chapter  9
13 Pages

Of translation and empire: sixteenth-century Ottoman imperial interpreters as Renaissance go-betweens: Tijana Krstić

Over the last decade scholarship on the early modern era has begun to recognize the Ottoman contribution to cultural processes such as the Renaissance, humanism and ‘confessionalization’, once thought of as uniquely European.1 With this new interest in integrating the Ottomans into the study of early modern European and world history also came curiosity about a variety of cultural intermediaries who helped construct shared conceptual frameworks across geographic, cultural and religious boundaries. Captives, converts, merchants, sailors, travellers, artists and diplomats have become central to investigations into the mechanisms of cultural exchange and the nature of boundaries which were both created and transgressed in the early modern era.2 Although professional translators, as cultural intermediaries par excellence, have long attracted the attention of scholars, until recently their activities were considered mostly from the perspective of political and diplomatic history. Their backgrounds, social networks and relationship to the centres of power, the translation ‘regimes’ that they adhered to and the subjective conditions in which they produced translation are only now being recognized as important aspects of historical study on translation and cultural mediation.3