The Republic of Venice, 1564-1669

The Treaty of Noyon in 1516 concluded peace between France and Spain. Venice concluded a truce with the Holy Roman Empire, which brought to an end two decades of warfare with frequently shifting alliances, which temporarily threatened the ruination of the Republic of Venice.
The Ottoman conquest of Syria and Egypt in 1517 was of importance to the Republic, as she traded intensely with these areas. The Ottoman capture of Rhodes 1522 threatened Venetian possessions in the Adriatic and in the eastern Mediterranean (Crete, Cyprus). In regard to foreign policy, the Republic of Venice remained loyal French ally. With King François I. of France having been defeated and taken prisoner in the Battle of Pavia 1525 and the Spanish-Imperial forces in control of Milan, the Franco-Spanish/Imperial wars, while continuing, moved away from Venice and became less relevant to the Republic. Demonstrations of Imperial power, such as the Sacco di Roma 1527 and the restoration of the Medici to Florence 1529-1530 discouraged the Republic from entering into military adventures.
In her Italian territories, three and a half decades of peace followed (1530-1564). The Republic fought occasional naval encounters with Ottoman fleets (1533), refused to participate in the Emperor's Expedition to Tunis 1535 and to Algiers 1541. In 1537 a Franco-Ottoman alliance had been concluded, directed against the Emperor, and Venice, as a French ally, was invited to join in; the Republic refused to commit herself, while carefully attempted to avoid any conflict. The Ottoman Empire punished Venetian merchants with additional ex-/import tariffs; Venetian shipping was harrassed by Ottoman vessels at sea. Then the Ottoman Empire declared war and an Ottoman fleet appeared off Corfu. The islanders held out; the Ottoman force was decimated by disease, and left after a month (Aug.-Sept.). Nauplia and Malvasia on the Peloponnese, the Aegaean islands of Skiros, Patmos, Aegina, Ios, Paros and Astipalaia fell to the Ottoman Empire. Venice now allied with the Emperor and the pope; the crusade launched in 1538 ended in the defeat at Preveza. In 1540, peace was concluded; Venice regained the Aegaean islands, but had to formally cede Nauplia and Malvasia.
A colony of Germans, mostly merchants, resided in Venice, and Lutheran publications spread there, but already in 1520 were banned, occasionally confiscated and publicly burnt. The excommunication of Luther was read out in the churches of Venice, and all his sympathizers were threatened with excommunication. Despite these efforts, a number of Italian clerics, mostly Franciscans, leaned toward Lutheranism; they suffered persecution. Antonio Brucioli, of Florence, translated both the new and the old testament into Italian, both were published by Giunti in Venice (O.T. 1532). Brucioli opened a printing shop of his own in Venice and published comments on the old and the new testament (1542-1546); in 1548 the Venetian Inquisition confiscated and burnt his publications However, the Republic of Venice, while implementing numerous papal orders in order to contain and root out the 'heresy' among their subjects, was unwilling to grant their permission to the execution of the death penalty against convicted heretics, and was much more tolerant when foreign guests of the Republic were concerned. Catholicism remained state confession.

The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy in the Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment, and Thirty Years' War, by Webster Tarpley, Intro, Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3
REFERENCE John Julius Norwich, A History of Venice, NY : Vintage, 1989 : pp.434-464
Karl Benrath, Geschichte der Reformation in Venedig (History of the Reformation in Venice), Halle : Max Niemeyer 1886

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on April 23rd 2004, last revised on March 24th 2006

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