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About the book
  • Published: 1 August 2016
  • ISBN: 9780141978376
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 640
  • RRP: $29.99
Categories:

Agents Of Empire

Knights, Corsairs, Jesuits And Spies In The Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean World




Agents of Empire describes the paths taken through the eastern Mediterranean and its European hinterland by members of a Venetian-Albanian family, almost all of them previously invisible to history. They include an archbishop in the Balkans, the captain of the papal flagship at the Battle of Lepanto, the power behind the throne in the Ottoman province of Moldavia, and a dragoman (interpreter) at the Venetian embassy in Istanbul.

In the second half of the sixteenth century, most of the Christian states of Western Europe were on the defensive against a Muslim superpower - the Empire of the Ottoman sultans. There was violent conflict, from raiding and corsairing to large-scale warfare, but there were also many forms of peaceful interaction across the surprisingly porous frontiers of these opposing power-blocs. Agents of Empire describes the paths taken through the eastern Mediterranean and its European hinterland by members of a Venetian-Albanian family, almost all of them previously invisible to history. They include an archbishop in the Balkans, the captain of the papal flagship at the Battle of Lepanto, the power behind the throne in the Ottoman province of Moldavia, and a dragoman (interpreter) at the Venetian embassy in Istanbul.
Through the life-stories of these adventurous individuals over three generations, Noel Malcolm casts the world between Venice, Rome and the Ottoman Empire in a fresh light, illuminating subjects as diverse as espionage, diplomacy, the grain trade, slave-ransoming and anti-Ottoman rebellion. He describes the conflicting strategies of the Christian powers, and the extraordinarily ambitious plans of the sultans and their viziers. Few works since Fernand Braudel's classic account of the sixteenth-century Mediterranean, published more than sixty years ago, have ranged so widely through this vital period of Mediterranean and European history. A masterpiece of scholarship as well as story-telling, Agents of Empire builds up a panoramic picture, both of Western power-politics and of the interrelations between the Christian and Ottoman worlds.

  • Pub date: 1 August 2016
  • ISBN: 9780141978376
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 640
  • RRP: $29.99
Categories:

Praise for Agents Of Empire

“Dazzling . . . a work of astonishing richness and detail . . . Agents of Empire uses the intertwined stories of two Albanian families – the Brunis and the Brutis – as a prism through which to view the contacts and the conflicts that made the early modern Mediterranean”

John Gallagher, Guardian

“Astonishing . . . an exceptional, enthralling book . . . The best introduction to the 16th-century Mediterranean since Fernand Braudel”

David Wootton, Wall Street Journal

“Triumphant . . . arrestingly re-orders the perspective of the Renaissance Mediterranean world”

Jonathan Keates, The Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year

“Stories of triumph and tragedy as compelling as any in fiction”

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, Literary Review

“I can't tell you how good it is, a future classic”

Christopher Howse, Daily Telegraph

“A masterpiece”

Sir John Elliott


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