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#78 Food and Venetian Diplomacy in Early Modern Istanbul: A Conversation with Eric Dursteler

Updated: Feb 4

Saturday, February 17th Live on Zoom

10am Los Angeles and Phoenix, 1pm NY & Toronto, 6pm London, 7pm Florence

“The best thing that an ambassador has in his house is a good chef.” During the early modern period, food played a critical role in Venetian diplomacy in Istanbul. The sharing and exchange of food and drink represented a form of culinary diplomacy that was an integral, costly, time-consuming part of the process of developing and maintaining the sort of personal relationships that were the heart of diplomatic relations. Sumptuous banquets, endless supplies of wine, fine cheeses, and other exotic foods, all represented important diplomatic tools that Venice’s ambassadors drew on as they struggled to maintain the Republic’s precarious relationship with the Ottoman Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries. Their goal was to preserve Venice’s status and relevance in the rapidly-changing, often-perilous Mediterranean world.

Eric Dursteler is Professor of History and former department chair at Brigham Young University. His research focuses on the tangled history of the Early Modern Mediterranean, focusing on gender, language, food, and identity. His publications include Venetians in Constantinople: Nation, Identity and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2006), Renegade Women: Gender, Identity and Boundaries in the Early Modern Mediterranean (2011), The Mediterranean World: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Napoleon (2016), and In the Sultan’s Realm: Two Venetian Ambassadorial Reports on the Early Modern Ottoman Empire (2018).  A graduate of Brown University, he has received grants from the Fulbright Commission, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harvard Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the European University Institute, and the Folger Shakespeare and Huntington libraries.

Minimum suggested donation: $20

This talk is free for Friends of Paola's Studiolo!

Look forward to seeing you on Zoom!

Warmest regards,


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