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City of fortune : how Venice won and lost a…
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City of fortune : how Venice won and lost a naval empire (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Roger Crowley

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592940,936 (3.98)9
History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:The rise and fall of Venices empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.The Financial Times
 
The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venices astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 14991503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of lagoon dwellers grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its timethe reverberations of which are still being felt today.
 
[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.The New York Times
 
Crowley chronicles the peak of Venices past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.The Wall Street Journal.
… (more)
Member:jd1000
Title:City of fortune : how Venice won and lost a naval empire
Authors:Roger Crowley
Info:London : Faber and Faber, 2011.
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:calibre

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City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas by Roger Crowley (2011)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Good history of the region, if a little dull in places. If you want to learn more about Venice and it's navel empire, this is a book for you!

The author has clearly well researched the topic, but sometimes this gets away from him, and he loses the narrative thread, providing too much information. My favourite section was the chapters about the Fourth Crusade and Doge Dandalo. ( )
  calenmarwen | May 29, 2023 |
Crowley az ismeretterjesztő könyvek szerzői közül abba a szűk csoportba tartozik, akiknek az újabb munkáit lelkesülten lehet várni, hogy aztán összemérve az elsővel, a csúcsok csúcsával, azt mondja az ember: hát, egy pöttyet kevésbé jó. De ettől még várjuk tovább lelkesülten az újabb munkáit.

A Kalmárköztársaság Velence históriája – de ne számítsunk lineáris aprómunkára, ami ától cettig végigveszi egy városállam történetét. Crowley három gócpontot emel ki: 1.) a negyedik keresztes háborút, amelyben Velence álnok módon elintézte, hogy a keresztesek a Szentföld helyett Zárában, aztán pedig Konstantinápolyban kössenek ki, és ha már ott vannak, a két szép szemükért (meg az aranydukátokért) Velence nagyobb dicsőségére prédálják is fel őket, ezzel megteremtve azt a hatalmi űrt, amibe aztán a kalmárköztársaság beslisszolhatott 2.) a velenceiek Genovával vívott váltakozó, de mindig kíméletlen csatározásait, amelyek végtére is lehetővé tették, hogy a városállam önmagát tekinthesse a Földközi-tenger urának 3.) az oszmánok megizmosodását, amely birodalom végül is bevitte a mélyütést szegény kereskedőknek, elindítva őket a lejtőn. A szerző szokásos stratégiája ebből jól kirajzolódik: Crowley ugyanis egy drámai gépezet felépítésében érdekelt, amiben a főszereplő (jelesül: Velence) sajátos tulajdonságokkal rendelkezik (demokratikus, pénzéhes, a globális kereskedelem fontosabb neki, mint az ideák, gondolkodásmódja világosan elkülönül tehát a korabeli európai zömtől*) – szinte már személynek, nem is városnak tekintjük őt. A drámai gépezet pedig úgy működik, hogy okot okozat követ**, és az események íve fontosabb, mint hogy minden adatot megjelenítsünk. És ebben lehet megragadni a kötet effektíve gyenge pontját: a szerző ugyanis felemelkedés és hanyatlás eposzi léptékű krónikáját alkotja meg az én legnagyobb örömömre, de ezen cél érdekében lefarag mindent, ami ezt az ívet elcsúfítaná. Ő Velence porba hullásának zárómomentumaként az 1500-as évek elejét jelöli meg, mert így kerek a sztori – hogy hetven évvel később volt egy Lepantó, ahol a velenceiek masszív résztvevői voltak a török flotta tönkrezúzásának, ebbe a freskóba már nem fér bele. Mint ahogy nem fér bele a könyvbe az sem, ami a szárazföldön történt – Crowley-t a mediterráneum érdekli, a tengeri csaták szerelmese, a talpasok csatározásai úgy fest, nem izgatják fel***. (Az már csak az én heppem, hogy érzésem szerint Crowley indokolatlanul használja a „nacionalizmus” szót a térség Velence-ellenes mozgalmaival kapcsolatban – de ebbe ne is menjünk bele.)

De elvenni nem akarom senkinek kedvét a könyvtől, mert még ezekkel a hibákkal is káprázatos olvasmány volt: lendületes történet a kapzsiság bűneiről, melyek végül elnyerik zsoldjukat. Csak a mérce magas. De addig jó, amíg nem kell lentebb rakni.

* Itt valóban tetten érhető némi párhuzam a Brit Birodalommal.
** Jellemző, hogy Konstantinápoly felprédálását is mintha úgy interpretálná Crowley, mint kozmikus bűnt, ami nem csak Velence felemelkedését tette lehetővé, de az oszmánokét is – akik aztán, jó háromszáz évvel később, el is hozták az ítéletet a múltbéli bűnökért.
*** Mondjuk erre a hiányosságra gyógyír, hogy a Park Kiadó (jó szokása szerint) ismét egy alapos tanulmányt illesztett a szöveg végére, nem kisebb történész, mint B. Szabó János tollából, aki szépen kiegészíti a kötetet a maga esszéjével a magyar-velencei konfliktusról. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
Fascinating look at Venice. A city that ran itself as if it were a country separate from Italy, even going to war with various Italian cities. It was the Ottoman Empire that proved to be their biggest problem. ( )
  a1stitcher | Jun 22, 2019 |
I was a little concerned that City of Fortune, which was a history of the city of Venice between the 11th and 16th centuries, would not include history of the Aegean and Mediterranean seas. It was, after all, a civil history. But to my delight, it did.

The book’s focus was on the Stato di Mar, the "State of the Sea" that the Venetians used to control their empire, which was one of trade. Like many Italian cities of the Medieval period, Venice was a city-state, but its extended holdings were not on land but on sea… in ports, harbors and islands, and the trading communities of far-flung cities like Brussels, Alexandria, and Constantinople. Their knowledge of the sea and shipbuilding skills made this possible, and their often dangerous commerce with the Muslim and Greek Orthodox worlds enriched the city’s culture and design. For a while it was the richest city in Italy.

The Stato di Mar lasted only until the beginning of the 16th century, with the rise of the Ottoman Empire and the Portuguese discovery of trade routes to India which allowed them to hijack the spice trade. The author writes covers his material well and at times I thought I was reading a thrilling adventure novel. It was all fascinating stuff, and the maps included were a big help… except Negroponte, an important Venetian holding, was not labeled. I made it through five-sixths of the book without knowing where it was because the text did not tell me, and it was annoying. (It’s off the east coast of upper Greece.)

I still rate the book five stars, and I'll keep it for reference, because the political analysis of that time will come in very useful when plotting my own stories. ( )
  Cobalt-Jade | Mar 28, 2018 |
I visited Venice in midwinter many years ago now, and stepping around the multitudes of dead pigeons and machine gun-toting Carabinieri, I saw the grandeur of St Mark’s Square (and had the customary heart attack all tourists have upon discovering how expensive a coffee at the café there is), the Doge’s Palace and the Horses of St Mark’s, and wondered how Venice became the richest, biggest city in the world, and how it fell from grace. “City of Fortune” answers some of those questions.

Rather than a complete history of Venice from its founding in the ninth century to its defeat by Napoleon, Crowley decides to focus on some key moments, such as Venice’s role in the sack of Constantinople and the ongoing tussles with Genoa and the Ottoman Empire. These sections are incredibly vivid and showcases Crowley’s impressive writing abilities. What was odd though was what Crowley didn’t cover; for example he mentions in passing that Venice once controlled Cyprus, which I thought deserved coverage of at least a few pages, and while Crowley writes as if the Ottoman Empire would inevitably destroy Venice, he doesn’t mention Napoleon’s role at all. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Apr 20, 2017 |
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Ballerini, EdoardoNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:The rise and fall of Venices empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.The Financial Times
 
The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venices astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 14991503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of lagoon dwellers grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its timethe reverberations of which are still being felt today.
 
[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.The New York Times
 
Crowley chronicles the peak of Venices past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.The Wall Street Journal.

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