The Rise and Decline of a Great Power: Venice 1250-1650

32 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2006

Date Written: May 2006


This essay outlines the rise and decline of the most powerful Italian republican state between the middle ages and the early modern period. It moreover seeks to analyze the political, financial, and military means that enabled a state based on a peripheral site and disposing of relatively limited population resources to achieve such a prominent position in Europe. It then examines the causes of its decline, in both relative and absolute terms. The history of Venice in fact offers an excellent case study with which to verify Schumpeter's thesis for a specific geographical area, that of the Italian peninsula, which has been surprisingly neglected by scholars interested in the origins of the fiscal state.

Keywords: War and economy, taxation, military power, state formation

JEL Classification: N43, E62, E63

Suggested Citation

Pezzolo, Luciano, The Rise and Decline of a Great Power: Venice 1250-1650 (May 2006). University Ca' Foscari of Venice, Dept. of Economics Research Paper Series No. 27/WP/2006, Available at SSRN: or

Luciano Pezzolo (Contact Author)

Ca Foscari University of Venice ( email )

Dorsoduro 3246
Venice, Veneto 30123

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