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Title: The politics of culture in the world of René of Anjou
Author: Margolis, Oren J.
ISNI:       0000 0003 6739 6030
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores the way in which René, French prince and exiled king of Naples (1409-80), sought, by means of his transnational network of agents and allies, to assert his Italian political agenda chiefly through a programme of cultural politics. It is a case study for a ‘diplomatic’ approach to culture, and provides a new take on mid-fifteenth-century Italian politics as well. René of Anjou was defeated in a war for Naples in 1442 by Alfonso V of Aragon, but he maintained his Italian connections in the hopes of a return to the throne. His Italian network was based on the once-powerful Guelph faction, and then also on his chivalric Ordre du Croissant, which counted amongst its members the mercenary captain and usurping duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza. A programme of cultural politics, sometimes involving the exchange of gifts, other times simply involving politically-affective language, was part of keeping this network together. It was at the heart of the relationship between King René and Jacopo Antonio Marcello, a Venetian patrician and Croissant knight who brokered René’s connection to a number of major Italian cultural figures: Giovanni Bellini, Guarino of Verona, Andrea Mantegna, and Janus Pannonius, among others. The works they produced were crucial to the development and aggrandizement of the network, which was the foundation of a power bloc intended to return René to power in Naples. René tried to exploit this network in the Lombard wars of the early 1450s, but the Italian League that emerged in 1454 actually worked against René and his Guelph allies, particularly those in Florence who posed a threat to the Medici regime. After René’s ultimate military failure in the 1458-64 Neapolitan war of succession, his network evolved into a faction opposed to the Italian League and the state system it sustained.
Supervisor: Watts, John Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available