Secrets and Politics (Jucker)Justyna Wubs-Mrozewicz
This week’s #RetroConflictsInspirations is the work of Michael Jucker on medieval secrecy, e.g. in “Secrets and Politics: Theoretical and Methodological Aspects of Late Medieval Diplomatic Communication” Micrologus. Nature, Sciences and Medieval Societies 14 (2006) 275–309.
Focussing in particular on Switzerland, he shows how written and oral, verbal and non-verbal secret communication in #premoderndiplomacy were intertwined. Secrecy is presented as a sophisticated tool, furthering change and – perhaps more surprisingly - stability. Drawing on Valentin Groebner, he fleshes out examples of secrets as gifts: secrets had (and have) a function in diplomacy. Secret diplomatic communication happened at various political levels in cities. This certainly echoes in our material on the #Hanse and northern Europe. Moreover, the understanding that most secrets are lost or inaccessible to us as primary sources, has actually brought our research further. How? Through the shift of focus to when, how and why communication ABOUT secrets was mentioned, even without content disclosure. Talking and writing about secrets had a specific function in the Hanse. It delineated #trust, both externally and internally, in a highly flexible manner. The languages of trust and secrecy shared roots and fruits.