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L’Europe et les Turcs

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Emmanuelle Pujeau

Foreword

T. C. Price Zimmermann

Testo integrale

1No historian of his era took a greater interest in the Ottoman Turks than Paolo Giovio. Although he was an ardent partisan of a crusade to stop the expansionist drive of the sultans, their raids on Christian cities, and their conquests of Christian lands and peoples, it was part of his cosmopolitan outlook and political sagacity to realize that understanding one’s enemy was a necessary prelude to an effective campaign against him. As a historian he felt that by promoting an understanding of the Muslim world, its strengths and beliefs, he could best contribute to meeting the very real peril from the East. And as a responsible citizen of the corpus Christianum he continually deplored the fratricidal quarrels of the Christian princes which prevented the concerted efforts required to protect their lands and people. Although his works on the Turks went through many editions, he did not escape the denigrations of those with less enlightened understanding. At the imperial court he was thought to be “aficionado a la nación turquesca,” and the Roman courtiers amused themselves by imagining that he spent his time reclining on Ottoman divans as he dictated his histories and other works. Giovio, in fact, is a cardinal figure for understanding both the Turks and the European attitudes toward them.

2No contemporary scholar is better prepared to place Giovio in the intellectual and politicial milieu of Renaissance Europe than Dr. Pujeau. As preparation, not only has she immersed herself in the works of Giovio and other contemporaries, she has already published important articles dealing with the European understanding of the Turks, particularly in the case of the Venetians. To deepen her knowledge of the military aspects of the conflict she has researched the naval battle of Prévesa from a tactical as well as a strategic standpoint, and even followed the example of Polybius in visiting the site of the encounter. In her search for background and sources she has been a habitué of the Biblioteca Marciana, the Archivio di Stato di Venezia, the Vatican Library and Archives, and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France to name only the most important.

3In addition, Pujeau’s work has placed her in a position to assess the impact of the long conflict with the Turks in the formation of the modern European outlook.

4As Europe and America face a recrudescent Islamic fundamentalist belligerence, we would do well to study the results of her researches as a means to enlarging our own comprehension of an urgent contemporary phenomenon.

© Presses universitaires du Midi, 2015

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