Middle East Studies

Colloquium | Mirrors for Princes: Politics and Poetics in the Early Modern World

Early Modern World Colloquium “Mirrors for Princes" Poster

Friday, April 19, 2024

10:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Alumnae Hall, Commons Room, 194 Meeting St. 

Open to the Public. 

About the Event

The term ‘Mirrors for Princes’ (Specula principum) originated in medieval Europe, but the literature it designated had cross-cultural origins and went on to assume new forms in later periods and in other regions of the world, in the wake of conquest and colonization. This colloquium will be the first of a series of interdisciplinary workshops to explore manifestations of ‘Mirrors for Princes’ across the early modern world. While Renaissance humanists like Patrizi and Erasmus had made significant advances in seeking to demonstrate the importance of princely education for political praxis, a variety of discourses on the subject of political leadership emerged in the Americas as well as in Persian, Arabic, and in South Asian traditions. A wide range of work in vernacular languages (from oratory to translation and biography) and visual media (from portraiture to visual narrative) can be shown to have enriched and extended the theme of princely education. Through in-depth analysis and suggestive juxtaposition, this colloquium aims to use ‘Mirrors for Princes’ to illuminate important aspects of cultural and intellectual globalization in the early modern period.


Center for the Study of the Early Modern World
Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Islam and the Humanities at the Center for Middle East Studies

Islam & the Humanities
Partner Events
Workshops, Conferences, Seminars


Mario Sánchez Aguilera (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Mexico)
Hilde Deweerdt (University in Leuven, Belgium)
Sholeh Quinn (University of California, Merced)
Berenice Alcántara Rojas (Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, UNAM, Mexico)
Derin Terzioglu (Bogazici University, Turkey)
Gareth David Williams (Columbia University)


11:00 Gareth Williams, Columbia:
Cicero and Seneca: Advice for Rulers

12:00 Hilde De Weerdt, KU Leuven:
Mirroring the Body: Political Metaphors as Models of Governance in Sinitic Political Advice Literature
from Early Medieval to Late Imperial Times

2:00 Berenice Alcántara Rojas and Mario Sánchez-Aguilera, UNAM Mexico:
A Florilegium of Mirrors for Princes in the Nahuatl language

3:00 Derin Terzioglu, Bogaziçi University, Turkey:
Critique, Discontent, and Protest: Political Advice from the Military Barracks, Mosques, and Public Squares in the Ottoman Empire
4:30 Sholeh Quinn, UC Merced:
The Virtues of Kings: Persian Chronicles as Mirrors for Princes
5:30 Closing discussion