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    Archives of speech: recording diplomatic negotiation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy

    De Vivo, Filippo (2016) Archives of speech: recording diplomatic negotiation in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy. European History Quarterly 46 (3), pp. 519-544. ISSN 0265-6914.

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    Early modern diplomatic negotiation was conducted primarily through face-to-face encounters dominated by the oral medium, generally known as audiences. Yet ambassadors were very keen to take written records of the words spoken by themselves and their counterparts. This paper considers the role of oral exchange in diplomatic audiences and the reasons why participants were so interested in recording and filing reports of those exchanges. This paper begins with an analysis of diplomatic dispatches, the genre that has attracted most scholarship so far, but then goes on to trace the recording of audiences on the part of hosting sovereigns and their chanceries and secretaries. The article compares three examples: the transcripts of ambassadors’ speeches by fifteenth-century Florentine chancellors, the diaries of papal masters of ceremonies in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and, the most detailed example of audience records, the Esposizioni archive of thousands of ambassadorial speeches, replies, and subsequent conversation, assembled by secretaries of the Venetian republic from the mid-sixteenth century onwards. These examples enable us to perceive oral culture in unexpected settings. Moreover, the Venetian case constitutes a typical example of archival transformation: an increase in quantity accompanied by a substantial and conscious improvement in preservation methods and retrieval tools. In order to explan this transformation, this article traces the uses that were intended and made of the records at the time, not just to report on current, but to inform future negotiations.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Archives, diplomacy, Florence, orality, record-keeping, Renaissance and early modern Italy, Rome, Venice
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 10:51
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:23


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