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Brokering EmpireTrans-Imperial Subjects between Venice and Istanbul$
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E. Natalie Rothman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449079

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449079.001.0001

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Trans-Imperial Subjects as Supplicants and as Brokers

Trans-Imperial Subjects as Supplicants and as Brokers

(p.29) 1 Trans-Imperial Subjects as Supplicants and as Brokers
Brokering Empire

E. Natalie Rothman

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the commercial activities of a range of trans-imperial subjects; including converts; returnees from Ottoman captivity; and Jewish, Armenian, and Greek commercial brokers in Venice. It examines the development of commercial brokerage itself as a key link between the state and the marketplace, as well as between local and foreign. The chapter ends by outlining the emergence of the brokers’ guild and confraternity, and analyzing how differently positioned trans-imperial subjects petitioned to become brokers, what audience they imagined for their petitions, and what notions of Venetian society they invoked in them. The petitions expanded the meaning of membership well beyond the boundaries of legal citizenship. By paying close attention to these petitions’ narrative frames, one can gain a better understanding of how they articulated subjecthood in relationship to the political economy of early modern Venice and, more broadly, to the imperial and patrician dimensions of early modern statecraft.

Keywords:   trans-imperial subjects, commercial brokerage, state, marketplace, brokers’ guild, petitions, legal citizenship, subjecthood, early modern Venice

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