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The Intercity Origins of Diplomacy: Consuls, Empires, and the Sea

In: Diplomatica
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  • 1 Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, Norway, hl@nupi.no
  • | 2 Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo, Norway, bdc@nupi.no
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Abstract

City diplomacy is a fairly new topic in the study of diplomacy, and, many would argue, a fairly recent empirical phenomenon. A counterpoint to this could be to reference how the alleged origin of diplomacy in Greek antiquity was city-centered, as were the earliest forms of Renaissance diplomacy in Italy. In this essay we want to probe the connections between cities and diplomacy through problematizing what has counted as diplomacy. Our starting point is that cities have always mattered to what we could analytically refer to as diplomatic practice. Being conscious of the conceptual ambiguities, we are thus not starting from a specific definition of “city diplomacy,” but from a conviction that cities have mattered and continue to matter to the practice of diplomacy.

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