Lingua eius loquetur mendacium: Pietro Aretino and the Margins of Reformation Diplomacy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


This essay examines how Pietro Aretino used the rhetorical practices of ambassadorial exchange to bring the diplomatic periphery into the center. Drawing together a series of episodes in which Aretino had correspondence with, influence on, or direct dealings with the Tudor court and its representatives, William T. Rossiter shows them to be part of a sustained dialogue instigated by Aretino and maintained by his English respondents. Aretino's use of the printing press was a paradiplomatic force that bypassed traditional channels of influence. It gave agency to an individual who would normally be excluded from international negotiations. This demonstrates how the soft powers of paradiplomacy, exercised through the burgeoning print culture of pre-Tridentine Venice with its transnational reach, could serve as effectively as the hard powers of formal negotiations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)519-537
Number of pages19
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2020


  • Cortigiana
  • English reformation
  • Henry VIII
  • Parody
  • Pronostico
  • Sixteenth-century Italian diplomacy
  • Thomas Cromwell

Cite this