How was the Republic of Venice's overseas "empire" ruled/administered?

Mar 2016
1,207
Australia
#1
Were Venetians put in charge of key positions in their overseas territories, or did they rely more on local support? What was their policy towards non-Catholics? Did the territories have much autonomy?

Also, any recommendations for books on the administration of Venice's empire (not just a basic overview of the politics, but going quite in-depth)? It's a topic that's had me interested lately.
 
Likes: Tulius

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,570
Portugal
#2
Were Venetians put in charge of key positions in their overseas territories, or did they rely more on local support? What was their policy towards non-Catholics? Did the territories have much autonomy?

Also, any recommendations for books on the administration of Venice's empire (not just a basic overview of the politics, but going quite in-depth)? It's a topic that's had me interested lately.
I don’t know the answer and I would like to know, so I will follow this thread.

Meanwhile I would like to say that it is good to see here from time to time good questions about history.
 
Likes: Futurist

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,713
Sydney
#3
The Venician council send podesta , governors who ruled in an absolute manner assisted by Venician officials who also spied on them
to avoid collusion , the administration was made of members various families who usually were feuding with each other
this was usually fairly good ,
the local officials were kept on a very tight leash and it was seen as one of the steps for their further rise in Venice power politics
any scandal would have been a blot
Cyprus was probably getting the worst treatment , Venice insisted on the cultivation of sugar cane as a cash crop ,
what's wrong with this plant , it seems to bring slavery with it
other possessions like Padua were treated quite well , the Greek Islands didn't complain , they didn't dare ,
Venice was an early proponent of the police state , opponents had a way of disappearing
still there were a few rising ,

the Venician rule was quite bureaucratic but quite efficient by the standard of the day
what kept the Venician in power was also that the only alternative was the Turks
 
Mar 2016
1,207
Australia
#4
Cyprus was probably getting the worst treatment , Venice insisted on the cultivation of sugar cane as a cash crop ,
what's wrong with this plant , it seems to bring slavery with it
Interesting, I didn't know about this semi-colonial attitude towards Cyprus. Which people did they use as slaves? Native Cypriots?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,267
#5
The Venetian Diplomatic corps was very organized. Each returning ambassador submitted a monograph on where he had been, a sort of report cn the area covering all aspects, poltical, ecnomic, social, cultural.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,713
Sydney
#6
The Venetians had replaced the feudal rule of the Lusignan family by a governor assisted by two nominated counsellors
there was a great council composed of noble venetians of the islands and some of the old Lusignan crusaders families
it was only used for electoral purpose , under the veto of the governor
each city and district was under a Venetian bailiff

The military side was handled by a Capitan , having authority over the garrison and the local fleet
he was of course nominated from Venice had his own budget and was independent of the Governor

the Cypriots peasants had the double disadvantage of being under a feudal system of "corvee" working their lord land for free
and a nitpicking grasping bureaucratic administration which ruthlessly squeezed the Island for Venice profit .
the local nobles had little rights and were forced to cooperate with Venetian power
 
Mar 2016
1,207
Australia
#7
The Venetian Diplomatic corps was very organized. Each returning ambassador submitted a monograph on where he had been, a sort of report cn the area covering all aspects, poltical, ecnomic, social, cultural.
I recall reading somewhere that the Venetians were the first ones to have a regular, officialised system of international ambassadors. Reading a lot of European history and this certainly seems true; the reports of Venetian ambassadors are used extensively by historians, and are often also quite accurate and professional.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,713
Sydney
#8
That is correct , every Venetian envoy had to write extensive , factual and detailed reports
every ship coming into a Venetian harbor had to report where they had been
the state of the place , health situation and the current market value of goods
they had special hit squads send to chase traitors ,
deserters and artisans which held manufacturing secrets of which Venice had the monopoly

the council of ten membership was secret ,
they used the material from the "lion mouths" post box where one could anonymously denunce it's friends , neighbors or familly

its procedures were secret and with no appeal
the bodies of the slain were dumped in a special canal where fishing was strictly forbidden

Venice was widely tolerant of behavior , each religion had it's own district , the Jewish one was called the Ghetto
Muslims had their mosque but could not have a muezzin sing the call to pray
the Armenians , Georgians and Copts were tolerated with their rituals

there was extensive and detailed taxation of everything , from rainwater to the many brothels ,
with a detailed schedule for services performed , including homosexuals

At the arsenal they had standardized their galley manufacturing
any sailor could move into any galley and be efficient straight away , the spares held in various naval station would fit any ship
the galley were assembled on a conveyor system from the parts held in store ready to be fitted
 
Likes: WhatAnArtist
Mar 2016
1,207
Australia
#9
That is correct , every Venetian envoy had to write extensive , factual and detailed reports
every ship coming into a Venetian harbor had to report where they had been
the state of the place , health situation and the current market value of goods
they had special hit squads send to chase traitors ,
deserters and artisans which held manufacturing secrets of which Venice had the monopoly

the council of ten membership was secret ,
they used the material from the "lion mouths" post box where one could anonymously denunce it's friends , neighbors or familly

its procedures were secret and with no appeal
the bodies of the slain were dumped in a special canal where fishing was strictly forbidden

Venice was widely tolerant of behavior , each religion had it's own district , the Jewish one was called the Ghetto
Muslims had their mosque but could not have a muezzin sing the call to pray
the Armenians , Georgians and Copts were tolerated with their rituals

there was extensive and detailed taxation of everything , from rainwater to the many brothels ,
with a detailed schedule for services performed , including homosexuals

At the arsenal they had standardized their galley manufacturing
any sailor could move into any galley and be efficient straight away , the spares held in various naval station would fit any ship
the galley were assembled on a conveyor system from the parts held in store ready to be fitted
Thanks for the interesting and extensive information. Do you have any specific recommendations for books about the Republic of Venice? I know that John Julius Norwich has written a well-known one, but I'm looking for something less popular and more scholarly.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,713
Sydney
#10
I've read several but the one which soar above the rest is John Julius Norwich
"a history of Venice" a penguin edition

It is very much taken by it's architecture and the political context of their erection
the evolution of the city from a set of poor fishing huts accepting refugees from the mainland
to the Serenissima republic, lawful husband of the sea

there is described it's rise to lordship of the Mediterranean then after much reinvention , its decay to a tourist trap in the 18th century
the political internal struggle are described in all their devious details ,
so is it's trading and manufacturing , the rock on which its greatness rested and which it's leadership was so jealous to protect and promote
Venice politics in the world is covered and the evolution of its convoluted institutions

Above all the writer love the place and bring to life its extraordinary vitality ,ferocious nationalism and shameless mercantilism

A Venician admiral was much commended for having lost a sea battle against the old enemy Genoa
he was taken prisoner , put in tight chains and rather than being paraded , bashed his own skull against the ship timber

that was the spirit of the place