The Venetian Empire

A Sea Voyage

The Venetian Empire

For six centuries the Republic of Venice was a maritime empire, its sovereign power extending throughout much of the eastern Mediterranean – an empire of coasts, islands and isolated fortresses by which, as Wordsworth wrote, the mercantile Venetians 'held the gorgeous east in fee'. Jan Morris reconstructs the whole of this glittering dominion in the form of a sea-voyage, travelling along the historic Venetian trade routes from Venice itself to Greece, Crete and Cyprus. It is a traveller's book, geographically arranged but wandering at will from the past to the present, evoking not only contemporary landscapes and sensations but also the characters, the emotions and the tumultuous events of the past. The first such work ever written about the Venetian ‘Stato da Mar’, it is an invaluable historical companion for visitors to Venice itself and for travellers through the lands the Doges once ruled.

Men of Empire

Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State

Men of Empire

The city-state of Venice, with a population of less than 100,000, dominated a fragmented and fragile empire at the boundary between East and West, between Latin Christian, Greek Orthodox, and Muslim worlds. In this institutional and administrative history, Monique O’Connell explains the structures, processes, practices, and laws by which Venice maintained its vast overseas holdings. The legal, linguistic, religious, and cultural diversity within Venice’s empire made it difficult to impose any centralization or unity among its disparate territories. O’Connell has mined the vast archival resources to explain how Venice’s central government was able to administer and govern its extensive empire. O’Connell finds that successful governance depended heavily on the experience of governors, an interlocking network of noble families, who were sent overseas to negotiate the often conflicting demands of Venice’s governing council and the local populations. In this nexus of state power and personal influence, these imperial administrators played a crucial role in representing the state as a hegemonic power; creating patronage and family connections between Venetian patricians and their subjects; and using the judicial system to negotiate a balance between local and imperial interests. In explaining the institutions and individuals that permitted this type of negotiation, O’Connell offers a historical example of an early modern empire at the height of imperial expansion.

Brokering Empire

Trans-Imperial Subjects Between Venice and Istanbul

Brokering Empire

"Explores how diplomatic interpreters, converts, and commercial brokers mediated and helped define political, linguistic, and religious boundaries between the Venetian and Ottoman empires in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries."--Author's Web site.

Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal

Workers and Workplace in the Preindustrial City

Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal

The master ship builders of seventeenth-century Venice formed part of what was arguably the greatest manufacturing complex in early modern Europe. As many as three thousand masters, apprentices, and laborers regularly worked in the city's enormous shipyards. This is the social history of the men and women who helped maintain not only the city's dominion over the sea but also its stability and peace. Drawing on a variety of documents that include nearly a thousand petitions from the shipbuilders to the Venetian governments as well as on parish records, inventories, and wills, Robert C. Davis offers a vivid and compelling account of these early modern workers. He explores their mentality and describes their private and public worlds (which in some ways, he argues, prefigured the factories and company towns of a later era). He uncovers the far-reaching social and cultural role played by women in this industrial community. He shows how the Venetian government formed its shipbuilders into a militia to maintain public order. And he describes the often colorful ways in which Venetians dealt with the tensions that role provoked—including officially sanctioned community fistfights on the city's bridges. The recent decision by the Italian government to return the Venetian Arsenal to civilian control has sparked renewed interest in the subject among historians. Shipbuilders of the Venetian Arsenal offers new evidence on the ways in which large, state-run manufacturing operations furthered the industrialization process, as well as on the extent of workers' influence on the social dynamics of the early modern European city.

The Venetian Empire 1200–1670

The Venetian Empire 1200–1670

The story of Venice is, to some extent, separate from that of the rest of Europe. The same could be said of the city's military history and organisation. Early in the 9th century the Venetians defeated Pepin the Frank's attempts to overawe them, and they remained, at least in theory, subject to Byzantium. Gradually, however, Venice drifted into independence; and subsequently carved out its own empire at the expense of its former Byzantine masters. The Venetians were soon famous for their roving and warlike spirit, keen business acumen and pride. This book explores the remarkable history of the city and its army from 1200 up until 1670.

Venice and the Slavs

The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment

Venice and the Slavs

This book studies the nature of Venetian rule over the Slavs of Dalmatia during the eighteenth century, focusing on the cultural elaboration of an ideology of empire that was based on a civilizing mission toward the Slavs. The book argues that the Enlightenment within the “Adriatic Empire” of Venice was deeply concerned with exploring the economic and social dimensions of backwardness in Dalmatia, in accordance with the evolving distinction between “Western Europe” and “Eastern Europe” across the continent. It further argues that the primitivism attributed to Dalmatians by the Venetian Enlightenment was fundamental to the European intellectual discovery of the Slavs. The book begins by discussing Venetian literary perspectives on Dalmatia, notably the drama of Carlo Goldoni and the memoirs of Carlo Gozzi. It then studies the work that brought the subject of Dalmatia to the attention of the European Enlightenment: the travel account of the Paduan philosopher Alberto Fortis, which was translated from Italian into English, French, and German. The next two chapters focus on the Dalmatian inland mountain people called the Morlacchi, famous as “savages” throughout Europe in the eighteenth century. The Morlacchi are considered first as a concern of Venetian administration and then in relation to the problem of the “noble savage,” anthropologically studied and poetically celebrated. The book then describes the meeting of these administrative and philosophical discourses concerning Dalmatia during the final decades of the Venetian Republic. It concludes by assessing the legacy of the Venetian Enlightenment for later perspectives on Dalmatia and the South Slavs from Napoleonic Illyria to twentieth-century Yugoslavia.

Venetians in Constantinople

Nation, Identity, and Coexistence in the Early Modern Mediterranean

Venetians in Constantinople

Historian Eric R Dursteler reconsiders identity in the early modern world to illuminate Veneto-Ottoman cultural interaction and coexistence, challenging the model of hostile relations and suggesting instead a more complex understanding of the intersection of cultures. Although dissonance and strife were certainly part of this relationship, he argues, coexistence and cooperation were more common. Moving beyond the "clash of civilizations" model that surveys the relationship between Islam and Christianity from a geopolitical perch, Dursteler analyzes the lived reality by focusing on a localized microcosm: the Venetian merchant and diplomatic community in Muslim Constantinople. While factors such as religion, culture, and political status could be integral elements in constructions of self and community, Dursteler finds early modern identity to be more than the sum total of its constitutent parts and reveals how the fluidity and malleability of identity in this time and place made coexistence among disparate cultures possible.

Palladio in Venice

Palladio in Venice

Andrea Palladio (1508-1580) was one of the most influential architects of the western world. This volume presents his artistic career in relation to the last thirty years of his life, concentrating mainly on his activity in the city of the Lagoon. His ef

Bernardo Giustiniani

Bernardo Giustiniani


Civic Christianity in Renaissance Italy

The Hospital of Treviso, 1400-1530

Civic Christianity in Renaissance Italy

A compelling examination of how a religious brotherhood administered charity in its local community and acted as mediator between provincial elites and the early modern state.