Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c.1410-1800: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World c.1410-1800

1st Edition

Edited by Tracey A. Sowerby, Jan Hennings


306 pages

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pub: 2017-05-15
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Practices of Diplomacy in the Early Modern World offers a new contribution to the ongoing reassessment of early modern international relations and diplomatic history. Divided into three parts, it provides an examination of diplomatic culture from the Renaissance into the eighteenth century and presents the development of diplomatic practices as more complex, multifarious and globally interconnected than the traditional state-focussed, national paradigm allows.

The volume addresses three central and intertwined themes within early modern diplomacy: who and what could claim diplomatic agency and in what circumstances; the social and cultural contexts in which diplomacy was practised; and the role of material culture in diplomatic exchange. Together the chapters provide a broad geographical and chronological presentation of the development of diplomatic practices and, through a strong focus on the processes and significance of cultural exchanges between polities, demonstrate how it was possible for diplomats to negotiate the cultural codes of the courts to which they were sent.

This exciting collection brings together new and established scholars of diplomacy from different academic traditions. It will be essential reading for all students of diplomatic history.


"Precisely titled, this timely volume focuses on the practices of negotiation, on process more than outcome, and provides a valuable introduction to the approaches that now guide researchers. (…) Collections of essays are notoriously a mixed bag, but this impressive volume is a superior example of the genre. (…) The editors’ model introduction provides an excellent context for the specialized articles that follow. It deserves the widest readership." - Hamish Scott, Jesus College, University of Oxford

Table of Contents

Introduction: Practices of Diplomacy. Jan Hennings and Tracey A. Sowerby

Part 1 Status and Sovereignty Beyond the State

1. Burgundian Clients in the South-Western Holy Roman Empire, 1410-1477: Between International Diplomacy and Regional Political Culture. Duncan Hardy

2. Transylvanian Envoys at Buda: Provinces and Tributaries in Ottoman International Society. Gábor Kármán

3. The City whose "ships sail on every wind": Representations of Diplomacy in the Literature of Early Modern Ragusa (Dubrovnik). Lovro Kunčević

4. Staged Sovereignty or Aristocratic Values? Diplomatic Ceremonial at the Westphalian Peace Negotiations (1643-1648). Niels F. May

Part 2 Familiarity, Entertainment, and the Roles of Diplomatic Actors

5. Wondrous Welcome: Materiality and the Senses in Diplomatic Hospitality in Sixteenth-century Genoa. Giulia Galastro

6. Sincerity, Sterility, Scandal: Eroticizing Diplomacy in Early Seventeenth-century Opera Librettos at the French Embassy in Rome. Katharina N. Piechocki

7. ‘Minister-like Cleverness, Understanding and Influence on Affairs’: Ambassadresses in Everyday Business and Courtly Ceremonies at the Turn of the Eighteenth Century. Florian Kühnel

8. The Merchant-Diplomat in Comparative Perspective: Embassies to the Court of Aurangzeb, 1660-1666. Guido van Meersbergen

9. Trans-imperial Familiarity: Ottoman Ambassadors in Eighteenth-Century Vienna. David Do Paço

Part 3 Objects and Beasts

10. Presenting Noble Beasts: Gifts of Animals in Tudor and Stuart Diplomacy. Felicity Heal

11. Gift Exchange, Self-representation, and the Political Use of Objects During Ferdinand the Catholic’s Reign. Germán Gamero Igea

12. Merchant-Kings and Lords of the World: Diplomatic Gift-exchange between the Dutch East India Company and the Safavid and Mughal Empires in the Seventeenth Century. Frank Birkenholz

13. The Failed Gift: Ceremony and Gift-giving in Anglo-Russian Relations, 1660-1664. Jan Hennings

Afterword: From Social Status to Sovereignty—Practices of Foreign Relations from the Renaissance to the Sattelzeit. Christian Windler

About the Editors

Tracey A. Sowerby is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Central European University, Budapest. She is the author of Renaissance and reform in Tudor England: the careers of Sir Richard Morison (c.1513–1556) (2010) and was PI on the AHRC funded project ‘Textual ambassadors: cultures of diplomacy and literary writing in the early modern world’. Her forthcoming publications include The Tudor diplomatic corps and Tudor diplomatic culture.

Jan Hennings is Assistant Professor of History at Central European University, Budapest. His publications include Russia and Courtly Europe: Ritual and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1648–1725 (2016).

About the Series

Routledge Research in Early Modern History

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 18th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 16th Century