our understanding of the character of the imperial household, its effect on society and its internal functioning: the place of eunuchs and slaves for instance or the mechanisms of court intrigue. In general terms, the seminar aims to re-assess, clarify and develop the concept of patrimonialism as coined by Weber and the model of courts developed by Norbert Elias.
In the two following years (2nd and 3rd year), the Action will single out specific problems for treatment at 2-3 annual Working Group meetings. Below are a list of possible themes. At this stage, it is not fixed but should be developed by the Management Committee as work progresses.

Specific Problems

Political economy: surplus extraction

Taxation obviously is of enormous importance in the imperial polities. Tributary empires were normally the result of conquest. Tapping into the agricultural surplus, in particular, seems to have been their raison d’etre, more or less. In broad terms, we still base our analysis of surplus extraction on a distinction between centralised prebendal and decentralised domanial forms of land-holding. This seminar seeks to re-examine this distinction in the light of more recent research in the mechanisms of taxation in the agrarian empires. Is prebendalism always an expression of greater central power? Does it really matter for the economy whether one adopts one or the other method? Is prebendalism really possible in all but the shortest term? What role do markets play in the process of surplus extraction? What level of surplus extraction did the empires aim for and what could they in fact hope to achieve? To what extent where they actually able to control or manage the system of taxation? Tax-farming is normally seen as a sure sign of a weakening state. But could it also be the price the imperial centre had to pay to increase its revenue intake, by allowing some allied groups a greater share of the surplus at the loss of other, competing sections of society? How does exploitation affect the economy? Is it always just negative in agrarian economies often operating at less than full capacity. How is the surplus mobilised, through markets, forced exactions or consumption in kind?

Dynastic and imperial founders or consolidators

The historiographies as well as ideologies of traditional empires often place great emphasis on dynastic founders, or imperial conquerors or consolidators. In Roman history, Caesar and Augustus occupies this position. In the Mughal empire, Akbar is normally portrayed as such and in the Ottoman empire it is Suleyman the Magnificent. This short seminar seeks to analyse the concept of the imperial founding figure. What role do they play in the historiographies? and in the imperial system? What qualities are emphasised? One of the great conquerors of all times is of course Alexander. How did the ideological memory of his example live on in different cultural traditions? Caesar is another example. His name developed from a family name to a title and influenced several of the great, scriptural traditions of Eurasia. Later Mongol expansion had similar effects, with for instance the Mughal emperors gaining symbolic capital from their Timurid descent.

Systems of imperial representation and ideology

A central problem in the histories of the great agrarian empires is how some sort of political cohesion is achieved on the basic of conquest. Ideology plays a crucial role here. Incidentally imperial ideological systems are some of the best attested aspects of the tributary empires. Examples of imperial culture have survived in the form of numerous literary art works and visual manifestations of imperial might. Hence the development of imperial representational and ideological systems forms both an important and attractive area of comparison. Imperial architecture, processions, festivals, ruler cult, erection of statues, refined courtly culture and the common habit of rulers to (re)found cities would all constitute possible and interesting areas of analysis. The objective is to improve our understanding of the mechanics of imperial ideologies; their mode of dissemination; their degree of social penetration; whom do they aim to integrate; how much diversity can they accommodate within the ruling strata?

Imperial law systems

An important product of these empires were the creation and or promotion of elaborate systems of written law. How can we characterise these? Should we, for instance, put as much emphasis on the secular nature of Roman law in contrast with Muslim law in the “gunpowder empires” as has traditionally been done. How do these laws work as systems? One can, for instance, observe a distinction between imperial edicts issued by the servants of the imperial household and a law developed by a more “independent” segment of legal specialists through commentary. To what extent do the occasional imperial attempts at codification of the often fairly chaotic legal conditions manage to harmonise rules etc? Frequently the continued existence of local legal traditions is tolerated by the tributary polity. How does the interplay of high imperial law and local traditions of various character work? How does imperial courts work in sociological terms? Are they mainly “rough justice” upholding the existing social hierarchy? Imperial law is also an expression of administrative systems. How is it reproduced and disseminated, e.g. through schools or scribal collections of exemplary documents? Another question of comparative law is the survival and diffusion of law codes and social theory (e.g. survivals of Roman law in Islamic law, Aristoteles within Islam etc.).

Archaic Consumption

The establishment of tributary empire and the concomitant development of strong social stratification gives rise to a refined aristocratic culture of consumption based on the procurement of exclusive and rare luxury goods. Their function was to stress the ”kingly” style of the elites and their unique character setting them apart from hoi polloi. These models of consumption would often trickle down in a modified form and influence the cultural habits of various gentry groups (in the Roman empire observable in Gaul and Pompeii/Herculaneum for instance. The process is studied in the Mughal empire as well). This seminar seeks to examine the development of imperial cultures of consumption.

From decadent decline to socially dynamic transformation

Do agrarian empires decline or are they simply transformed. Studies of both late Roman, Mughal and Ottoman history have become increasingly reluctant to use the term decline in connection with the dissolution of the imperial polities. This seminar seeks to examine the changing historiographies of decline and their shared pre-conceptions in order to generate a clearer understanding of the process of imperial decline. The role of deepening state penetration in causing the imperial systems to disintegrate will be examined as will the afterlife of imperial legitimacy within the postimperial state systems. In north India, for instance, the leaders in the successor states continued to seek and use Mughal titles long after the empire had been emptied of any real contents.
The Action will finish with a larger, concluding final conference in the 4th year, pulling the various threads together.

D. Organisation

The Action will work through Working Groups, workshops and conferences during a period of 4 years. To achieve the objective of the Action, it is important to generate a continuous discourse between the individual participants. Therefore, the Action will meet twice annually. Individual Working Group meetings are will be short and intensive, most lasting 2 days and none more than 3, to maximise intellectual outcome and minimise time-consuming administrative and organisational overheads. The Management Committee, therefore, will seek to place its meetings in conjunction with Working Group activities. As an additional benefit, the membership of the Management Committee will be able to contribute to individual Working Group discussions and thus help to strengthen  the interdisciplinary dialogue within the Action.
For each Working Group meeting, the Action’s membership will provide the core but contributions from experts of particular interest for the current topic will be invited from outside. This is to complement the expertise of Action members, infuse new blood and provide fresh ideas to the Action’s debates on the mechanisms governing classical empires. The members of the Action are thus intended to form a Action nucleus providing for continuity but it is the ambition to develop the Action by gradually widening its membership.
The basic co-ordination and planning of activities will be conducted by the Management Committee. It will convene at the end of the Working Group meetings to evaluate results and discuss the further development of the Action.. However, it is important that this will happen in dialogue with the Working Group participants who will be encouraged to present proposals and comment on proposals presented by the Management Committee. Members with a particular interests in the research theme of individual Working Group meetings will also be involved more closely in the actual planing and execution of such meetings. Network communications will take place through circulation of information by e-mail lists; programme, information and working papers will be posted on an official web-site (which the main proposer hias confirmed his commitment to maintain). Taken together, these measures should ensure the creation of an open and flexible, yet firmly controlled, framework that will enable the Action to benefit from the different expertise, strengths and interests of all participants.
In the 4th and final year, the Action will conclude with a large 3-4 days conference. It is the ambition to publish the proceedings from that conference. Too many conference proceedings of very uneven quality are generally published within the humanities. It has, therefore, been decided not to plan towards publication of the proceedings of each and every Working Group meeting during the 4 years the Action is supposed to last. The Action intends to adopt a more discriminating strategy whereby only the most successful of the individual meetings will be singled out for individual book publication during the Action. More importantly, the Action aims to develop a set of very high quality papers based on the continuous and running debate within the Working Groups. In this connection, the web site will have an important function in publishing ”work in progress” papers from the individual meetings. These papers, developed as the Action moves along, will then be  presented at the final conference. This procedure is particularly important to the success of a project in comparative history. The long process of digestion and development should enable individual contributors to transcend the boundaries of their accustomed disciplines (e.g. Roman history) and make comparisons with less familiar fields, outside their normal area of expertise, which most conferences in comparative history have failed to do so far. (For further details, see dissemination plan.)
By planning continuously to co-optioning new members, the Action aims to develop a broad European base for its activities. Furthermore, it plans to establish contacts with extra-European, mostly American based scholars (of various nationalities) of importance to the concerns of the Action. Thus it is the ambition to make the Action the leading international forum for the study of classical empires, able to set the agenda for research in the coming years.

E. Timetable

The duration of Action is 4 years. During the first 3 years, there will be 2-3 annual Working Group meetings in connection with which the Management Committee will convene to discuss the further development of the Action. In the final and 4th year, the Action will stage a large final conference followed by book-publication of the resulting papers.

F. Economic Dimension

The following COST countries have actively participated in the preparation of the Action or otherwise indicated their interest:
The Netherlands
United Kingdom
On the basis of national estimates provided by the representatives of these countries, the economic dimension of the activities to be carried out under the Action has been estimated, in 2004 prices, at roughly 7,5008,000,000 euros.
This estimate is valid under the assumption that all the countries mentioned above but no other countries will participate in the Action. Any departure from this will change the total cost accordingly.

G. Dissemination plan

The main target audiences are three:
1.  Fellow researchers working on classical empires such as Ottomanists, Roman historians, Byzantinists, Persian, Indian and Chinese historians etc.

2.  A broader group of scholars working in the field where history meets sociology and political science. The results of the Action will be important to questions and problems of state-formation, imperialism, overlapping forms of authority and sovereignty, state-building and similar issues.

3.  New PhD students interested in taking up research in the field created by the Action and more broadly university students, working at all levels of proficiency.
These audiences will be reached through the Action’s activities, the Action website, the publication of the concluding book (intended to appear on a major academic publisher) and through publication of articles in scholarly journals and on the Action website. The web site maintained by the Action will also be important in announcing activities to scholars, not familiar to the members of the Action. Additionally, the Action will actively contact scholars it deems to be of importance to the successful conduct of the Action. The Action itself, in other words, will also be an important medium for disseminating the results.
Furthermore, it is an important asset that many of the Action members are teaching in universities. The results will, therefore, be disseminated to the student population, both graduates and undergraduates. This will help stimulate new research students as well as help the Action’s results to move outside academia.
This leads to the secondary target audience which is the general public. The network aims to improve our understanding of processes of state-formation and imperialism. As such it is a project of pure or basic research. But results are likely to be of interest to the general public, in one form or other, because they will add to our understanding of how societies function and states are created.  Some of the insights gained by the Action will be of interest to scholars working with policy advice, political scientists for instance, and will thus trickle down to the public as these new results are digested by the relevant specialists. The web site will serve an important function in making the Action known outside its immediate context. Another avenue is through the more broadly accessible books written by historians. It is part of the plan of the main proposer to use the results from the Action to write a more generally accessible book on the character of imperial government and state-formation, designed to bring the experience of the old world to bear on present problems of sovereignty, international relations, failed states and empire and thus make a contribution to the current, lively dialogue on these matters. This book will thus serve as a compliment to the final concluding set of papers published by the Action.


History of the Proposal

The idea for the project arose duringthis Action originates in the discussions held in Cambridge (1999-2002) between Peter Fibiger Bang, pioneering a comparative analysis of trade and markets in the Roman and Mughal empires, and professor C. A. Bayly. It became clear that a broader project, comparing the imperial systems of the Roman, Mughal, Ottoman, Persian, Hellenistic, Byzantine and ChineeseChinese imperial polities, was needed. Together Bang & and Bayly decided to test the idea by inviting a European group of scholars to explore some initial comparisons between such traditional empires at a one day conference in June 2002 at St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge. The results proved very encouraging and have now been published as: Peter Fibiger Bang & C. A. Bayly, Tributary Empires in History: Comparative Perspectives from Antiquity to the Late Medieval, The Medieval History Journal, 6,2 (2003).
Based on the experience of the one- day conference in Cambridge, Bang and Bayly drew up a first draft proposal for a network centred on the comparative study of traditional empires was drawn up by Peter Bang and C. A. Bayly. Afterwards, itThe proposal was circulated for consultation among the initial participants in the conference and , complemented by extra additional scholars who were invited to enter the network. The network latter number has been steadily expanding as the network has developed to beto become much broader based and now includes scholars from at least 121 COST countries. During 2003 and 2004 Bang and Bayly then consulted with the network members, by e-mail and face to face meetings in Cambridge, to reach agreement on the format and a basic working programme for the activities of the network.
By February 2004, planning of two network working groupsmeetings in 2005 was initiated, one on imperial courts and households and one on basic historical-sociological models of tributary empires (speakers for the latter are have already been confirmedin place). PAt the same time, professor Metin Kunt (Sabanci University, Istanbul) joined the executive committee , as the maina possible responsible organiser of the a “courts and households-conference”. In March 2004 Bang also organised a one day conference in Copenhagen in connection with the visit of some American colleagues discussing empires comparatively. This was to strengthen the American contacts of the network.
To sum up,  the network has now already expanded considerably from the original nucleus, established a general organisation with an executive committee responsible for organising the work, an advisory board, a considerable general membership and a jointly developed research agenda. The network is now ready to merge into a COST Action and begin work with towards two workshops/conferencesWorking Group meetings  planned forto be held 2005 within the COST framework.


Network Organisation

Executive committee

Has been composed to include a representative from each of the three core imperial
traditions treated by the network: Roman, Late Mughal, early British empire in India and Ottoman history:
- Assistant professor, Dr. Peter Fibiger Bang (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)
- Professor, Dr. Christopher Bayly (St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, United Kingdom)
- Professor, Dr. Metin Kunt (Sabanci University, Turkey)

Advisory Board

The advisory board again has been composed so as to comprise a broad historical basis and include a wide variety of membership countries. The board is intended to be a dynamic entity and gradually include the more active members of the general network. However, to ensure efficiency is has been decided not to expand it further before the network actually begin working.
- Dr. Kate Fleet (Skiliter Centre for Ottoman Studies, Newnham College, Cambridge, United Kingdom)
- Professor, Dr. Luuk de Ligt (University of Leiden, The Netherlands)
- Professor, Dr. Suraia  Faroqhi (University of Munich, Germany)
- Professor Dr.  Dariuz Kolodziejczyk (University of Warsaw, Poland)
- Professor, Dr. Ebba Koch (University of Vienna, Austria)
- Professor, Dr. Greg Woolf (University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom)
- Professor, Dr. Elio Lo Cascio (Napoli, Italy)

General network membersmembership

Below isare listed a selection of experts and scholars. It should be emphasised that this really is an absolute minimum list. It is planned to expand further as network activities get going just as interested scholars are more than welcome to join. The list has been composed so as to comprise scholars from all the central areas of the network interest and from a wide selection of countries. Furthermore, a number experts from areas bordering the interests of the network have also been included since they would be able to enrich our comparative discussions.
The A. section contains those who have either been consulted, asked to join or indicated an interest in participating in one or more network activities.  who have either been asked to join or will be asked to join the network. The vast majority have already indicated their interest in participating. Scholars from countries not represented on the executive committee or advisory board have been highlightedmarked in bold. It must also be emphasised that this really is an absolute minimum list. It is planned to expand further as network activities get going just as interested scholars are more than welcome to join. The list has been composed so as to comprise scholars from all the central areas of the network interest and from a wide selection of countries. Furthermore, a number experts from areas bordering the interests of the network have also been included since they would be able to enrich our comparative discussions. The B. section comprises a selection of potential candidates to participate in the Action.

A. section

Antonios Anastasopoulos (University of Crete, Greece)
Antonios Anastasopoulos (University of Crete, Greece)
Mary Beard, (Cambridge, UK)
A. K. Bennison (Cambridge, UK)
Halil Berktay (Sabanci, Turkey)
Bowman (Oxford, UK)
Pierre Briant (College de France)
Peter Burke (Cambridge, UK)
Nicola di Cosmo (Italy/, USA)
Jerome Duindam (Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Pal Fodor (Budapest, Hungary)
Vincent Gabrielsen (Copenhagen, DK)
Peter Garnsey (Cambridge, UK)
Harald Gustafsson (Lund, Sweden)
John Haldon (Birmingham, UK)
Andrea Hintze (Germany)
W. Jongman (Groningen, The Netherlands)
Amelie Kuhrt (London, UK)
Mogens Trolle Larsen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Dominic Lieven (London, UK)
Neville Morley (Bristol, UK)
J. C. Meyer (Bergen, Norway)
Wilfried Nippel (Berlin, Germany)
Sevket Pamuk (University of Bosphorus, Turkey)
Giovanni Salmeri (Pisa, Italy)
Paul Veyne (Paris, France)
Antoniette Visceglia (Rome, Italy)
Andrew Wallace-Hadrill (British School at Rome)
Chr. Whittaker (Cambridge, UK)
C. Wickham (Birmingham, UK)
Aloys Winterling (Germany)
Joseph Wisehöfer (Germany)
Hartmut Ziche (CambridgeMartinique, France/UK)
Uffe Østergård (DCHF, Denmark)

B. Potential Candidates (Europe):

A. Bowman (Oxford, UK)
Pierre Briant (College de France)
Graham Burton (UK)
Fabrizio de Dono (Woolfson, Cambridge, UK/Italy)
Pal Fodor (Budapest, Hungary)
Rudolf Haensch (Germany)
Amelie Kuhrt (London, UK)
Mogens Trolle Larsen (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Joachim Lehnen (Germany)
A. Lintott (Oxford, UK)
Eckhard Meyer-Zwiffelhoffer (Hagen, Germany)
Wilfried Nippel (Berlin, Germany)
Paul Veyne (Paris, France)
Joseph Wisehöfer (Germany)

Overseas experts:

A.  Confirmed or interested

Muzaffar Alam (Chicago, USA/India)
Stephen Blake (St. Hilda’s College, USA)
Farhat Hasan (Aligarh, India)
Michael N. Pearson (New South Wales, Australia)
J. F. Richards (Duke, USA)
Walter Scheidel (Stanford, USA)
Andre Wink (Wisconsin, USA)
R. Bin Wong (University of California, USA)

B.  Potential contributors

Patricia Crone (Princeton, USA)
Farhat Hasan (Aligarh, India)
Micahel Mann (UCLA, USA)
Michael N. Pearson (New South Wales, Australia)
J. F. Richards (Duke, USA)
R. Saller (Chicago, USA)
B. Shaw (Princeton, USA)

A Select List of Publications

S. Alcock et al. (edd.), Empires (Cambridge 2001).
Jairus Banaji, ”State and Aristocracy in the Economic Evolution of the Late Empire”, in E. Lo Cascio & D. W. Rathbone (edd.), Production and Public Powers in Classical Antiquity (Cambridge 2000), pp. 92-99.
Peter Fibiger Bang et al. (edd.), Agrarimperier Mellem Marked og Tribut, Den Jyske Historiker nr. 86/87 (1999).
Peter Fibiger Bang, ”Romans and Mughals. Economic Integration in a Tributary Empire”, in L. de Blois & J. Rich (edd.), The Transformation of Economic Life under the Roman Empire (Amsterdam 2002), pp. 1-27.
Peter Fibiger Bang & C. A. Bayly (edd.), Tributary Empires in History: Comparative Perspectives from Antiquity to the Late Medieval, The Medieval History Journal, 6,2 (2003).
Peter Fibiger Bang, The Roman Bazaar. A comparative study of trade and markets in a tributary empire, PhD-thesis Cambridge 2003, forthcoming.
C. A. Bayly, ”’Archaic’ and ’Modern’ Globalization in the Eurasian and African Arene, c. 1750-1850”, in A. G. Hopkins (ed.), Globalization in World History (London 2002), pp. 47-73.
H. Berktay, ”Three Empires and the societies they governed: Iran, India and the Ottoman empires”, Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol. 18, pp. 242-63.
S. Blake, Shajahanabad (Cambridge 1991).
P. Crone, Slaves on Horses: the evolution of the Islamic polity (1980) & Roman, provincial and Islamic Law (1987)
Michael Doyle, Empires (1988).
S. Eisenstadt, The Political Systems of Empires (1963).
S. Faroqhi,  “In Search of Ottoman History”, Journal of Peasant Studies, vol. 18, 3-4 (1991), pp. 211-241.
P. Garnsey & R. Saller, The Roman Empire: economy, society and culture (1987)
J. Goldstone, Revolution and Rebellion in the Early Modern World (Berkeley 1991).
J. Goody, The East in the West (Cambridge 1996).
J. Haldon, The State and the Tributary Mode of Production (London 1993).
A. Hintze, The Mughal Empire and Its Decline. An interpretation of the Sources of Social Power (Aldershot 1997).
K. Hopkins, Conquerors and Slaves (1978) and Death and Reneval (1983).
J. Kautsky, The Politics of Aristocratic Empires (1982)
M. Kunt, “The later Muslim Empires: Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals”, in M. Kelly (ed.), Islam. The Religious and Political Life of a World Community (1983).
D. Lieven, Empire (London 2002).
L. de Ligt, ”Tax Transfers in the Roman Empire”, in L. de Blois & J. Rich (edd.), The Transformation of Economic Life under the Roman Empire (Amsterdam 2002), pp. 48-66.
M. Mann, The Sources of Social Power, vol. 1 (1986).
H. M. Pearson, ”Merchants and States”, in J. D. Tracy (ed.), The Political Economy of Merchant Empires (Cambridge 1991), pp. 41-116.
Max Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (1922).
Chr. Whittaker, Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1994).
C. Wickham, “The Uniqueness of the East”, Journal of Peasant Studies (1984)
Aloys Winterling (ed.), Zwischen ”Haus” und ”Staat”. Antike Höfe im Vergleich (München 1997).
R. Bin Wong, China Transformed (1997).

Short CVs of the proposing group

Assistant professor, Dr. (PhD, Cantab.) Peter Fibiger Bang

Born 1973

1994-1999 Research assistant and later researcher the European Studies Programme, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Aarhus.

Cand. mag. (History, Latin & Greek) and Gold Medal 1999, University of Aarhus, Denmark
(part of the degree was done in the Scool of Archaeological Studies, University of Leicester).

PhD (Classics), University of Cambridge 2003/4. Dissertation title: Roman Bazaar – a comparative study of trade and markets in a tributary empire. The autumn term 2001 of his doctoral research was spent as a guest in the department of history, University of Chicago.

Assistant professor, Department of History, University of Copenhagen since 2002.

Guest professor, University of Tübingen, Germany, June 2004

Stays at both the Danish Academy in Rome and in Damascus.

Has organised or co-organised several conferences in Rome, Athens, Aarhus, Copenhagen and Cambridge.

Has also spoken at conferences or given papers to seminars in Aarhus, Rome, Cambridge, Nottingham, Chicago, London, Copenhagen, Exceter, Chapel Hill, Stanford and Berlin.

Began publishing in 1994.

Most important work:

- Peter Fibiger Bang & C. A. Bayly (edd.), Tributary Empires in History: Comparative Perspectives from Antiquity to the Late Medieval, The Medieval History Journal, 6,2 (2003).
- Peter Fibiger Bang et al. (edd.), Mellem Civilisationshistorie og Globalhistorie, Den Jyske Historiker nr. 100, 2003.
- Peter Fibiger Bang, ”Romans and Mughals. Economic Integration in a Tributary Empire”, in L. de Blois & J. Rich (edd.), The Transformation of Economic Life under the Roman Empire (Amsterdam 2002), pp. 1-27.
- Peter Fibiger Bang et al. (edd.), Agrarimperier Mellem Marked og Tribut, Den Jyske Historiker nr. 86/87 (1999).

Select Forthcoming Books

- Roman Bazaar – a comparative study of trade and markets in a tributary empire (PhD thesis, forthcoming).
- ed. Fremmed og Moderne. Glimt af Antikken i Europæisk Kultur (forthcoming, Aarhus University Press).
- ed. (with Hartmut Ziche and Mamoru Ikeguchi), Ancient Economies, Modern Methodologies Forthcoming, (Edipuglia, Bari). (the proceedings of a jointly organised conference on ancient economic history at Woolfson College, Cambridge).

Current research/work in progress:
A new study (habitalation), comparing Roman and Mughal political institutions and organisation of imperial power.

Ibrahim Metin Kunt. Professor of History, Sabanci University, Istanbul.

Turkish/British citizen.

BA (1965) in Comparative Literature, Robert College, Istanbul.
MA (1968), PhD (1971), Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University.

Bosporus University, Istanbul (1971-1981)
University of Cambridge (1986-1997)
Visiting Lecturer at Harvard, Yale, Leiden (among other US and European

Major publications:
- The Sultan's Servants, Columbia University Press, 1983
- co-editor (with Christine Woodhead), Suleiman the Magnificent and his Age: The
Ottoman Empire in the Early Modern World, Longman 1995.
- Many articles and book reviews in US and European journals.

Christopher Alan Bayly

Date of Birth: 18 May 1945

Positions Held:
Fellow, St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge since 1970
Lecturer, Reader and Professor of History, University of Cambridge, 1986-1993
Vere Harmsworth Professor of Imperial and Naval History, University of Cambridge, since 1993
Associate Professor, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA 1976
Associated Lecturer, Centre de l’Inde et d’Asie du Sud, Paris 1986
Visiting Positions at various U. S. Universities.

Degrees, etc.:
MA, D. Phil.(Oxford); LittD (Cambridge)
Fellow of the British Academy since 1993
Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 1996
Editorial Board, Past and Present, Modern Asian Studies, Historical Journal

Major Publications:
- The Local Roots of Indian Politics. Allahabad 1880-1920 (1975)
- Rulers, Townsmen and Bazzars. North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion, 1780-1870 (1983)
- Indian Society and the Making of the British Empire (1988).
- Imperial Meridian. The British Empire and the World, 1780-1830 (1989).
- Empire and Information. Intelligence gathering and social communication in India 1780-1870 (1996)
- The Origins of Nationality in South Asia (1997)
- The Birth of the Modern World (2004)