Centres of Diplomacy, Centres of Culture II: The English, French, and Ottoman Courts c.1450 to c.1630

Event Date: 
14 Mar 2016 to 15 Mar 2016

The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities


Diplomatic studies increasingly focus on the cultural and social aspects of diplomatic practice and stress the agency of individuals within international relations. Despite this, many scholars often still investigate within the parameters of national diplomatic corps or explore one end of a bilateral relationship. In contrast, this conference will focus on the cohorts of diplomats sent by different polities to the English, French and Ottoman courts to explore the ways in which diplomacy fostered cultural exchange (defined broadly) at early modern courts in this crucial period for the development of the type and scope of diplomatic activity with which early modern rulers engaged. It will ask how did diplomats learn the rules of diplomatic practice from one another and their host court? To what extent did their host court learn about how to conduct longer-term diplomacy from them? How did diplomats’ enacting of their own cultural norms influence the foreign political culture in which they operated? What impact did this and the diplomatic exchange of ideas, material goods, and books have on diplomatic culture? What forms of sociability were open to ambassadors and their households? To what extent did distinct diplomatic cultures develop at early modern courts?


Attendance is free, but registration is required. Please email Tracey.Sowerby@history.ox.ac.uk with a note of any dietary requirements by 6 March to register.

Conference Programme

Monday 14 March

10.30   Registration. Coffee and tea.

11.00   Welcome and Opening Remarks

11.15   Session One: Cultural Considerations at the Ottoman Court

Christopher Markiewicz, ‘Imperial Culture and the Languages of Diplomacy at the Ottoman Court, 1453-1566’

Talitha Schepers, ‘Sixteenth-century Cross-cultural Encounters and Artistic Exchanges between Netherlandish Artists and Diplomats at the Ottoman Court’

12.45   Lunch

2.00     Session Two: Resident Diplomacy at the Ottoman Court

Daniel Bamford, ‘“Without conformity of company”: English Religious Identity & the Diplomatic Corps in Constantinople, 1578–1597’

Aneliya Stoyanova, 'The Benefits of Permanent Diplomancy: Two Foreign Attempts to Influence Ottoman-Spanish Relations in the Second Half of the Sixteenth Centyury'

Bart Severi, 'Talking in the Dark: Ottoman-Habsburg Diplomacy between Antagonism and Amiability in the Sixteenth Century'

4.00     Coffee

4.30     Session Three: Diplomacy and Sociability at the French Court

Bram van Leuveren, ‘Mastering the Art of Hospitality: The Contentious Reception of Different Foreign Embassies at the Court of Henri III of France, January-March 1585’

Marc Jaffre, ‘Diplomacy and culture at the court of Louis XIII’

6.00     Drinks

Tuesday 15 March

9.30     Session Four: Precedents and Diplomatic Action at the French Court

Charles Giry-Deloison, ‘Advising your Successor. Stephen Gardiner’s Advice to Edmund Bonner, on his Appointment as Ambassador to France in 1538’

Ettore Cafagna, ‘Diplomatic Ceremonial and Republics: The Conflict for Prominence between the Dutch Republic and Venice at the Courts of Paris and London (1610-1630)’

10.45   Coffee and tea

11.15   Session Five: Forging Diplomatic Culture at the Elizabethan Court

Hannah Coates, ‘Spanish Diplomats and the Creation of the Elizabethan Court, c. 1570-84’

Amelie Rose Balayre, ‘Social Life is an Interstitial Diplomacy: The Case of Beauvoir La Nocle, French Ambassador’

12.45   Lunch

2.00     Session Six: Material Concerns and Diplomacy at the English Court

Nicole Bertzen, ‘“In Spain I have become partly grey, here I will even go white like a dove”: the Nerve-wracking Mission of Karl Harst, Ambassador of Cleves to England in 1540’

Benjamin Redding, ‘Ceremonial Entertainment and the Naval Façade During Claude d’Annebault’s Visit to England’

Tatyana Zhukova, ‘Diplomacy and the Politics of Gift-Exchange: Muscovite Diplomatic Gifts to Elizabeth and James I, 1566-1623’

4.00     Closing remarks and discussion



Submission date for papers: 
15 Jan 2016
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