In an interesting vignette, it turns out that the Druze emir of Lebanon, Fakhr-al-Din, had traveled in the early 17th century to Florence and tried to conclude a military alliance with the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Why, of all places, Tuscany? This raises some questions and conjectures:
- Presumably this was based on previous contact between Fakhr-al-Din and Tuscan traders. Are there records of Tuscan traders in Lebanon in the 17th century?
- This (abortive) alliance seems to me to be a pale mirror image of the earlier, much more significant Franco-Ottoman alliance. Was the Franco-Ottoman alliance still in operation in Fakhr's time? If yes, then was perhaps Fakhr trying to use Tuscany as a conduit to get in touch with the King of Spain or the Emperor, the Sultan's enemies? (wikipedia says he got so far as the Duke of Osuna - good for Fakhr, but hardly enough).