Renaissance relationships

italian ottoman blog_thumb.jpg

Scholars often leave out the East when they write about the Italian Renaissance and too “narrowly divide” Christian and Islamic countries, argued Daniel Goffman in Pick Hall Tuesday. Goffman, AM‘77, PhD’85, who chairs the history department at DePaul University, claimed that the Ottomans and the Italians were much cozier than historians have suggested. In fact, Goffman contended, the “need for the Italian state to be flexible to the Ottoman Empire” was the “chief stimulant” of Renaissance-born diplomacy.

Scanning the crowd of graduate students and faculty, which nearly filled Lecture Hall 016, Goffman noted that he recognized “all but one or two” of the spectators, from the University’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies and from a talk he gave earlier in the day. This afternoon event, he warned, would be “utterly formal” in contrast to his morning discussion. Goffman planned to read directly from his recent paper, “The Ottoman World in the Construction of the Early Modern State,” because, he joked, “I’m still not sure what I’m trying to say.” Despite that disclaimer, the attendees gripped their pens and, with the ferocity of September freshman, scrawled in their notebooks historical details about the Ottomans’ intimate relationship with Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Meredith Meyer, '06

Photo: Daniel Goffman.

July 22, 2005