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Introduction: Double Agents In Early Modern Europe

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Chapter Summary

Sir Thomas Roe's double agency as both a political and cultural broker is by no means exceptional, and his multidimensional career as diplomat and cultural broker is mirrored in the careers of many of his contemporaries. Indeed, the early modern diplomat's complex and heterogeneous set of responsibilities, assignments and activities—his negozio—has been shown to be the rule rather than the exception. Evidence suggests that cultural assignments had been an informal but fixed part of the ambassador's tasks since the late Middle Ages. In the political reality of the early modern period, knowledge of works of art, as well as personal acquaintance with artists and dealers, could prove a valuable currency in the process of consolidating or advancing one's position.

Keywords:cultural broker; diplomat; Sir Thomas Roe



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