Book Review: The Republic of Venice: De magistratibus et republica Venetorum


by Gasparo Contarini

Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022. Pp. lx, 135. Illo., maps, diagr., gloss., chron., notes, biblio., index. $27.95 paper. ISBN: 1487546025

Today largely known for its unique location, stunning beauty, and artistic heritage, the fragile city on the Adriatic was once, and for over a thousand years, numbered among the great powers, punching far above its weight in conflicts with such superpowers as France, Spain, and the Ottoman Empire.

In the 1520s Venetian nobleman, cardinal, and diplomat Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542) wrote this short book to explain the nature of the Serene Republic’s political and social institutions and how they promote the city’s enormous success on the world stage. A major contribution to the history of political ideas, the book had considerable influence on the thinking of later political theorists, including some of the Founding Fathers, who looked to Venice as an example of a successful republic.

A volume in the “Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library”, this translation of The Republic of Venice was edited by Filippo Sabetti, and translated by Giuseppe Pezzini and Amanda Murphy. It is the first in English done directly from the original Latin, rather than from French of Italian versions.

The Republic of Venice gives the reader a good look at the institutions and ideas that fostered the city’s success and also how some of those came to influence to the institutions of the young United States.




Note: The Republic of Venice is also available in hardcover & e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contribute. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   contribute   Close