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three pairs of lovers with space


Thomas Baker, installed as English consul in Tripoli in April 1679 after the establishment of the first long-lasting treaty between England and Tripoli, kept, for reasons which can only be guessed, a detailed journal of his voyage and stay there which provides valuable information on local customs.

Tripoli was then the capital of the capital of the Ottoman province of Tripolitania on the north African coast (in what later became Libya), hence the references in his journal to Turks, who were the ruling elite.

Preserved in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Baker’s journal was finally published in 1989 as Piracy and Diplomacy in Seventeenth Century North Africa: The Journal of Thomas Baker, English Consul in Tripoli, 1677–1685, edited by C. R. Pennell (Rutherford, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), from which the only two references to homosexuality are here taken.

Tripoli in Barbary by John Seller, 1675

Octob 1681

 “15th This day a Turk received 500 Drubbs upon his Buttocks not for having comitted  the Act of Sodomie with a Boy, But for that, after having soe done, hee threw him over the Towne Walle, whereby hee brake both his Leggs” [p. 133]

June 1683       

“30th […] “And this day alsoe the sonne of a Dutch Renegado a Brisk young Fellow of the Towne happened to goe into a Taverne, whither two Turks following him comitted a Rape of Buggery upon him Which (In regard it could not bee done without some bustle and noise) drew thither a great number of their dissolute fellow Souldiers, Thirty four of whom successively were as kind to him as the other Two Turks had been. And all this without the least shame or feare of punishmt:” [p. 161]




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