Agents of Empire
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Agents of Empire : Knights, Corsairs, Jesuits and Spies in the Sixteenth-Century Mediterranean World

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Description

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 640 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 28mm | 460g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 8 pp colour
  • 0141978376
  • 9780141978376
  • 94,849

Review Text

The book is a masterpiece, which will open the eyes of readers to the intrinsic interest and importance of a historically neglected region of Europe within the framework of a relationship between civilizations which is as complex today as it was in the sixteenth century. Sir John Elliott, Regius Professor of History Emeritus, University of Oxford
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Review quote

The book is a masterpiece, which will open the eyes of readers to the intrinsic interest and importance of a historically neglected region of Europe within the framework of a relationship between civilizations which is as complex today as it was in the sixteenth century. -- Sir John Elliott, Regius Professor of History Emeritus, University of Oxford The word "magisterial" is overused, but for once it is properly applied to this latest offering from a scholar who is as prolific as he is polymathic. -- Daniel Johnson * Standpoint * There are very few scholars with Malcolm's linguistic skills and historical vision, which is one of the many reasons Agents of Empire is such an important book. It opens up new vistas of research into the hinterland of Renaissance Europe -- Jerry Brotton * Telegraph * The best introduction to the 16th-century Mediterranean since Fernand Braudel's The Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II (1949) -- David Wootton * Wall Street Journal *
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About Noel Malcolm

Noel Malcolm, a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy, has previously written histories of Bosnia (1994) and Kosovo (1998). He is a general editor of the Clarendon edition of Thomas Hobbes, for which he himself has produced acclaimed editions of Hobbes's correspondence (1994) and Leviathan (2012). He is also a former Foreign Editor of the Spectator. He was knighted in 2014. Agents of Empire is his newest book.
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Rating details

174 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 41% (71)
4 32% (55)
3 24% (41)
2 3% (5)
1 1% (2)
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