THE VENETIANS                                        PAUL STRATHERN
Posted:  March 29, 2014

The Venetians: A New History: From Marco Polo to Casanova  The Republic of Venice was the first great economic, cultural, and naval power of the modern Western world. After winning the struggle for ascendency in the late 13th century, the Republic enjoyed centuries of unprecedented glory and built a trading empire which at its apogee reached as far afield as China, Syria and West Africa. This golden period only drew to an end with the Republic s eventual surrender to Napoleon.
The Venetians illuminates the character of the Republic during these illustrious years by shining a light on some of the most celebrated personalities of European history Petrarch, Marco Polo, Galileo, Titian, Vivaldi, Casanova. Frequently, though, these emblems of the city found themselves at odds with the Venetian authorities who prized stability above all else, and were notoriously suspicious of any "cult of personality." Was this very tension perhaps the engine for the Republic s unprecedented rise?
Rich with biographies of some of the most exalted characters who have ever lived, The Venetians is a refreshing and authoritative new look at the history of the most evocative of city states.

This book for me was harder to get into than I thought it would be. I like history but for some reason I could stay with this book. At the beginning you see how the Venetians are very successful in banking and in controlling the sea around them. They also had established trade with China and other countries. Marco Polo and his family are from there. But when Marco Polo and his father return they are first stop by the Genoese, who take most of their goods and when a battle starts between the two Marco is held captive by them for years. This war between them last for decades and the Venetian leadership when they have the upper hand let the Genoese take control. There is even a time when they hire other people to fight for them but this fails as well. It seems though that they are highly intelligent in banking, commerce, music and such not fighting. So for me there were parts of the book interesting and other parts just hard to get through. Well written and a lot of information. I got this book from net galley.

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