Professor Giuseppe Marcocci

Indios, cinesi, falsari: Le storie del mondo nel Rinascimento (Laterza, 2016)

Did the overseas explorations and the first global interactions change perspectives on history in Europe and beyond? Indios, cinesi, falsari combines the classic question about the impact of the New World on the Old, famously raised by John Elliott, with a specific focus on a number of Renaissance authors who attempted to write the history of non-European peoples. Their imaginative solutions made it possible to include their past, too, in the comprehensive frame of world history.

A study of trans-imperial cross-fertilization of historical writings in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, this book provides a lively account, which twists and turns from Mexico to China, passing through the Moluccas Islands and Peru, the shops of Venetian printers and the rival courts of Spain and England. In doing so, it discloses the global nature of Renaissance historiography, in which the recovery of models from Classical Antiquity was associated with a confusing discovery: the cultures and societies with which Europeans came into contact had a past to decipher. But to what extent was it possible to write the history of peoples that Europeans had never heard of? And why did the Bible and Greek and Latin authors say nothing about so many traces of distant ages? How to reconcile a sudden multiplicity of histories with the increasing sense of unity of the globe? Such questions led to a variety of answers in the writing of world histories that are still surprising today.

Reviews

What makes Giuseppe Marcocci’s contribution distinctive and of particular values is that not only is he fully alive to the dangers of constructing a teleological argument that sees early modern accounts as laying foundations for global history writing of the 21st century, but he also shows the degree to which these (mainly sixteenth-century) attempts to write the history of the new worlds–both west and east–influenced each other and were reinvented for their different audiences. – Simon Ditchfield, Journal of Early Modern History

  • Overseas Iberian Empires
  • Iberian Religious World
  • Global Renaissance

My current research analyses a number of episodes of visual insults that marked the political life in the early modern Iberian empires. I am carrying out this project in collaboration with Jorge Flores (European University Institute), exploring (mostly) unpublished materials kept in archives and libraries of the Iberian Peninsula, Asia and the Americas. Meanwhile, I am completing articles and chapters on a range of topics running from the construction of the Portuguese and Spanish empires as an entwined historical process to the troubled relationship between the Jesuit missions and the Iberian crowns.

I am also revising a general history of the Inquisition in Portugal and its empire, which I co-authored with José Pedro Paiva (Universidade de Coimbra), for an English edition (forthcoming in the Medieval and Early Modern Iberian World series, Brill), as well as a book that I recently published on Renaissance world histories for its Spanish translation by Alianza Editorial.

Finally, next months will see the publication of an edited volume on Machiavelli’s impact on the European perception of Islam, as well as the circulation of his writings across the Muslim world. The book, Machiavelli, Islam and the East, which I have co-edited with Lucio Biasiori (Scuola Normale Superiore) aims at reorienting current views about the foundations of the modern political thought. I understand it as part of my attempt to place Iberian history in a broader context. In other occasions, I have already tried to do the same in collaboration with scholars from other fields, such as archaeology, art history and literature.

I would be happy to hear from potential DPhil and Masters students interested in the early modern Iberian world, or looking at topics related to my research or early modern global history more generally.

I currently teach:

Prelims: FHS:
Approaches

General History VII

General History III General History VIII
Conquest and Colonization General History IX
  General History XVIII
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