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Contents:
  1. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Oh no, there's been an error
  3. Balkan Wars
  4. Ottoman–Venetian War (–) - Wikiwand
  5. The Society for Medieval Military History

If the hope of monopolizing one or more of the great entrepots of eastern commerce was the great dream of medieval merchants, only Constantinople really provided the means to do it.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Constantinople dominated and could control traffic to and from the Black Sea with its rich cargoes of silks, slaves, and agricultural products. There were also the products of Constantinople itself, and trade within the empire to provide further opportunities for profit. The island was also a rich source of wine, oil, and other goods. The Venetians paid a high price for Crete and had to fight to make good their claim, but it became a prized possession and its chief port at Candia an important Venetian base.

North of Crete on the island of Euboea they established another major base at Negroponte and from it extended their hold to the entire island. At Cape Matapan they established two bases, one at Modon on the western side of the cape and the other at Coron on the eastern side. Like the other two capes of the Peloponnesus, Malea and Tainaron, Cape Matapan was often difficult to round because unstable local conditions can produce rapid changes in winds and current. The bases at Modon and Coron could also observe traffic between the Aegean and the Ionian Seas, an ability enhanced by the requirement that all Venetian ships stop there on their return voyages to exchange observations and news with local authorities.

The Venetians held the island only until when they were driven out by Michael Angelus, who had founded the Greek despotate of Epirus in the wake of the Fourth Crusade. These two bases were the linchpins of Venetian control along the Dalmatian coast. Examining this chain of bases on a map one can extend from each of them an arc about kilometers in radius.

A galley could, on average, make about 75 kilometers per day, and — without resupply — carried water rations sufficient for four days to a week at ordinary rates of consumption. One hundred and fifty kilometers then represents approximately half the normal operational range of a galley fleet so that these arcs roughly represent the optimal striking range of squadrons based in the port at the center of each arc.

Oh no, there's been an error

Besides these principal bases the Venetians established a colonial empire with many smaller ports that were available to them for both trade and naval use. These new possessions were the basis for a Venetian maritime supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean. Only Genoa or Pisa could challenge the Serenissima, and the mutual hostility among the three Italian maritime republics maintained an uneasy balance of power until the middle of the thirteenth century. Rivalry between Genoa and Pisa in the western Mediterranean prevented them from combining against Venice in the East.

After his death in , Pisa was soon crushed between Genoa at sea and Florence on land. Four major wars and continuous friction and rivalry marked the conflict. In the first war, fought from to , the Venetian navy won all the major engagements handily against remarkably inept Genoese commanders, but was stung by several successes gained by Genoese commerce raiders. He did so, but gave the Genoese a suburb across the Golden Horn in Pera rather than the docks in Constantinople itself that the Venetians had possessed since the eleventh century. Despite this precaution the Greeks found the Genoese no better to deal with than the Venetians.

The emperor allowed the latter to return to the city in , but the Genoese retained their increasingly powerful base at Pera and the Venetian dominance of the Bosphorus was broken. Control of the sea in the Mahanian sense of maintaining fleets at sea and continuous blockades certainly was outside the technical capacity of galley fleets.

But experience seemed to show the Italian states that domination was possible. Venice and Genoa certainly fought as though they thought so. In the second and third Venetian-Genoese wars the standard of Genoese leadership improved remarkably and they proved to be very dangerous opponents in a fleet action. Genoese admirals inflicted terrible defeats on the Venetians. Off Ayas in the Venetians lost a substantial portion of an escorted merchant convoy. In a fleet action near Curzola in a Genoese fleet of seventy-eight ships heavily defeated a Venetian one of ninety-eight.

Balkan Wars

However, the Genoese admiral Lamba Doria also suffered such heavy losses in that battle that he did not press on to the lagoons of Venice. In the mid-fourteenth century the Genoese, from their base at Pera, and after in possession of Chios, were able progressively to close the Venetians out of the Black Sea.

Ottoman Expansion To Europe and The Battle of Vienna

Venice could not allow this, and the third Genoese-Venetian war resulted, in spite of difficulties that both cities found in manning fleets in the wake of the Black Death. The Venetians assembled an alliance of Byzantines — who did not like Genoese airs of superiority any better than they had Venetian — and Aragonese, who opposed the Genoese in the western Mediterranean. In a Genoese fleet led by Paganino Doria fought a combined fleet of Venetian, Aragonese, and Greek galleys to an impasse in the Bosphorus. In the Venetians and Aragonese took the war to the western Mediterranean and won a victory over the Genoese off Sardinia.

The battle was not decisive, and in the next year Paganino Doria inflicted a crushing defeat on the allies off Modon in the battle of Porto Longo. Despite this remarkable string of victories in the second and third wars, the Genoese never seriously threatened the chain of bases or the Venetian colonies that were the backbone of their power in the eastern Mediterranean. Perhaps the memory of the single stunning victory at Meloria that had left Pisa defenseless was too much in their minds. More likely, the sustained effort necessary to eliminate the Venetian bases was simply beyond the financial and military capacity of the Genoese.

In the end it took the Turks with all the resources of their huge empire the better part of two centuries to accomplish the task.


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In the fourth Venetian-Genoese war the Genoese strategy of striking directly at Venice — for that seems to have been their consistent aim — almost succeeded. The war began when the Venetians occupied the small island of Tenedos at the mouth of the Dardanelles. A strong base there would control passage to and from the Black Sea as thoroughly as Constantinople ever had. After an initial defeat in the Tyrrhenian by a Venetian fleet commanded by Vettore Pisani, the Genoese struck directly into the Adriatic.

In Luciano Doria defeated Pisani just off Pola in Istria and began the siege of Chioggia at the southern entrance to the Venetian lagoon. Venice had barely managed to survive and the terms of the peace required them to abandon Tenedos. The immediate result looked like a Genoese victory. Soon, however, Genoa fell into internal chaos. Throughout the fifteenth century Genoa remained an important economic power, but a political cipher, its foreign policy dominated more often than not by France or Milan.

The Venetian empire in the eastern Mediterranean remained intact and a recuperated Venice continued to be a great naval power. However, new powers of a different and greater order of magnitude were waiting in the wings: Spain and France in the West, and — more ominously for Venice — the Ottoman Turks in the East.

Ottoman–Venetian War (–) - Wikiwand

Venetian strategy continued along the same lines that had been successful for two centuries and more: maintain the trade routes to the East, especially those to the Black Sea, guarding them with the long-established chain of bases. For a surprisingly long time though, Venetian vital interests could be maintained by relying on strongly fortified naval bases that could be supplied and reinforced by sea. It was not necessary to fight the huge and irresistible Turkish armies on land. In the late fourteenth century the Venetians even managed to add to their chain of bases by buying up and fortifying ports that Greek princes or the heirs of Crusader nobles despaired of holding against the expanding Ottoman state as the Byzantine Empire was reduced to a small area around Constantinople.

Athens, more lands in the Morea, and islands in the Aegean were acquired in this way, as well as Durazzo and Scutari on the Albanian coast. There was a brief skirmish with a new Turkish fleet in that the Venetians won handily. Salonika, the second city in what remained of the Byzantine Empire, transferred its allegiance to the Venetians in the hope that they could offer better protection from the Ottoman armies than the Byzantines.

This scheme failed; the Ottomans attacked and captured Salonika in The sultan soon began to raise the customs duties paid by foreigners, including the Venetians, to a level above that paid by native merchants, reversing a tax advantage that Venice had held since the Golden Bull of This provided the Republic with greater reserves of manpower.

The Society for Medieval Military History

At the same time Venetian expansion in Italy brought the political complications of involvement in Italian and, increasingly, in Western European, politics. In many respects, Venice in mid-fifteenth century was wealthier and more powerful than ever before.


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Even so, to preserve its trade and territories in the East, an extensive alliance had to be built by skillful diplomacy. A system of alliances was created stretching from Albania and Hungary to Iran. After the Turkish army took Argos from them in , the Venetians made a rapid countermove to occupy the whole of the Morea.

The Turkish army was, however, irresistible in the long run. In the sultan Muhammad personally led an army against the major Venetian base at Negroponte. Accompanying the army was a numerous, if not yet very skilled, Turkish fleet. Negroponte fell. Venice sought peace by recognizing Turkish gains and giving up Scutari in Albania. Even so, the city was still far from powerless. The Venetian fleet remained able to project enough power at sea to ensure that Catarina Corner became queen of Cyprus.

With time Cyprus became a possession of the Serenissima. After this war, Venice extended its rule over the territory of Adria and almost in the whole area of Po delle Fornaci, while Ferrara continued to control only a part of Ariano Island. Serenissima had been exercising for centuries an exclusive jurisdiction in the Adriatic Sea, forbidding the access to non-authorized foreign war and merchant ships and forcing them to pay duty. For this reason, the Adriatic Sea was called Gulf of Venice.

The war was characterized by ups and downs, since Venice lost the war first but later reconquered its terra firma territories. During this conflict, on 22nd December Polesella Battle took place along the river Po.


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  7. In the same year, the Venetian army occupied Argenta and plundered Comacchio. Badia Polesine, Municipal Museum "A. A huge church, consecrated in , was built to house the remains of the Saint, who then became the patron saint of the city: the Basilica of San Marco. Since the very beginning, Venice showed strong inclinations towards trade.

    This increased to the point that at the end of the 11th century, the city set up close trading connections with Byzantium. This was the start of the Republic of Venice , which was finally consecrated in through the 4th crusade that saw the conquering of Byzantium and then the islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The eastern city was sacked and the booty was taken to Venice, where it was used to decorate churches and palaces. The four bronze horses that still adorn the main facade of the Basilica of San Marco were also part of that booty.

    After the 4th crusade, Venice gained a strong political role due to the fact that it now controlled a large part of the Mediterranean and it also increased its military power and its trading. Venice then realized that it was necessary for the city to have bases on the mainland too and began to expand towards Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Brescia and Bergamo. The League of Cambrai was founded in this was a sort of coalition against Venice which most of the European powers joined. Venice managed to maintain some of its land after seven years of war, but it lost its control over the Mediterranean.

    In the 17th century, the Serenissima had to give up Crete, one of its historical lands and the whole of the Peloponnesus area to the Turkish Empire. In , Napoleone Bonaparte conquered Venice, and sacked the whole area, just as he did in the rest of the country.