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  • Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia  (Italian)
  • Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta  (Venetian)
697–1797
Coat of arms of Venice
Coat of arms
Motto: Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus
"Peace be to you Mark, my evangelist"
Territories of the Republic and its colonies and holdings.
Territories of the Republic and its colonies and holdings.
CapitalEraclea
(697–742)
Malamocco
(742–810)
Venice
(810–1797)
Common languages
GovernmentParliamentary oligarchic merchant republic with elective monarchistic features
Doge 
• 697–717 (first)
Paolo Lucio Anafestoa
• 1789–1797 (last)
Ludovico Manin
LegislatureGreat Council
• Upper Chamber
Senate
• Lower Chamber
Council of Ten
Historical eraMiddle AgesEarly modern period
• Established1
697
1082
• The Republic of Venice (Italian: Repubblica di Venezia;[1] Venetian: Repùblica de Venèsia) or Venetian Republic (Italian: Repubblica Veneta;[2] Venetian: Repùblica Vèneta), traditionally known as La Serenissima (English: Most Serene Republic of Venice; Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia; Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta), was a sovereign state and maritime republic in parts of present-day Italy (mainly northeastern Italy) which existed from 697 AD until 1797 AD. Centered on the lagoon communities of the prosperous city of Venice, it incorporated numerous overseas possessions in modern Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Greece, Albania and Cyprus.[3] The republic grew into a trading power during the Middle Ages and strengthened this position in the Renaissance. Citizens spoke the still-surviving Venetian language, although publishing in (Florentine) Italian became the norm during the Renaissance.

In its early years, it prospered on the salt trade. In subsequent centuries, the city state established a thalassocracy. It dominated trade on the Mediterranean Sea, including commerce between Europe and North Africa, as well as Asia. The Venetian navy was used in the Crusades, most notably in the Fourth Crusade. However, Venice perceived Rome as an enemy and maintained high levels of religious and ideological independence personified by the Patriarch of Venice and a highly developed independent publishing industry that served as a haven from Roman Catholic censorship for many centuries. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea. Venice became home to an extremely wealthy merchant class, who patronized renowned art and architecture along the city's lagoons. Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe. The city was also the birthplace of great European explorers, such as Marco Polo, as well as Baroque composers such as Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello.

The republic was ruled by the Doge, who was elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state's parliament, and ruled for life. The ruling class was an oligarchy of merchants and aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens generally supported the system of governance. The city-state enforced strict laws and employed ruthless tactics in its prisons.

The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice's decline as a powerful maritime republic. The city state suffered defeats from the navy of the Ottoman Empire. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and then French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Republic of Venice was split into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic, a French client state, and the Ionian French departments of Greece. Venice became part of a unified Italy in the 19th century.

Name

It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice (Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta, or Venetian: Repùblica de Venesia) and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the "Most Serene Republics".

History

The Doge of Venice, illustrated in the manuscript "Théâtre de tous les peuples et nations de la terre avec leurs habits et ornemens divers, tant anciens que modernes, diligemment depeints au naturel". Painted by Lucas d'Heere in the 2nd half of the 16th century. Preserved by the Ghent University Library.[4]

During the 5th century, northeast Italy was devastated by the Germanic barbarian invasions. A large number of the inhabitants moved to the coastal lagoons, looking for a safer place to live. Here they established a collection of lagoon communities, stretching over about 130 km (81 mi) from Chioggia in the south to Grado in the north, who banded together for mutual defence from the Lombards, Huns, and other invading peoples as the power of the Western Roman Empire dwindled in northern Italy.

These communities were subjected to the authority of the Byzantine Empire.

The Venetia c 600 AD

At some point in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the Byzantine province of Venice elected their first leader Ursus (or Orso Ipato), who was confirmed by Constantinople and given the titles of hypatus and dux. He was the first historical Doge of Venice. Tradition, however, first attested in the early 11th century, states that the Venetians first proclaimed one Anafestus Paulicius duke in 697, though this story dates to no earlier than the chronicle of John the Deacon. Whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in salt trade. In subsequent centuries, the city state established a thalassocracy. It dominated trade on the Mediterranean Sea, including commerce between Europe and North Africa, as well as Asia. The Venetian navy was used in the Crusades, most notably in the Fourth Crusade. However, Venice perceived Rome as an enemy and maintained high levels of religious and ideological independence personified by the Patriarch of Venice and a highly developed independent publishing industry that served as a haven from Roman Catholic censorship for many centuries. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea. Venice became home to an extremely wealthy merchant class, who patronized renowned art and architecture along the city's lagoons. Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe. The city was also the birthplace of great European explorers, such as Marco Polo, as well as Baroque composers such as Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello.

The republic was ruled by the Doge, who was elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state's parliament, and ruled for life. The ruling class was an oligarchy of merchants and aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens generally supported the system of governance. The city-state enforced strict laws and employed ruthless tactics in its prisons.

The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice's decline as a powerful maritime republic. The city state suffered defeats from the navy of the Ottoman Empire. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and then French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Republic of Venice was split into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic, a French client state, and the Ionian French departments of Greece. Venice became part of a unified Italy in the 19th century.

Name

It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice (Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta, or Venetian: Repùblica de Venesia) and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the "Most Serene Republics".

History

The Doge of Venice, illustrated in the manuscript "Théâtre de tous les peuples et nations de la terre avec leurs habits et ornemens divers, tant anciens que modernes, diligemment depeints au naturel". Painted by Lucas d'Heere in the 2nd half of the 16th century. Preserved by the Ghent University Library.[4]

During the 5th century, northeast Italy was devastated by the Germanic barbarian invasions. A large number of the inhabitants moved to the coastal lagoons, looking for a safer place to live. Here they established a collection of lagoon communities, stretching over about 130 km (81 mi) from Chioggia in the south to Grado in the north, who banded together for mutual defence from the Lombards, Huns, and other invading peoples as the power of the Western Roman Empire dwindled in northern Italy.

These communities were subjected to the authority of the Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta, or Venetian: Repùblica de Venesia) and is often referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the "Most Serene Republics".

HistoryDuring the 5th century, northeast Italy was devastated by the Germanic barbarian invasions. A large number of the inhabitants moved to the coastal lagoons, looking for a safer place to live. Here they established a collection of lagoon communities, stretching over about 130 km (81 mi) from Chioggia in the south to Grado in the north, who banded together for mutual defence from the Lombards, Huns, and other invading peoples as the power of the Western Roman Empire dwindled in northern Italy.

These communities were subjected to the authority of the Byzantine Empire.

The Venetia c 600 AD

At some point in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the Byzantine province of Venice elected their first leader Ursus (or Orso Ipato), who was confirmed by Constantinople and given the titles of hypatus and dux. He was the first historical Doge of Venice. Tradition, however, first attested in the early 11th century, states that the Venetians first proclaimed one Anafestus Paulicius duke in 697, though this story dates to no earlier than the chronicle of John the Deacon. Whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in Heraclea.

Rise

Ursus's

These communities were subjected to the authority of the Byzantine Empire.

At some point in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the Byzantine province of Venice elected their first leader Ursus (or Orso Ipato), who was confirmed by Constantinople and given the titles of hypatus and dux. He was the first historical Doge of Venice. Tradition, however, first attested in the early 11th century, states that the Venetians first proclaimed one Anafestus Paulicius duke in 697, though this story dates to no earlier than the chronicle of John the Deacon. Whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in Heraclea.

Rise

Ursus's successor, Deusdedit, moved his seat from Heraclea to Malamocco in the 740s. He was the son of Ursus and represented the attempt of his father to establish a dynasty. Such attempts were more than commonplace among the doges of the first few centuries of Venetian history, but all were ultimately unsuccessful. During the reign of Deusdedit, Venice became the only remaini

Ursus's successor, Deusdedit, moved his seat from Heraclea to Malamocco in the 740s. He was the son of Ursus and represented the attempt of his father to establish a dynasty. Such attempts were more than commonplace among the doges of the first few centuries of Venetian history, but all were ultimately unsuccessful. During the reign of Deusdedit, Venice became the only remaining Byzantine possession in the north and the changing politics of the Frankish Empire began to change the factional divisions within Venetia.

One faction was decidedly pro-Byzantine. They desired to remain well-connected to the Empire. Another faction, republican in nature, believed in continuing along a course towards practical independence. The other main faction was pro-Frankish. Supported mostly by clergy (in line with papal sympathies of the time), they looked towards the new Carolingian king of the Franks, Pepin the Short, as the best provider of defence against the Lombards. A minor, pro-Lombard faction was opposed to close ties with any of these further-off powers and interested in maintaining peace with the neighbouring (and surrounding, but for the sea) Lombard kingdom.

The successors of Obelerio inherited a united Venice. By the Pax Nicephori (803–814), the two emperors had recognised that Venice belonged to the Byzantine sphere of influence. Many centuries later, the Venetians claimed that the treaty had recognised Venetian de facto independence, but the truth of this claim is doubted by modern scholars. A Byzantine fleet sailed to Venice in 807 and deposed the Doge, replacing him with a Byzantine governor. Nevertheless, during the reign of the Participazio family, Venice grew into its modern form.

Though Heraclean by birth, Agnello, the first Participazio doge, was an early immigrant to Rialto and his dogeship was marked by the expansion of Venice towards the sea via the construction of bridges, canals, bulwarks, fortifications, and stone buildings. The modern Venice, at one with the sea, was being born. Agnello was succeeded by his son Giustiniano, who stole the remains of Saint Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria, took them to Venice, and made him the republic's patron saint. According to tradition, Saint Mark was the founder of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.

With the patriarch's flight to Gra

Though Heraclean by birth, Agnello, the first Participazio doge, was an early immigrant to Rialto and his dogeship was marked by the expansion of Venice towards the sea via the construction of bridges, canals, bulwarks, fortifications, and stone buildings. The modern Venice, at one with the sea, was being born. Agnello was succeeded by his son Giustiniano, who stole the remains of Saint Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria, took them to Venice, and made him the republic's patron saint. According to tradition, Saint Mark was the founder of the Patriarchate of Aquileia.

With the patriarch's flight to Grado after the Lombard invasion, the patriarchate split into two: one on the mainland, under the control of the Lombards and later the Franks, and the other in Grado on the lagoons and the areas under Byzantine control. This would later become the Patriarchate of Venice. With the apostle's reliquiae in its hands, Venice could again claim to be the rightful heir of Aquileia. In the Late Middle Ages, this would be the basis for legitimizing the seizure of the patriarchy's vast territories in Friuli and eastwards.

During the reign of the successor of the Participazio, Pietro Tradonico, Venice began to establish its military might, which would influence many a later crusade and dominate the Adriatic for centuries. Tradonico secured the sea by fighting Narentine and Saracen pirates. Tradonico's reign was long and successful (837–64), but he was succeeded by the Participazio and a dynasty appeared to have been finally established. Around 841, the Republic of Venice sent a fleet of 60 galleys (each carrying 200 men) to assist the Byzantines in driving the Arabs from Crotone, but it failed.[5] In 1000, Pietro II Orseolo sent a fleet of 6 ships to defeat the Narentine pirates from Dalmatia.[6]

High Middle Ages

In the High Middle Ages, Venice became extremely wealthy through its control of trade between Europe and the Levant, and it began to expand into the Adriatic Sea and beyond. In 1084, Domenico Selvo personally led a fleet against the Normans, but he was defeated and lost nine great galleys, the largest and most heavily armed ships in the Venetian war fleet.[7] Venice was involved in the Crusades almost from the very beginning. Two hundred Venetian ships assisted in capturing the coastal cities of Syria after the First Crusade. In 1110, Ordelafo Faliero personally commanded a Venetian fleet of 100 ships to assist Baldwin I of Jerusalem and Sigurd I Magnusson, king of Norway in capturing the city of Sidon (in present-day Lebanon).[8] In 1123, they were granted virtual autonomy in the Kingdom of Jerusalem through the Pactum Warmundi.[9]

The Venetians also gained extensive trading privileges in the Byzantine Empire during the 12th century, and their ships often provided the Empire with a navy. In 1182, a vicious anti-Western riot broke out in Constantinople targeting Latins, and Venetians in particular. Many in the Empire had become jealous of Venetian power and influence, thus when the pretender Andronikos I Komnenos marched on the city, Venetian property was seized and the owners imprisoned or banished, an act which humiliated and angered the republic.

In 1183, the city of Zara (Croatian: Zadar) successfully rebelled against Venetian rule. The city then put itself under the dual protection of the papacy and Emeric, King of Hungary. The Dalmatians separated from Hungary by a treaty in 1199, and they paid Hungary with a portion of Macedonia. In 1201, the city of Zara recognized Emeric as overlord.

13th century

The leaders of the Fourth Crusade (1202–04) contracted with Venice to provide a fleet for transportation to the Levant. When the crusaders were unable to pay for the ships, Doge Enrico Dandolo offered transport if the crusaders were to capture Zara, a city that had rebelled years ago and was a rival to Venice. Upon the capture of Zara, the crusade was again diverted, this time to Constantin

The leaders of the Fourth Crusade (1202–04) contracted with Venice to provide a fleet for transportation to the Levant. When the crusaders were unable to pay for the ships, Doge Enrico Dandolo offered transport if the crusaders were to capture Zara, a city that had rebelled years ago and was a rival to Venice. Upon the capture of Zara, the crusade was again diverted, this time to Constantinople. The capture and sacking of Constantinople has been described as one of the most profitable and disgraceful sacks of a city in history.[10]

The Venetians claimed much of the plunder, including the famous four bronze horses that were brought back to adorn St Mark's Basilica. Furthermore, in the The Venetians claimed much of the plunder, including the famous four bronze horses that were brought back to adorn St Mark's Basilica. Furthermore, in the subsequent partition of the Byzantine lands, Venice gained a great deal of territory in the Aegean Sea, theoretically amounting to three-eighths of the Byzantine Empire. It also acquired the islands of Crete (Candia) and Euboea (Negroponte); the present core city of Chania on Crete is largely of Venetian construction, built atop the ruins of the ancient city of Cydonia.[11]

The Aegean islands came to form the Venetian Duchy of the Archipelago. In ca. 1223/24, the then-lord of Philippopolis, Gerard of Estreux declared himself prepared to acknowledge the suzerainty of the Republic of Venice over a part of his possessions.[12] The Byzantine Empire was re-established in 1261 by Michael VIII Palaiologos, but never again recovered its previous power, and was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Turks.

The Republic of Venice fought the War of the Castle of Love against Padua and Treviso in 1215.[13] It signed a trade treaty with the Mongol Empire in 1221.[14]

In 1295, Pietro Gradenigo sent a fleet of 68 ships to attack a Genoese fleet at Alexandretta, then another fleet of 100 ships was sent to attack the Genoese in 1299.[15] From 1350 to 1381, Venice fought an intermittent war with the Genoese. Initially defeated, they devastated the Genoese fleet at the Battle of Chioggia in 1380 and retained their prominent position in eastern Mediterranean affairs at the expense of Genoa's declining empire.

In 1363, the revolt of Saint Titus against Venetian rule broke out in the overseas colony of Candia (Crete). It was a joint effort of Venetian colonists and Cretan nobles who attempted to create an independent state. Venice sent a multinational mercenary army which soon regained control of the major cities. However, Venice was not able to fully reconquer Crete until 1368.

By the end of the 14th century, Venice had acquired mainland possessions in Italy, annexing Mestre and Serravalle in 1337, Treviso and Bassano del Grappa in 1339, Oderzo in 1380, and By the end of the 14th century, Venice had acquired mainland possessions in Italy, annexing Mestre and Serravalle in 1337, Treviso and Bassano del Grappa in 1339, Oderzo in 1380, and Ceneda in 1389.

In the early 15th century, the republic began to expand onto the Terraferma. Thus, Vicenza, Belluno, and Feltre were acquired in 1404, and Padua, Verona, and Este in 1405.

Venice expanded as well along the Dalmatian coast from Istria to Albania, which was acquired from King Ladislaus of Naples during the civil war in Hungary. Ladislaus was about to lose the conflict and had decide

Venice expanded as well along the Dalmatian coast from Istria to Albania, which was acquired from King Ladislaus of Naples during the civil war in Hungary. Ladislaus was about to lose the conflict and had decided to escape to Naples, but before doing so, he agreed to sell his now practically forfeit rights on the Dalmatian cities for the reduced sum of 100,000 ducats.

Venice exploited the situation and quickly installed nobility to govern the area, for example, Count Filippo Stipanov in Zara. This move by the Venetians was a response to the threatening expansion of Giangaleazzo Visconti, Duke of Milan. Control over the northeast main land routes was also a necessity for the safety of the trades. By 1410, Venice had a navy of 3,300 ships (manned by 36,000 men) and taken over most of what is now the Veneto, including the cities of Verona (which swore its loyalty in the Devotion of Verona to Venice in 1405) and Padua.[16]

The situation in Dalmatia had been settled in 1408 by a truce with King Sigismund of Hungary, but the difficulties of Hungary finally granted to the republic the consolidation of its Adriatic dominions. At the expiration of the truce in 1420, Venice immediately invaded the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and subjected Traù, Spalato, Durazzo, and other Dalmatian cities. In Lombardy, Venice acquired Brescia in 1426, Bergamo in 1428, and Cremona in 1499.

Slaves were plentiful in the Italian city-states as late as the 15th century. Between 1414 and 1423, some 10,000 slaves, imported from Caffa, were sold in Ve

The situation in Dalmatia had been settled in 1408 by a truce with King Sigismund of Hungary, but the difficulties of Hungary finally granted to the republic the consolidation of its Adriatic dominions. At the expiration of the truce in 1420, Venice immediately invaded the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and subjected Traù, Spalato, Durazzo, and other Dalmatian cities. In Lombardy, Venice acquired Brescia in 1426, Bergamo in 1428, and Cremona in 1499.

Slaves were plentiful in the Italian city-states as late as the 15th century. Between 1414 and 1423, some 10,000 slaves, imported from Caffa, were sold in Venice.[17]

In 1481, Venice retook nearby Rovigo, which it had held previously from 1395 to 1438; in February 1489, the island of Cyprus, previously a crusader state (the Kingdom of Cyprus), was added to Venice's holdings.

The Ottoman Empire started sea campaigns as early as 1423, when it waged a seven-year war with the Venetian Republic over maritime control of the Aegean, the Ionian, and the Adriatic Seas. The wars with Venice resumed after the Ottomans captured the Kingdom of Bosnia in 1463, and lasted until a favorable peace treaty was signed in 1479 just after the troublesome siege of Shkodra. In 1480 (now no longer hampered by the Venetian fleet), the Ottomans besieged Rhodes and briefly captured Otranto. By 1490, the population of Venice had risen to about 180,000 people.[18]

War with the Ottomans resumed from 1499 to 1503. In 1499, Venice allied itself with Louis XII of France against Milan, gaining Cremona. In the same year, the Ottoman sultan moved to attack Lepanto by land, and sen

War with the Ottomans resumed from 1499 to 1503. In 1499, Venice allied itself with Louis XII of France against Milan, gaining Cremona. In the same year, the Ottoman sultan moved to attack Lepanto by land, and sent a large fleet to support his offensive by sea. Antonio Grimani, more a businessman and diplomat than a sailor, was defeated in the sea battle of Zonchio in 1499. The Turks once again sacked Friuli. Preferring peace to total war both against the Turks and by sea, Venice surrendered the bases of Lepanto, Durazzo, Modon, and Coron.

Venice's attention was diverted from its usual maritime position by the delicate situation in Romagna, then one of the richest lands in Italy, which was nominally part of the Papal States, but effectively divided into a series of small lordships which were difficult for Rome's troops to control. Eager to take some of Venice's lands, all neighbouring powers joined in the League of Cambrai in 1508, under the leadership of Pope Julius II. The pope wanted Romagna; Emperor Maximilian I: Friuli and Veneto; Spain: the Apulian ports; the king of France: Cremona; the king of Hungary: Dalmatia, and each one some of another's part. The offensive against the huge army enlisted by Venice was launched from France.

On 14 May 1509, Venice was crushingly defeated at the battle of Agnadello, in the Ghiara d'Adda, marking one of the most delicate points in Venetian history. French and imperial troops were occupying Veneto, but Venice managed to extricate itself through diplomatic efforts. The Apulian ports were ceded in order to come to terms with Spain, and Pope Julius II soon recognized the danger brought by the eventual destruction of Venice (then the only Italian power able to face kingdoms like France or empires like the Ottomans).

The citizens of the mainland rose to the cry of "Marco, Marco", and Andrea Gritti recaptured Padua in July 1509, successfully defending it against the besieging imperial troops. Spain and the pope broke off their alliance with France, and Venice regained Brescia and Verona from France, also. After seven years of ruinous war, the Serenissima regained its mainland dominions west to the Adda River. Although the defeat had turned into a victory, the events of 1509 marked the end of the Venetian expansion.