Agents of Empire: Spanish Ambassadors in Sixteenth-Century Italy by Michael J. LevinAgents of Empire: Spanish Ambassadors in Sixteenth-Century Italy by Michael J. Levin

Agents of Empire: Spanish Ambassadors in Sixteenth-Century Italy

byMichael J. Levin

Hardcover | October 3, 2005

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Historians have long held that during the decades from the end of the Habsburg-Valois Wars in 1559 until the outbreak in 1618 of the Thirty Years' War, Spanish domination of Italy was so complete that one can refer to the period as a "pax hispanica." In this book, based on extensive research in the papers of the ambassadors who represented Charles V and Philip II, Michael J. Levin instead reveals the true fragility of Spanish control and the ambiguous nature of its impact on Italian political and cultural life.While exploring the nature and weaknesses of Spanish imperialism in the sixteenth century, Levin focuses on the activities of Spain's emissaries in Rome and Venice, drawing us into a world of intrigue and occasional violence as the Spaniards attempted to manipulate the crosscurrents of Italian and papal politics to serve their own ends. Levin's often-colorful account uncovers the vibrant world of late Renaissance diplomacy in which popes were forced to flee down secret staircases and ambassadors too often only narrowly avoided assassination. An important contribution to our understanding of the nature and limits of the Spanish imperial system, Agents of Empire more broadly highlights the centrality of diplomatic history to any consideration of the politics of empire.

Michael J. Levin is Associate Professor of History at the University of Akron.
Title:Agents of Empire: Spanish Ambassadors in Sixteenth-Century ItalyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:238 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.94 inPublished:October 3, 2005Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801443520

ISBN - 13:9780801443527


Editorial Reviews

"Michael J. Levin is a masterful storyteller who has transformed good old-fashioned diplomatic history in a refreshing way to reinterpret one of the most fundamental questions in European history—how the fiercely independent city-states of Renaissance Italy seemingly became pliant colonies of Spain during the sixteenth century. Levin shows that this traditional dilemma begs the real question because Spanish hegemony was a myth. The fastidious arrogance of the Spanish and their inability to see the situation through the eyes of others led to blunder after blunder, diplomatic embarrassments, and military defeats. Indeed, the emperor had no clothes, a fact even his most dedicated agents could not cover up. I could not put Agents of Empire down as I learned new things on page after page." - Edward Muir, Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences, Northwestern University