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Diplomats

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Chapter Summary

Although a diplomat of ambassadorial rank headed British missions of only the greatest political importance until well into the twentieth century, from the beginning an ambassador was almost always in charge of the post at Constantinople. The first five or six ambassadors were all merchants or servants of the Levant Company before their appointment. The diplomatic manuals of the early modern period detail the attributes of the 'perfect ambassador' at great length. One of these was linguistic ability, and it is no accident that some of the most successful ambassadors at Constantinople, like Barton in the late sixteenth century, had good Turkish or what was more usual Italian, for long the lingua franca of the Levant. The ambassador's 'family' consisted of both his relations who accompanied him to Turkey or joined him subsequently and all those employed to assist him in his embassy.

Keywords: British diplomacy; Constantinople; Levant Company; Turkish ambassadors

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