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Abstract

In 1949, Stalin and his comrades-in-arms were rocked by allegations of voter fraud at a recent Leningrad party conference. Investigations soon revealed the conference’s electoral commission to have zeroed-out all the votes cast against the leaders of the Leningrad party organization. Outrage within the all-union party leadership in Moscow quickly transformed this scandal into one of the major catalysts for the last major political purge of the Stalin era, the Leningrad Affair. Aside from informing the start of this purge, the scandal also sheds light on the role that elections played in Stalin-era governance.

In: The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
Free access
In: The Vatican Library Review
Author:

Abstract

The English East India Company’s (EIC) enterprise in Japan (1613–1623) is widely recognized as a failure. Scholars of the English-speaking world have emphasized the lack of vendible commodities, the EIC traders’ mismanagement, and Japanese hostility towards Christianity. Nevertheless, these narratives often overlook the political and strategic interests of Japan, in the era of political uncertainty after the long warring-states period. This paper re-examines the EIC traders’ records against recent studies on Japanese politics. The careful observations of political movements surrounding the Siege of Osaka (1614–1615) reveal how the EIC traders were involved in the dynamics of Japanese history. Within the framework of mercantile connections supported by “mutual benefits,” the present study demonstrates how the EIC gradually faced difficulties as the Japanese interests shifted, thus arguing that not only European overseas activity but also the active endeavor of the Asian counterparts significantly influenced global interactions of the early seventeenth century.

Open Access
In: Journal of Early Modern History
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Abstract

This article introduces a hitherto overlooked work on the science of talismans attributed to Jābir b. Ḥayyān, called Kitāb al-Nukhab (The Compendium), but widely known as Kitāb al-Baḥth (The Book of the Quest). The work contains a long and rich text on the natural and metaphysical foundations of the science of talismans, primarily, but also alchemy, and artificial generation. The author explicitly promotes his book as a textbook for learning talismanry that also describes the proper teacher-student relationship needed for this craft. This affords us important insights on the professionalisation of talismanry as science and craft, and a glimpse into how the occult sciences were integrated in the teaching structures of the Abbasid era.

Open Access
In: Journal of Abbasid Studies
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Abstract

Page layouts affect our reading and interpreting of texts. The paper proposes that in designing the mise-en-page of medieval manuscripts, scribes made choices and selected various visual tools which played specific roles and induced different cognitive processes. It explores the structure and the cognitive signposts in detail through a close analysis of a large number of manuscript layouts of different textual genres and supplies images to illustrate the points. It looks at the archaeology of the text and the creativity with which medieval readers engaged with the folio through their contributions of glossing and building a many-layered, instantly available dialogue with the text and each other. The paper introduces the concept that the folio acts as a work surface within which instances of visual thinking and experimenting emerge and supports the claim through case studies of diagrammatic thinking. Based on comparison, it argues for the similar nature of medieval folio layouts and modern webpage design through an analysis of their shared cognitive tools and overall impression. A summary table of the cognitive tools of the folio layout gives an overview of the main areas and tools of the design and use of the mise-en-page. Reading is a personal experience and the cognitive elements of the medieval folio layout even today contribute to one’s approach to and interpretation of the text making it a journey of discovery and self-discovery.

In: The Vatican Library Review
Author:

Abstract

In early modern Italy, stereotypes about Muslim men’s supposed inclination towards the vice of ‘sodomy’ gave rise to fears that Christian masculinity was being tainted. Eighteenth-century court records from the Republic of Genoa and the Papal States contain numerous instances of cross-confessional male relations that faced persecution by state authorities. In each of these cases, Christian men were prosecuted for taking a sexually ‘passive’ role in relation to sexually ‘active’ Muslims, while the reverse scenario was never pursued. This article argues that the sexual focus of judicial authorities obscured the enduring bonds of affection and mutual obligation that developed between men across religious lines. The existence of these relationships unveils an intimate sphere of connections across faith in the early modern Mediterranean while highlighting an intersectional site of Christian social anxiety, where fears of religious contamination overlapped with concerns about same-sex intimacy.

Open Access
In: Journal of Early Modern History

Abstract

The Gabinetto della Grafica of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana preserves an album with views of Rome and Naples and reproductions of sculpture. From these, we make new attributions of the authorship of photographs, completing the catalogue of the work of such important authors as James Anderson, Michael Mang, Tommaso Cuccioni, Robert Rive, Giorgio Sommer and Giuseppe Ninci. We also reflect on the commercial dynamics of photographic firms in the nineteenth century and their important role in the consolidation of models and methodologies that served, from then on, for the construction of histories of architecture and art.

In: The Vatican Library Review
In: Journal of Early Modern History