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Agents of Empire


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Agents of Empire describes the paths taken through the eastern Mediterranean and its European hinterland by members of a Venetian-Albanian family, almost all of them previously invisible to history. They include an archbishop in the Balkans, the captain of the papal flagship at the Battle of Lepanto, the power behind the throne in the Ottoman province of Moldavia, and a dragoman (interpreter) at the Venetian embassy in Istanbul.

About the Author

Noel Malcolm, a Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy, has previously written histories of Bosnia (1994) and Kosovo (1998). He is a general editor of the Clarendon edition of Thomas Hobbes, for which he himself has produced acclaimed editions of Hobbes's correspondence (1994) and Leviathan (2012). He is also a former Foreign Editor of the Spectator. He was knighted in 2014. Agents of Empire is his newest book.


The book is a masterpiece, which will open the eyes of readers to the intrinsic interest and importance of a historically neglected region of Europe within the framework of a relationship between civilizations which is as complex today as it was in the sixteenth century. -- Sir John Elliott, Regius Professor of History Emeritus, University of Oxford
The word "magisterial" is overused, but for once it is properly applied to this latest offering from a scholar who is as prolific as he is polymathic. -- Daniel Johnson * Standpoint *
There are very few scholars with Malcolm's linguistic skills and historical vision, which is one of the many reasons Agents of Empire is such an important book. It opens up new vistas of research into the hinterland of Renaissance Europe -- Jerry Brotton * Telegraph *
The best introduction to the 16th-century Mediterranean since Fernand Braudel's The Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II (1949) -- David Wootton * Wall Street Journal *

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