The Grand Ducal Medici and the Levant

This volume addresses the major themes that marked the complex relations between the Medici Grand Dukes and the Levant. For over two centuries (1532-1737), the Medici, as dukes of Florence and grand dukes of Tuscany, ruled over a western Mediterranean state whose geopolitical sphere of infl uence was centered in Europe. The transformation of the House of Medici from republican “primi inter pares” of Quattrocento Florence to dynastic rulers occurred at the same moment when the Ottoman Empire emerged as an early modern superpower, polarizing Mediterranean politics. The Italian Peninsula became the stage where the cultural forces of the eastern and western Mediterranean converged. As a result, from the early days of their rule, the Medici grand dukes became enmeshed in a power dynamic that encompassed war, religion, diplomacy as well as economic interests and cultural exchange. This collection of essays sheds new light on key aspects of the complex relations between the Medici grand dukes and the Levant.