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Title: Historical uses of the secret chancery in early modern Venice : archiving, researching and representing the records of state
Author: Antonini, Fabio
ISNI:       0000 0004 5915 2906
Awarding Body: Birkbeck, University of London
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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For many historians today, the consultation of archival documents is an indispensable aspect of the research underlying their work, yet little is still known of the relationship between the two before the emergence of the national archives as centres of scholarship during the nineteenth century. In the case of the Republic of Venice, an early modern government well known for its programme of official state historiography based around a privileged access to the records of its secret chancery, there remains a significant gap in our understanding of how the use of this collection actually shaped the narratives and writing styles of those who were permitted to access it. Drawing upon the recent ‘archival turn’ in historical studies, this thesis is a re-examination of the historian’s craft in early modern Venice from the perspective of the physical collection of diplomatic and governmental papers with which a growing number were beginning to be confronted. After establishing that the historians of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries were well aware of the methodological importance of the archive as a site of authentic and authoritative historical information, this study will consider the ways in which the archive of the Venetian secret chancery was increasingly organised as a historical monument to the recent and distant affairs of the Republic, before constructing a detailed account of how its historians accessed, consulted and extracted material from this constantly evolving archival institution. Concluding with a series of case studies which illustrate that the registers, indexes and research assistants of the chancery did indeed have a significant impact upon the narratives and historical identity of the city during this period, this thesis posits the idea that early modern record-keepers had a far more influential role in contemporary historiography than has hitherto been acknowledged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available