City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas

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Random House Publishing Group, Jan 24, 2012 - History - 464 pages
5 Reviews
“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.”—The Financial Times
The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today.
“[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times
“Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MiaCulpa - LibraryThing

I visited Venice in midwinter many years ago now, and stepping around the multitudes of dead pigeons and machine gun-toting Carabinieri, I saw the grandeur of St Mark’s Square (and had the customary ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Stbalbach - LibraryThing

Crowley opens with a vivid retelling of the Fourth Crusade (1203) that reads like a novel. Then for 300 years there are innumerable conflicts with the Genoese, Byzantines and Ottomans for control of ... Read full review


Place Names in This Book
Lords of Dalmatia
Thirtyfour Thousand Marks
A Dog Returning to Its Vomit
Four Emperors
The Works of Hell
A Quarter and Half a Quarter
Stato da
Like Water in a Fountain
The View from 1500
The Glass Ball
The Shield of Christendom
If Negroponte Is Lost
Hands on the Throat of Venice

Demand and Supply
In the Jaws of Our Enemies
The Flag of Saint Titus
Bridling Saint Mark
Fight to the Finish

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About the author (2012)

Roger Crowley was born in 1951 and spent part of his childhood in Malta. He read English at Cambridge University and taught English in Istanbul, where he developed a strong interest in the history of Turkey. He has traveled extensively throughout the Mediterranean basin over many years and has a wide-ranging knowledge of its history and culture. He lives in Gloucestershire, England. He is also the author of 1453: The Holy War for Constantinople and The Clash of Islam and the West and Empires of the Sea: The Siege of Malta, the Battle of Lepanto, and the Contest for the Center of the World.

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