- What’s On
This online lecture by Dr Philip Mansel was presented by the Anglo-Turkish Society on December 15 and can be viewed on the society’s website.
Philip Mansel uses hitherto unpublished correspondence of Louis XIV with his ambassadors in Constantinople to show the strength of the alliance between France and the Ottoman Empire.
It is a little known fact that Louis XIV put saving the Ottoman Empire from Austrian attacks before preventing William of Orange’s invasion of England. If Marseilles boomed, and coffee became a fashionable drink, it was thanks to trade with the Levant, and wheat from the Ottoman Empire helped save France from starvation in 1709.
Cultural links were as close as trade links: the royal library acquired Ottoman and Arabic manuscripts and the 1001 Nights were translated into French. French engineers were sent to survey Ottoman ports, just in case the Ottoman Empire collapsed – a selection of their drawings is shown during the talk.
Dr Mansel is a historian of courts and cities, and of France and the Ottoman Empire. His most recent book King of World: The Life of Louis XIV was published in July 2019. He co-founded the Society for Court Studies with David Starkey, Robert Oresko and Simon Thurley in 1995. He is also a Trustee of the Levantine Heritage Foundation. His latest article in Cornucopia focuses on Mouradgea d’Ohsson, whose Tableau général is the subject of a new book by Carter Vaughn Findley.