by Gasparo Contarini
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022. Pp. lx, 135.
Illo., maps, diagr., gloss., chron., notes, biblio., index. $27.95 paper. ISBN: 1487546025
Today largely known for its unique location, stunning beauty, and artistic heritage, the fragile city on the Adriatic was once, and for over a thousand years, numbered among the great powers, punching far above its weight in conflicts with such superpowers as France, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire.
In the 1520s Venetian nobleman, cardinal, and diplomat Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542) wrote this short book to explain the nature of the Serene Republic’s political and social institutions and how they promote the city’s enormous success on the world stage. A major contribution to the history of political ideas, the book had considerable influence on the thinking of later political theorists, including some of the Founding Fathers, who looked to Venice as an example of a successful republic.
A volume in the “Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library”, this translation of The Republic of Venice was edited by Filippo Sabetti, and translated by Giuseppe Pezzini and Amanda Murphy. It is the first in English done directly from the original Latin, rather than from French of Italian versions.
The Republic of Venice gives the reader a good look at the institutions and ideas that fostered the city’s success and also how some of those came to influence to the institutions of the young United States.
Note: The Republic of Venice is also available in hardcover & e-editions.
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