What are the reasons for studying Mediterranean famines in the early modern age? The author attempts to answer this question by proposing to analyze a famine with a comparative approach embracing the long sixteenth century; in other words by trying to build a model of intervention by the Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) not only in the face of crises, but also in relation to the provisioning system as a whole. This "Ragusa system" shows a mixture of "political genius" and commercial enterprise, which has its foundation and raison d’etre in the privileged relationship of the Republic with the Ottoman Empire. This relationship was a source of undoubted strength but it also, as cass. will be argued in the paper, involved a danger of potential weakness.
Keywords: Ragusa, Mediterranean, annona, famine, system, diplomacy