Call for Papers: The Medici and the Levant

Deadline: February 11, 2013, Florence
Begins: Friday, June 7, 2013

The Medici Archive Project is organizing a one-day conference in English and Italian at the Archivio di Stato in Florence dedicated to new research trajectories on the relations between the Medici and the wide cultural, social and geographic area that in time has come to be identified as ‘the Levant.’ The period covered will extend from 1532, when the Medici received the ducal title, until the death of the last member of the dynasty in 1743.

The House of Medici established an extensive network of mercantile, political and cultural relations connecting Florence and the Eastern Mediterranean since the time of Cosimo the Elder (1389-1464). However, the nature of that exchange evolved rapidly once the Medici became dynastic rulers of Florence and assumed an increasingly active role in Mediterranean and Eastern European politics. First as Dukes of Florence and then as Grand Dukes of Tuscany, the Medici became players in an area that extended from Safavid Persia to the Republic of Venice, passing through the era’s superpower, the Ottoman Empire. The great number of letters in the Medici epistolary collection (the “Archivio mediceo del principato”) relating to ‘Levantine’ topics bears witness to a profound and persistent vested interest that wavered between reproach and fascination, and that went beyond military, religious or diplomatic concerns.

Contributions highlighting any of the connections between the Medici state and the Levant are welcome. Preference will be accorded to papers dealing specifically with the Medici and their perception of the East/Orient, or with their reception in that part of the world.

The major themes to be addressed at this conference include:
  • Material culture exchange
  • Early modern mercantile routes and commercial activity
  • Mediterranean warfare
  • Medici Eastern diplomacy and political strategies
  • The historical and philological East
  • News dissemination; Mediterranean contemporaneity
  • Cartography; travel literature and correspondence
  • The Typographia Medicea; the use and study of Eastern languages
  • Mediterranean Jewry
  • Scientific exchange
  • Inter-religious dialogues and conflicts
  • Slavery, emigration and immigration

To apply, please submit by February 11, 2013: 1) a paper title 2) a 500-word abstract either in English or Italian explaining the contribution to current historiography 3) a curriculum vitae. Submissions should be sent via email to Dr. Maurizio Arfaioli and Dr. Marta Caroscio at:

Partial travel funding may be possible.

Deadline: February 11, 2013