Early modern Europe saw new knowledge about the Islamicate world arise at the same time that disruptive conflicts were occurring in religious and broader cultural contexts. But what is the interplay between these developments?
In this talk, Chiara Petrolini will focus on a tangible aspect of the correlation between the growth of knowledge and the spread of violence in Vienna in the early 17th century. She will analyze manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish as »Türkenbeute« and their circulation as trophies of war, souvenirs, sales goods, and objects of scholarship. In the campaigns in Hungary during the Turkish Wars, soldiers’ tents and mosques were looted and vandalized by Christian soldiers. Books were among the spoils of war, and some of these books ended up in the collections of bibliophiles and scholars in Vienna and elsewhere. And not only books: prisoners of war were employed by late humanists and philologists as teachers and copyists of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. To explore the connections between these and other violent events and the building of new knowledge about the Islamicate world, Chiara Petrolini will present the case of Sebastian Tengnagel, the imperial librarian and prominent Orientalist. His life and career, and his extraordinary collection of Oriental manuscripts, are a perfect example of the intertwining of violence, erudition, thirst for knowledge, and the search for concord in early-17th-century Orientalism in Vienna.
Chiara Petrolini specializes in the religious and intellectual history of early modern Europe (16th–17thcenturies), focusing on religious conversions, Paolo Sarpi, and Tommaso Campanella. She studied the history of philosophy at the Scuola Normale Superiore and the Centre for Renaissance Studies in Florence. She researched at the Universities of Verona, Macerata, Padova, and Bologna and, most recently, at the University of Vienna on a project on the imperial librarian and Orientalist Sebastian Tengnagel. Currently she is an IFK_Research Fellow.
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