Documents and Envoys: Was the Word Enough?
Parole chiave:Ancient diplomacy, New diplomatic history, seals
Much has been debated about ancient diplomacy, up to the point of denying its existence in the classical world, if compared to contemporary practice. Benefitting from stimuli in recent research on Modern Europe diplomacy this article suggests a possible vindication of ancient diplomatic practices. It focuses on a specific issue: the use of written documents or other supporting materials. After discussing through several examples why and when such materials are quoted in our sources and what needs they fulfilled from a formal point of view, a distinction is drawn between epigraphic and literary testimonies – the former apparently more factual, the latter more rhetorically oriented. Being documents the central point of the analysis, it proved itself useful to look at possible debates about their authenticity, taking as a clue the mention of a seal (usually to be understood as a Versiegelung).