A Special Form of Diplomatic Encounter: Negotiations in Constantinople (1625–1626)
Zsuzsanna Hámori Nagy
Research Centre for the Humanities
In this article, I present a case study of a special form of diplomatic encounter that took place as secret negotiations between the resident ambassadors of France, England, Holland, and Venice and the Transylvanian envoys in Constantinople in 1625–1626 about a prospective alliance between Prince Gábor Bethlen and the anti-Habsburg powers during the Danish phase of the Thirty Years’ War. My analysis of this special form of negotiation offers a comprehensive overview of the practices deriving from the most characteristic circumstances and setbacks of diplomatic activity in Constantinople, i.e., what solutions (if any) were found to resolve problems of precedence, information brokerage, poor economic conditions, and bribery and corruption. I address, furthermore, the private interests of the participating Transylvanian diplomats and consider the extent to which these interests corresponded to the interests of their sending polity and especially of Gábor Bethlen. My discussion sheds light on the ways in which, in general, everyday challenges and networks of relations in Constantinople influenced the diplomacy of small states in the Ottoman orbit, specifically Transylvania in this case, when entering into an alliance with major powers outside the bonds of their Ottoman tributary status.
Keywords: diplomacy, Constantinople, Gábor Bethlen, Principality of Transylvania, Ottoman Empire