The Mediterranean diplomacy of the small Italian powers (1530-1730)

November 7-8, 2023, Haifa

Organizers: Davide Trentacoste (HCMH) & Francesco Caprioli (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Diplomatic history is one of the fields that has best embodied the global and cultural turn that in recent decades has led scholars to focus on various historical phenomena in new spaces through new methodological lenses. Under the umbrella category of “New Diplomatic History”, scholarship on early modern Mediterranean diplomacy has programmatically gone beyond and reworked some of the conventional topics and paradigms related to the political relations established between Christian and Muslim powers. In this field of study, various studies have shown how the early modern Mediterranean context was characterized not only by a political-religious clash, but also by intense exchanges and dialogue, shaped among powers of different cultures and confessions. However, most of these investigations have only emphasized the relations established by the major Latin-Christian European political entities (i.e., the Habsburg Empire, the Republic of Venice, or the Spanish and French monarchies), leaving other actors in the background, such as Italian regional powers like Parma, Modena, or Lucca.

Following on from these premises, this conference intends to explore the diplomatic strategies, models, agencies, and practices adopted by Italian duchies and republics when negotiating with the Ottomans, the Safavids or the various Muslim polities of North Africa, and to compare them with those traditionally deployed in the European context.

By addressing the issue of Christian-Muslim diplomatic relations through the eyes of the small Italian regional powers during the early modern times, our aim will be twofold: first, we want to offer a fresh overview of the small Italian powers’ diplomatic strategies towards Muslim states throughout the early modern age. Secondly, we want to provide a useful discussion about similarities and dissimilarities among small Italian states regarding how they used diplomacy to represent themselves outside the Latin-Christian world.


The conference themes may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Differences and similarities in small Italian states’ diplomatic strategies. How did they act outside Latin-Christian Europe and how did they present themselves when dealing with Muslim powers?
  2. Diplomatic agencies and practices used by small Italian states when negotiating with Muslim powers. Was there a culture of interfaith diplomacy shared by these regional powers during the early modern age?
  3. Changes and continuities in small Italian states’ policy. To what extent did diplomatic negotiations with Muslim rulers alter the policy of Italian regional powers and how they were perceived in the Christian world?

Deadline & details

  • Maximum 250-word abstract and a short CV (no more than 1 page).
  • Please send these documents to:
  • Deadline for submission is May 1st, 2023.
  • Applicants will be notified of the acceptance of their proposal by May 15th, 2023.
  • Please send your inquiries to


The Haifa Center for Mediterranean History will cover the costs of accommodation and local transport on the days of the event. More details on this will be provided after the closing of the CFP and the notification of acceptance to participants. Some modest travel support may be on offer, pending the availability of funds.