Davis, Philip_Photo

Philip  Davis  ABD  email student

Field of Study
Early Modern England, Italy and the Mediterranean; Early Modern Diplomacy, Religion and Identity

Christopher R. Kyle

Dissertation Title
Cross-Confessional Alliances in Early Seventeenth-Century Anglo-Italian Diplomacy

Dissertation Description

My dissertation will demonstrate that once a formal ambassador was dispatched by England and the Italian powers, he became responsible for obtaining intelligence and dispatching that information back to the Secretariat and Court. The Crown, not rivals within the Privy Council, financed ambassadors’ missions. While ambassadors were now directly tied to the state bureaucracy, the initial years of exchange retained some characteristics of previous embassies, where diplomats often received foreign pensions that supplemented their official disbursements. Close control of ambassadors during the early years of James’ rule facilitated the flow of information and plans during the Venetian Interdict. It also encouraged coordinated efforts to combat Mediterranean corsairs, both through direct force and by tighter bureaucratic controls over trade and travel. Issues of protocol established formal processes surrounding diplomatic missions. Diplomats also became engaged in tightening control over their fellow nationals who came to Italy as travelers, exiles, and merchants.


By the 1620s, England’s Italian ambassadors terminated their ties to foreign states and constituted a diplomatic corps, mirroring reforms that had already increased bureaucratic control over the diplomatic networks of Italian States. I will chart the formation of diplomatic procedures through: established protocols for precedent; focused information streams and powers of negotiation; increased use of permanent embassies rather than special ambassadors; and employment by the court writ large. This new corps of representatives tightened lines of communication between delegates in other capitals and began to negotiate a vision for coordinated engagement in the growing conflict in Central Europe. Using Venice as their base, the English ambassador increasingly traveled throughout the Italian peninsula coordinating those plans in the other ducal capitals. The independent Italian States of Venice, Tuscany, and Savoy maintained various levels of embassage in London –maintaining a permanent resident, vacillating between ambassadorial secretaries and residents, and dispatching special envoys as circumstances required respectively. In the early seventeenth century, these increasingly peripheral states tested cross-confessional diplomacy as division increasingly drew the primary powers of Europe toward war over religious differences.

Adopting a semi-microhistorical approach, I will divide my dissertation into chapters examining: the dangers of embassy, the nature of diplomatic service and communication, efforts to curb corsairing in the Mediterranean, censure of diplomats who spurred controversy, cultural spaces and effects of