Material Diplomacy in Sixteenth-Century Italy

Event Date: 
01 Dec 2014


Harold Acton Library, The British Institute of Florence


Lungaro Giucciardini 9, Florence, Italy



For decades, early modern diplomatic history (c.1492-c.1700) has languished as a stagnant field of academic research. Aloof to wider currents and trends in scholarship, the study of diplomatic history was in fast decline. In recent years, this trend has dramatically reversed. Scholars pursing vast and varied routes of historical enquiry – from students of collections or communications to social and economic historians – have found in early modern diplomacy a shared theme in which to mutually contextualise their research. At the forefront of this change has been renewed attention to sixteenth-century Italy, arguably the place and era in which diplomacy as a statecraft matured. This workshop showcases a group of interdisciplinary doctoral students and their current research which further advances the boundaries of diplomatic history.





15.00 - Welcome – Julia Race (The British Institute of Florence), Alessio Assonitis (The Medici Archive Project), Kathryn Rakich (U.S. Consulate General in Florence)

15.10 - Keynote Lecture – Professor Paola Volpini (Sapienza – Università di Roma): The new diplomatic history: fields of investigation and interdisciplinary approaches

15.30 - Panel One – Material Diplomacy – Chair: Luca Mola (European University Institute)

Ozden Mercan (European University Institute): Gifts for the Sultan as salient expressions of rivalry

Laura Mesotten (European University Institute): Consuming splendour: the material culture of sixteenth-century ambassadors

Samuel Morrison Gallacher (The Medici Archive Project & IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca): ‘La bella caccia': Diplomacy and the hunt during the reign of Cosimo I de’ Medici (1537-1574)

16.15 - Discussion

16.25 - Panel Two – Immaterial Diplomacy – Chair: Alessio Assonitis (The Medici Archive Project) Francesco Malfatti (European University Institute): Florence and Venice: some considerations on diplomatic interaction between two Italian states at the wane of the sixteenth century

Marina Porri (Università di Pisa): Choosing a royal bride: the role of ambassador in marriage negotiations

16.55 - Discussion

17.10 - Drinks


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