Alter egos: Mediterranean agents negotiating identity at the dawn of the Franco-Ottoman alliance

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Abstract

This essay seeks to shed light on the role of a range of Mediterranean agents involved in fostering the nascent Franco-Ottoman relationship up to 1535, when the first French residential ambassador was sent to Constantinople, and in responding to these operatives’ actions. It seeks to broaden our view of the Franco-Ottoman alliance in its early days, beyond its leaders to investigate the work of agents of differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds who acted as their alter-egos, in this case, focussing upon those for the French king. It thus investigates how individuals from diverse Mediterranean locales acted as diplomatic agents for François I to foster the alliance, and at the same time, negotiated their own status and identity through it. The unofficial nature of most of their work, and their identity as ‘other’ than French, was advantageous to the burgeoning relationship and also complicated the critique of this alliance that could be made by other polities, particularly those in the Habsburg network. The essay explores several dynamics of alterity, as multiple operatives and observers around the region sought to make sense of behaviours and actions that they read as ‘other’ and drawing upon a wide range of historical Mediterranean sources in order to broaden perspectives of agency, voice and resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSignificant Others
Subtitle of host publicationAspects of Deviance and Difference in Premodern Court Cultures
EditorsZita Eva Rohr, Jonathan W. Spangler
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter3
Pages82-109
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781000422993
ISBN (Print)9780367903459
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

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