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The Venetian Empire: A Sea Voyage

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  17 reviews
For six centuries the Republic of Venice was a maritime empire, its sovereign power extending throughout much of the eastern Mediterranean – an empire of coasts, islands and isolated fortresses by which, as Wordsworth wrote, the mercantile Venetians 'held the gorgeous east in fee'.

Jan Morris reconstructs the whole of this glittering dominion in the form of a se
Paperback, 4th, 208 pages
Published January 4th 1990 by Penguin (first published January 1st 1980)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I love Jan Morris, having been blown away by two quite different projects of hers: the first, her epic 3-volume evocation of the British Empire which summons up the complexity and hugeness of the thing in a series of detailed vignettes; the second, her single-volume meditations on individual cities, most notably Oxford and, famously, Venice.

If I found this book a little disappointing it is because it falls in between the two: the Venetian Empire was a somewhat piecemeal and scattered thing, wit
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book tied in well with my favorite Dorothy Dunnett series and even the new Zen Masterpiece Theatre series in which the detective is Venetian. Though Morris drifts around the Mediterranean, musing on Venice's various conquests and influence, I thought she searched a bit too hard to find traces of Venetian culture and architecture everywhere. I did learn a lot about Istanbul, the Greek islands, and the cities of former Yugoslavia and want even more to visit Turkey now!
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read for Book Club - A great way to escape from an Irish January! I enjoy reading history and learn so much from this book.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea how extensive the Venetian Empire was - wish I'd read this before visiting Venice, but still a great read.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best travel authors out there
Christopher Donaghue
While a fascinating book on topics of history far, far too often overlooked, I found that this books had a number of shortcomings which I found challenging to overlook.

Number one, for me at least, is the lack of footnotes/sources. I LOVE bibliographies - one book opens the door to hundreds more, exponentiating the experience and the knowledge to be gained. However, this book had only a small bibliography and none of the many and interesting statements of historical fact were sourced,
Jul 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alex by:
Well I thought that this was a travel book that talked about the history of the Venetian Empire. No, this is a history book that travels around to the different places that were important to Venetian history. Then tells the historical story. So instead of getting the story in a series of time -based events, it tells the story going to different places geographically and then telling the important story (or stories) that happened in those places. Often the author imagines sailing up to a port in ...more
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jan Morris goes on a journey around Venice and takes the reader delightfully with her. If you have an interest in Venice, this is a fabulous book about the different islands, weaving history and tales of notables and visitors, to keep the reader engaged. A fantastic book and must for those interested in travel or Venice.
Jean Wetmore
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book on a topic and area that I never learned much about. I learned that cities of Italy had commercial empires, but that was about it. I never knew about their role in the 4th Crusade and other events in the eastern part of the former Roman Empire. The information was great to add to my understanding of this part of the world and its story.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A friend recommended this book before we did a Mediterranean cruise. I'm so glad I found it on Kendall. It is fantastic! The book details not only the city of Venice but it's long history dominating the Mediterranean. It's really a history of the eastern Mediterranean and the importance of Venice. The book is very readable and enjoyable, sometimes forget your reading history.
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Very interesting history presented in imaginative language. If you're looking for a chronological history, this isn't it. However, if you want to read an evocative account of the Venetian empire, you'll probably enjoy this book.
Michael Romo
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This History/Travelogue of the Venetian Empire was essential to put me in the correct frame of mind for my visit to Venice and subsequent Mediterranean cruise. I loved imaging the galleys of the Empire plying the sea and arriving to cities and towns the we visited on our cruise.
Jul 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: italy
I expected this book to be more about Venice itself. Apparently I don't know the meaning of the word "empire". Having said that, I did learn a lot about the Venetians and skipped over the parts of their conquests. I may have to go back someday and read the whole book.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it liked it
This travelogue of sorts tells the history of the Venetian empire until its fall in the late 1700s. It is beautifully written but the gore got to me. I am so glad we are "civilized" today.
Paolo Zanelli
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Interesting at times but below Jan Morris usual standards
Jan 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Very informative but got to be depressing with the amount of life disregarded, tortured, and killed during various conquests of land.
Oct 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Great read so far. Morris is such a good writer.
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Jan Morris previously wrote under the name "James Morris".

Jan Morris is a British historian, author and travel writer. Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but is Welsh by heritage and adoption. Before 1970 Morris published under her former name, "James Morris", and is known particularly for the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British