Dan's Reviews > City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas

City of Fortune by Roger Crowley
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's review
Mar 22, 12

Read from March 06 to 21, 2012

I had no idea what to expect from this book. Going into it I was completely unaware of Venice's powerful past, it's governmental and social structures or it's prowess on the seas. Now, I feel well-versed in all of these areas, at least as they pertain to medieval Venice up through the Age of Discovery. Roger Crowley did an excellent job conveying the precarious nature of the republic's continuing existence throughout. Much was made of the yearly ritual in which the Venetian Doge ceremonially married the sea, and with good cause. The city-state, though immensely powerful for over 200 years, representing, as it did, Europe's first adventure in empire, was inextricably bound to naval dominance: it's fortunes (and it's people) lived and died by the trade routes and the state's ability to control them. It's a narrative we've seen played out again throughout history with the Portuguese, the Spanish and the British, to name a few.

Overall, there were lots of fascinating historical tidbits, and through I often found myself lost in a sea (no pun intended) of unfamiliar names and places, Crowley always kept the book grounded and was good about making explicate connections. I would recommend this for anybody interested in the history of trade and empire, as well as those fascinated by Venice. For the latter group, be warned, you're going to encounter a lot of war, torture and execution.

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Reading Progress

03/06/2012 page 88
22.0% 2 comments
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message 2: by Ettore (new)

Ettore Pasquini This sounds interesting, curious to read your review...

message 1: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan it's one of the book perks books, so it'll be in the office once i'm done.

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