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Role of Venice in the 12th Century - Essay Example

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Venice in the 12th century Many historians have agreed that the city of Venice achieved prominence during the 12th century. From a small fishing village it rose to distinction as it became a commercial powerhouse and the most important link between Europe and the regions of the eastern Mediterranean, especially the Byzantine and Islamic countries (King 03)…
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Role of Venice in the 12th Century
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Download file to see previous pages which in turn facilitated trade to Padua, Vicenza, Treviso, Belluno, Ferrara, Mantua, and Verona. These towns carried the city’s merchandise to the central and southern parts of the peninsula in caravans where there were sure and ready market (Wiel 82-83). Another source of income for Venice was rental of its boats and ships. Venice became famous throughout the known world because of its trade and textile industry. During this period Venice also traded spice, salt, grain and wine with Egypt, Syria, Southeast Asia, Iran and China. Due to the spice trade, the city was able to expand its textile manufacturing. This type of commerce proved to be beneficial to the city; not only was it able to learn new arts to improve ship-building, Venice was also able to obtain from the countries it traded with new ways to improve the city. The skills that the Venetian sailors earned were almost unparalleled and the voyages they undertook to trade and to discover new places and things were unmatched (Wiel 85), while the wars that they engaged in (or at least their fleets) placed them in high esteem. During the 12th century Venice also constructed a large national shipyard, now known as the Venetian Arsenal. Through the construction of these new and powerful fleets they were finally able to take control of the eastern Mediterranean. Venice also knew how to take advantage of historical circumstances. Despite the fact that it belonged to Christendom, the city still managed to retain trade with the Muslims (even establishing an agreement with the Khalif of Bagdhad). The year 1096-1172 saw the city of Venice engagement in the “Holy Crusade” the rest of the Christian world had been partaking in. For two years the city has found various excuses not to take part in the crusade, but this time they were unable to refuse. The pope and various Christian leaders appealed to Venice to aid in the crusade by transporting the crusaders in their ships to Palestine (Wiel 85). A fleet of two hundred, or possibly more, warships were fitted for battle and sailed under the command of Giovanni (the son of the Doge) and Enrico Contarini (Bishop of Castello) (Wiel 86). During this period Venice met with a force that could rival her own. The republic of Pisa and Genoa, had steadily been gaining strength and now proved to be a threat to Venice. The first engagement between the rivals happened at Rhodes, with the city of Venice emerging as the victor (Wiel 86). The cities of Venice and Genoa both relied heavily on trade for economic growth. The two often engaged in competition over overseas trade routes (Fratianni and Spinelli 13). The war between these two cities lasted between 1256 and 1381 and occurred in four open war fares. After their last war which happened in 1378 to 1381, Venice dominated the trade routes to the east and left the west to the Genoese. Venice often demonstrated strength when Genoa and Pisa, often in alliance, challenged the rule over the trading route and emerged as the victor every time. Both cities have also developed extensive trade agreements in western Mediterranean. Venice has always been described to be the more politically and economically stronger city state between the two. Although both were known to be finance centers, traditional accounts on international trade gave more credit to Venice. Later on this is to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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