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In the Process of Being Levantines. The ‘Levantinization’ of the Catholic Community of Izmir (1683–1724)

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The purpose of this essay is to offer a contribution to the process of Levantinization of the Catholic community of Izmir, between the late seventeenth and the early eighteenth century. The first part of the paper is about the detection of how the term Levantine has been used, both historically and by historiography, while the second is focused on the Catholic missionaries of Izmir, depicted in their daily dealings with individuals and groups of different religions. Their responses to inter-religious coexistence as a process of adaptation, promote the idea of ‘functional tolerance’ not necessarily supported by a theoretical discourse about its value. The interaction of the missionaries and their Catholic parishioners sees the emergence of a new hybridized mentality, the actual agent that forms the basis of the Levantine identity. The original archival sources for this paper are the missionaries‘ letters from the Archivio Storico De Propaganda Fide.

Affiliations: 1: for Mediterranean Studies, Rethymno, Crete


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