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By Margaret Meserve

Renaissance humanists believed that the origins of peoples may possibly show the most important evidence approximately their glossy political personality. Margaret Meserve explores what occurred whilst ecu historians became to review the political background of a religion except their own.
Meserve investigates the equipment and illuminates the factors of students negotiating transferring boundaries―between scholarly study and political propaganda, among a dedication to severe old inquiry and the strain of centuries of classical and Christian prejudice, among the educational beliefs of humanism and the typical calls for of political patronage. Drawing on political oratory, diplomatic correspondence, campaign propaganda, and old treatises, Meserve indicates how learn into the origins of Islamic empires sprang from―and contributed to―contemporary debates over the specter of Islamic enlargement within the Mediterranean. Humanist histories of the Turks have been sharply polemical, portraying the Ottomans as a rogue energy. yet writings on different Muslim polities comprise a number of the first confident value determinations of Muslim statecraft within the ecu tradition.
This groundbreaking booklet deals new insights into Renaissance humanist scholarship and the longstanding ecu debates over the connection among Christianity and Islam.

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Extra info for Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought (Harvard Historical Studies)

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Many ventured to speculate on the significance of the disaster for the course of world history and, in doing so, to search for an explanation for the tragedy in the record of past events. 30 Empires of Islam in Renaissance Historical Thought Cardinal Isidore of Kiev, often cited as a believer in the Turks’ Trojan origins,25 witnessed the fall of Constantinople at first hand, having been sent by Pope Nicholas V as papal legate to the Byzantine court. In his letters to Christian leaders describing the capture of the city, Isidore does on occasion refer to the Turks as Teucri, but without the slightest intimation that they actually are Trojans or that their actions represent any kind of revenge against the Greeks for ancient wrongs.

John on Rhodes,20 the Turks are called Teucri and the sultan of the day Magnus Teucer; but in none of these documents is it suggested that the Turks are actually Trojans, or even de- The Rise and Fall of the Trojan Turks 29 scended from Trojans. 21 The letters are either diplomatic reports detailing the latest Ottoman activities and movements or slightly more formal communications addressed from one state to another and appealing for joint action against them; but in either case, although the Turks are called Teucri, their character as Trojans is simply not an issue that is discussed.

It was simply a familiar classical name which, thanks to a coincidence of history and geography, was convenient and pleasing to adopt for a newly emergent nation. The real origins of that nation, however, lay far outside the boundaries of the classical world. Salutati’s later successor as Florentine chancellor, Poggio Bracciolini, expressed similar ambivalence about the practice of calling the Turks Teucri. 12 In none of these works did he claim that the Turks were actually Trojans, or that they were descended from Trojans, or that memories of Trojan defeat in any way determined their present policy.

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