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Public Lecture - A Life Lived Across Continents: A Global Microhistory of Marcara Avachintz, an Armenian Director of Compagnie des Indes Orientales, 1666-1688, AUA

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"This presentation explores the global life of Martin Marcara Avachintz, an Armenian gem merchant from New Julfa, Isfahan, who served as the first Director of Jean Baptist Colbert’s Compagnie des Indes Orientales in 1666.

More specifically it examines the trial proceedings and lengthy legal briefs (factums or mémoires judiciares) produced in the course of Marcara’s sensational trial in Paris between 1676 and 1688, during which the Armenian sued the French East India Company for damages connected to his illegal arrest in India in 1670 followed by years of torture in the hold of a Company ship

Through a microhistorical reading of Marcara’s trial papers and his global life lived across multiple cultures, empires, and continents, the study attempts to use this extraordinary life as an instance of what Edoardo Grendi and Carlo Ginsburg have called “l’eccezionale normale” (the exceptional normal) that can shed light on larger issues of global developments in the early modern period linking the histories of Europe and the Indian Ocean world together".

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