DIPLOMACY AND CULTURE IN THE EARLY MODERN WORLD Abstracts SESSION ONE PANEL A: MATERIAL CULTURE Catherine Fletcher, ‘Diplomacy in the wardrobe: the material culture of a Medici prince’ Alessandro de’ Medici came to power in Florence in 1531, became the city’s hereditary duke in 1532 and was assassinated in 1537 for reasons that remain a mystery. Assessing his rule poses a challenge to historians: most of Alessandro’s own political papers were destroyed in the chaos that followed his assassination, and the majority of surviving sources were written by Alessandro’s enemies, the exiled Florentine republicans. One particularly rich set of documents, however, did escape destruction: five volumes of wardrobe accounts detailing not only the duke’s personal tailoring preferences but also the furnishings of his palazzo and gifts given and received. A significant number of the items listed can be linked to specific diplomatic events, notably the disputes between Alessandro and his republican opponents before Charles V in Naples and Alessandro’s marriage to Charles’ illegitimate daughter Margaret of Austria. Through an exploration of Alessandro’s wardrobe, this paper aims to shed light on the significance of clothing and furnishing in diplomatic practice, and to assess what this set of records might tell us about the enigmatic rule of the first Medici duke of Florence. Giulia Galastro, ‘Wondrous Welcome: the Materiality of State Hospitality in SixteenthCentury Genoa’ For important visitors, early modern Genoa pulled out all the stops. Sumptuary laws were lifted, splendour was sanctioned, and showmanship reigned. Multisensory spectacle was laid on involving perfume, music, and in one case an enormous, floating ‘piazza’ made of painted canvas, manipulated ‘with much majesty’ by underwater cords. These were not exclusively official events: the general public participated by crowding into the streets, perching on walls and rooftops for a better view of any foreign curiosities, and occasionally strewing flowers in the path of the visitors. The Republic had an unique system for organising accommodation whereby the wealthiest citizens drew lots to house guests. The official record goes into what might seem tiny details, such as the particular fabrics used to furnish a visitor’s chamber, how far out of a room they should be accompanied, or whether the Doge should fully lift his hat to them. Material culture and ritual were clearly of deep diplomatic significance; far from being selfless acts of friendly hospitality, reciprocal obligation (‘contracambio’) was always hinted at and sometimes explicitly mentioned in these encounters. This paper will focus on three key case studies: the 1533 triumphal entry of the emperor Charles V; the 1589 visit of Christina of Lorraine, on her way to marry Ferdinando I de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany; and the 1592 visit of the Duke of Mantua. It will draw on recent work on material culture to examine how the Republic sought to advance its position by spectacular hospitality. Genoa, described as ‘the Cinderella of Italian Renaissance studies’, has been largely neglected by Englishspeaking scholars, but as a dynamic port city whose bankers financed the Spanish crown its rich history has much to contribute to the debate on international relations. Giacomo Guidici, ‘Exiled Diplomacy: The Material Side of Documentation in the Embassies for Francesco II Sforza (1526-1530) Duke Francesco II Sforza (1495-1535) was the last member of the Sforza family to rule Milan and its duchy (1522-1535). Between 1526 and 1530, Francesco II was banned from his own duchy by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, as the duke had allegedly conspired against Charles' influence in Italy. During these four years, Francesco tried to keep the pace of foreign affairs establishing an emergency network of trusted followers, who acted as ambassadors. They operated in some of the
key courts of the time: the imperial court of Charles V, the court of Francis I, king of France, and the papal court in Rome. Given the weak financial and political situation of the exiled duke, the status of Francesco’s agents abroad was very different from the diplomatic standards of the time. For example, Amico Taegio, who followed Charles V, was not acknowledged as ambassador at all. Taegio was not granted any proper accommodation, he had to collect information through intermediaries. In Paris, Francesco Taverna was better received, because the king of France was considering an anti-imperial alliance with the Sforza. However, the presence of anti-Sforza exiles made the situation permanently unstable. Embassies such as these offer the chance of grasping some vivid material facets of diplomacy, especially those connected with documentation. Just because of the precarious scenario in which they were operating, the ambassadors tended to linger on the strategies they used for gathering, producing and circulating information. Taegio, for example, had his incoming and outgoing missives regularly intercepted, and used merchants as covers to smuggle his dispatches to the duke via Venice. Meanwhile, in the ducal headquarters, the duke's secretaries produced pragmatic documents to organize information: summaries with the main points of the incoming dispatches, to-do lists and so forth. My paper aims at analyzing such practices in detail. SESSION ONE PANEL B: MAKING AND REPRESENTING INTERNATIONAL LAW Niels Fabian May, Diplomatic Ceremonial between the Performance of Aristocratic Values and Staged Sovereignty. The Example of the Westphalian Negotiations (1643-1648) The paper analyses the relation between macro and micro historical perspectives on the performing status in the diplomatic ceremonial in early modern Europe. Recent research has emphasized the importance of quarrels about symbolic representation in the process of early modern state-building. Confrontations between diplomats are interpreted in current research as a struggle for the recognition of supremacy between absent kings through their representatives. Peace conferences especially, as the most important instrument for resolving international issues in the second half of the 17th century were one of the best occasions for princes to demonstrate their claims regarding sovereignty. This interpretation based on a macro historical perspective is completed in the present paper by a micro historical focus. Through a thick description of the motivations and mechanisms determining ceremonial quarrels while the international peace negotiations in Münster and Osnabrück (1643-48) the paper examines the connection between the status politics of diplomats as noblemen and as representatives for their superiors. The comparison between the micro and the macro perspective and their different interpretations analyses how the performance on the international scene could be reinterpreted and exploited for different purposes. Mark Netzloff, ‘Amity Lines: the Law of Nations in the Colonies’ Studies of early modern diplomacy have generally overlooked the extraterritorial histories of European states and their competition in colonial regions. This critical neglect serves to reproduce the assumption that the colonies remained “beyond the line” of the jurisdiction and oversight of the European states system. My paper will question the presumed boundaries separating the European diplomacy from its colonial contexts. In particular, I will trace the formulation of the idea of “amity lines” in early modern theorizations of the law of nations, gauging the extent to which this concept impacted diplomatic practice as well as literary representations of diplomatic encounters in colonial spaces. As Antony Anghie has argued, instead of thinking of Westphalian model of sovereignty extended around the globe, “sovereignty was improvised out of the colonial encounter, and adopted unique forms which differed from and destabilized given notions of European sovereignty.” The key example I will be discussing involves a historical incident that is perhaps better known through its reworking in dramatic form and popular culture: Sir Francis Drake’s alliance with the nation of Cimarrons, or escaped slaves, in Panama in 1572. There are several implications that I want to explore through this example. I will explore the question of Drake’s own status as a
diplomatic agent and the extent to which he could arrogate authority in forging such informal alliances. I will also examine the status of the Cimarrons as a recognized “nation” given their position as escaped slaves, exploring the ways that rivalries within the European states system enabled the possibility of forging unexpected alliances with colonial subjects and non-state actors. John Watkins, ‘Sidney’s Arcadia and the Problem of Compliance in International Law’ A troubling question has haunted international law from its inception: Does it really exist? In the absence of an overarching enforcing authority, does it have a real impact on world affairs? Or does it merely provide rhetorical cover for the aggressive and defensive actions of states in the international anarchy? Today this question lies at the core of IR debates between and among realists, rationalists, and constructionists. But early modern theoriests like Gentili and Grotius recognized the problem and addressed it in their foundational legal texts. An important subset of this larger question is the problem of compliance: why do states fulfill abide by their agreements? Is it simply the fear of sanction? Or is there an underlying legal consensus? This paper will approach Sidney’s Arcadia as an extended meditation on the viability of international law, and more specifically, on the problem of compliance written by an author with a lifelong interest in affairs of state, diplomacy, and treaty-making. In Book II of The New Arcadia, Sidney shifts his focus from failed individual resolutions to the failure of treaties and agreements in the troubled Mediterranean world he imagines suspended between the tyrannical powers of Iberia and Armenia. Musidorus and Pyrocles are not only great fighters. They are also precocious negotiators who end the war between the Laecedemonians and the Helots, bring about regime change in Pontus and Phrygia, settle the war between the king of the Bythnians and his brother, establish a truce between the partisans of Dido and Pamphilus, and end the Arcadian peasant rebellion though a deft combination of violence and persuasion. These agreements often accord with principles outlined in Gentili and other writers on war and peace. But the parties to these treaties do not always comply with their terms.
SESSION TWO PANEL A: CROSS-CULTURAL EXCHANGE(S) AND DIPLOMATIC PRACTICE Florian Kühnel, ‘Comparing Diplomatic Cultures: William Trumbull )1639-1716) between London, Paris and Constantinople Classically, ‘modern diplomacy’ is assumed to have been invented in the Italian city states during the Renaissance, – from where it spread out across Europe. It is said that non-European countries, such as the Ottoman Empire, did not participate in this development and therefore a fundamental difference existed between European and Ottoman diplomacy. Intercultural diplomatic negotiations thus were usually shaped by misunderstanding and unsuccessful symbolic translation. In my project I aim to question this master narrative by emphasizing the genuinely transcultural character of diplomacy. Instead of presupposing insurmountable differences between East and West I will shift the focus to the cultural practice of the diplomatic actors. The basic thesis is that envoys in fact often were able to adjust themselves to the foreign cultural codes and even used them for their own purposes. Thus, intercultural diplomatic relations were far more dynamic, ambivalent, and variable than it is argued in the conventional view. Following an actor-centred point of view, I will use the example of the English diplomat William Trumbull (1639–1716) to take a look at the practice of diplomacy during the seventeenth century in different cultural contexts. Trumbull served as England’s ambassador first to Versailles and then to Constantinople, and then became Secretary of State in London. On the one hand I will compare diplomatic everyday behaviour and ask how it differed between the courts in Western Europe and in the Ottoman Empire. Did ‘Ottoman diplomacy’ require other ways of communication than that in Paris or London? On the other hand I will analyse how cultural difference was perceived and interpreted by Early Modern contemporaries. Did the envoys notice fundamental differences between
the ‘diplomatic cultures’ as they were postulated in the literary discourse? Did they make any strategic use of the notions of diplomatic difference? Christine Vogel, Diplomacy as Transcultural Practice: French Ambassadors at the Ottoman Court in the Late Seventeenth Century New approaches to early modern diplomacy start to question the Eurocentric assumption that the rules and patterns of diplomatic practice have been invented in late-medieval Italy, from where they first spread to the rest of Europe and then, to the rest of the world (“Westernization”). This paper wants to add to the “provincializing” of Europe by focussing on early modern Istanbul as a diplomatic contact zone of particular historical importance. It argues that modern diplomacy is not the result of unidirectional transfer processes, but rather of the daily intercultural practice of diplomatic agents. For a long time, research on cross-cultural encounters has emphasized the strongly stereotyped mutual perceptions and argued that cultural “strangeness” produced misunderstandings and prevented real exchange, particularly in the case of Ottoman-European relations. Taking French ambassadors from the reign of Louis XIV as an example, I will argue that, in spite of those very potent discourses of cultural alterity, diplomatic actors in Istanbul proved to be perfectly capable of ignoring discursive cultural bounds when it came to their daily diplomatic practice. In order to grasp this daily practice, however, it is necessary to explore diplomatic interaction on a micro scale, focussing not only on the ambassadors themselves, but also on the intermediary personnel, household members, secretaries, translators, servants or even spies who played important roles in the negotiating process. Interacting with their Ottoman counterparts on more than just the official level, French diplomats had to be inventive and flexible, so that through these intercultural diplomatic contacts, genuinely transcultural diplomatic rules and practices emerged. David Do Paço, Familiarity in Cross-Cultural Diplomacy: Ottoman Ambassadors in Vienna and the Rise of Trans-Imperial Elite, 1740-1792 Cross-cultural studies use to stress the major role played by interlopers, who allowed connecting two supposed different cultural areas. Also, the relationships developed between European Christian States and the Ottoman Empire would be restricted to the skills of merchants, dragomans or scholars, so-called ‘trans-imperial subjects’ able to deal with and to connect two different cultural systems. Nevertheless, thanks the rich material produced by the Imperial Chancellery of State (both police and interpreters’ reports or ministers’ private correspondence), 18th century Vienna offers an exceptional insight into a diplomatic sociability built on a cross-cultural direct familiarity. Under the reign of Maria Theresa and her two sons Joseph II and Leopold II, Vienna became the main Ottoman diplomatic stage in Europe. While elsewhere on the continent, Turkish ambassadors were usually regarded as external actors of the so-called ‘société des princes’, they actually took part to the social and political life of the Imperial Residence. The familiarity of the Ottoman diplomats with the Viennese aristocracy was not only the fact of a necessary coexistence and of a superficial curiosity between two neighbours. It resulted from mutual and multiple exchanges of knowledge and of social practices. Walks, hunting, partying, riding, opera or meal sharing are only some few examples of such cultural engineering at play at that time. Moreover, those cultural practices fitted in with a more complex background made by, on the one hand, the shared interest of the Emperor and the Sultan to maintain peace and trade and, on the other hand, the personal interest of two ruling elites to bond in order to maintain mutually their legitimacy, their administrative position and their socia standing. In a word, they are a trans-imperial elite. SESSION TWO PANEL B: RHETORIC AND DIPLOMATIC TEXTS Jackie Watson, ‘“Too plain a speaker for the tender eares of this age”: the deceptive truth of courtly speech’
In 1612, Rochester wrote encouragingly to the diplomat, Ralph Winwood, that he had the nobleman’s support in his quest to become Secretary under James: ‘do not despair, though your enemies have objected enough against you […] that you are too violent, which signifies in Court language not malleable to their use.’ The identification of ‘Court language’ by Rochester shows a contemporary acceptance of the need for slippery semantics in effective Jacobean government communication. Writing a year earlier about Winwood, Chamberlain notes to Carleton that he lacks verbal dexterity, and instead is ‘too plain a speaker for the tender eares of this age’. The importance of a flexible rhetoric to those ambitious to succeed in diplomacy had been clear throughout the sixteenth century, and a young man’s training meant developing these skills. Although earlier attitudes to courtly communicators had recognised their potential for verbal ambiguity, doubts over the moral nature of this articulacy and its potential for deception grew in Jacobean writing about those involved with government. An interpretation of this communication in Tacitean ‘politic’ terms begins to cast doubt on the existential reality of linguistic truth. A fear of duplicitous linguistic expression, combined with an anxiety that epistolary communication could be intercepted and exposed to an unintended readership, both demonstrate the danger of letters to Jacobean diplomats and their correspondents. After exploring correspondence about the troubled political scene of 161213 (the death of Cecil, the uncertainty over the Secretaryship and the arrest of Sir Thomas Overbury), this paper will move from the attitudes to language conveyed in diplomatic correspondence, to the reflection of verbal truth and deception in the representations of diplomats in the contemporary playhouse. The final focus will thus be on Webster’s exploration of the interface between diplomacy and courtiership, shown through his use of Antonio and Delio in The Duchess of Malfi. Fabio Antonini, ‘A diplomatic narrative in the archives: The War of Cyprus in the words of historians and the registers of the Venetian Cancelleria Secreta’ The war between Venice and the Ottoman Empire (1570-1573), which famously culminated in victory for the Christian fleet at Lepanto but lost the Republic their dominion over the island of Cyprus, was the subject of fervent historiographical study within the city almost as soon as it had ended. Much of this study was as concerned with the city’s diplomatic conduct in the months leading up to the conflict as its military fortunes. Contemporary interest in establishing the causes of the conflict has left us today with a wide variety of both printed and manuscript historical accounts. However, the exact origins of these various narratives, especially the details of the city’s diplomatic relations given by authors who were not present at events, remain unclear. One clue to this lies in the ‘Secret’ archives of the Republic, to which we know several historians had access during this time, and in particular a new initiative to transcribe the records of state into a form of archival chronicle. The first surviving volume of this series, known as the Annali, concerned almost exclusively the events which precipitated this conflict, transcribing near-verbatim both the oral and written diplomatic exchanges between the participating states, and providing one of the earliest and most detailed narratives of the conflict. This paper will assess how the diplomatic records pertaining to the War of Cyprus were reconstructed from the archive by the various historians of the day. It will examine the extent to which sensitive diplomatic material was able to be used for scholarly purposes, and the influence which this had on the narratives of those who had access to them. In addition, it will explore the idea that recent innovations in Chancellery practice, such as the compilation of the Annali, indicated a shifting perception of diplomatic records as cultural artefacts as well as objects of political utility. Tilman Haug, ‘The new pleasures of reading diplomatic correspondence – The diplomatic letter as a space of information, negotiation and political self-fashioning’ In 1991 Gordon Craig praised the „pleasure of reading diplomatic correspondence“, hoping to reignite interest in the study of classical great powers’ diplomacy. He also directed criticism towards a social and cultural history which for a long time had indeed shown little interest in these often
seemingly endless recounts of negotiations. While in recent years a renewed social and cultural history of diplomacy has changed perspectives particularly on early modern foreign relations, no reassessment of diplomatic correspondence from this point of view has been undertaken. Therefore my paper will point out some aspects of diplomatic correspondence as a complex and multifunctional medium of communication analysing mostly 17th century French diplomatic dispatches. The first part of the proposed paper will demonstrate how diplomatic dispatches did not only transmit information, but also gave way for opportunistic situation analysis and self-fashioning by diplomats. This established a mode of “dual negotiation” permanently reconfiguring the relations between diplomats and their principals. This was fuelled by the fact that diplomats were not “professionals” in bureaucratic employment relationships, but often were their principals’ clients creating important social and economic dependencies. In the second part I will point out that euphemistic assessments were often more than a manipulative tool employed by diplomats, but could be construed with their principals’ active participation. Borrowing from organizational sociology, it can be shown, how these styles of communication facilitated difficult decision-making. Furthermore, diplomats and particularly princes were well aware that their correspondences would be passed on to posterity, forcing them to conform as far as possible to their own public statements. Finally I will highlight some of the circumstances under which correspondences were selectively made accessible to third persons or even an emergent political public, authenticating own good intentions while inversely intercepted correspondence by political adversaries could occasionally be “leaked” in order to discredit their motives.
SESSION THREE PANEL B: SCOTS DIPLOMACY AND PROPAGANDA Katherine Basanti, ‘Crusade Diplomacy, Dependency and Deception During the Reign of James IV’ This study examines the politics and ramifications of crusade diplomacy during the reign of James IV (1473-1513), who governed Scotland from 1488 until his death at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. Concepts of authority and politics of counsel in relation to James IV's crusade rhetoric and realpolitik are analyzed. Via the comparative study of state documents, financial records and diplomatic correspondence, insight concerning Scottish royal attachments to crusading is intended. Chronicle sources retrospectively appraising James IV's diplomatic tactics and dependency upon the Auld Alliance are considered. Secondary literature has discussed James IV's political career in relation to the 1513 Flodden debacle. However, a lacuna remains concerning his stratagems and diplomatic manoeuvrings. Whether a product of diplomacy or deception, James IV was plunging into intricately interwoven and most sensitive politics within the Christian commonwealth in his attempt to form alliances with nation-states at odds with one another, namely Venice and France. With the Ottoman-Turk military force gaining in momentum, crusade controversies and debates within the political arena and intelligentsia had reignited. James IV promoted the notion of a crusade imperium which would unify the nation states of Christendom, hence, functioning as a clenched fist against the Islamic threat. The Holy Alliance, however, made such prospect of a pan-Christian expedition against the Ottoman-Turks more remote, and with England becoming increasingly hostile, forced James IV to become concurrently more dependent upon Louis XII's (1462-1515) effusive promises. In terms of his English counterpart, James IV may have misinterpreted Henry VII's (1457-1509) policy of peace and conciliation as indicative of English weakness; this would have rendered him unprepared for the aggressive and shrewd military tactics of Henry VIII (1491-1547). This research delves into the controversial pro-crusade politics and diplomatic dependencies of James IV; whether his tactics derived from ideology or subterfuge is worthy of note. Amy Blakeway, ‘Protocol, Proclamations and Propaganda: Anglo-Scottish textual exchange during the Rough Wooings, 1542-50’
The Rough Wooings of 1542-50 remain a surprisingly understudied period, both within Scottish historiography and accounts of Anglo-Scottish relations. To date, Merriman has offered the most detailed accounts of the military and accompanying propaganda campaigns but, regarding the textual aspects of this conflict, his focus is almost exclusively on printed tracts and English productions. Merriman established that texts played an important role in this conflict, but he left several aspects of their role in the Rough Wooings unexplored. This paper will address two of these lacunae. First, items circulated in manuscript by both sides need to be re-examined in the light of the consensus amongst historians and literary critics emphasising the significance of manuscript circulation networks. Secondly, Scots commentary on the war, particularly their refutation of English propaganda, needs to be given greater consideration. Since few conventionally ‘literary’ Scots texts remain extant from this period, this will be approached from broader perspectives, for instance, the Scottish use of diplomatic protocol and customs of warfare to articulate their independence during lulls in military campaigning, and exploring Scottish proclamations as instruments of propaganda in a back-and-forth textual war with their better known English opposite numbers. Since the few extant ‘literary’ Scots texts were printed in Paris, the paper will conclude by offering some initial reflections on the ways in which French diplomats in Scotland responded to the propaganda war and their role in circulating texts about the Rough Wooings to a continental audience. Cynthia Fry, ‘A Prince, a Pamphlet and Diplomatic Propaganda: The Ramifications of the Baptism of Prince Henry Frederick of Scotland, 1594’ On 19 February 1594 Queen Anne of Denmark gave birth to the firstborn son of James VI of Scotland. Prince Henry Frederik’s baptism, which occurred six months later, was a major diplomatic undertaking for Scotland, seeking to highlight through ceremony and literature that James VI was not only an important player in European politics but also the best candidate for the English throne, especially now that he had a line of succession. From the invitations to foreign dignitaries to the baptismal ceremony itself and the celebrations afterwards, King James did all he could to portray himself as a renaissance prince, a Protestant leader and a powerful ally. The royal chapel at Stirling was rebuilt, lavish feasts were organised and fantastic masques were put on to honour the event. In addition to aweing the ambassadors present from England, Denmark-Norway, the German states of Brunswick and Mecklenburg, and the Dutch states of Holland and Zeeland, the King of Scots commissioned a pamphlet, written by William Fowler, to be published in London and Edinburgh describing the wondrous ceremonies for all. The pamphlet made its way into popular culture, affecting the writing of playwrights such as William Shakespeare. This paper will examine the baptismal ceremony and the ambassador’s impressions of it as well as the literature surrounding it, in the form of political pamphlets and poems, and place them within their diplomatic context. This will be achieved by analysing the role they played in James VI’s wider foreign policies including his bid for the English crown. In doing so I will challenge the traditional historiographical view which places Scotland on the fringes of both culture and diplomacy in the early modern period, arguing instead that under James VI the kingdom played an important role in European politics.
SESSION FOUR PANEL A: DIPLOMATIC PERFORMANCES AND GENDER Daniel Bamford, ‘“More gates than one to the Grand Signor”: Anglo-Ottoman Diplomatic Practice, 1578–1597’ Early Anglo-Ottoman diplomatic relations have received relatively limited scholarly attention, despite the volume and richness of available sources. Since the premature death of Susan Skilliter in 1985, original research on the topic has been almost entirely restricted to a handful of articles in relatively obscure journals. Recent work on early Anglo-Ottoman cultural exchange has consistently
failed to give proper attention to the crucial religious and political contexts. Serious misconceptions and patently false assertions have therefore been left unchallenged. Diplomatic relations between England and the Ottoman Empire were originally established in order to promote and protect direct trade, but there were also obvious political motives from the outset. The pursuit of these interests was complicated by significant religious and cultural differences, exacerbated by the growing political and economic instability of the Ottoman Empire at that time. The first English ambassadors to the Ottoman sultans therefore had to adapt to the particular structure and character of the Ottoman court. This paper will explore the different channels of communication that English diplomats pursued in order to lobby and petition the Ottoman sultans. Personal audiences with the sultan were strictly limited to the reception of new ambassadors and the granting of leave to departing ambassadors. The normal channel of communication was therefore the Imperial Council (divan) presided over by the Grand Vizier. There were more informal contacts with various ministers, officials, palace servants and the women of the imperial harem. Evidence will be drawn mainly from the reports of William Harborne and his secretary and successor, Edward Barton during the reigns of Sultan Murad III and Sultan Mehmed III. This paper is most relevant to the proposed conference topic of cross-cultural exchange, but the topics of material culture (i.e. diplomatic gift exchange) and gender (i.e. harem diplomacy) will also be addressed. Toby Osborne, ‘Performing royalty through diplomacy: the House of Savoy's status during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries' The issue of royal status was amongst the most contentious and dynamic in early modern Italian politics, encompassing the rivalries between the House of Savoy, the Medici and the Venetian republic. Diplomatic representation was critical to this rivalry, as this paper examines. Through the case of Savoy, the paper argues how sovereign claims had a strong performative component: Savoy's royal claims were advanced by ambassadors using the constitutive powers of language, diplomatic ceremonial and iconography, though the persuasive force of these claims remained fragile. Katharina Piechocki, ‘Sincerity, Sterility, Scandal: Eroticizing Diplomacy in Early Seventeenth-Century Opera Libretti’ Italian diplomat, poet, and dottor di legge e di medicina Ottaviano Castelli (d. 1642) is the author of what some scholars consider to be the first French opera. Performed, in Italian, at the French Embassy in Rome in 1638 at the occasion of the birth of Louis XIV, La Sincerità trionfante overo l’erculeo ardire is as much an operatic innovation as it is a diplomatic intervention. Written and performed to celebrate the continuation of the Bourbon dynasty with the birth of the Dauphin, which occurred over twenty years after the marriage of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, the 200-page libretto exhibits the librettist’s anxiety about Louis XIII’s capacity to procreate—and thus to guarantee the continuation of the French kingdom. While the libretto (over)emphasizes Louis XIII’s sexual activity by introducing a string of fictitious erotic encounters, it only imperfectly veils the potential scandal of dynastic discontinuation all-too-easily caused by a king and/or a queen’s sterility. “Sincerity,” the title’s first word, appears as an allegorical figure on stage alongside “Dissimulation,” who encapsulates the subtle diplomatic negotiations and sexual machinations leading to the event of the Dauphin’s birth as well as the librettist’s ingenious literary masquerade of an intimate yet public topic. This paper investigates the emergence of the opera libretto in Italy and France as a diplomatic genre performed primarily at occasions that marked outstanding dynastic events such as births and marriages. The recurrently used figure of Hercules emerges here not only as a paradigmatic figure blending diplomacy (body politic) and sexuality (body natural), but also as a subversive character testing—and transgressing—the boundaries of diplomatic and poetic decorum.
SESSION FOUR PANEL B: LITERARY REPRESENTATIONS OF DIPLOMACY András Kiséry, ‘Some Travelers Return: relazioni and the World of Hamlet’ Diplomacy, and how foreign intelligence is gathered, transmitted and used at home is a major preoccupation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play also goes out of its way to create a geopolitically realistic and recognizable early modern Denmark. Using documents related to Daniel Rogers’ 1588 embassy to Denmark, I establish the play’s indebtedness for this information to the textual products of diplomatic service: to the genre of the relazione, the description of a foreign state, written by diplomats as well as would-be diplomats on their return from abroad. My suggestion is that Hamlet is both representing the secretive world of diplomacy for the play’s public, and joins other publications in divulging information derived from the textual products of this world. Since diplomatic service was the main training field of people entering political careers, the production and circulation of such documents was a crucial way of claiming the political expertise necessary for gaining advancement or employment. The hopes of advancement are central to the play’s own engagement with diplomacy and travel: in the world of Hamlet, characters’ social advancement and political empowerment is enabled by their return from abroad. This avenue of empowerment defines the spatial logic of the play, its rarely if ever noted unity of place: set in and around Elsinore castle throughout, the play treats foreign locations only as they impact Denmark. Although everything in Denmark depends on it, the foreign world remains unseen – it remains that “which passeth show,” and like the characters’ often-discussed inwardness, only makes a mediated appearance, a mediation that is the crux of both political action and social advancement, in the play as well as in early modern England. Lovro Kunčević, ‘Representations of Diplomacy in the Literature of Early Modern Dubrovnik (Ragusa)’ Early modern Ragusa enjoyed a precarious but immensely profitable international position: it was one of the main mediators of goods and information between the Western Europe and the Ottoman Empire. The crucial role of diplomacy in the survival of the small republic, which invested enormous efforts to maintain good relations with everyone, resulted with an intriguing fact. In Ragusan epic poetry the martial themes, typical of other Baroque epics, were largely replaced with the glorification of skilful diplomacy. The heroes of Ragusan literature were diplomats, not warriors, and the virtue it celebrated was not military prowess, but diplomatic cunning. Ragusan literati developed a series of well-known metaphors in order to describe their city’s perilous position, e.g. stressing that it lies “between the mouth of the angry dragon (Ottomans) and the claws of the ferocious lion (Venice).” The central literary theme was the glorification of the patriciate’s diplomatic skill, its ability to manipulate vastly superior states into acting in the city’s best interests. Thus, literati turned the embarrassing multiple political patronage into a diplomatic feat, claiming that “in Christendom there is no Crown which does not defend this city of ours” or that Ragusa has “the power to tame the grey eagle, mighty dragon and the fierce lion” (i.e., the Habsburgs, the Ottomans and Venice). Another important motif was depicting diplomatic struggles and negotiations with the neighbouring Ottomans in terms of defence of Christendom from the “infidel.” Such glorifications of diplomacy fulfilled three important ideological functions. First, they legitimized the patrician rule by insisting on the great diplomatic skill of the city’s rulers. Second, by representing Ragusa as a skilful manipulator of more powerful states it mitigated the embarrassing fact that the small republic depended on the goodwill of greater powers. Finally, they justified Ragusa’s position of an Ottoman tribute-payer, turning it into a shrewd diplomatic arrangement which enabled Ragusans to protect Christian interests without even having to battle the Ottomans – actually, representing Ragusa as a peculiar diplomatic “bulwark of Christendom.” Peter Auger, ‘James VI’s Lepanto and Calvinist Solidarity’
James VI’s epic poem The Lepanto (1585) was his best-known literary work in early modern Scotland and England: it is the main original item in His Maiesties Poetical Exercises (1591), and was his only poem to be reprinted in London to mark his English accession. Guillaume de Saluste Du Bartas’ French and Thomas Murray’s Latin translations gave the poem a wide readership across France and the Low Countries too. But why did James choose as subject-matter the Holy League’s victory against the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto (1571)? Peter Herman and others have made a case for treating the poem as an ecumenical or reconciliatory gesture towards Catholic Spain. Yet Lepanto’s cultural diplomatic orientation is explicitly French: James’s preface indicates that the poem expresses solidarity with Huguenot France after the punitive Treaty of Nemours was signed in July 1585. James re-located his response to the Greek coast and adopted an epic framework in order to facilitate a ‘poeticke comparison’ illustrating God’s providential assistance to true Christians. Lepanto and its French translation were the latest literary encounter between James and the diplomat Du Bartas that asserted the existence of a common Calvinist literary culture in Scotland and Navarre. By reconstructing the poem’s cultural diplomatic origins, James’ poem and its translation emerge as model examples of how poetic texts were used to cultivate and promote Scoto-French relations during the reigns of James VI and Henri IV, and how their diplomatic function could affect imitation and translation practices, and broaden these poems’ international circulation.
SESSION FIVE PANEL A: MATERIAL CULTURE Gamero Germán Igea, ‘Languages of Negotiation: The Role of Material Culture in Ferdinand the Catholic’s Diplomacy’ The reign of Ferdinand the Catholic (1468-1516) is traditionally considered an inflexion point in the evolution of the Spanish Diplomacy. The reorganization of the traditional alliances, since this moment against France, and the incorporation of new techniques from the Italian culture were the basis for the following centuries. Nevertheless the topic of this congress invites us to propose a different perspective about royal diplomacy. Taking into account the perspectives from New Cultural History and Court Studies I want to show and explain how material culture became not only a scene in diplomatic encounters but also an agent in those relationships. To do so I will analyse use of royal luxury in two different perspectives. First, I will set courtesan ostentation in the context of the daily diplomacy between the Catholic King and the elites of their kingdoms. In this regard we need to take into account some questions like the provenience of the different items that form the royal environment; the weight of the Court in the communication between the kings and his elites or the equilibrium between the different territories and elites that composed his kingdoms. On the other hand I think it will be necessary consider the material dimension of international diplomacy. Also in this field the analysis must be multiple. Gift giving, receptions and permanent diplomatic missions were so important to create the king image. Were employed the same mechanisms in domestic diplomacy and international relationships? Had Ferdinand II the same success in these different areas? Maybe, but there are some nuances that should be clarified. Nathalie Rivere de Carles, ‘Textile Objects and the Evolution of the Diplomatic Subject’ Diplomatic activity relies on a material alphabet implying a close relationship of dependence between the diplomatic subject and his material environment. Marian Feldman, in her eponymous book, talks about ‘Diplomacy by Design’ (Chicago, 2006) and explains that “material items concretized the ephemeral exchange of salutations and physically constituted the bonds between rulers” (15). However, this diplomacy by design needs to be envisaged beyond the act of gift-giving, as the symbolic exchange that it predicates does not only define the inter-state relation but the diplomatic subject and space. Following the sociological distinction between gift and exchange as defined by Alain Testard, this paper observes the exchange of textile objects in a diplomatic context
as well as the exchange between textile objects and the diplomatic subject. The relationship with the textile object is thus envisaged in a double perspective of the ambassador’s servitude and individual interest. The analysis of the typology of objects and their representation reveals the paradox of the ambassador as subjugated operator and self-developing subject. This paper is the beginning of research on the arras as a philological marker of the diplomatic subject and the impact of commercial activity on the evolution of such subjectivity. We will observe cloths of state and tapestries in theatrical (Thomas Heywood’s If you know not me part1), and visual representations of ambassadors (the anonymous portrait of the Somerset House conference) as well as in diplomatic chronicles and correspondence. We will consider textile objects as philological markers of the ambassador’s identity, space and function. The point is to determine how circulated objects and in particular cloths and arrases become the mode of representation of the ambassador and how they enable the ambassador to gain a progressive autonomy while opening new avenues in diplomatic activity. This paper will first analyse the use of a textile rhetoric of curtailment of the ambassador in the context of official court encounters. It will then observe how the transformation of textile objects into territory of diplomacy is both the sign and the instrument of an increasing singularity of the ambassador. Tracey Sowerby, ‘Negotiating with the Material Text’ Various types of texts were essential to early modern diplomacy: letters, reports, treaties, even gifts. Using England’s relations with foreign powers as a locus, this paper will explore the physical aspect of diplomatic texts, asking what the visual and material nature of royal letters, treatises and other diplomatic communications played in mediating international relationships. While scholars such as Rayne Allinson have highlighted the importance of royal epistolary relationships, they have not fully appreciated the ways in which the material nature of the text enhanced or nuanced the message(s) they contained. Similarly, some art historians have examined elements of treaty decoration, but have failed to draw out their diplomatic significance. In contrast, this paper will locate the visual and material nature of diplomatic documents firmly within early modern diplomatic practice and explore how their use interacted with other means of diplomatic communication such as ceremonial and ritual. Moreover, it will consider how the physicality of texts could be utilised not just by the sender, but by the recipient too and whether there were significant differences between the strategies regarding material texts send within and without Europe and if so, why. SESSION FIVE PANEL B: WOMEN IN VENICE: DIPLOMATIC AND LITERARY CONNECTIONS Federico Barbierato, ‘Nuns, Spies and Diplomats. Convents and Political Communication in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Venice’ To foreign diplomats active in early modern Venice, convents proved a privileged place where to collect information. A dense network of espionage and counter-espionage came therefore to connect the city’s main convents, at the heart of a thick web of exchange in information and ideas. Venetian authorities were concerned for the fact that local aristocrats and foreign travellers frequented them indistinctly: in fact, either as relatives or due to other connections, the nobility could confidentially transmit to the nuns political information, and they in turn may report them to outsiders. Consequently one of the first moves a good ambassador had to do upon his arrival in Venice was to establish a clientele among the nuns of such strategic convents as San Alvise, San Zaccaria, or the Celestia, both personally and via intermediaries. State Inquisitors orchestrated and partly directly handled the Republic’s vigilance: on their payroll they had a number of informers in charge of controlling what happened and who visited there. Nevertheless, at least in some convents, contacts were wide and daily practice, resulting from a complex intersection of diplomacy and news exchange, as well as from a truly political mobbing aimed at influencing the choice of confessors, the key go-betweens to access the nuns’ consciousness, and to succeed in collecting information useful for diplomacy and politics alike. The paper will insist on these points in the attempt to provide an
overall reading of a phenomenon, a type of collection of information of primary importance that has so far received only anecdotal attention. Franscesca Medioli, ‘Self-Promotion and Plotting: Suor Arcangela Tarabotti and the French Ambassador Grémonville, Venice, 1645-1655’ In 1645 the writer suor Arcangela Tarabotti took the newly arrived French ambassador’s daughters as boarding girls in her nunnery. It is unknown why Nicolas Bretel de Grémonville (1607-1648) chose precisely, Sant’Anna in Castello, a rather remote and poor nunnery in Castello, away from his palace. But Tarabotti had just published two books, Paradiso monacale (1643) and Antisatira in favore del lusso donnesco (1644), and this could have intrigued the ambassador, a man of letters himself and an acquaintance of the frères Dupuy’s circle in Paris. In any case, Tarabotti enjoyed a broad circle of connections which could have introduced him. Her nunnery hosted a number of patrician nuns: Nicolosa Foscarini, the sister of the diplomat unfairly executed by the Dieci and a personal friend of Paolo Sarpi; Regina Donà, a relative of the doge of the Interdict; Costantina Zorzi, ambassador-to-be Giovanni Sagredo’s great-aunt; Zilia and Lucetta Priuli, cousins of the mother of the doge-to-be Bertucci Valier; and also the commoners Perina and Ottavia Tintoretto. Her colleagues enlarged Tarabotti’s chances not only for publication, but also for connections, as shown in her Lettere familiari e di complimento (1650), in particular regarding the ambassador and his family. Evidence from sources other than her own published letters confirms the real degree of such acquaintance. After Grémonville unexpected death in 1648, Tarabotti kept in touch with his wife, the French attaché in Venice and, covertly, with former Calvinist and secretary, Ismael Boulliau. It is via such connections that she managed to publish eventually, even if after her death, her Semplicità ingannata (Leiden, Elzevier, 1654). In this paper such connections will be explored in detail in order to prove the extent of Tarabotti’s literary fame and the impact she had also abroad, via a men’s only milieu, the one of diplomacy. Vittorio Mandelli, ‘An Ambassador Doomed to Literature? Giovanni Sagredo and his Literary Production in Context: Family, Covert and Supposed Connections’ In his days Giovanni Sagredo of the late Agostino (1617-1682) was one of the very eminent diplomats and politicians of the Republic. Between 1652 and 1655 he was sent as ambassador to France, then between 1655 and 1656 to England and eventually between 1660 and 1664 to Vienna. Back home, he made to set free Francesco Morosini, former Capitano Generale da Mar and back from Candia in 1670, after a very much disputable peace with the Turks. Once elected Procuratore di San Marco (one of the highest positions within the Republic) and then doge in 1676, he saw his election nullified before his approbation by the Maggior Consiglio, the sole case in the whole history of the Republic. At the same time, he enjoyed a reputation as the author of the historical account Memorie Historiche dei Monarchi Ottomani (1673 and 1678) and, even more, of the Arcadia in Brenta, (1667 e 1674), a collection of mottos, jokes and short stories in the style of the forbidden Boccaccio’s Decameron. Such book had countless reprints and almost a century later, in 1749, Carlo Goldoni made a play out of it with music by Baldassarre Galuppi. Via the recent (2012) publication of a manuscript “Who is who” of XVIIth century Venetian politicians and patricians, La copella politica (1675), anonymous but most probably written by Sagredo himself, combined with a relational database on patricians’ careers and family connections, it is now possible to put in context Giovanni Sagredo and his family (particularly his childless uncle, Pietro, married to the niece of Sant’Anna in Castello abbess, at the time Arcangela Tarabotti made her solemn vows), with his cultural background and his political and literary career. This paper will focus on the paths that are linking together a major diplomat of the Venetian patriciate with a small nunnery in the remote sestiere of Castello, up to the XVIIIth century Goldoni’s theatre.
SESSION SIX PANEL A: TRANSLATION Warren Boutcher, ‘Non-ambassadorial diplomats as cultural brokers and agents: Secretary Scaramelli and the re-opening of Anglo-Venetian relations (1603)’ This paper will ask questions about intermediaries and agents below the level of ambassador. It will examine their activities – oral, textual, social – as cultural brokers and translators, particularly with respect to the role of translation in information-gathering and intercultural exchange. It will use the example of Venetian Secretary Giovanni Carlo Scaramelli's mission to England in 1603, and his relations with another intermediary, the Anglicised Italian John Florio, who would become the new Queen Anna's Secretary the following year. Scaramelli was sent by interested Venetian merchants in early 1603, but with accreditation from the Doge and Senate, to reclaim goods sequestered by English pirates. Anglo-Venetian diplomatic relations had been suspended since July 1557, and although their re-opening had been mooted, Scaramelli's first audience with Queen Elizabeth was therefore of great political significance. His presence became still more significant later in the year, after the Queen's death, as James I and VI acted more definitely to re-open relations . But how did this Secretary, who had no English, gather the information that he needed for communication in Italian? He says in one of his final dispatches that he had spent day and night writing, throughout his mission. But what role did his and others' writing have in the communications opening up between the English court and the Venetian Senate? What texts and translations were involved, and what was their importance relative to face-to-face interviews, and other forms of material culture? Catarina Barceló Fouto-Jones, “The Politics of Translation: Os Lusiadas and European Diplomacy (1580-1660)” From its publication in 1572 the significance of Camões’s Os Lusíadas as a symbol of Portuguese imperialism was such that between 1580 and 1668 the epic was printed at important moments of political change, rendered in different languages and made available to different European audiences. The focus of my paper is this European chain of reception and translation and its contextualization within the European diplomatic circles of this period. I will first explore the appearance of translations into Spanish in 1580 (at the dawn of the Dual Monarchy), and go on to argue that later renderings of the epic into Latin, Italian, English, and French up to 1668 (the year when Portugal’s independence was officially recognised) were the fruit of the involvement of different diplomatic agents (with their own personal agendas) in a political context increasingly hostile to Habsburg imperialist interests. This paper therefore calls for a more nuanced interpretation of the politics of translation and the role played by diplomacy in this period. I will explore the role of diplomatic channels in the circulation of this particular text and the political gestures associated with the appearance of these translations, highlighting that this process of appropriation of Os Lusíadas by competing imperial nations was not without resistance. José María Pérez Fernández, ‘Of diplomats, counselors and favourites: James Mabbe’s translation of Juan de Santa María’s República y policía cristiana’ In 1632 the English translator, diplomat and scholar James Mabbe published Christian Policie: or, The Christian Commonwealth, his rendering of Juan de Santa María’s República y policía cristiana (Madrid, 1615). This treatise followed in the wake of similar works, such as Thomas Blundeville’s 1570 abridged version of Fadrique Furió Ceriol’s El concejo y consejeros del príncipe (Antwerp, 1559), or John Thorius’s 1589 translation of Bartolomeu Felipe’s Tractado del conseio y de los consejeros de los príncipes (Coimbra, 1584). The year 1619 also saw the publication of a new edition of Thomas North’s translation of Antonio de Guevara’s Relox de príncipes (Valladolid, 1529), which also included a rendering of Guevara’s Aviso de privados (Valladolid, 1539). Against the background of this continuing interest in Spanish literature of counsel, my paper aims to explore Mabbe’s translation as a case study for the relations between literature, diplomacy and translation,
with a focus on the sort of methodological tools required for an interdisciplinary approach to these texts, the agents involved in their production, as well as the domestic and international networks within which they circulated. Edward Wilson-Lee, ‘Barbarism and Diplomacy in Late Elizabethan England’ This paper will begin with George Puttenham’s account of English exceptionalism in the matter of diplomatic language practice and think about how language teaching and translation in diplomatic circles provided alternate channels for non-state agents to exercise political influence both at home and abroad. Looking at the figure of the diplomatic translator in a variety of contexts – dramatic, paratextual, literary critical – I will outline a diplomatic poetics of barbarism in which the backwardness of English was both made a strength and fostered a unique domestic culture of diplomatic go-betweens, a poetics which often saw itself as in league with other barbarous tongues against the linguistic dominance of the Romance world. SESSION SIX PANEL B: DIPLOMATIC PERSONNEL Katalin Prajda, ‘Florentine Diplomatic Networks in the Kingdom of Hungary’ This paper provides a longue durée analysis of Florentine ambassadorial networks in the Kingdom of Hungary between the mid-14th century and the early 16th centuries. The period with which the study is concerned marked by two important dates: the Black Death in 1348 when several political institutions of the city-state underwent significant changes, including those ones which were responsible for sending diplomatic missions. Nearly at the same time in 1342, Louis I became ruler, the first Hungarian king who established permanent diplomatic relations with the Florentine Republic. The republican period in the city-state ended in 1530, almost simultaneously with the Ottoman expansion (1526) in Hungary. Diplomacy between Florence and Hungary at this period was based on the circulation of non-resident ambassadors who were sent to Buda with a specific mandate in order to undertake diplomatic missions. In spite of the fact that ambassadors typically spent only a few months in Hungary, they visits had a strong economic as well as cultural impact. Some of these diplomats were either practicing merchants or intellectuals who maintained vast social networks both in Florence and in Hungary. Therefore their activity as diplomats was inseparable from their brokerage in cultural exchanges and in the development of commercial networks. Beyond political massages and negotiations, diplomatic gift-giving, delivering letters of recommendations in favor of Florentine merchants and the promotion of artisans and humanists in the royal court became part of their duties. The paper discusses the figure of Florentine ambassador as agent of cultural exchanges and actor of commercial diplomacy by studying primarily the social networks of those Florentines who undertook diplomatic missions in Hungary Amy Caldwell, ‘Of Wars, Captains, and Kings: Swiss Mercenary Captains, Diplomacy, and the Struggle for Milan, 1515’ Swiss mercenary captains were the celebrities of the Swiss Confederation during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Their successes in European wars gave them popularity and power at home. No one captured their place in Swiss culture better than the reformer Ulrich Zwingli, who famously declared Christ to be his captain. Some of the greatest captains, such as Hans Waldmann, mayor of Zurich (1483-89), rose above peasant status to the highest ranks of Swiss government. As mayors and city councilors, their past experience in foreign wars gave them the connections that made them ideal candidates to serve the Confederation as diplomats. Other captains used their popularity to negotiate with foreign states as independent mercenary agents, providing troops to the highest bidder, changing sides during wars, and generally giving all Swiss mercenaries the reputation as unreliable allies fighting for money, not honor.
This paper will address two problems with our understanding of the role of the mercenary captains in Swiss diplomacy. First, it argues that diplomacy was an important responsibility of captains throughout their whole careers, not just after they retired from war and took up positions in city government. They were battlefield diplomats, carrying out negotiations on behalf of their cities while serving in foreign wars. Second, it offers an important correction to the image of Swiss captains as greedy mercenaries willing to fight for the highest bidder. There is no doubt that some captains did work this way, but to focus on them is to overlook the many others who used diplomacy for the benefit of their state. This paper will explore the tension between diplomacy for one’s personal interests and diplomacy for the benefit of the Confederation during 1515, the final year of Swiss control over Milan and the beginning of their alliance with the king of France. Tryntje Helfferich, ‘Plucking the Goose with a Minimum of Screeching: Generals as Diplomats in 17th-Century Europe’ The European diplomatic corps had become more distinctive and professionalized by the 17th century, yet their ranks were still far from exclusive; ecclesiastics, scholars, physicians, merchants, and others also regularly served as diplomatic agents. Among these non-career diplomats were generals and commanding officers. Usually high noblemen, early modern generals were natural choices for important diplomatic missions, since their elite status and reputation augmented their capacity to influence negotiations. Henri II d'Orléans, Duke of Longueville (1595-1663), for example, commanded the French Army of Germany before serving as head of the French delegation to the Congress of Westphalia. Christoff Delficus von Dohna (1628-1668) served the Swedish crown as a field marshal and later led diplomatic missions to England and the Dutch Republic. Yet such instances of generals holding temporary official diplomatic positions are well known, and are only the most obvious indication of their significance for early modern diplomacy—a significance far greater than most modern scholars recognize. During the Thirty Years War and other 17th-century conflicts, generals and high-ranking officers also independently negotiated ad hoc cease-fires, truces, religious accommodations, tax treaties, and numerous other agreements among themselves or with civilian governments. These negotiations, moreover, were usually conducted in accordance with both specific military goals and generals’ personal preferences, and so occasionally occurred without reference or even in opposition to their rulers’ wishes. The military and diplomatic independence of generals was a recognized problem among European rulers in this era, and would lead to growing efforts by the end of the century to bring armies more firmly under central control. This paper will discuss these issues, arguing both that generals played a key and underappreciated role in 17th-century diplomacy, and that military culture and ritual, along with generals’ personal desires and financial needs, shaped the way they approached and fulfilled this function.
SESSION SEVEN PANEL A: RELIGION, DIPLOMATIC NETWORKS AND THE CIRCULATION OF TEXTS David Gehring, ‘Religious Understanding, Political League-Building, and the Dissemination of Diplomatic Intelligence’ This paper evaluates the diplomatic activities of two Elizabethans – Robert Beale and Daniel Rogers – with special attention paid to their reports of 1569 and 1588. The first of these, by Beale, offered an assessment of the state of Germany by way of its political and religious contours during an acute moment of crisis in the wars of religion in France and the Netherlands. The second evaluation, by Rogers, was a similar description of Denmark after the death of King Frederik II and the assembly of a regency government during the year of the Armada. These manuscript reports were the products of missions sent by the English government to help foster pan-Protestant religious understanding and build a military alliance to withstand Catholic aggression across Europe. Accordingly, they not only included detailed assessments of the confessional persuasions of key political players in Germany and Denmark, they also provided logistical as well as financial information relative to the princes’
potential military contributions. Unsurprising is the fact that this intelligence was to be distributed among members of the Elizabethan regime and incorporated into foreign policy decisions, but equally suggestive is that by the early seventeenth century similar assessments found their way to print. Thus, information that had initially been generated within government circles for restricted purposes became, over time, disseminated to a broader audience for public consumption. This paper, therefore, could contribute to a panel on the wider cultural reception of diplomatic information by focusing on a little-studied corner of international relations: England’s interaction with Protestant Germany and Denmark. Diego Pirillo, ‘Heretical Networks: Diplomacy and Theology in the Anglo-Italian Renaissance’ Recent studies in new diplomatic history have prompted a reappraisal of the traditional paradigm that considered the establishment of resident embassies as the first step toward the rise of the modern state. In doing so, they have also highlighted the part played by non-governmental actors in Renaissance and early modern diplomacy. This paper will participate in this reappraisal by investigating the role that Italian Protestant networks had in sixteenth-century European diplomacy, with a special focus on Tudor England. Forced to leave Italy to escape the Counter-Reformation, the Italian reformers found employment as intelligencers and diplomatic intermediaries, precisely when the official diplomatic exchanges between England, Italy and Catholic Europe were in crisis due to confessional strife. The Italian reformers did not simply provide intelligence to their patrons but rather tried to create a counter-diplomacy of exiles that intended to influence the policies of Protestant states in order to oppose the Counter-Reformation. The paper will provide an essential map of these Italian Protestant networks, examining their aims and strategies while also investigating the controversies that took place within them over conciliation, irenicism and cross-confessional diplomacy. Joad Raymond, ‘Milton in Sweden’ This paper looks at the reception of Milton in Sweden, and the appearance of Sweden in Milton’s writings, as a case study of the interaction between writing and diplomacy. Milton’s Defensio pro populo Anglicano (1650) was written in the context of intensive Anglo-Dutch negotiations. However, after its publication the Anglo-Swedish axis became more important, and Milton’s polemic played its own part in the international diplomacy. Swedish responses to Milton, and the English diplomatic and polemical reaction to these responses, provide a material feedback loop between a writer and his international readers and thereby shed a distinctive light on the interplay between books in motion, the embassy of texts, and the rhetoric of diplomacy. By the time he published his Defensio secunda Milton was able to praise the Queen of Sweden for praising him, and by doing so apply further local and international leverage.
SESSION SEVEN PANEL B: COMPLEX STATES AND DIPLOMATIC SPHERES Duncan Hardy, ‘Burgundian clients in the south-western Holy Roman Empire, 1410–1477: between international diplomacy and regional political culture’ The middle decades of the fifteenth century were a time of intensive interaction between the Valois dukes of Burgundy and the multitude of fragmented and interconnected political actors and units in the south-western Holy Roman Empire, which culminated in the death of Charles the Bold and the Habsburg inheritance of most of his possessions. Much of this contact was mediated through multivalent, multilingual clients, who acted as diplomats of sorts for the Burgundian dukes, but were also local powers in their own right, and were therefore deeply enmeshed in Upper German allianceand committee-based political conventions and practices. Drawing on treaties, correspondence, the minutes of negotiatory meetings, and illuminated chronicles, this talk will briefly examine three case studies to illustrate the intersection of these part-‘international’, part-regional modi operandi of
political interaction: the later reign of the Burgundian-born Duchess Catherine of Austria (d. 1425); the career of Margrave Wilhelm von Hachberg (1406–82), Philip of Burgundy’s ambassador to the Council of Basel and an Austrian officer; and Peter von Hagenbach a.k.a. Pierre d’Archambault (d. 1474), Charles the Bold’s Alsatian bailiff. The paper will conclude by suggesting that relations between political entities in and around the fifteenth-century Empire are best understood within the framework of a widely shared, ‘diplomacy-like’ political culture of negotiation and association, with its own vocabularies, documentary forms, and rituals, in which a broad spectrum of actors with different degrees of autonomy could participate. This might offer a middle way between the extreme position of Otto Brunner – who argued that there was neither sovereignty nor diplomacy in preReformation Europe – and the growing trend amongst German late medievalists to treat all interactions between members of the Empire as ‘foreign policy’. Gábor Kármán, ‘Transylvanian Diplomats at Buda’ Research on the European diplomatic contacts with the Ottoman Empire, which had experienced a renaissance in the last few decades, mostly concentrated on diplomats coming from the western part of the continent to Istanbul, the centre of the empire. The paper suggested here changes both perspectives through offering a survey on diplomats coming to the court of the pasha of Buda, the most important provincial governor in the western part of the empire, from the neighbouring Principality of Transylvania. The ceremonies surrounding these visits provide and excellent opportunity to demonstrate the functioning of different diplomatic cultures, and at the same time the problems that arose from Transylvania having an entirely different status in two different international societies. Whereas the princes were regarded as independent actors in the seventeenthcentury European theatre of politics, they were also tributaries of the Ottoman Empire. Taken the first interpretation of their international status into account, these missions should have mirrored the hierarchical difference between a sovereign monarch and a provincial governor of a neighbouring ruler’s territories. However, as it was the Ottoman interpretation that enjoyed a hegemonic status in this case, there was no hierarchical difference between the two parties. I am going to use the comparative examples of Habsburg envoys visiting Buda, as well as the representatives of other tributary visiting neighbouring provincial seats and dedicate special attention to the act of the diplomat kissing the pasha’s hand (or the sleeves of his garment) in order to highlight the abovedescribed problems of hierarchy, and also those of the different meanings attached to specific ritual elements in different diplomatic cultures. André Krischer, ‘The Diplomacy of the Non-Sovereigns. Free Imperial Cities in the Society of Princes’ Early modern diplomacy was never a princely and aristocratic province alone. Republics like Venice, Genova, and after 1648 Switzerland and the Netherlands, also sent and recieved ambassadors and envoys or participated in peace conferences. Whereas this sort of republican diplomacy was basically accepted at the princley courts, Free Imperial Cities like Cologne, Frankfurt or Bremen usually faced huge difficulties and were often treated with disrespect when trying to do the same. However, there were continous efforts by the Imperial Cities to play their part in early modern diplomacy, not least because of the prestige that could earned by participating in this sphere and its rituals. The diplomacy of Free Imperial Cities shows that there was a field of activity below the level of sovereign princes and republics. In my paper I will discuss motives and practices, opportunities and limitations of this sort of urban diplomacy. SESSION EIGHT PANEL B: POLITICAL WRITING Kerstin Weiand, ‘Historical Writing as Diplomatic Practice: William Camden’s Annales in a European Context’
Recent historical research has broadened the classical view on diplomacy significantly. It has shown that, far from being monopolized by official diplomats who used a definable set of diplomatic practices and media, early modern diplomacy was characterized by a plurality of agents (e.g. merchants, intellectuals and artists), practices (e.g. exchanging gifts) and media (e.g. rituals, works of art and literature). New perspectives focus on diplomacy’s cultural dimension, and emphasize how discourses and cultural perceptions created meaningful political frameworks. While challenging the boundaries of traditional diplomatic history, such approaches sharpen our understanding of early modern diplomacy. My paper demonstrates the purchase of such new approaches by focussing on William Camden’s Annales rerum Anglicarum et Hibernicarum Regnante Elizabetha (1615). Modern historians have praised the Annales, a description of Elizabeth I’s reign, as one of the archetypes of modern national historiography. It has also been interpreted as a critical commentary on political conditions in Early Stuart England. In contrast, I want to stress the diplomatic aspect of Camden’s work. In particular, I argue that his work, aimed especially at influential circles within the French political elite, addressed a European public rather than an English public, and thus helped project a certain image of the English crown abroad. While not necessarily associated with literary or academic excellence, even though such excellence mattered for the work’s reception, the Annales served genuine diplomatic purposes, as suggested by English diplomats’ efforts to distribute the Annales abroad. Indeed, texts such as Camden’s Annales helped shape the ways nations and princes were perceived abroad, and consequently formed an important part of diplomatic practice. Lizzy Williamson, ‘Diplomatic Letters as Political Literature: Copying Sir Henry Unton’s Letters’ This paper looks at the political letters of Sir Henry Unton, resident ambassador to Henri IV of France from 1591-92 and again in 1595 until his death the following year. The fact that several (different) copies of his diplomatic letterbook survive raises questions regarding their origin and use. This paper will begin by digging into these versions, from an original draft letter, through contemporary and eighteenth century manuscript copies, up to the OCR'd text of the nineteenth century print on the Internet Archive. In the context of perhaps more well-known seventeenth century political letterbooks (thinking of Ralph Winwood, Dudley Carleton, later William Trumbull, for example), and the scribal publication of famous political letters as manuscript separates, I will ask where Unton’s letterbook and its various copies fit in, in terms of political, historical, antiquarian and literary value. Unton struggled with slander and regal disfavour during his diplomatic career, and died childless and intestate. I will consider the diplomat’s motivations for copying his own letters, consider other attempts by himself and his widow to defend and preserve his name, and offer some preliminary thoughts on the contemporary and later copies of the letterbook of the man gravely warned by Robert Cecil that ‘men in action are on stages’ Rosy Cox, ‘“Outlandish flatteries?”: Milton and Republican Embassy’ In Paradise Regain’d, Satan tempts the Son of God with succession to the Imperial throne of Tiberius. The Son’s response is a clear rejection of the trappings of power and a dismissal of ‘tedious’ and specious embassy (Book 4, 97-125). The relationships between power, tyranny and luxury, and the resulting degradation of government and the nation is clear and a familiar theme to which Milton turns time and again to articulate, “those calamities which attend alwaies and unavoidably on luxurie” as he describes in The Readie and Easie Way. This characteristic preoccupation with the often radical disconnection between forms of government and the spirit of reform manifests itself in a suspicion of statecraft, and “the persuance of fame and forren dominion” as David Armitage has pointed out. In contrast, in a free commonwealth, following the classical model of the best way to exhibit virtus in the political arena, Milton argues for an approachable, potentially non-hierarchical, meritocratic government (CPW 7 425). But this utopian vision of daily
political life as a microcosm of the aims and objectives of constitutional republicanism, enshrining a new modus operandi for government, points to many of the problems inherent in the establishment of a new regime and the ways in which it could and should conduct itself in relation to its predecessors. It also demonstrates the ambiguous position which Milton played as both insider and outsider in the new regime, as both ideologue, purveyor of polemic, and practical servant of the state. In this paper I will assess Milton’s role in governmental and foreign affairs, his attitude towards forms of government and his desire to identify the commonwealth with republican Rome, often in the face of the accommodating tendencies of the Council of State. Looking in briefly at Milton’s role in the Oldenburg embassy and his ‘republican’ interventions in negotiations, I will consider the often fraught relationship between Milton’s political ideology and his political activity in the context of a regime attempting to forge and marry aspiration and expectation.
SESSION NINE PANEL A: PARADIPLOMATIC TEXTS Will Rossiter, ‘Aretino, Wyatt and the Margins of Diplomacy’ According to his own account ‘in the month of February, and after the Church of England the year of our God 1546’ the English exile William Thomas ‘was earnestly apposed of the nature, quality, and customs of my country, and especially of divers particular things touching the estate of our King’s Majesty Henry the 8th, who then nearly was departed out this present life’. Thomas records this apposition in his work The Pilgrim, which he published in Italian in 1552, but not in English during his lifetime. Thomas, who also published an Italian grammar in 1550, dedicated his work to ‘Mr Peter Aretine, the Right Natural Poet’, recalling that Henry had allegedly left Aretino a legacy in his will, ‘the which his enemies pretend proceeded from the fear that he had lest thou shouldest, after his death, defame him with thy wonted ill speech’ (B1r). Aretino’s ‘wonted ill speech’, his slander and blackmail of the great and good (and not so good) was notorious. In the year of Henry’s death Aretino’s second volume of Lettere was published, reprinting its hyperbolic dedication to Henry. Aretino’s dedication treads a fine line between epideixis and irony, and the present paper will seek to establish the truth of Thomas’s allegations of the supposed reason for the legacy. It will do so by considering Aretino’s reformist sympathies and the possibility that Sir Thomas Wyatt translated Aretino’s Sette Salmi de la Penitentia di David as part of his ambassadorial soft powers. Moreover, the paper will argue that Thomas was seeking to repair the damage done by the English ambassador, Edmund Harvel, who along with six of his men assaulted Aretino and thereby threatened Henry's posthumous reputation. These textual activities undertaken at the margins of diplomacy can be seen to invert the centre and the periphery of diplomatic exchange. Jason Powell, ‘Tottel's Songes and Sonettes and Englishmen in Italy’ First printed in June 1557, Songes and Sonettes (a.k.a. Tottel’s Miscellany) was both a runaway commercial success and a political puzzle. The volume included poems by Surrey, whose conservative family was prominent at Mary’s court, but it also contained verse by the father of a recent rebel and the chaplain of a recently burned bishop. Scholars have long debated Tottel’s potential sources, suggesting Nicholas Grimald and John Harington, among others. This paper introduces new manuscript evidence indicating that one William Digges collected poems of Wyatt’s for an unnamed correspondent that would form the initial basis for the Songes and Sonettes. It further shows that Digges had spent some of his formative years by this point in Italy, probably among a community that included Thomas Hoby, who would first attempt to publish his translation of Castiglione’s Il libro del Cortegiano in the summer of 1557. His correspondent – the likely editor of Songes and Sonettes – was almost certainly not Richard Tottel, but may instead have been one of the Digges’s many Italianate English friends. Supported in part by the embassy of Edmund Harvel in Venice, these men would have encountered the runaway commercial success of the Italian verse
miscellanies produced by the press of the Gabriel Giolito and his rivals from 1545, and they looked to replicate that success in England. Oren Margolis, ‘Non orator ego, sed vates: Quattrocento Humanists and ‘Unofficial’ Diplomacy’ ‘I have come to the royal doors not as an orator, but as a poet’. Antonio Cornazzano of Piacenza (c. 1430-84) was indeed no orator – at least in the sense of an officially accredited ambassador – when, accompanying a Milanese embassy, he appeared before King Louis XI of France at Christmas 1461. But with the oratio in heroicis he presented on this occasion, praising the monarch’s virtues and comparing him to Charlemagne, the humanist nevertheless contributed in a subtly intertextual but recognizable way to the diplomatic programme pursued by Duke Francesco Sforza. Accompanying a parallel embassy from Florence, Donato Acciaiuoli (1429-78) also offered the king a life of Charlemagne rich in implications for the city’s relations with France. He likewise stressed his unofficial status and played up the personal motives for his composition. What did this selfconscious setting-apart allow Cornazzano and Acciaiuoli to say and do that they might otherwise not? In answering this question, this paper will shed light on the languages and conduct of midfifteenth-century Franco-Italian cultural politics; while the investigation of these two works in their diplomatic context will open up broader discussion of the interrelationship between humanism and diplomacy in the Quattrocento. SESSION NINE PANEL B: GIFTS AND RITUAL EXCHANGES Felicity Heal, ‘Presenting noble beasts: gifts of animals in English diplomacy, Henry VIII to James I’ The gifts employed in early modern diplomacy came in many shapes and forms. Almost anything, though preferably something distinctive with recognisable value, could be labelled as a gift and handled with the proper ritual of presentation that secured its impact. In practice, however, offerings and rewards to ambassadors and their trains began in this century to stabilise, narrow in type and acquire a ‘tariff’ of value. This was not true of gifts between sovereigns. Presents were often part of an alternative to direct dynastic encounters: the latter being logistically difficult and fraught with challenges about status and political identity. As such, much thought had to be given to the proper things to give and receive: for example, when John Chamberlain labelled a miscellaneous offering of animals and other things to the king of Spain by James I ‘a rabblement’ he recognised that there had been a failure of royal diplomacy. This paper will examine one category of sovereign gift – noble animals, including hawks, horses and exotic beasts – in exchanges between the English monarchs and their peers. It will look at giving and receiving in the English and Scottish courts, at the competitive element in giving valuable types of horses, and at the degree to which animals were used to affirm alliance between England and France or the Hapsburgs. It will also look at the offering of exotic animals, concluding with brief reflections on the political significance of James I’s Spanish elephant. Frank Birkenholz, ‘Gifts from the Dutch East India Company to the Safavid and Mughal courts in the seventeenth century’ During the seventeenth century representatives of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) brought and received numerous gifts in elaborate ceremonies during their encounters with the Safavid and Mughal courts. These ceremonies resembled early modern diplomatic practices. The VOC archives at The Hague contain a variety of sources such as travel reports, letters and bills that deal with these gift-exchange rituals. Historians, however, have treated the VOC chiefly from a socio-economic viewpoint, neglecting the political and diplomatic history of the Company, and especially its employment of gifts in establishing trade agreements. The Company has been characterized as a business cooperation, engaged in purely commercial practices, rather than diplomatic ones.
Through studying a selection of VOC sources, this paper aims to fill this historiographical gap by exploring the legitimating and representational function of gift-exchange between VOC envoys and the Safavid and Mughal courts in the seventeenth century. It will be argued that, as an adaptation to the political cultures of Asian states, the Dutch Republic authorized the Company to act as a state, allowing it not only to wage wars, build settlements and administer justice, but also to engage in diplomatic relations. As a brief case-study of VOC gift-giving will demonstrate, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the rulers of the Safavid and Mughal empires utilized gift-giving practices as acknowledgment of their claims to universal sovereignty. These rulers expected VOC representatives to present themselves as being of lower rank by offering gifts in exchange for trade agreements. At the same time, VOC envoys used gifts to represent the Company as a strong state with a widespread commercial network to persuade these rulers to trade with them. Therefore, diplomatic gift-giving had an indispensable role in the establishment of trade relations between the VOC and the Safavid and Mughal empires. Sonal Singh, A Khil’at not received, a Gift not Offered: Contests for Power and Shifting Interpretations of the Material Culture of Diplomacy This paper aims to look at the slippages in meanings associated with ritual exchanges between the Mughals and the Englsih East India Company in the period from mid-eighteenth to mid-nineteenth century. In court ceremonials and rituals, the meanings associated with objects exchanged are well defined. This is what makes these objects powerful in diplomatic interaction. Do these ceremonial exchanges and the meanings associated with them carry the same meaning when the giver and recipients are engaged in direct contestations for power? How do the changed power equations alter the meanings and significance of the ceremonial exchanges? And finally, is it exchange of ritual gifts that determines the political relationship between the giver and the receiver vice versa? In this paper there is an attempt to study the dynamics of ritual exchanges during contest for power between the Mughals and the East India Company. The nature of relationship between the two had come a long way since the first embassy of Sir Thomas Roe had visited the court of Emperor Jahangir in early seventeenth century. By the mid-eighteenth century, the Company was vying with the Mughals and other rulers for territorial control and power. The political language of diplomacy in Indian durbar had largely remained the same, manifested in bestowal of a robe of honor i.e. khil’at and its reciprocation by the recipient by a nazr. However, the meanings, implication, value, composition and significance of such exchanges came to be interpreted differently. This shifting interpretation of ceremonial exchanges in early modern South Asia was characterized by a spatial and temporal variation. A study of this dynamics of ceremonial exchanges is crucial to explain the slow process of negotiation for power between the Mughals and the British.