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Political Economies of Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean
The Decline of Venice and the Rise of England, 1450–1700


  • Date Published: March 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107630383

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About the Authors
  • Against the backdrop of England's emergence as a major economic power, the development of early modern capitalism in general and the transformation of the Mediterranean, Maria Fusaro presents a new perspective on the onset of Venetian decline. Examining the significant commercial relationship between these two European empires during the period 1450–1700, Fusaro demonstrates how Venice's social, political and economic circumstances shaped the English mercantile community in unique ways. By focusing on the commercial interaction between Venice and England, she also re-establishes the analysis of the maritime political economy as an essential constituent of the Venetian state political economy. This challenging interpretation of some classic issues of early modern history will be of profound interest to economic, social and legal historians, and provides a stimulating addition to current debates in imperial history, especially on the economic relationship between different empires and the socio-economic interaction between 'rulers and ruled'.

    • Places the Venetian maritime dominions centre stage, a welcome balance to interpretations of Venetian history based on the 'city'
    • Re-evaluates the role of Venetian maritime trade, providing an up-to-date analysis of a neglected topic
    • Establishes the significance of the Venetian experience by comparing two of the most important maritime empires in early modern Europe, Venice and England
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Two empires, Venice already old and past its peak, England adolescent and ambitious, met in mingled rivalry and co-operation in the early modern Eastern Mediterranean. English-speaking historians have long regarded the Venetian Empire as a maritime empire prefiguring the British Empire, but their view of Venice and its transactions with England has generally been based on English sources. For the first time Maria Fusaro gives us the English among the creeks and islands of the Venetian empire, as seen by the Venetians themselves. Using archives hitherto little-known or wholly unknown, she paints a lively picture of Anglo-Venetian commerce, diplomacy and war.' Nicholas Rodger, University of Oxford

    'This is an innovative work of comparative history that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the early modern world. By considering the rise of England and the decline of Venice in tandem, Fusaro is able to cast fascinating new light onto these familiar historical questions, and to show their importance to broader issues, such as the rise of capitalism, globalization and empire.' Eric Dursteler, Brigham Young University, Utah

    'Fusaro is determined to remind her readers, contrary to mainstream historiography, that Venice was indeed an empire and one whose imperial glories, preoccupations and costs acted as a model to those capitalist successors which have lasted into the twentieth century and beyond.' Richard Bosworth, History Today

    'Every scholar interested in imperial history and the English mercantile community should read Political Economies of Empire in the Early Modern Mediterranean as Maria Fusaro proposes a stimulating re-interpretation of the role of Venice and the English within the early modern Mediterranean. This book is an excellent response to the quantitative-econometric approach now unfortunately too common among economic historians that, by overlooking the social aspect of commerce, fail to grasp fully the early modern maritime world. Instead, Fusaro's work enriches recent literature on social history of trade … Fusaro presents a novel view on imperialism and a different narrative on trade that I hope economic historians will develop in future scholarship.' Giada Pizzoni, Global Intellectual History

    'Fusaro explores this complex of issues through a dense, source-rich analysis of the commercial, diplomatic, and social links between Venice and England from the late Middle Ages through the seventeenth century.' Dennis Romano, The Journal of Modern History

    'Political Economies offers much to a broad range of readers. Those interested only in Venice will garner a new understanding of her political and economic history, especially for those to whom Italian historiography has been inaccessible. Scholars interested in the rise of England will also find much that is new in this book (although its primary research into English sources is much less rich than the evidence of Italian archives). For economic and political historians, Fusaro has revealed a concrete example of the interplay between politics, trade, economics and warfare. Of course readers in any of those camps may well be maritime historians, all of whom will find this book a valuable contribution to our expanding range of interest. As its title implies, Political economies of empire in the early modern Mediterranean is very much a maritime history, too.' Adrian Leonard, The International Journal of Maritime History

    'The volume of research initiated for the production of this book is impressive, and has enabled Fusaro to create an imposing study that will prove vital for the early modern maritime historian. … The book is a valuable and authoritative contribution to the fields of early modern state formation, maritime studies, and economic history.' Benjamin W. D. Redding, The Mariner's Mirror

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107630383
    • length: 436 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 2 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: political economies of empire
    1. The medieval background
    2. The reversal of the balance
    3. The Ottoman Levant
    4. Genoa, Venice and Livorno (a tale of three cities)
    5. Trade, violence and diplomacy
    6. Diplomacy, trade and religion
    7. The Venetian peculiarities
    8. The English mercantile community in Venice
    9. The English and other mercantile communities
    10. The goods of the trade
    11. Empires and governance in the Mediterranean
    12. Coda and conclusions

  • Author

    Maria Fusaro, University of Exeter
    Maria Fusaro is Associate Professor (Reader) in Early Modern European History and directs the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies at the University of Exeter. She is the author of Reti commerciali e traffici globali in eta' moderna (2008) and L'uva passa. Una guerra commerciale tra Venezia e l'Inghilterra, 1540–1640 (1997), and co-editor of Trade and Cultural Exchange in the Early Modern Mediterranean: Braudel's Maritime Legacy (2010) and Maritime History as Global History (2011). Her articles include 'Cooperating Mercantile Networks in the Early Modern Mediterranean', The Economic History Review 65 (2012) and 'Representation in Practice: The Myth of Venice and the British Protectorate in the Ionian Islands (1801–64)' in Exploring Cultural History (2010).

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