Today, Venice, a tourist city in northeastern Italy, has been a strong force that cannot be ignored in the Mediterranean from the 13th to the 16th century. Before the great nautical era, Venice connected Germany and Central Europe to the north, sailed to the southeast to the Balkans, and further south was the Greek islands and Asia Minor. It can be said that Venice has been acting as the “broker” of the trade route on the east coast of the Mediterranean for more than three centuries.
The Republic of Venice is also an important part of the “Silk Road”. Silk from the East came to Venice from ports along the Balkans, forming a distribution center here. Nowadays, the common lace edge of women’s clothing originated in Venice and spread to all parts of Europe.
For this reason, the culture of Venice is a combination of “East and West”. In an age when Western Europe still knew very little about Middle Eastern culture, Venice was a window to the east. In medieval Europe, if people were looking for Arabic literature, Venice was the most ideal place. After all, there was the largest collection of Arabic books in Europe at that time.
They targeted the Venetian merchant ship as a target for looting, which was approved by the Pope.
On the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, from Croatia to Albania, to the island of Corfu in eastern Greece, the Republic of Venice has established many colonies and outposts. These outposts and military fortresses outside the Italian territory are a “not Italy, but Italy” scene: under the blue sea and blue sky, the beautiful and magnificent architectural reliefs made of marble reflect the white light under the sunlight. In the most conspicuous places of these public buildings, the lion logo of the Republic of Venice makes people remember that it was once part of the vast maritime network of the Republic of Venice.
The Venetian merchants played an important role on the east coast of the Mediterranean, and even the Ottoman Empire had to rely on them as intermediaries in trade with Western Europe. The rulers of the Ottoman Empire also set aside a special area in Istanbul for these Catholic businessmen to live and do business here. The merchant of Venice is not without criticism. In the eyes of the Ottoman Empire in the East, the merchants of Venice were always pagans, while in the eyes of Western countries, Venice had long served as the comprador of the Ottoman Empire.
In 1570, the Ottoman Empire finally broke its face with Venice and captured Cyprus, which had long been controlled by Venice. At this point, the Mediterranean Sea east of Sicily has almost all fallen into the sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire, and Venice has also lost an important stronghold for trade and trade with the Middle East.
More than that, some Croatian pirates who believe in Catholicism have been haunting the east coast of the Adriatic Sea for a long time. They targeted the Venetian merchant ships as the target of looting, and this was approved by the Pope. In name, they punish Venice as a Catholic city-state for trading with the Ottoman Empire, but they actually took a fancy to the huge wealth of these merchant ships.
Today, these pirates have become “national heroes” that Croatian nationalists advertised against foreign enemies. There are also local fishermen dressed up as pirates for tourists to take photos together.
With the advent of the great nautical era, the commercial artery of Western Europe shifted from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. This also brought an end to the golden age of Venice.