No study of commercial exchanges in the Mediterranean in the early modern period can be carried out without an awareness of the geopolitical and military context of the mare nostrum and more specifically of the conflicts, tensions, military operations and epidemics which in their own way impacted on commercial relations. As a consequence, before going into detail concerning a specific region, flag or type of goods, it is necessary to become familiar with some of the classic works by authors such as Paul Masson, Charles Carrière, Louis Bergasse and Gaston Rambert, and Robert Paris.
An excellent research tool has just been published by Presses de l'Université de Paris Sorbonne (PUPS). Compiled by Professor Alain Blondy, and appropriately entitled Bibliographie du monde méditerranéen, relations et échanges (1453-1835), it deserves a place on the bookshelves of all those working on the early modern Mediterranean. With a well organized index to authors and subject matter, the various articles and works on a specific topic can be rapidly identified. Drawing on this rich bibliographic source, I propose to set out some of the French-language publications which deal with four main topics: Marseilles and trade in the Mediterranean; corsairing and its effect on trade; relations with the different provinces of the Ottoman empire with particular emphasis on the Barbary Regencies and other parts of the Mediterranean; and the nature of the goods traded. This is clearly not an exhaustive list - that would be beyond the scope of such a short contribution - but it will provide some insight for those not familiar with French-language publications by pointing to the principal works where additional references will be encountered by those who wish to fine tune their search.
To appreciate the importance of Marseilles it is not only necessary to be familiar with the publications referred to above but also to know where some of the primary sources may be found. For this, one can use the works of Charles Carrière and Charles Mourre for information regarding Marseilles, and those by Philippe Henrat and K.G. Saur for details concerning the archives of Paris.