THE VENETIANS: Merchant Princes by Thomas Caldecot Chubb

THE VENETIANS: Merchant Princes

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chubb follows the format of The Byzantines (1959) here, capturing Venice at the height of her splendor in the words of impressed visitors, then starting at the New Stone Age peoples and working up quickly to the loosely bound alliances that slowly developed into a Republic. Individual episodes (the first gold ducat, the Vote of Providence, the Papal sea marriage ceremony) are characterized far better than general trends. One of the best chapters, based on Frederic Lane's 1967 (adult) work, follows the life of a particular merchant from 200 to 15,000 ducats. Less reliable is the slightly idealized depiction of the oligarchy (by the few, for the many) or his analysis of the decline which does not mention the growing cross-Atlantic trade. Surprisingly, there is little elaboration of the shipbuilding industry but for the most part he does portray the advantageously situated traders in a succinct--and enthusiastic--study that is, however, only peripheral history.

Pub Date: Oct. 28th, 1968
Publisher: Viking