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The Relocation of Venice

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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Relocation of Venice
    Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 10:51
A spin off from the thread about the looting of Constantinople.

Searching for the Byzantine crown jewels, I came upon on a little note saying, that after 1204 during the existence of the Latin Emipre, one of the Doges of Venice, successor to Dandolo, suggested to remove the entire city of Venice, lock, stock and barrel to Constantinople and rule their merchant Empire from there.
Apparently the motion was only defeated by one vote in the Venetian senate and the plan was scrapped.
If true, that's surely another great "what if....?" moment, with endless possibilities to speculate over.

Anyway, I had never heard of that story and lost the link. Has anybody got any more info?

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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 12:04

Originally posted by Komnenos

one of Doges of Venice, successor to Dandolo, suggested to remove the entire city of Venice, lock, stock and barrel to Constantinople and rule their merchant Empire from there.
Apparently the motion was only defeated by one vote in the Venetian senate and the plan was scrapped.

Wow, that is quite interesting!  I will have to admit, I have never come across this suggestion in any of my studies.  In the last half century of Byzantium's existence, as you may well know, the population of the Italian merchant communities almost rivaled the population of native Byzantines in Constantinople.  So their presence in the capital was enormous regardless of whether or not the seat of government was moved there. 

Sorry I couldn't provide any info; but do let us know if you find anything!

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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 12:48
I just found an article by Donald M. Nicol, an authority on all things Byzantine, scanned and skimmed it and found the following paragraph:

"When Dandolo died in June 1205 Venice as well as the Venetian community Constantinople were left without a head. The old Doge had not relinquished either office; nor had he given any advice for the future. Those in Constantinople at once elected a new leader for themselves. He was Marino Zeno; and he adopted the title of Podest and Dominator or Lord of one quarter and one eighth of the whole Empire of Romania. The Venetian colony Constantinople seemed to be claiming an independent status equivalent to if not greater than that of Venice itself. Some thought that the time had come to move their capital from Venice to Constantinople. The very idea was enough make the people of Venice still more anxious about the child that they had spawned in Byzantium. Dandolo had indeed inspired and helped to promote a separatist movement among the Venetians whose ambition was nothing less an the byzantinisation of Venice. It was even assumed that all territories which had been assigned to the Venetians in the partition treaty would come under the direct authority of the Podest in Constantinople. These claims and assumptions had to be promptly stifled by the new Doge, Pietro Ziani, who as elected in Venice in August 1205. For the future each new Podest in Constantinople was required to take an oath of loyalty to the Doge and Commune of Venice; and even the title of Dominator was taken from him. Pietro Ziani thus nipped the Great Idea in the bud and established a proper balance of power between the government in Venice and its colonies in Byzantium."


Byzantium, Venice and the Fourth Crusade, by David M. Nicol

It's a different version of events, but nevertheless the relocation of Venice seems to have been seriously discussed.

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  Quote Byzantine Emperor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 13:17

Originally posted by Komnenos

Byzantium, Venice and the Fourth Crusade, by David M. Nicol

It's a different version of events, but nevertheless the relocation of Venice seems to have been seriously discussed.

Oh cool!  Thanks for posting the link.  I wonder where this came from?  I have read most of Nicol's articles and I own his books on the last centuries, John Cantacuzenus, and Constantine XI.  I don't have his book about Byzantine-Venetian relations so it might be an excerpt from that book.

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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2005 at 17:03
Fascinating theory, imagine the ramifications of Venice being right on the scene to control Near Eastern trade. Imagine them suddenly picking up the tab from the Byzantines to hold off the Turks. Personally I don't think they would have done as good a job, they were a naval power and you needed a land army more than anything to deal with the Turks. Also, their ability to command the loyalty of the local Greek populace is highly dubious.
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