The Italian Wars as A (Multi)Media European Event

This research project investigates representations of the Italian Wars (1494-1559) in the European (multi)media system. In particular, it focuses on the mediatization of some major political and religious events (e.g. the battles of Marignano, Ravenna, and Agnadello; or the interdict against Venice), on the public representations of some key figures (e.g. the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I, the King of England Henry VIII Tudor, the roman pontiffs).

The news about these major events and figures spread across linguistic and geographical boundaries thanks to different visual, written, printed and oral means of communication and gave rise to an evanescent European public sphere. Focusing on the interaction of print, manuscript and orality and analysing ballads, cheap prints, songs, manuscripts and voices the project will illuminate the dynamics of the early modern communication system, an integral multi-media (or intermedial) system within which the means of communication interacted.

The crisis of the Italian Wars also favoured the formation of a European market for information. The analysis of this media event will show how some key phenomena of modern communication (fake news, propaganda) were nothing new and how the printing press facilitated the circulation of information, but also the spread of sensationalism, misinformation, falsehood, and political rumours.