Diplomacy has never been a politically neutral research field, even when it was confined to merely reconstructing the backgrounds of wars and revolutions. In the nineteenth century diplomacy became one of the backbones of the grand narrative of the building of the modern ‘nation-state’. Since then Renaissance Italy has been on the front-line of diplomatic research, but it is now high time to move on and draw up a new survey of Italian diplomacy. In opening up innovative approaches to the theme of Renaissance diplomacy, this book will sidestep the classic dichotomy between medieval and early modern, and reconsider the whole diplomatic process without reducing it to the ‘grand narrative’ of the birth of resident embassies. The book situates and explains the growth of diplomatic activity from a series of perspectives—political and institutional, cognitive and linguistic, material and spatial—and opens out its significance for each of these theatres of public life. Communication and Conflict thus offers a highly sophisticated and persuasive account of causation, change, and impact in respect of a major political and cultural form. It also provides the most complete account to date of how it was that specifically Italian forms of diplomacy came to play such a central role, not only in the development of international relations at the European level, but also in the spread and application of humanism and of the new modes of political thinking and political discussion associated with the generations of Machiavelli and Guicciardini
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