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Article ID EUI2133


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View of the" Palazo Duccale" in Venice


ca. 1790



Historical Description

The early settlers on the islands of the lagoon, whose traces can be traced back to Etruscan times, were joined by refugees from northern Italy during the Migration Period. The Venetians who settled here gave their name to the Venetia region. Venice's social order in the High and Late Middle Ages was closely interrelated with the division of labor. The nobility was responsible for politics and high administration, as well as for warfare and naval command. The cittadini, the bourgeois merchants, provided funds and added value through trade and production; the popolani, the majority of the population, provided soldiers, sailors, was responsible for all forms of manual labor, and engaged in petty trade. The long-established nobility, at the end of this development, ensured the closure of the Great Council against newly rising families (Serrata, from 1297) and the disempowerment of the older forms of popular participation in power. Although the serrata was only one stage in the increasing closure of the Venetian oligarchy, it is indisputable that by the end of the thirteenth century and in the first half of the fourteenth there was a class separation between nobles entitled to political participation and the rest of the people. Externally, the Normans, who established themselves in southern Italy, threatened Venice's dominance in the Adriatic. Under Manuel I, hostilities between Venetians and Byzantines in Constantinople increased until the Venetians were forced to leave the capital in 1171. At the same time, Byzantium drew closer to Hungary, which challenged Venice for control of the Adriatic. Frederick Barbarossa extended the field of conflict when he intervened in Italian politics. Venice joined forces against him in 1167 with the Lega Lombarda, an upper Italian confederation of cities supported by the pope. Even with the Normans of southern Italy, Venice was now in league, while Frederick fought the Italian ambitions of the Byzantine emperor, who temporarily controlled Ancona on the Adriatic. In 1177, Frederick I and Pope Alexander III agreed to a peace treaty in Venice. The Fourth Crusade was directed by Doge Enrico Dandolo, to Constantinople, which was conquered in 1204. Countless art treasures reached the West in this way, including the bronze quadriga of St. Mark's Church. In addition, Venice expanded its colonial empire with numerous bases, most notably Crete, which, however, resisted the settlers Venice brought to the island in a chain of revolts. In the years beginning in 1402, Venice took control of large parts of northern Italy and Dalmatia. A first war from 1411 to 1413 was followed by a second one from 1418 to 1420, but Venice prevailed in the end in 1433. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Venice had to gradually surrender its positions in the eastern Mediterranean to the Ottomans. At the same time, it waged several wars against Milan, and finally, from 1494, France and the Holy Roman Empire also interfered militarily in Italy. Venice had conquered - especially from 1405 onwards - the so-called Terraferma and by the end of the 15th century ruled over Veneto, Friuli and a large part of Lombardy. The Roman Catholic Patriarchate of Venice, established in 1451, always had conflictual relations with the Roman Curia. Merchants, traders, artisans, intellectuals and clergy from all over the world lived in Venice, fostering a rather cosmopolitan and humanistic climate. In the 16th century, some 500 publishers and printers were active here. Beginning in 1520, the writings of the German reformer Martin Luther spread in Venice and then throughout Italy. It was not until 1524 that reading or possessing Protestant literature was punished by excommunication from the Catholic Church. The banned books were now passed around in secret and discussed in private homes among open-minded people. Small Protestant denominations arose, but they hardly appeared in public. The Franciscan Bartolomeo Fonzi (1502-1562) preached Luther's Reformation ideas, and the German merchants in the Fondaco dei Tedeschi were particularly interested listeners. As part of the Counter-Reformation, the Inquisition was established in 1542. Many people with a reformatory orientation then left Venice and fled mainly to Zurich, Basel, Strasbourg or Geneva. Fonzi was also captured in 1558, condemned as a heretic after four years and drowned in the lagoon. By 1600 all the evangelical circles had been destroyed. Only in Palazzo Fondaco dei Tedeschi were German merchants and traders allowed to celebrate a closed German-speaking Protestant service under strict conditions. Venice's importance declined more and more as a result of the shift of world trade to the Atlantic. The monopoly on the spice trade with the Levant was finally lost in the course of the 17th century. From the late 16th century.

Dimensions (cm)13,5 x 19
ConditionVery good
TechniqueCopper print- Aquatinta


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