Venice, which today continues to display prominent Byzantine features, was born Byzantine in the 6th century and remained so though the Middle Ages, up through the 19th century. Although its ties to Constantinople gradually weakened over time, for centuries Venice cultivated its vocation for commerce and projected itself eastward as a Mediterranean power, a bridge between West and East, between the Muslim and the Christian worlds. In this concise book the author describes the long history of the relationship between the lagoon city and the Byzantine empire in all its stages: the founding of Venice under the pressure of Longobard expansion, dependence on Byzantium, independence within the empire and the privilege of free trade and tax exemption, open hostility, Venice's participation in the fourth crusade and the conquest of Constantinople, the empire's fall in 1453. This is the history of an essential piece of the Mediterranean medieval order.
Giorgio Ravegnani teaches Byzantine History at the University of Venice.