Giuseppe Marcocci, 'The Globe on Paper'

marcocci cover
  • Explores historical writing and historiography as the centre of global interactions in the age of exploration
  • Discloses the essential features of the global Renaissance
  • Considers the unexpected and fascinating paths followed by information and communication across localities, languages, and genres in the early modern world


The age of exploration exposed the limits of available universal histories. Everyday interactions with cultures and societies across the globe brought to light a multiplicity of pasts which proved difficult to reconcile with an emerging sense of unity in the world. Among the first to address the questions posed by this challenge were a handful of Renaissance historians. On what basis could they narrate the history of hitherto unknown peoples? Why did the Bible and classical works say nothing about so many visible traces of ancient cultures? And how far was it possible to write histories of the world at a time of growing religious division in Europe and imperial rivalry around the world?

A study of the cross-fertilization of historical writing in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, The Globe on Paper reconstructs a set of imaginative accounts worked out from Mexico to the Moluccas and Peru, and from the shops of Venetian printers to the rival courts of Spain and England. The pages of this book teem with humanists, librarians, missionaries, imperial officials, as well as forgers and indigenous chroniclers. Drawing on information gathered—or said to have been gathered—from eyewitness reports, interviews with local inhabitants, ancient codices, and material evidence, their global narratives testify to an unprecedented broadening of horizons which briefly flourished before succumbing to the forces of imperial and religious reaction.

Marcocci, G, The Globe on Paper, link to publisher website

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Renaissance Historians and the World

1:Genealogical Histories: Forging Antiquities from New Spain to China

2:Histories in Motion: Thinking Back to the Moluccas in a Lisbon Hospital

3:Indigenous Comparisons: A Renaissance Bestseller in the Colonial Andes

4:Popular Accounts: Printing Histories of the World in Late Renaissance Venice

5:Jesuit Missions and Imperial Rivalries: The Twilight of Histories of the World

Giuseppe Marcocci is Associate Professor in Iberian History (European and Extra-European, 1450-1800) at the University of Oxford and an Official Fellow and Tutor in History at Exeter College. His research interests lie at the intersection of the political and cultural history of the early modern world, with a special focus on Spain, Portugal, and their global empires.


ISBN: 978-0198849681