A place with no soil, no ploughing, no sowing, no reaping. This is how the odd nature of Venice was described in the 9th century. It was a city where power and wealth were measured on the sea and not on land. During Europe's rebirth and the revival of commerce after the year 1000, the city's oddness and its role as a link to the Orient would help shape its prosperity. The Middle Ages were Venice's golden era: the city controlled Mediterranean trading and was a major mercantile and military power. This book offers an account of the crucial stages of Venetian history from the 9th to the 16th century and features many fascinating episodes: emancipation from Byzantium, territorial expansion, dominance of commerce in the Adriatic and the rest of the Mediterranean, the Crusades, rivalry with Genoa, and conflict with the Turks. The golden age would endure until the 16th century, when geographical discoveries gradually started pushing the economy's centre of gravity away from the Mediterranean.
Ermanno Orlando conducts research at the University of Venice.