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Violence and its Control in early modern Venice, 1500-1797


Violence is the result of complex interactions between cultural, social, economic, political and environmental factors and is subject to changes that reflect on-going transformations within society. Investigating its perception and understanding the boundaries between tolerated, sanctioned, and unacknowledged violence allows to examine inter-personal relationships within a community and the shared value systems within it. The management of violence is then a direct consequence of specific political factors, which are expressed on the judicial level. Studying violence during the early modern age is of fundamental importance to understand, for example, the role and weight of the state within society.
This research project will study the rate of violence in the Venetian urban environment during the early modern age and the efforts made by the Republic to reduce it. The project will pay particular attention to political violence among members of families belonging to the Venetian ruling class, to verify whether the Venetian context was an exception in the European context. The project will examine the transformations that the Venetian judicial bodies underwent to demonstrate what impact they had on violence, either by increasing or effectively containing it. In addition to the judicial system, the project will also examine the policing measure and the expansion of the surveillance network as a form of control of the urban territory. The results achieved will be compared with the rates of political violence, caused by factionalism, in the Italian mainland under Venetian rule. Finally, the project will verify how the Republic tried to put a brake on another main source of violence, the one linked to border banditry. Venice repeatedly negotiated extradition treaties with its neighbouring states in order to deny any space of immunity to outlaws, but the execution of these agreements had little success.

Call for proposal

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YO10 5DD York North Yorkshire
United Kingdom
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 224 933,76