venetian doge

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favourite sultana meme: 5 accomplishments ♦ correspondence with european rulers

“Nurbanu communicated with the Venetian doge and the French dowager queen Catherine de Médicis (and perhaps others). Nurbanu’s Venetian letters are direct and brief, suggestive of an established and businesslike relationship between her and the government of the republic, in which she appears the dominant partner.

Nurbanu’s communication with Catherine de Médicis, the queen mother and regent for the French king Henry III, had the goal of promoting good relations between the Ottoman and French courts. Nurbanu appears to have invited Catherine to send an embassy to Istanbul for the purpose of strengthening relations between the two countries. Catherine, who appears to have corresponded regularly with the sultan, wrote at least one letter to Nurbanu as well. Addressing her letter “from the Queen mother of the King to the Sultana Queen mother of the Grand Seigneur,” she requested Nurbanu’s help in the renewal of the Capitulations, trading privileges first granted to France in 1536.”  – Leslie P. Peirce - The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire

In the eleventh century a Venetian doge married a Greek princess. In her Byzantine circle the fork was clearly in use. At any rate, we hear that she lifted food to her mouth “by means of little golden forks with two prongs.”

This gave rise in Venice to a dreadful scandal: “This novelty was regarded as so excessive a sign of refinement that the dogaressa was severely rebuked by the ecclesiastics who called down divine wrath upon her. Shortly afterward she was afflicted by a repulsive illness and St. Bonaventure did not hesitate to declare this was a punishment of God.”