Ela Bozok

Ph.D. student, European University Institute, Florence)

“Tal nova non fu creta”: Circulation of News and Rumours During the Siege of Rhodes (July-December 1522)

February 11, 2021 - 3:30-5:00 pm (GMT) - on Zoom

The island of Rhodes, ruled by Knights of St. John since 1309, was besieged by Ottoman forces in July 1522, forty years after the first unsuccessful siege. Despite being outnumbered, the Knights defended the island for nearly six months, finally surrendering it on 24 December 1522. While this long siege caused frustrations on both sides, it also created an environment in which news about siege were sparse and abundant at the same time. News from the island itself, written by those who were participating in the battle, were few in number and were outdated when they arrived in Venice, the main hub of news regarding Ottoman Empire during early sixteenth century. This scarcity of “verified news” in turn created an “information vacuum” which was filled by news and rumours that were originated from actors located outside of the actual scene of action. In this talk, the researcher's aim is to discuss the content and the routes of news and rumours about the siege of Rhodes by mainly looking at letters of various actors to understand the mechanism of the circulation of information in a specific geography and time period.

Suggested reading:
David Coast & Jo Fox, Rumour and Politics. History Compass, 13/5, 2015, pp.222-234

Peter Burke, ‘Early Modern Venice as a Center of Information and Communication’, in J. Martin and D. Romano (eds.) Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297–1797 (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press 2002) pp.389–419

Ela Bozok is currently a PhD student at European University Institute, Florence. Her research focuses on the production and the dissemination of news and rumours about the Ottoman Empire during the sixteenth century. Previously, she worked as a researcher in the state-funded history database project “Ottoman Empire and the Circulation of Information in the Mediterranean in the first half of 16th Century” (2014-2017). Her publications resulting from this project are “From Venice to Istanbul, Istanbul to Venice during 1520s: Ambassador Marco Minio” (2018) and “Impressions and Reactions of Venetian Merchants in the Eastern Mediterranean upon the Conquest of Syria and Egypt” (2017) and “Islands as Transit Posts in the News Networks of Early Sixteenth Century” co-authored with Dr. Zeynep Nevin Yelce (Tubingen University Press, forthcoming 2021).

Below, the recording of the event:

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