Imperial Envoys in Constantinople

The Mediality of Diplomatic Correspondence (Mid-17th Century)

Johann Rudolf Schmid zum Schwarzenhorn (1590–1667) was one of the most important Habsburg diplomats in Constantinople and one of the greatest specialists in Ottoman affairs at the Imperial Court. Sub-project A focusses on his correspondence with the Imperial Court, especially during his time as internuncius (1648–49) and grand ambassador (1650–51), which has thus far been ignored by research.

There are 41 letters and other pieces of writing from the internunciature, among them instructions and final reports, and 47 letters from the grand embassy. To broaden the source base, the letters of Schmid’s residency (1629–1643), and of his successors as residents, Alexander von Greiffenklau zu Vollrats (1643–1648) and Simon Reniger von Reningen (1649–1665), will be included, as well as the reports of Hermann Czernin von Chudenitz (grand ambassador 1644–45).

The main purpose of the project is to analyse the ‘rules’ according to which the letters were written with the aim of identifying the main factors that shaped their content. Due to the existence of a great number of letters, complex methods of qualitative and quantitative text analysis will be combined. Following an actor-centric approach to international politics, the diplomats are understood as individuals who were able to reflect on their situation, formulate requests, make decisions, and implement these decisions in behaviour. Furthermore, the duties of the diplomats have to be analysed as well as the relationships between authors and recipients, the diplomats’ self-revelation, and the process of reception.

Staff: Christoph Würflinger, MA