Brege examines how Tuscany established a global presence in new book
In his new
book, “Tuscany in the Age of Empire” (Harvard University Press, 2021), Maxwell
School faculty member Brian Brege offers a fresh appraisal of one of the
foremost cities of the Italian Renaissance as it sought knowledge, fortune and
power throughout Asia, the Americas and beyond.
examines how Tuscany established a global presence while unable to compete
directly with the growing empires of other European states. First, he shows,
Tuscany partnered with larger European powers, seeking to obtain trade rights
within their empires and to manage portions of other states’ overseas
territories. Second, Tuscans invested in cultural, intellectual and commercial
institutions at home, attracting the knowledge and wealth generated by Europe’s
imperial expansions. Finally, Tuscans built effective coalitions with other
regional powers in the Mediterranean and the Islamic world, which secured
access to global products and empowered the Tuscan monarchy in foreign affairs.
areas of common interest with stronger neighbors and forming alliances with
other marginal polities, a small state was able to protect its own security
while carving out a space as a diplomatic and intellectual hub in a globalizing
Europe, Brege asserts.
assistant professor of history, is a historian of early modern Europe and its
engagement with the wider world. His research highlights the role of small
powers and enterprising individuals in creating global capitalism and empire.
He received a Ph.D. at Stanford University in 2014 and is a past Fellow at
Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies.