Universitatea din Bucureşti, Facultatea de Istorie / University from Bucharest, Faculty for History
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2 / 2010
The Byzantine Emperors and the Doges of Venice
This essay wants to present how tensioned the relations between the Byzantine empire and Venice were through the passing of time, mostly in the 11-th and in the 12-th centuries. We can say that the connections between those two parties were always determined by the political situation or by the economic or commercial interests existing at that moment of being. With the passing of time the citadel from the Lagoon will gain its emancipation, and from a vassal of the Byzantine empire will become a political equal partner of Constantinople. The Venetians followed their economic, commercial and political purposes. The Byzantines need to have a strong fleet as their allies, and this made the Eastern empire to offer Venice enormous comercial advantages.The Venetians were treacherous and were able to do everything to assure their economic privileges. The internal crisis which overwhelmed Byzantium at the end of the 12-th century was very skilfully speculated by Venice. The treaties signed by Venice with the Byzantine empire(1082, 1147, 1184, 1187, 1197) showed the enormous influence the tradesmen from the Adriatic Sea had on the internal markets of the Byzantine empire. Practically the Byzantine economy was subjected to the Venetian monopoly. The Venetian tradesmen and merchants dominated the Byzantine markets and, to assure this domination, they had to speculate the events at the beginning of the XIIIth century. The Republic from the Lagoon was the main factor in leading the fourth crusade to Constantinople and to its conquering.
Keywords: Byzantium, Venice, merchants, tradesmen, civil war, Constantinople, treaties, Enrico Dandolo, Manuel Comnenos, Isaac II
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