Presentation on theme: "THE MYTH OF VENICE. THE STUDY DESIGN On completion of this unit the student should be able to evaluate the function and validity of the Myth of Venice."— Presentation transcript:
THE STUDY DESIGN On completion of this unit the student should be able to evaluate the function and validity of the Myth of Venice. This knowledge includes the components of the Myth of Venice such as: uniqueness, liberty, prosperity, piety, political stability and social harmony; the development of the Myth of Venice from its unique location, imperial expansion, sacred legends, constitutional arrangement and social customs; the role of and means by which the Myth was used in developing and maintaining a perception of the city as La Serenissima; evidence which challenges the Myth of Venice, including political challenges such as the Tiepolo conspiracy, and the dogeships of Falier and Foscari.
We need to test the Myth How true were the claims the Venetians made about their city ? validity Where were these claims evident ? Why did they make these claims ? Function
Components of the Myth It is important to get these right. Defined in the Study Design: uniqueness, liberty, prosperity, piety, political stability and social harmony; The Venetians claimed that Venice was unique in terms of her location and her divine origins
Uniqueness and divine Origins Marin Sanudo says, “amidst the billowing waves of the sea, stands on the crest of the main, almost like a queen restraining its force. It is situated in salt water and built there, because before there were just lagoons, and then, wanting to expand, firm ground was needed for the building of palaces and houses… this city was built more by divine than human will”.
liberty The liberty that Renaissance writers refer to is the ‘liberty to participate in government’ (Carter) They saw a state that was not governed by a Prince or a King, but one where men occupied the councils and magistracies as a state of liberty, because the people had the freedom to participate.
Contarini on the Perfection of the Venetian Constitution With this reason therefore was the Senate ordained and established in this commonwealth of ours, & likewise the councell of the tenne, who in the citie of Venice in whose commonwealth (as I said) there is a mixture of three governments royall, popular & noble, do represent the state of the nobilitie (‘optimatum statum’), & are (as it were) the meane or the middle, which reconcileth and bindeth together the two extreames, that is, the popular estate represented in the great councell, & the prince bearing a shew of royaltie... the Senate of Venice hath a hundred and twenty lawfull senators,
Constitutional arrangements The position of the Doge in relation to the Grand Council and the other councils and most importantly the Council of Ten Foscari’s time as doge
Justice This is a quality that the Venetians celebrated in their public art. It is part of the constitutional arrangements of the state; part of the idea of liberty and a reason for the harmony they boasted of
Piety Sanudo “Moreover it was founded not by shepherds as Rome was, but by powerful and rich people, such as have ever been since that time, with their faith in Christ, an obstacle to barbarians and attackers”
Piety Sansovino “it is always the custom of our forebeares that temporal matters should be accompanied by religion”.
Piety and Sacred Legends Sacred legends like that of the Miracle of the Relic or the Translation of the Body of Saint Mark were used to develop the idea of Venice as a sacred city
Piety The Lion of St Mark on the Gates of the Arsenale
Marin Sanudo “Moreover it was founded not by shepherds as Rome was, but by powerful and rich people, such as have ever been since that time, with their faith in Christ, an obstacle to barbarians and attackers”
Wealth or Prosperity The wealth of Venice is consistently displayed in the narrative paintings of the Scuole and also the paintings that were commissioned by the patrician government and individuals
Prosperity linked to imperial expansion Venice was certainly a wealthy city and her wealth depended on her two Empires: the Maritime and later, her Terraferma Empire Venice was an entrepot. A city whose ships went down the Dalmatian coast into the Mediterranean and traded with the Levant, controlling the islands and territories on the way, like Cyprus and Crete
Priuli on Venice’s trade The whole world flocked to Venice with ducats to buy spices and other needs, and also placed their goods there. Whence through the arrival of foreigners and through the traffic of selling and buying each year and in every trading season, the city of Venice has come to this excellence which it has attained.
Harmony and Concord Venice’s peace and harmony is an element of many of the narrative paintings The relationship between the classes and between men and women, rich and poor is represented as one of concord
Social Customs The social customs and social institutions of Venice were a means by which the Venetians could encourage harmony and concord. This atmosphere is celebrated in its narrative paintings.
Social challenges Food riots in the C13th Price fixing in the guilds Need to deal with discordia in the scuole
Economic Challenges The expansion of the Ottoman Turks, which meant the reduction in the Maritime Empire and a resulting reduction in the wealth and prosperity of the city The discoveries of the Portuguese navigators
Opposition to the Venetian expansion onto the Terraferma Venetians themselves, like Priuli did not accept this policy ‘And this they have gained by the sea, and with this they have also been able to sustain the war and acquire the state on the mainland. The reason why the profit from the terra firma is very bad, as well in war as in forced service, is that they consume as much as they raise’.
Opposition to Venice’s expansion The Duke of Milan in 1484 ‘You Venetians are wrong to disturb the peace of Italy, and not to rest content with the fine state which is yours. If you knew how everyone hates you, your hair would stand on end and you would let other people alone... You are alone, and all the world is against you, not merely in Italy but also beyond the Alps. Rest assured that your enemies are not asleep. Take good counsel for, by God, you need it. I know what I am saying’.
Internal Opposition There was an increase in the corruption within the electoral processes of the early 16 th century – ‘the myth of the excellence of Venice actually arose out of Venetian weakness’ (Queller)