The Venetian patriciate : reality versus myth /
Donald E. Queller.
Urbana [Ill.] : University of Illinois, c1986.
xiii, 386 p. ; 24 cm.
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Urbana [Ill.] : University of Illinois, c1986.
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 349-373) and index.
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Appeared in Choice on 1987-01:
Queller (University of Illinois) is concerned with disproving the myth that Venetian nobles were patriotic and self-sacrificing, with service to the state taking precedence over all else. He argues that this myth was initially developed by the Venetian nobles themselves to create an image of state service for their successors, that it was expanded by contemporary observers partly because they believed it and partly for propaganda purposes. Queller asserts that the myth has been generally accepted by historians and commentators, and even by specialists in Venetian history who know better when they deal with individual Venetians or specific institutions. Using materials drawn primarily from legislative records, Queller attacks the myth in great detail. Law after law was passed to limit illegal campaigning for office, to curb corruption in elections, to prevent the evasion of public responsibilities, and to control other forms of corruption and uncivil behavior. But none of this legislation seemed to be effective. Queller does not condemn the Venetian patricians-he argues that their behavior was probably no worse than that of other elites at the time. But the myth that places the public-service standards of Venetian nobles above those of other states is simply not true. There is a very helpful glossary of Venetian terms in government and administration as well as a good bibliography. Useful for specialists and graduate students, as well as for those interested in historical synthesis.-K.F. Drew, Rice University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, January 1987
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