FREE Catholic Classes
Venice, the capital of a province in Northern Italy, is formed of a group of 117 small islands joined together by 378 bridges mostly built of stone. These islands are partly natural, partly artificial, constructed by means of piles driven into the bottom of the shallow sea, as all the houses of the city are built upon a network of rows of piles. The islands are separated by a number of canals, three of which are larger than others; the Grand Canal, which traverses the city in the shape of a letter S, the Giudecca, and the S. Marco, which is the widest of all. The city is connected with the mainland by a railroad which crosses the lagoon on a bridge 2 miles 2555 feet in length. Transportation within the city is carried on by means of gondolas and also, on the three large canals, by small steamers. The lagoon of Venice is divided into the "dead" and the "living". The former ( Laguna Morta ) is a system of little salt lakes and marshes formed by the sedimentary deposits of the streams flowing down from the Alps, and extends from the mouth of the Po to that of the Isonzo; the latter ( Laguna Viva ) is a shallow body of salt water out of which rises a few small islands, among them the group which forms the city itself. The Laguna Viva is separated from the Adriatic by a narrow strip of land (the Lido) which extends from Chioggia to Cortellazzo at the mouth of the Piave. The strip of land is reinforced at many points with Istrian marble, and has a number of openings for the passage of ships, being thus broken up into the several Lidi of Pellestrina, Malmocco, and S. Erasmo. There is a tide in the "live" lagoon, rising at certain times to a height of between 9 and 10 feet, when it floods the pavements of Venice. The city is a commercial and military port girdled by six forts distributed about the Laguna Viva.
FREE Catholic Classes Pick a class, you can learn anything
St. Marks's, which, since 1807, has also been the cathedral, was built in 829, when Venetian merchants purchased the relics of St. Mark at Alexandria. In the eleventh century it was remodelled in imitation of the Basilica of the Apostles at Constantinople. The succeeding centuries, especially the fourteenth, all contributed to its adornment, and seldom did a Venetian vessel return from the Orient without bringing a column, capitals, or friezes, taken from some ancient building, to add to the fabric of the basilica. Its whole pavement is mosaic ; it contains gold, bronze, and the greatest variety of stones. The façade is decorated with mosaics of different periods, Byzantine sculptures, and statues of the Evangelists and the Saviour. The four horses of gilded bronze above the great doorway once adorned the Arch of Trajan; they were transferred to the Hippodrome at Constantinople, and in 1204 Enrico Dandolo brought them to Venice. The mosaics of the atrium and the interior belong partly to the tenth century. The plan of the interior consists of three longitudinal and three transverse naves. Over the high altar is a baldacchino on columns decorated with eleventh-century reliefs; the altarpiece is the famous Pala d'oro (Golden Pall ), Byzantine metal- work of the year 1105, originally designed for an antependium. Behind the high altar is another altar with alabaster columns. The choir stalls are embellished with inlaying by Fra Sebastiano Schiavone, and above them on both sides are three reliefs by Sansovino. On the two marble pulpits of the ambo are statuettes by the Massegne brothers (1394). Also in the choir are Sansovino's bronze statutes of the Evangelists and Caliari's of the Four Doctors. The crypt is underneath the choir. In the baptistery is a beautiful font with a bronze cover by Tiziano Minio, Desiderio da Firenze, and Francesco Segala (sixteenth century). The Capella Zeno (mausoleum of Cardinal Zeno, 1501) is the work of Al. Leopardi, Ant. Lombardi, and Paolo Savino. In the treasury of St. Mark's is an episcopal chair of the seventh century. The campanile, 321 1/3 feet high, was built in 900 and repeatedly restored. Sansovino added the graceful loggetta in 1540. In 1902 the campanile fell, damaging the library of St. Mark's ; it has now (1912) risen again to its ancient splendour.
S. Moise (1668); S. Maria del Giglio (by Sardi, 1680, with statues of the Barbaro family ); the church of the discalced (Longhena, 1649; façade by Sardi, 1693; frescoes by Tiepolo ; high altar by Pozzo ); S. Maria of the Jesuits (Rossi, 1750; façade by Fattoretto; high altar by Pozzo ; pictures by Titian and Tintoretto ; tomb by Girolamo Campagna ); S. Pantaleone (pictures by Fumiani, Solari, Vivarini, Gio. Alemanno; relief by Mariono Cedrino); the Madonna del Rosario (Massari, 1726; pictures by Tintoretto and Tiepolo ); S. Maria della Salute (by Longhena, built after the plague of 1630; plan, octagonal with cupola ; pictures by Luca Giordano, Titian, Tintoretto, and Giusto le Court). These churches are in the Barocco style with a profusion of many-coloured marbles in which all the magnificence of Venice is displayed. In the Gothic style are: S. Stefano (fourteenth century, restored in 1904; contains marble balustrade with statues by Lombardi; Madonna dell' Orto [1460; pictures by Tintoretto, who is buried there, Dan. Van Dyck , the younger Palma (Giovane), Giov. Bellini, Cima da Conegliano , etc.]; SS. Giovanni e Paolo (1333; the largest church after St. Mark's. It contains pictures by Vivarini and Lorenzo Lotto ; statues and other sculpture by Vittoria and Bartolo di Francesco; wood-carving by Andrea Brustolon. In it are also important monuments of the doges). Also of Gothic was S. Maria del Carmine, but modernized in the seventeenth century (pictures by Cima da Conegliano, Tintoretto, Lorenzo Lotto, bronze relief by Verrocchio ), as also S. Maria dei Frari (ú statues of Al. Vittoria, Andrea Vincentino, Donatello, Sansovino ; and numerous tombs ). In the Renaissance style are S. Fantino di Scarpagnino (1507; choir by Sansovino ); S. Giobbe (by Ant. Gambello and Pietro Lombardi, 1451; pictures by Paris Bordone, Previtali, Giovanni Bellini, Salvoldo; majolica by Luca della Robbia ); S. Alvise (pictures by Tiepolo ); S. Giuliano (the work of Sansovino ); S. Salvatore (by Giorgio Spaventa and Tullio Lombardi, 1506; the façade, 1663; pictures by Girolamo Campagna, Titian, Giovanni Bellini ; statues by Al. Vittoria and Danese Cattaneo; important tombs ); S. Bartolomeo (pictures by Sebastiano del Piombo ); S. Giovanni Crisostomo (Maria Carducci, 1497; pictures by Giovanni Bellini and Seb. Del Piombo ; relief by Tullio Lombardi); Santi Apostoli (the Communion of St. Lucia, by Tiepolo ); S. Zaccaria (which still keeps much of its Gothic character ; on its façade is a statue of the saint by Al. Vittoria; pictures by Giov. Bellini and Tintoretto ; the altars carved in wood in the chapel of S. Tarasio); S. Maria Formosa (pictures by Palma Vecchio, Vivarini, Leandro da Bassano, Sassoferrato ), S. Maria dei Miracoli (by Tullio Lombardi, vaulting painting by Pennacchi); S. Francesco della Vigna (by Sansovino and Fra Francesco di Giorgio, has pictures by Girol. Da S. Croce, Fra Ant. Da Negroponte, Giov. Bellini, Paolo Veronese ; statutes by Al. Vittoria); the scuola , or guild, of S. Giorgio degli Schiavoni (pictures by Vittorio Carpaccio and Vinc. Catena); S. Giorgio dei Greci di Serate (iconostasis with Byzantine paintings by Lombardi); S. Giuseppe di Castello (pictures by Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese ); S. Pietro di Castello (one of the oldest churches in Venice, contains the relics of St. Lawrence Giustiniani); S. Giovanni Elemosinario (1525; pictures by Titian and Pordenone ); S. Cassiano ( Palma Vecchio and Tintoretto ), the guild of S. Rocco (works of Tintoretto, Titian, and others); S. Sebastiano (1506; works of Paolo Veronese, who is buried in the church; tomb by Sansovino ), the Redentore (Palladio's masterpiece; pictures by Tintoretto, Girolamo Campagna, and others). On the island of S. Lazzaro there has been since 1716 an establishment of the Armenian Mechitarists, famous for their Oriental publications. The cathedral (seventh and tenth centuries) of Torcello is worthy of mention, with its mosaics of the twelfth century. Torcello was at one time a city of importance. The seminary, the work of Longhena (1670), contains a museum of sculpture and a picture gallery; its faculty confers degrees in philosophy, theology, and canon law.
The Palace of the Doges is said to date from the ninth century; its actual form, a singularly graceful type of Gothic, dates from the fifteenth and fourteenth. Chief among the artists who wrought upon it are Pierpaolo Massegne, the three Buon, Ant. Rizzo, Pietro Lombardo, and Scarpagnino. The Giants' Staircase takes its name from the colossal statutes of Mars and Neptune by Sansovino. The halls contain paintings by Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese, Palma Giovane, Titian, Tiepolo, Andrea Vicentino, Gabriele Caliari. The doge's private apartments now house the Archaeological Museum. The Marciana Library (Library of St. Mark ) is in the old Mint, while the Libreria Vecchia, the work of Sansovino and the most magnificent non-religious edifice in Italy, is now the Royal Palace. The Academy of the Fine Arts, in the guild of S. Maria della Carità, contains pictures almost exclusively of the Venetian School. In the Middle Ages the arsenal gave employment to 16,000 labourers, where that are now 3000; the annexed museum of nautical objects and arms contains the model of the Bucentaur, the ship on which the doge annually, on the feast of the Ascension, celebrated the nuptials of the sea, casting a ring into it. The Art Exposition Palace, founded in 1895, is used for the international art exposition which takes place every other year. The International Gallery of Modern Art was opened in 1905 in the Pesaro Palace. Since 1880 there has been established in the Fondaco de' Turchi the Civic Museum, containing pictures, antique statutes, warlike trophies, portraits and busts, medals, coins, specimens of Venetian industries, costumes etc. One portion of this exhibition is housed in the Correr Palace. Among the most important bridges are the Rialto and the Bridge of Sighs. The finest private palaces are along the Grand Canal. Of the public monuments we shall note only the equestrian statue of the Condottiere Bartolommeo Colleoni, modelled by Verrocchio and cast by Al. Leopardi.
The principal industries are ship-building, silk-spinning, galloons and laces, glass (Murano), objects of art. The sea baths of the Lido are the most elegant in Italy. Besides the seminary, there are two lyceum-gymnasia, a national boarding-school, a technical institute, a normal school for girls, a fine-arts institute, a nautical institute, technical and commercial schools, a school of marine engineering, etc.; also a municipal and a military hospital, special hospital for phthisis, two lunatic asylums, two orphanages, two observatories, six theatres. The exports in 1905 amounted to 2,576,000,000 tons ( tonnelate ).
The beginnings of Venice go back to the flight of the inhabitants of the Venetian state to the islands of the lagoon between Chioggia and Grado, when, in 452, Attila devastated Northern Italy. Nevertheless it is certain that these islands had already been inhabited in Roman times. The fugitives from the mainland in the fifth century greatly augmented the population. About 520 Cassiodorus represents the inhabitants of the islands as governed by tribunes, inhabiting pile-structures, occupied with fishing and in the navigation of distant seas; salt was their medium of exchange. The Lombard invasion resulted in a further increase of this lagoon population; it remained under the rule of Byzantium, which had the sagacity to allow a great measure of autonomy to the tribunes. The latter probably resided in the cities. In 697 a doge ( dux ) was elected for the whole lagoon, to put an end to the conflicts between various tribunes and provide a more efficacious defence against the Lombards and the Slavs. The first doge was Anafestus Paulucius, a noble of Heraclea, then the capital of the state. The military command was vested in a magister militum . The third doge, Ursus I (726-37), at the request of Gregory III delivered Ravenna, which had fallen into the hands of the Lombards (735); he, however, was killed (737) in a popular tumult. For five years the state authority was entrusted to the magister militum , instead of doges; but that functionary held office for only one year, with the title of hypatos, or consul. In 742 the office of doge was restored and entrusted to Deusdedit, son of Ursus I, who transferred the capital to Malamocco. He was slain (755) by a certain Galla, who, after a dogeship of fourteen months, was slain in his turn. Dominicus Monegarius (756-64) became doge, two tribunes, however, being associated with him. He was expelled by the Byzantine party, and Maurizio Galbaio (764-87) was elected. For security against the Lombards and Franks, Galbaio leaned on Byzantium, and obtained that his son Giovanni should be associated with him in office and have the right of succession. Giovanni (787-805) also had an associate in his son Maurizio. By reason of the slaying (803) of Joannes, Patriarch of Grado, his nephew and successor, Fortunatus, organized a conspiracy; the doges were driven out and the Frankish party brought about the election of Oberlierus (805-10). In the ninth century the commerce of the Venetians was very extensive. Their flag was respected even by the Saracens, and their factories sprang up in all the ports of the East. From that time they traded with the Christian Slavs, and sold to the Mussulmans of Spain and Africa. Popes Zacharias and Adrian tried to prevent this, while for some time Charlemagne excluded them from the markets of the Empire.
In 775 took place an event which may be called the foundation of the State of Venice, the establishment of an episcopal see on the little island of Olivolo, the jurisdiction of which extended over the islands of Luprio, Dorosoduro, and Rialto, taken from the Diocese of Malamocco. These islands thus formed a new polity. With the conquests of Charlemagne in Italy and Istria, the Venetian islands were threatened on all sides. Obelierius pursued a policy of alliance with the Franks, and helped them to gain possession of the maritime cities of Istria; but a Byzantine fleet aided the Byzantine party to expel Obelierius, and Angelo I Participazzo was made doge (810). Pipin, son of Charlemagne, then attempted the conquest of the Lagoon; Brandolo and Malamocco fell into his hands, but the Venetians made head against him on Rialto. Protracted negotiations followed between Charlemagne and Byzantium. The Venetian Lagoon remained under the Byzantine sway, and Charlemagne granted the Venetians freedom of commerce throughout the Empire. From this period the doge's seat was the island of Rialto; the city, formed by the combination of the surrounding islands, including Olivolo, the episcopal see, began to call itself Venetiae. Then followed the reign of Participazzo (864-81) and of his sons Giustiniano (829) and Giovanni (deposed, 836). Doges Pietro Tradonico (836-64) and Orso Participazzo (864-81) fought victoriously against the Croats and Saracens. Giovanni Participazzo (881-88), son of Orso, was deposed for his Francophilism. Pietro (888-911) defended the state against the Hungarians (906). After Orso Praticipazzo II (912-32) there began, with Pietro Candiano (932-39), the policy of expansion on the mainland; Comacchio, at the mouths of the Po, and Capo d'Istria. Then followed Pietro Badoario (932-42) and Pietro Candiano III, who was forced to abdicate in favour of his son Pietro Candiano IV (959-76).
Under the latter we meet for the first time with the Grand Council, the assent of which was necessary to all laws ; besides the laity, it also included the bishops of the Venetian States. The new Government prohibited the sale to Saracens of slaves and of any merchandise which could be used in war against Christians. But in 976 the doge's palace was set on fire, and he himself killed as he attempted to escape. His partisans, supported by the Emperor Otto II, drove out (978) his successor, Pietro Orscolo I, who became a disciple of St. Romuald. Under Memmo, the next doge, certain rebels attempted to place Venice under the sway of Otto II, but the republic defended itself, and in 983 peace was restored. Memmo was obliged to become a monk (992). Under Pietro Orscolo II (992-1009) the prestige of the republic revived. The Latin cities of the Istrian and Dalmatian coasts, incessantly menaced by the Slavs, voluntarily acknowledged the dominion of Venice, and from that time the doge, with the consent of the Emperor of Constantinople, was styled Duke of Dalmatia. He gained a splendid victory over the Saracens at Bari (1003). His son Ottone (1009-26) was suspected of wishing to bring the state under Western imperial domination, and died a prisoner at Constantinople. He was succeeded by the weak Pietro Barvolano (1030), under whom Peter, King of Hungary, son of the Doge Ottone, tried to get possession of Dalmatia. After grievous internal conflicts, Flavanico became doge in 1033 and enacted wise laws against hereditary dogeship. Domenico Contareno (1043-71) was fortunate in the defence of Dalmatia against the Hungarians. At this time the office of procurator of St. Mark was instituted, instead of that of state treasurer, making a clear separation between the personal patrimony of the doge and the state revenues. Domenico Silvio married a daughter of the Emperor Constantine Ducas, and, at the request of Alexius Comnenus, made war at sea against the Normans; he was fortunate at first, but was defeated at Corfu in 1084, with the lost of nine large ships and 13,000 men, which lead to his deposition. Vitale Faledro (1084-96) retrieved the loss with the victory of Botrinto. Alexius Comnenus, by the famous Golden Bull (1084), granted the Venetians freedom from tributes and imposts, a full liberty of commerce, exemption from Greek jurisdiction, an appropriation for the Church of St. Mark, and an income for the doge, with the title of Protosebastos. From this time Venice is an independent state.
The Doge Vitale Michiel (1096-1112) participated in the First Crusade only when he saw the Genoese and Pisans bringing back booty from Palestine; and, in general, the Venetians turned the succeeding crusades to their own advantage. Alexius Comnenus, perceiving this, refused, the bull of investiture to Domenico Michiel (1117-29) and had the Venetian ships sequestrated. The Venetians, however, defeated by the Mussulmans near Jaffa (1123), turned against the Greeks, and from that time even the nominal sovereignty of Constantinople was at an end. It was especially by their aid that, in 1124, Tyre was taken, one-third of the city being assigned to them. In 1771 another expedition against Manual Comnenus was necessary ; it had small success, however, on account of the plague, and the Doge Vitale Michiel II (1156-72) fell a victim to the fury of the populace. Another reform in the government was then introduced, increasing the powers of the Grand Council at the doge's expense. At the same period Venice joined the Lombardic League, without, however, showing any excessive zeal for a cause which mattered but little to her, and thus the Peace of 1177, between Alexander III and Frederic Barbarossa, was solemnized at Venice, as being a neutral city. With the Doge Enrico Dandolo (1192-1205) began the most glorious period of the republic. Assuming command of the French crusading army, he used it to reduce to obedience Trieste and Zara, which had placed themselves under the sway of Hungary, and then turned against Constantinople, where the Latin Empire had been set up. Venice obtained three quarters in the capital, most of the Peloponnesus, the eastern shoes of the Adriatic, the Sea of Marmora, and the Black Sea, the coasts of Terraglia. Ægina, Corfu, and other islands of the Archipelago, and the rule over about 8,000,000 of new subjects. In these vast dominions the doge found compensation for his diminished power, as the appointment of podesta and other magistrates belonged to him, and thereby he could always win the friendship of those who entertained ambitions. These conquests before long became veritable fiefs of the principal families, which thus had an interest in preserving and increasing them without calling upon the State for any help to that end. The Government even purchased the island of Crete from the Marquis of Monferrato. Venice had now become the greatest power in the Mediterranean, and this stirred up the rivalry of Genoa, which republic, in 1257 and 1258, suffered two naval defeats. Genoa then formed an alliance with Michael Palaeologus, who recovered Constantinople, and Venice, her possessions threatened, engaged in a war with her rival (1262-79), in which the Genoese were, on the whole, worsted. In 1292 the war recommenced with greater ferocity. The Genoese were victorious at Laiazzo on the Black Sea (1294); the Venetians at Galata (1296). In 1297 the Genoese under Spinola wasted the coasts of Dalmatia. In 1298 the Venetian fleet was destroyed by Lamba d'Oria, a victory which brought about the Peace of Milan (1299). Venice now needed consolidation. The Venetians had meanwhile become interested in Italian affairs.
In the thirteenth century the election of the doge was reserved to the Greater Council, composed of 480 members taken from certain families. The doge could do nothing without his councillors the obligation of the office were restated afresh for every new doge, and he must swear to observe them. Affairs of greater moment were discussed by councillors, who invited a certain number of members of the Council ( pregadi ) of whom the Senate was afterwards constituted. In 1297 it was enacted that only those who had sat in the Greater Council and their descendants should be eligible; thus was formed an aristocracy which monopolized the offices of State. The conspiracy of Boemondo Tiepolo (1310), for the restoration of democratic government, was repressed by the Doge Gradenigo (1289- 1310); the Council of Ten was instituted to guard the existing constitution, and the most important matters were afterwards reserved to it. At first provisional, it became permanent in 1335; the individual members, however, held office for only one year. In 1454 the three inquisitors of State were instituted for cases of high policy; it was thanks to this institution that Venice remained a republic, and no one succeeded in becoming its Signore . Besides, until 1506 there was no juridical distinction between nobles and plebeians. In the fourteenth century Venice began to extend her dominion on the mainland, joining the league against Mastino della Scala, from whom it took Treviso (1338), Castelfranco, and Ceneda. The possession of Crete had to be defended by force of arms in 1307 and 1365.
About the same time (1334 and 1342) alliances were formed with the Byzantines and the Knights of Rhodes against the Turks, who were beginning to render navigation unsafe. The Genoese having taken the island of Sico and interfered with Venetian navigation in the Black Sea, war again broke out in 1350. There was fighting on the Bosporus (1352) and off the coasts of Sardinia (1353), where the Genoese were beaten; and then peace was restored, Venice having to abandon all her ports in the Red Sea.
In 1355 the Doge Marion Falieri was beheaded, charged with having conspired to overturn the Government and make himself Lord of Venice. This incident occasioned new limitations to the rights of the doge. Next followed the war with Hungary for the possession of Dalmatia, in which all its neighbours took sides against the republic, and Venice lost the greater part of Dalmatia (1358). The possession of the island of Tenedos was the cause of a war with Genoa, assisted by other foes of Venice. The Venetians, victors at Anzio (1378), were defeated at Pola (1379). Checked by the Genoese at sea and by Francesco Carrara, Lord of Padua, on land, Venice would then have made peace, had not the conditions been exorbitant. A new armament was prepared, with which Vettor Pisani blockaded the Genoese fleet at Chioggia, forcing it to surrender (1380). By the Peace of Turin, however, Venice had to cede all Dalmatia to Hungary, Trieste to the Patriarch of Aquileia, Treviso to the Duke of Austria, Tenedos to Byzantium. But the loss was soon recovered. The Genoese were defeated near Modono in 1403; in 1406 Padua and all the possessions of Francesco Carrara were taken and the prince and his sons strangled in prison. Then the Emperor Sigismund seized the Dalmatian coast, while Verona and all the Scala possessions were annexed between 1403 and 1405 by Venice, which not long after took Friuli, Udive, Feltre, and Belluno from the Patriarch of Aquileia. In the mentime the Venetian possessions had been growing in the Morea and Albania (1390-1400), and the republic was co-operating with the Christian princes against the Ottomans.
Help Now >
In 1423 the republic joined the league of Freancesco Gonzaga, Nicolo d'Este, and Florence against Filippo Maria Visconti. Venetian troops routed the Visconti forces at Maclodio (1427), and Filippo Maria ceded Bergamo and Bresci to Venice. The war being renewed, the Venetian squadron defeated the Genoese allies of the Visconti at Portofino (1431). When peace was made, Venice retained her acquisitions. In 1437 she again allied herself with Florence against the Visconti, and the war lasted until 1441, when she had taken Ravenna from the Polenta. When Francesco Sforza became Duke of Milan, Venice united with the King of Naples against him, to increase her territory on the mainland; but Nicholas V brought about the Peace of Lodi (1454), which was designed to ensure Italian equilibrium. So soon was Venice again embroiled with Florence that it seemed as though she aimed at dominating the whole peninsula, but she was forced to keep still (1468). In 1480 a pretext was made to serve for a war against the Duke of Ferrara. Then all the Italian states united against the republic, and even Sixtus IV , after the Venetian victory of Velletri (1482), withdrew from his alliance with Venice. Still, from this war, too, Venice carried off an augmentation of her Italian territory. At the same time, however, the Turks took from Venice the greater part of the Ægean Islands, as well as Negropont and all her possessions in the Morea, and pushed their conquests as far as Friuli, threatening the republic's Italian possessions. In 1479 Venice had to renounce all claims to the territory taken from her by the Turks. Not less disastrous was the war against the Turks from 1498 to 1503. These losses were to some degree compensated by the acquisition of Cyprus, ceded in 1489 by Caterina Cornaro, widow of the last king, and Zante and Cephalonia. But another great blow for Venice was the discovery of the maritime route to India in 1498. To the discovery of the New World two Venetians, Giovanni Caboto and his son Sebastiano, contributed; with English vessels they discovered Newfoundland, Labrador, and Nova Scotia. Still more famous are the travels of the Venetian Marco Polo in the interior of Asia, extending as far as China, in the thirteenth century.
After the accession of Julius II and the fall of Cesare Borgia, the Venetians invaded the Romagna. Julius II then formed the League of Cambrai, which, besides the pope and the princes of Southern Italy, included the emperor, Spain, and France, at that time mistress of the Duchy of Milan (1508). At first it seemed that the last hour of Venice had come; in Apulia the Spanish took the coast towns which Venice had occupied during the wars between France and Spain for the possession of Naples ; at Agnadello the French defeated the bulk of the Venetian army, and Brescia, Cremona, and Peschiera were occupied by France (1509); the Venetians were driven out of Romagna, while other portions of their territory were seized by the Bonzaga and the Duke of Ferrara. Maximilian had the imperial standard raised at Verona, Vicenza, and Padua. But the pope and Spain, having accomplished their purpose, withdrew from the league, and the emperor was obliged to recross the Alps the same year. The pope formed another league, the Holy League (1511), against the French and their Italian allies, especially the Duke of Ferrara. On the death of Julius II, Venice formed an alliance (League of Blois, 1513) with France for mutual assistance against the emperor, or against the Turks, or for the reconquest of the Milanese. But the Spaniards and Imperialists, having defeated the French, occupied all the Venetian possessions on the mainland. The unexpected arrival of Francis I in Italy (1515) made it possible, however, for Venice to recover everything. Again in 1521 and 1525 Venice was the ally of France against Spain, without suffering by the victories of Charles V. The Turks meanwhile went on gaining victories; Venice joined the league of Spain and the pope, but, believing that she had been betrayed at the battle of Prevesa (1538), concluded an unfavourable peace with the Turks, paying them a tribute for the islands which she still retained. In 1569 the Sultan Selim II set about the conquest of Cyprus, which was heroically defended; the city of Famagosta was the last to surrender (18 August, 1571). Meanwhile an alliance had been formed with the pope and Spain, and the allied fleet defeated the Turks at Lepanto (October, 1571). Venice, however, making peace on her own account, surrendered her claims to Cyprus. The republic was beginning to decline politically and commercially. The habits and customs of the feudal nobility had been introduced among the Venetian nobles, and thus an aristocracy had been formed without wealth, and which it was not longer possible to provide with offices in foreign possessions. This ruined nobility, with a keen appetite for luxury and pleasures, was a constant element of political disturbance and of foreign intrigue.
A serious difficulty with Pope Paul V arose out of the trial of certain priests by lay tribunals, contrary to the provisions which had then recently been made. Gaining nothing by an interdict, the pope prepared for war ; but the intervention of Henry IV of France effected a reconciliation (1606-07). The Protestants sought to profit by this occasion to pervert the population of Venice. Venice, indeed, had always granted a wide liberty to the various creeds, though she would not permit her own subjects to apostatize. Forced by the Italian princes to combat the Uscochs Uskoken (Croatian Christians who had escaped from the Turks and become pirates), she made war against the empire at Friuli. In the Valtellina controversy Venice was allied with the Protestant Grisons, out of hatred for Spain. In 1644 a Turkish fleet attacked Canea, a city of Crete which Venice had kept in her possession by the expenditure of blood and treasure. Canea fell before the arrival of the Venetian fleet aided by the pope and the Knights of Malta and of St. Stephen. This war lasted until 1669, when Candia fell, after a siege of twenty-four years, attacked by sea, by land, and underground. The victories over the Turks near Phocæa (1649), in the Cyclades (1651), and near the Dardanelles (1652, 1656 and 1657), could only retard the issue of this unequal war. Francesco Morosini capitulated, and was allowed to depart with all the honours of war. In 1695 he resumed command and conquered all the Morea as far as Corinth. The war ended with the Peace of Carlowitz (1699), which secured to Venice the Morea and the Ionian Isles free of tribute. In 1714 the Turks returned to the attack, and, with the Peace of Passarowitz (1718), Venice lost all her conquests in the Balkan Peninsula except a few towns in Albania.
The period of peace which followed was favourable to literature and the sciences, but luxury and licence increased; the philosophy of the Encyclopaedists, together with indifference to religion, had sown the seed of revolutionary doctrines. The nobles of the mainland, in particular, were becoming restless, desiring a share in the government, which had been accessible only to Venetians. The last warlike action of the republic was the expedition of Angelo Emo against the Barbary States (1784-86). The war between Napoleon and Austria in 1796 soon passed from Lombardy to Venetian territory, the republic being unable to defend its neutrality. When the Veronese rose against their French garrison (17-21 April, 1797), Bonaparte used the pretext to arrest the inquisitors of State and to change the Venetian Government from aristocratic to democratic. To effect this change, French troops entered the city, seized all the ships, the treasury, and a great many works of art. Soon after this, by the Treaty of Campoformio, Napoleon gave Venice, with its territory on the mainland, to Austria. Thus ended the republic. In 1805 Austria abandoned all Italian possessions, and thus Venice was united to the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy. In 1814 the viceroy Eugene, to save Lombardy, retroceded Venetia to Austria. The news of the Revolution of Vienna and the Milanese Insurrection, in 1848, found a ready echo in Venice, where the Austrian garrison, the Italians excepted, departed after peacefully capitulating. Daniele Manin was at the head of the provisional government, which the cities of the mainland accepted; they soon after joined the union with Piedmont under Carlo Alberto, as had already been done by Venice, and in a few days news arrived of the cessation of hostilities between Piedmont and Austria. The Venetian republic was then re-established (11 August, 1848). The Neapolitan general Guglielmo Pepe commanded the Venetian troops against the Austrians who came to retake the city. It was besieged in October; on 24 August, 1849, after a bombardment of twenty-four days, it surrendered. In 1866 Austria ceded Venice to Napoleon III, who gave it to the Kingdom of Italy.
The city itself was chiefly occupied in the importation from Africa, the Levant, and the Black Sea, of the greatest variety of raw products, such as hides, minerals, salt, wax, sugar, borax, wool, silk, spices, drugs, guns, ivory, ostrich feathers, parrots, gold dust, etc. The Venetians also exploited the iron and copper mines of Friuli, Cadore, and Carmizia. From Lombardy and their own possessions on the mainland came their exportations of woollen, silk, and linen fabrics. The manufacturers of the Venetian dominions might not export directly; everything must pass through the capital. They maintained important relations with the city of Augsburg, from which the products were distributed through the North. On the other hand, the silver of the Tyrolean mines was brought to Venice. The special industries of Venice were the manufacture of chemicals-- cream of tartar, cinnabar (vermilion), shellac, white lead, and triaca (the "universal medicine "), sugar-refining, tanning, the preparation of furs imported from Russia, the manufacture of imitation pearls and gems, and goldsmith's work. The industries had their guilds, with chapels of their own in various churches. It was in Venice that banks of deposit and circulation originated, and Venice was the first state to raise a public loan (1156, the monte vecchio ; the monte nuovo was issued in 1580; the nuovissimo , in 1610). Banking law had its origin in Venice. As early as 1253 marine insurance was made obligatory by law. The Doge Renier Zeno (1253-68) had a code of navigation and commerce compiled. One important branch of commerce was the supply of the African Mussulman princes with tools and timber for building, a practice forbidden under excommunication by the popes because it tended to the perpetuation of piracy. Printing was an important industry. Venice was also a thriving centre of the slave trade.
In Venice art found an exceptionally favourable field. The traditions of centuries, however, and relations with the East retarded the influence of that new art impulse which had reached other Italian cities in the thirteenth century. In painting, especially, Venetian artists in the fourteenth century were still trammelled by the Byzantine tradition. The first art to become emancipated was architecture, architects and workmen from the mainland being employed. It appears that the Romanesque style, no less than the Gothic, in Venice felt the influence of the environment. When, with its conquests on the mainland, the republic had become an Italian power; it soon became one of the principal centres of art; its immense wealth, both public and private, afforded opportunity to the choicest geniuses for the creation of the works already mentioned in this article. It is to be noted, however, that few of the famous artists of the so-called Venetian School were really Venetians. They were mostly natives of the Venetian provinces, and therefore Lombards. First to inaugurate the revival, or rinascimento , in painting was the Paduan Guardiento (1365), a pupil of Giotto. Next the three Muranesi, Antonio, Giovanni, and Andrea, were eminent, influenced by the German and Flemish schools, and the Vivarini, Bartolommeo (1450-99) and Luigi (1461-1503). These, as well as Jacobello del Fiore, Carlo Crivelli, Fra Francesco da Negroponte, and also Jacopo and Gentile Bellini, exhibit, as compared with the contemporary Lombards, an art still in the archaic stage. With Giovanni Bellini Venetian art attains perfection, while at the same time displaying its own special prerogative, mastery of colouring. To this School belong the following Venetians: G.B. Cima (da Conegliano) ; Vittore Carpaccio ; Giorgio Barbarelli (Giorgione), from whom his fellow student, Tiziano Veceili (Titian) , learned much; Sebastiano del Piombo, who carried to Rome the art of colour; the two Palma, the elder of whom ( Palma Vecchio ) has various styles at his command; Jacopo Robusti (Tintoretto), the master of lights and shadows of whom Titian was jealous, and who knew how to combine beauty and idealism with Titian's power and naturalness; Paolo Veronese, the exponent of the Venetian School. But after him the repute of Venetian painting was soon brought low by his successors. Only with Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , a pupil of G. B. Piazzetta, in the eighteenth century, does Venetian painting, with a still more perfect technic, celebrate a glorious resurrection. Even in the nineteenth century the Venetian painters remained faithful to the tradition of their School; conspicuous among them, Giacomo Favretto and Giulio Ciardi. In sculpture even more than in painting Venice took her artists from abroad. The most distinguished of the fifteenth century were Pietro Lombardo and his sons Tullio and Andrea. Verrocchio modelled perhaps the finest equestrian statue in the world. Also eminent were Alessandro Leopardo and his sons, and the brothers Antonio and Lorenzo Bregno, to whose credit are the finest monuments in the various churches of the city.
The Venetian islands at first belonged to the Diocese of Altino or of Padua. It is certain that Bishop Tricidius of Padua took refuge on the island of Malamocco. But when Tricidius returned to Padua there still remained a bishop at Malamocco (Methamancus), and the Venetian islands remained under his jurisdiction until 775. In that year, with the consent of Adrian I and the Patriarch of Grado, an episcopal see was erected on the island of Olivolo (afterwards called Castello) with jurisdiction over Gemini, Rialto, Luprio, and dorsoduro. The first bishop (nominated by the doge) was Obelerius, who was invested and enthroned by the doge, and consecrated by the patriarch. The rest of the islands which now form Venice remained under the Patriarch of Grado. To succeed him (798), the doge named a certain Cristoforo, whom, on account of his extreme youth, Giovanni, Patriarch of Grado, refused to consecrate. Giovanni was killed, and his successor, after much hesitation, consecrated Cristoforo. Under the fourth bishop, Orso, the relics of St. Mark were brought to Venice; the legend, that St. Mark himself had preached the Gospel at Venice, grew up in later times. As many bodies of saints had already been brought from the East, so, following the conquest of Constantinople, a still greater number now came to Venice, besides the Madonna called Nicopoeia, which is still in St. Mark's. Marco II Michel (1225) finally secured the exemption of the clergy from lay jurisdiction, except in cases involving real property. Jacopo Albertini (1311) became attached to the schism of Louis of Bavaria, whom he crowned with the Iron Crown (1327), and was therefore deposed. Under Nicolo' Morosini (1336) the dispute between the clergy and Government concerning the mortuary tithes was settled, though it began afresh under Paolo Foscari (1367) and was ended only in 1376.
During the Schism of the West, Venice always adhered to the Roman obedience. In 1457, upon the death of Domenico Michel, Patriarch of Grado, Nicholas V suppressed the patriarchate and the Bishopric of Csastello, incorporating them both in the new Patriarchate of Venice (
- Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Unfailing Prayer to St. Anthony
- The Rosary in English
- Come Holy Spirit
- Hail, Holy Queen
- Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2021 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.