M. GEORGOPOULOU, Venice's Mediterranean Colonies. Architecture and Urbanism

David Jacoby 1
  • 1 Jerusalem

The complex interaction between colonizer and colonized has attracted increasing attention among historians in the post-colonial period of the last fifty years. This perspective is also adopted by Maria Georgopoulou (hereafter: M. G.) in her treatment of the encounter between Venice and the Byzantine heritage of the territories the latter occupied shortly after the Fourth Crusade. M. G's. main thesis may be summarized as follows. Venice manipulated Crete's Byzantine heritage and assimilated it into her own rhetoric in order to undermine the Byzantine presence in the island and to support and legitimize her own colonial rule. This was achieved mainly by the appropriation of Byzantine traditions in civic and religious ceremonies and the symbolic colonization of urban space, expressed in architectural designs, the use of buildings and spatial patterns. All these served as bold statements of control over the local Greek population and the Jewish communities. The same strategy of urban planning was implemented in the other main cities of the colonial empire (26). In addition, M. G. argues that there was yet another channel of appropriation of Byzantine culture, art and imperial heritage by Venice, resulting from the Byzantine impact of the Venetian colonial territories on the political and cultural identity of the Adriatic city. Until now this issue has been examined in numerous studies primarily focused on the relationship between Constantinople and Venice.

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