In the course of the sixteenth century Martin Crusius (1526-1607), professor of Latin and Greek at the university of Tübingen, compiled an extraordinarily rich record of Greek life under Ottoman rule and assembled what was arguably the most accurate representation of the Greek Orthodox patriarchate in Western Europe. My paper explores precisely how Crusius amassed this wealth of information in ways that were both innovative and conventional. It focuses in particular on the dozens of Greek Orthodox Christians who —while collecting alms to ransom captured family members— visited Crusius in his Tübingen home and informed him about their life and culture. The broader aim of anatomizing these cross-cultural conversations is to grasp how a single individual experienced the flows of peoples and the forms of connectedness that the early modern period is becoming increasingly known for.     

Richard Calis is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the department of history at Princeton University. His work focuses on books and their readers, antiquarianism and ethnography, and the history of scholarship in the broadest sense. His dissertation, entitled The Apostle of the Orient: Martin Crusius (1526-1607) and the discovery of Ottoman Greece, uses the life and writings of Martin Crusius to offer a microhistory of knowledge production. An article he co-authored on the library of the Winthrop family has recently appeared in Past & Present. The first results of his dissertation research will appear in the next issue of Renaissance Quarterly. He has been a visiting researcher at the universities of Oxford, Tübingen, and Venice. Before coming to Princeton he studied classics and history in Amsterdam. 

Respondent: Anthony Grafton, History

Supported by The Christos G. and Rhoda Papaioannou Modern Greek Studies Fund

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