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WESTERN TRAVELERS, EASTERN ANTIQUITIES, AND THE IMAGE OF THE TURK IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE

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Educated elite Europeans who visited Constantinople on diplomatic, scholarly, and commercial enterprises in the sixteenth century shared a common culture of antiquarianism, and their passion for the antiquities of the East shaped their accounts of the Turk and Ottoman Constantinople. The traveling antiquarians Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, Pierre Gilles, Melchior Lorck, Pieter Coecke van Aelst, and Nicholas de Nicolay produced a diverse range of printed works based on their firsthand experiences in the Ottoman Empire, in which they used traditional Renaissance genres (such as the urban encomium, the city view, the historia painting, and the costume book) to depict the Turk either as the enemy of antiquities or, alternatively, as an eternal, exotic object like the relics of the past. While some antiquarian travelers, most notably Lorck, Coecke, and Nicolay, demonstrated the variety that existed amongst the Turks, the ultimate impact of sixteenth-century antiquarian accounts of the Ottoman Empire was to deepen the Western perception of Oriental difference.

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/content/journals/10.1163/157006503322487368
2003-01-01
2015-01-25

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