Fear the Turk or Call on the Turk? Conflicting Emotions in Renaissance Italy


  • Giovanni Ricci University of Ferrara, Italy




It is well known that after the fall of Constantinople in 1453 Renaissance Italy was consumed by its fear of the Turk. This article will demonstrate that throughout the Renaissance the Turks were also associated with a set of positive emotions: hope in a system of justice that Christian authorities no longer seemed to ensure; a desire for vengeance against the untouchable ruling elite; the expectation of social, moral and even religious renewal. Historical memory has been pruned of these positive associations but it is important to keep in mind this ambivalent emotional conflict which tore apart all levels of society and broke up societal groups to the point of shaping them as much as the hostilities did.