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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Centre for Open Learning : History, Classics and Archaeology

Undergraduate Course: The Republic of Venice: Myth and reality c1400-1650 (LLLE07025)

Course Outline
SchoolCentre for Open Learning CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 7 (Year 1 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course will look in detail at the development of Venice, the city and its mainland and maritime empire, over a period from c.1400 to c.1650. It will examine the myth of Venice, the complexities of its Republican government and corporations, and the multifaceted nature of its cosmopolitan society. Politics and religion, trade and industry, printing and, of course, art and architecture will be examined in an overview of the city's unique contribution to the development of the Renaissance state and Italian and European culture.
Course description Week 1: General impressions: the city's foundation and early growth. Venice's Byzantine heritage. Maritime trade and the Myth of Venice; Bellini and the East. The city's role at the forefront of economic and cultural trends: commerce and printing.

Week 2: The Republican structure of Venetian government: the Doge and the Councils. A closed society; the Procurators of St Mark's and the other Magistracies. Contemporary political theorists. The Patriciate and Cittadini. Case studies of early Doges: Francesco Foscari and Giovanni Mocenigo.

Week 3: The Scuole and confraternities; commercial models and maritime trade. The Popolani and the Arsenale: an early example of labour regulation and factory production. Society and work in Renaissance Venice. Women's lives in early Renaissance Venice: dowries and convents.

Week 4: Stato da Mare: the fifteenth-century maritime empire and Venetian overseas dominions: Rhodes, Cyprus and other colonies. Stato da Terra. : key cities in the Veneto and beyond. Waterways, agriculture and land reclamation. Trade and administration: Venetian patrician families and the cursus ad honorem. The humiliation of Agnadello (1509): background and consequences.

Week 5: Venice: the Renovatio or renewal of Venice. Architectural projects in the early to mid sixteenth century: Jacopo Sansovino. Printing in Venice. Other Venetian industries: silk, glass and clothing.

Week 6: Religion: Venice and Rome; the poor in Venetian society. Confraternities, social welfare and hospitals; quarantine and lepers; Carnevale and the Battle of the Fists; Venetian law, crime and punishment.

Week 7: The later sixteenth century and the culmination of the Myth of Venice. The Battle of Lepanto (1571). Venice and its greatest artistic decades: Palladio, Titian, Veronese, Giorgione, Tintoretto and others. Art patronage and building in Venice and its Terraferma: monasteries, palazzi, churches and villas.

Week 8: The dark side of the Myth of Venice: secrecy and corruption. Heresy, the Inquisition and Venice. The Jews in Venice: the original Ghetto. Legislation and morality in the city. Venice and the Plague (1576).

Week 9: Foreign diplomatic (English) and merchant communities; intellectual life in the mid and later sixteenth century; the changing roles of women in Venetian society in the later sixteenth and seventeenth century: case studies of women writers.

Week 10: Venice and the split with Rome: Paolo Sarpi and the 1606 Interdict. The Jesuits and Venice. Seventeenth-century Venice: key trends and events. Was the decline of Venice inevitable?
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  18
Course Start Lifelong Learning - Session 3
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 78 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 2000 word essay submitted after class teaching is finished
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the singularity of Venice's position in the politics and economy of Renaissance Italy, as well as the Republic's relationship with its maritime empire and the threats and challenges it faced from other Italian states and, in particular, the Ottomans.
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge of key events in the history of the Venetian Republic during the period and, in particular, the structure of its government and society and the city's thorny relations with Rome and the Catholic church.
  3. Have an awareness of the importance of Venice as an entrepôt for trade and culture, including the development of printing in the city, and certain aspects of its multifaceted and cosmopolitan society, including women's roles and the Jewish community.
  4. Identify certain works of art and architecture in Venice during the Renaissance and Baroque and demonstrate the acquired knowledge and skills in their credit essay.
Reading List

Fortini Brown, Patricia (1997) Art and Life in Renaissance Venice, Princeton: Prentice Hall.

Howard, Deborah (2002, revised edition) The Architectural History of Venice, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Pullan, Brian (1971) Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice: the Social Institutions of a Catholic State, to 1620, Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.


Chambers, D.S. (1975) The Imperial Age of Venice, 1380-1580, London 1970

Chojnacka, Monica (2001) Working Women in Early Modern Venice, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Cooper, Tracy E. (2004) Palladio's Venice: architecture and society in a Renaissance Republic, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Goy, Richard J. (2006) Building Renaissance Venice: patrons, architects, and builders, c. 1430-1500, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Fenlon, Iain (2007) The ceremonial city: history, memory and myth in Renaissance Venice, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Hibbert, Christopher (1988) Venice: the Biography of a City, New York: Grafton.

Howard, Deborah (2000) Venice and the East: The Impact of the Islamic World on Venetian Architecture, 1100-1500, New Haven and London: Yale University Press.

Humphrey, Peter (2007) Venice and the Veneto, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mackenney, Brian (1987) Tradesmen and Traders. The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650, Lond: Croom Helm.

Romano, Dennis (2000) Venice Reconsidered: the History and Civilization of an Italian city-state, 1297-1797, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Acquiring and comparing materials from a variety of sources (primary sources, lectures, secondary works).

Evaluating different approaches to and explanations of material.

Exercising informed critical judgement.

Participating in general discussion about the examples and concepts examined.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sally Crumplin
Course secretaryMr Benjamin Mcnab
Tel: (0131 6)51 4832
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