Cover image for Venice triumphant : the horizons of a myth
Venice triumphant : the horizons of a myth
Crouzet-Pavan, Elisabeth.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Venise triomphante. English
Publication Information:
Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
xxi, 386 pages, 14 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DG676 .C8813 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Perhaps more than in any other city, Venice has been shaped by its environment. The lagoon on which it was built isolated the city's inhabitants from mainland Europe, forcing them to look seaward for their survival and to establish a maritime empire that generated incalculable wealth, making Venice the envy of Renaissance Europe. In Venice Triumphant , Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan provides a rich, multilayered history of Venice from Roman times to the sixteenth century. Instead of employing a rigidly chronological framework, she looks at the history of Venice thematically, focusing on the relationship between the city and its unique physical milieu in a way that emphasizes complexity and continuity.

Central to Crouzet-Pavan's discussion is her concept of l'imaginaire , literally translated as "the imaginary" and here meaning the many symbolic terms Venetians created to describe and understand the peculiar space they inhabited and, by extension, themselves. One key example of l'imaginaire is Venetians' use of the term "the continent" to refer, somewhat dismissively, to Italy, Germany, and other lands beyond the lagoon in order to emphasize their own distinctive maritime identity. As Crouzet-Pavan shows, this sense of exceptionalism impacts every aspect of Venetian history: its art and architecture; its involvement with mainland politics; its commercial, civic, and political institutions; and the shape of daily life in its homes, alleys, and courtyards. Elegantly translated by Lydia G. Cochrane, Venice Triumphant offers a bold new perspective on the world's most beautiful-and remarkable-city.


A group of senior citizens decide to move in together in All Together, a French-language comedy from director Stephanie Robelin. When Claude (Claude Rich) suffers an injury while trying to climb steps in order to meet a woman for a liaison, he and his friends, who are all suffering from some age-related malady, decide to move in together and hire a graduate student to look out for them. Among the new co-tenants are the senile Albert (Pierre Richard) and his wife, the outgoing Jeanne (Jane Fonda) who herself is fighting cancer. Also living with them is Jean (Guy Bedos) a onetime social crusader who enjoys the wealth he's acquired with his wife Annie (Geraldine Chaplin), who wants nothing more than to visit with her children and grandchildren. As they adjust to their new living arrangements, old jealousies and hurts resurface, forcing everyone to reconsider how they want to spend their golden years. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Author Notes

Elisabeth Crouzet-Pavan is a professor of medieval history at the Sorbonne

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Crouzet-Pavan (medieval history, Sorbonne) has adopted a novel approach to retelling a story that has been told many times: she sets out to relate the history of Venice by examining the spaces that produced it. She begins by looking at the site where Venice was created, detailing the engineering skills it took to construct a city in the defining space of a lagoon. From there she moves to other aquatic spaces-the Adriatic Sea and the Mediterranean. She recounts the Venetians' gradual mastery of these spaces and the impact on the fortunes of the city and its inhabitants that such mastery brought. The next space the author considers is the land beside Venice-northeastern Italy, an area that the Venetians came to dominate as their maritime power contracted. The author then pulls back to examine the spaces within Venice. For example, the Piazza San Marco is the center for a discussion of Venetian government and the many communal ceremonies that centered on the piazza. This work will be of value to historians and students of Venetian history. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Robert J. Andrews, Duluth P.L., MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Crouzet-Pavan's masterful study is her first to be translated into English. Juxtaposing the mythic history of Venice found in chronicles and popular histories, such as that of John Julius Norwich, with one based on comprehensive documentary and empirical evidence, the author presents the development of Venice as a unique phenomenon in European culture--a city that moved from its original ad hoc settlement to Byzantine protectorate, independent commune, and, finally, a "republic" that operated as an oligarchic signorie. The Venetian Republic's political aspirations were not unique, but the mechanisms by which those desires were fulfilled and the people they empowered--merchants, aristocrats involved also in commerce, a self-conscious bureaucracy that prevented the guilds so common to medieval Italian communes from gaining political advantage--were. The myth of Venice is that it never changed. Crouzet-Pavan (Sorbonne) demonstrates that, on the contrary, Venice changed radically over its thousand-plus years of development, but it relied on the myth of stability to justify structural and political changes on the basis of conservatism and continuity. This elegantly written, even lyrical, work should be the standard for all future books on Venice. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All levels and collections. L. E. Mitchell Alfred University

Table of Contents

List of Maps
1 A City Born in the Water
2 A City Wed to the Sea
3 The Lion and the Land
4 Scenes of Daily Life
5 The State in Motion
6 The People of the City