Sec4 express chapter3_the rise of venice_part i&ii.ppt(slideshare)
Roman Empire was split into Eastern and
◦ Roman empire was straining, due to internal strife.
◦ Empire was too large for it to be administered from Rome
◦ The Western Empire declined due to repeated conflict
with tribes outside the empire.
◦ In 476 AD, the western empire collapsed and split into
smaller kingdoms and territories.
◦ Venice emerged during this time.
Factor 1: Geography
◦ Venice is located in Northern Italy.
◦ Consists of 120 small islands.
◦ Protected from Adriatic Sea by larger islands.
◦ Venice’s location contributed to its development as a
city-state and rise as a maritime empire.
Factor 2: Early Settlers
◦ Many were refugees from Roman cities escaping raids from
◦ Early settlers included men who had knowledge of crafts,
fishing and salt production.
◦ Small land areas meant could not live on agriculture.
◦ Heavily dependent on food from mainland.
Factor 3: Venetian Society.
◦ Venetians created urban planning to organize the way they
lived and worked.
◦ Venice divided into 6 districts. Each district further divided
into smaller administrative and social units.
◦ Social gatherings in the church square created
opportunities for poor and rich to interact.
◦ Why is this important?
Factor 4: Economic Activities
◦ Venice surrounded by sea, early Venetians took
advantage of the sea. (i.e. Salt harvesting and fishing).
◦ Traded salt and fish for grain from the hinterland.
Established trade agreements with communities living at
the river mouth to supply them with wood.
◦ They used wood to build ships and also to trade with
Egypt – obtained more expensive products. Gold, spice
Factor 5: System of Government
◦ Vassal state but allowed to choose their own leader
◦ Leader = Doge experienced and chosen from the ruling
families of Venice.
◦ Doge assisted by Ducal Council of two advisers.
◦ General Assembly – function was to elect the Doge.
Passed laws on essential issues such as housing and
What are the common factors between Singapore
◦ Select 4 common factors
Draw two columns and mark them Singapore and
Divide Rows into Early history, Social Life,
Economy and System of government.
What were the reasons for Venice to become a
major trading hub in the 5th
to the 9th
Name four common factors between Singapore
◦ By the 10th
Century, the Byzantine Empire weakened and Arabs
from the Middle East and North Africa challenged its
dominance. Empire could no longer offer protection to Venice.
◦ Venetian navy was ineffective in defeating the pirates and
Venice had to resort to paying out “annual gifts” to guarantee
safe passage for Venetian ships in the Adriatic Sea.
◦ Ships travelled in convoys to avoid being attacked
Maintaining diplomatic relations
◦ The Kingdoms in the Italian peninsula and the Byzantine
Empire were great rivals.
◦ As Venice needed friendly ties with both in order to thrive,
Venice maintained a delicate balancing act in having good
◦ Venice became very good at maintaining good relations
with rival powers and this continued as relations between
the countries and boundaries changed over the centuries
From small trading hub to European Commercial
Retnasamy, Arasumani, Social Studies,
Secondary 4 & 5 – A Perfect Guide, Marshall-
Cavendish Education, Singapore: 2011
Seah, Josee, - Upper Secondary Social Studies
Skills Application for Source-Based case studies &
Structured Essay Questions, Wisemann
Publishing Pte. Ltd, Singapore: 2009
You have read that Venice grew out of the
desperate circumstances after the collapse of the
Western Roman Empire
Through hard work and resilience plus a little
ingenuity, early settlers of Venice were able to
transform it into a commercial capital.
Let’s journey to find out how this was able to take
A more stable Europe
◦ After centuries of warfare more stable kingdoms began
to be established in this part of Europe.
◦ Steadier food production and even food surplus.
◦ Surplus food fuelled trade with other regions.
◦ Many cities became centres of trade and became
◦ Prosperity led to the rise of institutes of learning and
transformed many cities into centres of art and
Decline and weakening of the Byzantine
◦ When the Byzantine Empire began to decline, Venice
made use of the opportunity to expand its influence in the
◦ Venice acquired more trade and territories in the political
vacuum created by the weakening of the Empire
◦ Several visionary leaders emerged in Venice at that time to
steer the country forward.
◦ Two leaders stand out in this area:
Doge Pietro II Orseolo – Established good relations with major
powers and used diplomatic skills to settle feuds between rival cities
and brought Dalmatian pirates under control – all this boosted trade
Doge Enrico Dandolo – used military skills to further weaken the
Byzantine Empire and eventually defeated them. Once Byzantines
defeated – Venice became the most powerful country in the region.
◦ Adapting to changing times: Venetians realised that the old style
of government that they started out with was out-dated and
could not meet the demands of a changing society.
◦ Up to 10th Century: Doge, Ducal Council, General Assembly.
◦ After 10th Century: Doge, Ducal Council, The Council of
Forty, The Senate, The Great Council and General Assembly
Good Governance (Cont’d)
◦ Creation of the Great Council
Allowed for greater participation of capable men in the governance
Stopped rivalry between leading families for top government posts
that would have caused the stability of Venice to be affected.
The Great Council gave an opportunity for capable men to
participate in decision-making in Venice
Good Governance (Cont’d)
◦ Specialization of Duties
Great Council could not handle the increasing administrative
Several other government organizations were set up:
Council of Forty and The Senate.
Council of 40 – handled laws, finances and coinage
The Senate – took charge of foreign affairs, commerce,
operating the Venetian fleet.
Good Governance (Cont’d)
◦ Maintaining Checks and Balances
Council of Ten – formed in 14th
Century. Comprised Doge, six
Ducal Councillors and three heads
Formed to stop corruption and abuse of power
Ensured any plots against Venice was put down. Also ensured that
no one was above the law and even Doge could be investigated
and removed from power if found to be abusing power or was
Preventing Concentration of Power
◦ To ensure that only the best were elected to powerful
positions – A Nominating Committee was formed.
◦ The Nominating Committee ensured:
The process of balloting was done fairly
no nominee could campaign for support
prevented rivalry bet. Candidates
candidates elected based on merit.
What were the key political factors that led to the
rise of Venice?
◦ Which one of these in your view was the most important?
◦ Introduction to essay writing….
Lesson 3: Trade, Industrial and Commercial
Developments that led to the rise of Venice
Attitude towards trade
◦ Diplomatic skills of the Venetians enabled them to obtain
favourable terms such as lower tax rates from the
countries they traded with.
◦ Enterprising – able to obtain highly sought after spices
from the East.
◦ Venetians constantly explored new trade routes by
travelling into uncharted waters in search of new goods
Innovations in Maritime technology
◦ Venice was able to dominate trade with advanced
◦ The Venetians designed and built superior vessels to
meet their sailing needs.
◦ The first Venetian great galley was built in the 13th
Century. It was formidable enough to discourage pirates
from launching an attack on Venetian trading ships
Efficiency in managing voyages
◦ Voyages were more frequent as Venetian traders were
able to travel during winter.
◦ The Senate organized and monitored the schedule of
trade voyages. It grouped traders to travel in convoys as
it was more profitable to trade in larger quantities.
Overcoming trade competition
◦ Venice and Genoa had conflicts of political and
◦ After a series of wars, Venice defeated Genoa and the
Venetians were able to control the Mediterranean Sea.
◦ After Venice defeated Genoa, it gained monopoly in the
◦ Good strategic location and dominance of the navy
allowed Venice to provide a larger variety of goods and
reaped huge profits from goods such as spices and
sugar and diamonds
Trade related industry
◦ Benefitted the ship-building industry and all the
shipbuilders were centralised at a new location – the
◦ The Arsenal was expanded to facilitate production and
eventually became the backbone of Venice’s maritime
industry and power.
◦ With the increase in trade and wealth, the demand for
goods promoted the growth of manufacturing industries
such as the glassmaking and printing industries.
◦ With new industries, more jobs were created for the
people and Venice continued to prosper.
◦ A useful system to record business transactions.
◦ Standardised the credit and debit columns and entries
◦ A system which used bank accounts to make or receive
payments for business transactions
Venice possessed territories along important trade
These territories were important because they
allowed the Venetian great galleys to replenish
their supplies without incurring more costs.
Venice’s success at controlling piracy enabled it to
consolidate its control over the Adriatic Sea region.
A cosmopolitan city
◦ Foreign traders were attracted to Venice because of the ease at
which they could conduct their commercial activities.
◦ Many of these traders settled down in Venice.
◦ There was a serious labour shortage in Venice.
◦ The Venetian government offered special incentives to attract
E.g. Housing and citizenship to merchants and skilled craftsmen
from other parts of Europe to live in Venice.
◦ Venice was regarded as a centre of the arts in Europe as
great pieces of work were produced by many artists and
seen on public buildings in Venice.
◦ One famous form of art was the mosaic tiles which
decorated many of the buildings in Venice even to this
Scientific and literary developments
◦ Venetians were exposed to ideas related to physics,
medicine and psychology.
◦ The pursuit of scientific knowledge led to new areas of
study such as astrology and astronomy.
What were the factors that led to the rise of
Which one of these factors was most instrumental
in bringing about the rise of Venice?
Europe faced many challenges from the 15th
◦ There were many changes in economic, social and
political aspects of life.
◦ Many countries wanted their share of the trade and
territories and were willing to go to war to get what
Venice’s trade monopoly and prosperity was threatened
by these challenges. Venetians were complacent and
failed to respond to them.
◦ Venice was dependant on the mainland territories for food and
◦ Venice had taken advantage of rivalries amongst the European
countries. Its support was not constant and depended on its own
interests. European countries started to distrust Venice.
◦ Danger from mainland = Venice increased size of military. Venice
population small = recruit more mercenaries.
◦ Frequent wars with mainland – traders and merchants could not use
overland routes safely…trade was effected.
The Rise of Ottoman Empire
◦ Ottomans expanded rapidly from Mid-East into Europe, replaced Genoa
as Venice’s greatest rival.
◦ Venice’s rivalry with Ottomans drained much of the countries resources
◦ Ottomans gained territories in Adriatic – could launch more attacks on
Venice. Venice forced to re-fit trading vessels as naval ships – caused a
decline in trade.
◦ Venice fought several wars with Ottomans – these wars drained
Venice’s resources and seriously disrupted trade. Venice tried to play-
off the rivalry between Ottomans and European states. Earning great
contempt of the Europeans.
The League of Cambrai
◦ Venice’s influence, prosperity and insensitivity made it unpopular with
many European countries. They wanted to limit the power of Venice.
◦ Spain, Hungary and France formed a military alliance called the
League of Cambrai in 1508. Objective: conquer Venetian territories
and divide the control of these areas amongst them.
◦ Battle of Agnadello, Venice suffered a great defeat and many of
its territories fell to the countries of the League.
◦ Venice attempted to get these back…but these came at a high cost.
These wars drained Venice’s resources.
Discovery of new trade routes
◦ The 15th
Century was the age of exploration as Europeans set off
to discover new trade routes.
◦ In 1497, Vasco da Gama (Portuguese) discovered the trade
route to India via the Cape of Good Hope. Enabled Portuguese to
trade directly with communities in India.
◦ No longer a need to get spices from Venice. Venice monopoly of
◦ Venice continued as a trade centre. Venetian manufactured
products such as glass continued to be profitable.
New Trade Rivals
◦ By the 17th
Century – Venice faced new trade rivals in the form of
Dutch Netherlands and Britain.
◦ The Dutch formed the Dutch East India Company and bypassed
Venice to get spices and other goods from the East. The British
East India company did the same.
◦ British and Dutch built far superior ships and bought goods in
greater quantities from the East.
◦ Venice imposed higher taxes on foreign traders. This caused
foreign traders to shun Venice as a port of call.
◦ Venice’s success led to complacency. Venetian officials felt no need to
change the system of government that was established in the 12th
◦ Political power concentrated in the hands of a few noble families. By 16th
Century a small group of families dominated the government. These
families – more interested in preserving their own wealth.
◦ No proper checks on the powers of these families, corruption became
inevitable. Rotation of officers – worked well in the past because there
were many capable men in Venice – now did not work so well as, when
competent officers were rotated incompetent ones took their place.
E.g. Appointment of Nicolo Da Canal and Antonio Grimani as Captain-
Generals of the Navy, both proved incompetent. Venice lost many
Corruption in the Government
◦ Wars with Ottomans and mainland states were costly.
Government suspended the salaries of civil servants. This led to
some taking bribes.
◦ As the higher positions in government were elected, many poorer
nobles sold their votes to richer ones contesting the same posts.
This resulted in corruption, as positions were bought and sold.
◦ Led to the entry of many rich but incompetent nobles into
important posts in government. These leaders were more
concerned with their own interests than with the interests of
Over-dependence on Mercenaries
◦ In Europe at the time – common practice to hire mercenaries to
supplement armed forces.
◦ Venice more dependent, as country was small and dreaded plague
reduced the numbers of men who could join the armed forces.
◦ Venice employed mercenaries from all over Europe. These men could
not be expected to be loyal to Venice as they fought for whoever paid
them the most.
In 1619 some mercenaries plotted to kill the leading nobles of Venice and rob
their homes. This proved that they could not be trusted with the defence of
The rich and powerful Venetians kept away from the poorer Venetians
and lived their own luxurious lifestyles.
All Venetians loved taking part in parties and the rich lavish
celebrations such as CarnevaleCarnevale which would last for six months.
The Venetians loved gambling and many rich Venetians lost their
fortunes in gambling halls (an early form of casinos)
With the Venetians living in their past glories and more interested in
living lavish and decadent (corrupt) lifestyles – they became less
interested in political and defence needs.
Not prepared to face external threats.
Venice failed to respond effectively to internal and
In the 18th
Century – France growing power threatened
many European states. Under the leadership of
Napolean Bonaparte, the French swept across
Western Europe and moved into the Italian peninsula.
As news of the French army descending on Italian
states became more certain, a small number of
Venetian nobles supported the idea of fighting for
However, at this period of time, Venice’s fortresses
and armed forces were outdated as compared to the
sophistication of the French army.
There were no capable nobles to organize and lead
an army to defeat Napoleon’s soldiers.
When Venice was approached by the Italian
states to join an alliance against France, it
rejected the invitation for fear of provoking France.
Meanwhile a small number of Venetians plotted to
overthrow the Venetian ruling government. They
were supported by French agents and with their
support, Napoleon advanced into Venice.
The venetian commanders who attempted to
defend the city-state soon discovered that they did
not have the means to defend themselves.
This was made worse by the other nobles’
absence of fighting spirit.
May 1797, when Napoleon demanded for
Venice’s surrender, Doge Ludivico Manin
surrendered the city-state to Napoleon without a
single shot being fired.
That ended Venice’s sovereignty as an
independent city-state. A once-enviable maritime
empire was now reduced to a simple island state.
What were the Foreign Threats that caused the
decline of Venice?
What were the economic factors that accelerated
How did political and social challenges cause the
decline of Venice?