Wind, Waves and Empire: Maritime Environments and the Development of the Venetian Stato Da Mar.

Authors: John Mark Nicovich*, William Carey University
Topics: Historical Geography, Coastal and Marine, Political Geography
Keywords: Historical Geography, Maritime Geography, Venice, Empire
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Director's Row E, Sheraton, Plaza Building, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper will examine the role that the maritime environments of the Adriatic, Ionian and Aegean seas played in the development of the Stato da Mar, the Venetian overseas empire. From its inception in the 6th century the Republic of Venice was tied to seaborne trade, primarily with Byzantium and the Islamic world. As a maritime society the Venetians were dependent on the wind and wave patterns of the Eastern Mediterranean, and these geographic and climatological factors had a direct impact on the eventual shape of the Venetian Empire. This paper will examine several historic moments in Venetian empire-building, including Pietro II Orseolo’s expedition along the Dalmatian coast (1000CE), the Fourth Crusade (1204CE), and the Morean War (1683-1699CE) and tie these events to the maritime geography of the region. Furthermore, this research project will correlate these historic episodes with wind and current data in a GIS model. In short, this paper will argue that the Venetian Empire’s physical structure was formed specifically to take advantage of the wind and wave patterns of the Eastern Mediterranean, both on a local and on a regional scale, and we will demonstrate this by leveraging current GIS technologies.

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