The Renaissance and the Ottoman World  book cover
1st Edition

The Renaissance and the Ottoman World

Edited By

Anna Contadini

ISBN 9781472409911
Published October 9, 2013 by Routledge
352 Pages

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Book Description

This volume brings together some of the latest research on the cultural, intellectual, and commercial interactions during the Renaissance between Western Europe and the Middle East, with particular reference to the Ottoman Empire. Recent scholarship has brought to the fore the economic, political, cultural, and personal interactions between Western European Christian states and the Eastern Mediterranean Islamic states, and has therefore highlighted the incongruity of conceiving of an iron curtain bisecting the mentalities of the various socio-political and religious communities located in the same Euro-Mediterranean space. Instead, the emphasis here is on interpreting the Mediterranean as a world traversed by trade routes and associated cultural and intellectual networks through which ideas, people and goods regularly travelled. The fourteen articles in this volume contribute to an exciting cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary scholarly dialogue that explores elements of continuity and exchange between the two areas and positions the Ottoman Empire as an integral element of the geo-political and cultural continuum within which the Renaissance evolved. The aim of this volume is to refine current understandings of the diverse artistic, intellectual and political interactions in the early modern Mediterranean world and, in doing so, to contribute further to the discussion of the scope and nature of the Renaissance. The articles, from major scholars of the field, include discussions of commercial contacts; the exchange of technological, cartographical, philosophical, and scientific knowledge; the role of Venice in transmitting the culture of the Islamic East Mediterranean to Western Europe; the use of Middle Eastern objects in the Western European Renaissance; shared sources of inspiration in Italian and Ottoman architecture; musical exchanges; and the use of East Mediterranean sources in Western scholarship and European sources in Ottoman scholarship.

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword; Section I Commercial, Artistic and Cultural Contexts: Blurring the boundaries: intellectual and cultural interactions between the Eastern and Western: Christian and Muslim worlds, Claire Norton; Sharing a taste? Material culture and intellectual curiosity around the Mediterranean from the 11th to the 16th century, Anna Contadini; The Lepanto paradigm revisited: knowing the Ottomans in the 16th century, Palmira Brummett. Section II Texts, Art and Music as Media for the Transmission of Intercultural Influences: The role of the book in the transfer of culture between Venice and the Eastern Mediterranean, Deborah Howard; The 'reception of the Venetian ambassadors in Damascus’: dating, meaning and attribution, Caroline Campbell; Giacomo Gastaldi’s maps of Anatolia: the evolution of a shared Venetian-Ottoman cultural space?, Sonja Brentjes; Turning a deaf ear, Owen Wright. Section III Renaissance Thought: Old and new demarcation lines between Christian Europe and the Islamic Ottoman Empire: from Pope Pius II (1458-1464) to Pope Benedict XVI (2005-13), Zweder von Martels; Turco-Graecia: German humanists and the end of Greek antiquity - cultural exchange and misunderstanding, Asaph Ben Tov; Positive views of Islam and of Ottoman rule in the 16th century: the case of Jean Bodin, Noel Malcolm. Section IV The Renaissance and the Ottoman Empire: Binding relationships: Mamluk, Ottoman and Renaissance bookbindings, Alison Ohta; Ottoman textiles in European markets, Suraiya Faroqhi; Mehmed II as a patron of Greek philosophy: Latin and Byzantine perspectives, Anna Akasoy; Bibliography; Index.

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Anna Contadini is Professor of the History of Islamic Art, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, SOAS, University of London, UK. Claire Norton is Senior Lecturer in Islamic History at St Mary's University College, Twickenham, UK.


'The Renaissance and the Ottoman World is a first-class collection of essays.' Sixteenth Century Journal Volume '... written by scholars for the equally scholarly... To general knowledge, these essays on ideas, books, maps, music and events add patches of great depth and insight.' Brian Sewell's essential art books of 2013, London Evening Standard 'This book of essays is a blast of fresh air blowing through hermetically sealed rooms as it aims to portray the Ottomans not merely as hovering on the fringes of Europe, but as integral to Mediterranean culture, even becoming elements in the European Renaissance. Thirteen contributions highlight unusual areas, including technology, cartography, architectural inspiration and music.' Art Newspaper '... visually stunning as well as refreshing in its diverse views.' Renaissance Quarterly ’The range of the book is impressive, covering material culture, music, intellectual exchanges, art, cartography, historiography, textiles, and other issues ...a thought-provoking, wide-ranging book that convincingly argues that the Ottoman Empire participated as an accepted player in European affairs during the early modern period. Future studies will no doubt continue to add to many of the authors’ observations.’ European History Quarterly