Three

SERENISSIMA REPUBLICA, PART ONE: A Brief History of Shady Dealings from the Foggy Swamp

“Venice called itself the Serenissima Republica (Serene Republic), but it was no republic in any sense comprehensible to an American … (Its) sinister institutions do provide an unmatched continuity of the most hideous oligarchical rule for fifteen centuries and more … Venice can best be thought of as a kind of conveyor belt, transporting the Babylonian contagions of decadent antiquity smack dab into the world of modern states.”

—Webster Griffin Tarpley1

“The essence of Venice is oligarchism, usury, slavery, and the cult of Aristotle.”

—Webster Griffin Tarpley2

AS THE READER WILL HAVE guessed from reading the above epigraphs, researcher Webster Griffin Tarpley has few, if any, good things to say about the Most Serene Republic of Venice. For him, the Venetian system of merchant banking, mercenary military, and empire is a kind of quintessential icon or font of all the evils associated with predatory banking oligarchies and the inevitable empires and wars they spawn. But surely, one might argue, he is overstating his case? Surely the idea of a fifteen-centuries-long oligarchical conspiracy going back to Babylon is stretching the case? Surely Tarpley overstresses the role of Venice and ignores the role of the other Italian city-states and their own merchant bankers? After all, one need only think of Genoa or Padua, and particularly of Florence, home to the Bardi, Peruzzi, and Medici banking and merchant families. More to the point, surely it taxes the imagination to assume that mighty Venice would bend every effort to bring the errant Hermeticist Bruno to heel and ruin?

Well might Tarpley have complained of Venice, however, for understanding the structure of its tangled history in European politics, much less the relationship of that history to its political and financial institutions, and then to couple all that to Giordano Bruno, Hermeticism, hidden mathematical metaphors and their scientific and financial implications, and to weave it all into a complex architecture of conspiracy, is like entering a haunted fun house, with progressively more abnormal rooms full of moldering dust and cobwebbed library shelves of ancient manuscripts, where staircases lead to bricked-up walls, where doorways open upon sudden plunges into chasms, where trapdoors are sprung over spiked pits, where the ceilings in rooms are either awkwardly low or dizzyingly high, where one’s own voice echoes in the musty gloom.

One might be tempted to argue Tarpley’s case on the basis of heraldry, pointing out that Venice’s standard was a red flag, boldly emblazoned with a winged lion, and pointing out its similarity to the winged lions of Babylon and Assyria:

The Flag of the Venetian Republic. Note the Babylonian Winged Lion.

Winged Lion with Human Head, from Assyrian King Ashurbanipal’s Palace

It is easy to identify the winged lion as the emblem of St. Mark, the patron of Venice, and indeed, the Venetian Republic spared no effort to acquire St. Mark’s relics from Alexandria, Egypt.3 But one can make something of a deeper historical case that the connection is indeed Mesopotamian in its ultimate roots, an argument in which the strange appearance of winged Mesopotamian lions on Venice’s official flag makes contextual sense.

A. THE EUPHRATES FLOWED INTO THE TIBER: THE PRE-HISTORY OF VENICE

I first told this story in the predecessor volume in this series, Babylon’s Banksters: The Alchemy of Deep Physics, High Finance, and Ancient Religion,4 but for those who do not know it, a review is in order here.

It all concerns research that was done by an American professor of economic history at Johns Hopkins University at the turn of the last century, a professor named Tenney Frank. His work, An Economic History of Rome, as I noted in that book, “became such a standard in the field that it became the basis for entries in the Cambridge Ancient History and the Oxford History of Rome.5 What Professor Frank discovered is as startling now as it was in his own day, for what he found was that “during the period between the Republic and the final emergence of the empire,” the population of Roman Italy was by and large “not Roman or Latin at all, but—in a word and without much exaggeration—Babylonian.”6

Frank came to this conclusion by noting a widespread use of both Greek proper names and surnames on various inscriptions and documents, such that between 300 BC and 300 AD the Roman population underwent such a drastic change that it was no longer Latin at all.7

But the Greek names were themselves confusing, for as we saw in the previous chapter, Alexander the Great’s conquest of the ancient world from Persia to Egypt spread the Greek language as a lingua franca across many diverse cultures.8 So who were these people?

As I noted in Babylon’s Banksters, Professor Frank’s way of answering this question was “to take Rome’s classical authors and satirists at their word, and from this an important and very significant fact emerges.”9 Just what did Rome’s classical authors and satirists say? Frank notes that the satirist Juvenal complained “that the Tiber had captured the waters of the Syrian Orantes.”10 He goes on to state:

When Tacitus informs us that in Nero’s day a great many of Rome’s senators and knights were descendants of slaves and that the native stock had dwindled to surprisingly small proportions, we are not sure whether we are not to take it as an exaggerated thrust by an indignant Roman of the old stock … To discover some new light upon these fundamental questions of Roman history, I have tried to gather such fragmentary data as the corpus of inscriptions might afford. The evidence is never decisive in its purport, and it is always, by the very nature of the material, partial in its scope, but at any rate it may help us to interpret our literary sources to some extent. It has at least convinced me that Juvenal and Tacitus were not exaggerating. It is probably that when these men wrote a very small percentage of the free plebeians on the streets of Rome could prove unmixed Italian descent. By far the larger part, perhaps ninety percent, had Oriental blood in their veins.11

As I put it in Babylon’s Banksters,

One has only to read a bit between the lines to see what Professor Frank is implying, for Juvenal, let it be recalled, had complained of the Syrian “Orantes” river “flowing into the Tiber,” a metaphor for people of Chaldean—i.e., Babylonian—extraction having “flowed” into the bloodlines of the ancient Roman stock: “These dregs call themselves Greeks,” he complains, “but how small a portion is from Greece; the River Orantes has long flowed into the Tiber.”

The basic historical outlines are now clear, for as the Roman conquests spread into the eastern Mediterranean and eventually conquered the old Seleucid Empire—i.e., the portion of Alexander’s empire based in Mesopotamia with its capital at Babylon - many of these people made their way back to the Italian peninsula as slaves, and, following the relatively lenient Roman custom of manumission of slaves upon the death of their owner, these later became the freemen and the backbone of the Roman economy in the very lap of the Empire itself.12

The implications are enormous, for not only did these slaves bring with them their religion and culture—a point that would explain the increasing “orientalization” of the Roman imperium—but they also brought with them “their ‘Babylonian’ business and banking practices.”13 And of course, when Attila the Hun ravaged the peninsula and threatened even Rome itself, many of these mercantile families fled to northern Italy. It is here that we find, then, the connection between ancient Babylon’s “bullion brokers,” Rome, and the later Italian city-states, with their banking oligarchies.14

There is another odd connection between Venice and ancient Mesopotamia. Researcher Webster Griffin Tarpley, whom we cited in the epigraphs to this chapter, remarked that “Early on, Venice became the location of a Benedictine monastery on the island of St. George Major. St. George is not a Christian saint, but rather a disguise for Apollo, Perseus, and Marduk, idols of the oligarchy.”15 To see the connection to ancient Mesopotamia and Marduk, one need only recall that the iconographic portrayal of St. George is typically that of him seated on a horse, spearing a fearsome dragon. With that in mind, contemplate the following images that I first depicted in Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men:

Assyrian King Ashurbanipal Slaying the Lion

Ninurta’s Thunderbolt Slaying the Dragon

Tarpley’s point is that the symbolism of St. George, like the symbolism of Venice’s winged lion, originates with Babylonia.16

So with this context in mind, let us look more closely at Venice, for it will afford the port of entry into a wider consideration of Italian banking during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance.

B. A BRIEF HISTORY OF VENICE

Obviously, any attempt to recount the history of the Most Serene Republic of Venice in a mere chapter is doomed to failure. One can only highlight certain important features of that history for their importance to our story here. Those features have a great deal to do with how hidden knowledge possibly came to late Medieval and Renaissance Italy, and as we shall see, with the execution of Bruno. Additionally, in our cursory exposition of the mechanisms of the Venetian state in this and subsequent chapters, we shall also discover how and why Bruno was such a potential threat to the Venetian state and economy.

1. Foggy Beginnings in a Swamp

Venice’s beginnings are literally shrouded in the fog of the swampy lagoon in which the city was raised. During the barbarian invasions of the Western Roman Empire, many families fled northward on the Italian peninsula, some to settle the towns on the lagoon that would eventually become Venice.17 Why would such an inhospitable swamp be chosen for the base of new settlements? Here Venetian tradition differs somewhat from reality, for the reality is that the lagoon simply afforded a defensive position. The lagoon, in short, was founded on fear.18 In any case, after Alaric sacked Rome in 410, Venetian tradition held that the city was founded exactly at noon of Friday, March 25, in the year 411.19

Without land for agriculture, with no visible means of support, no access to commodities of any kind, this location meant that the population of the lagoon turned almost immediately to the sea, and to trade, as the foundation for their commonwealth.20 The financial security and empire of Venice that emerged from this circumstance might be said to be the world’s “first virtual economy,”21 based on a fragile balance of trade in bullion, slaves, both finished and unfinished commodities, and spices. And because of this peculiar circumstance, Venice “lived in perpetual fear that, if its trade routes were severed, the whole magnificent edifice might simply collapse.”22 Thus any threat, whether geopolitical, military, or a cosmological system, was inevitably perceived by the Venetians as a threat to their whole way of life. Indeed, the necessity of trade made Venice, in a certain sense, the first truly modern secular state, with trade conducted on an “amoral” basis free of religious or dogmatic considerations. Venice assumed the right “to buy and sell anything to anyone,”23 an attitude that would eventually lead to a backlash. Even Byzantium would complain, in the ninth century, of Venice’s sale of war materials consisting in part of metals, and slaves for the Cairo Sultan’s army.24

2. The Influence of the East Roman, or Byzantine, Empire

A visitor to Venice, whether in ancient times or modern ones, would be struck by the fact that, almost entirely alone of all major Western European cities, Venice has a uniquely Byzantine look and feel to it, demonstrated especially by the domed church of San Marco with its Greek style-iconography and pageantry. It is this Byzantine influence that forms a second crucial component of the matrix of the Venetian Empire, and its “oriental” or eastward orientation. The Venetian Empire in fact begins with the re-conquest of the Western provinces—the Italian peninsula particularly—under the Roman Emperor in Constantinople, Justinian I (reigned 527–565) and his military genius, the general Belisarius.25 Venice, for its part, aided in this re-conquest with ships to blockade the provincial capital of Ravenna, and shortly afterward, Venetian ambassadors went to Constantinople and returned with the first of many agreements between Venice and the Empire that accorded the city military protection, but more importantly, unique trading privileges throughout the East Roman Empire.26 Venice was, as a result of these arrangements, for all intents and purposes an autonomous self-governing city within the Empire, uniquely positioned to dominate the Adriatic Sea and, as will be seen, eventually the rich trading routes flowing from China and India through the Middle East and into the Eastern Mediterranean.

Indeed, Venice and Byzantium possessed a “special relationship” rather similar to that of Great Britain and the United States, with the status and power between the two changing, as the Byzantine Empire gradually declined through the centuries, and the power of Venice grew. Yet the special relationship always remained, and was even symbolized when one of the early Doges (Dukes) of Venice was granted “the imperial title of Hypatos, or Consul … ”27 By the early ninth century, Venice, while still nominally a province of the Eastern Empire, was for all intentions and purposes entirely autonomous and self-governing, a situation that the Eastern Empire was fully willing to accept, since Venetian trade benefitted it.

For the Venetians, it was equally important to obtain recognition of that status from the Empire of Charlemagne. This came through the peculiar circumstance of a palace coup in Constantinople, when in 811 the two Empires signed a treaty in which the Eastern Empire recognized the Western Emperor’s title, and the Western Empire formally renounced any claims over the territory of Venice.28 The benefits to Venice of this treaty were huge, for it allowed her to “enjoy all the advantages, partly political but above all cultural and commercial, of being a Byzantine province, without any real diminution of her independence.”29 It was this Byzantine connection, solidified and recognized by both the Holy Roman Empire of the West and the East Roman Empire of Constantinople, which allowed Venice to maintain its Byzantine ties, and thus to remain “virtually untouched by the feudal system”30 that would emerge in the rest of Medieval Western Europe. This tie was further solidified in a cultural and spiritual fashion when Venetian traders literally stole the body of St. Mark from Muslim Egypt and returned it to Venice, where he would become the patron of the city. Venice was now, literally, an “apostolic see” by dint of its possession of the relics of an early disciple and apostle, a fact that would more often than not induce Venice to a course of spiritual independence in defiance of the papacy, as we shall see.31

a. The “Golden Bull” of 1082

The next major step in the “Byzantinization” of Venice and the cementing of the “special relationship” between it and the East Roman Empire came with the so-called Golden Bull of 1082. After the “terrible day” of the Battle of Manzikert on August 26, 1071 and the decisive defeat of the Byzantine armies by the Turks, the Empire entered its long and inevitable period of decline, with Venice increasingly being called upon to lend its growing naval and military power to the defense of the Empire and indeed Constantinople itself. In the 1080s, Venice aided Constantinople in its defense against a Norman attempt to take the city. For their reward, the Byzantine Emperor “affixed his golden seal (the bulla aurea) to a document that would change the sea forever.”32 In this document, Venice’s merchants were granted the right to trade throughout the Empire, exempt from taxation.

A large number of cities and ports were specified by name: Athens and Salonika, Thebes and Antioch and Ephesus, the islands of Chios and Euboea, key harbors along the coasts of southern Greece such as Modon and Coron—invaluable staging posts for Venetian galleys—but above all, Constantinople itself.

Here, Venice was given a prize site down by the Golden Horn. It included three quays, a church and bakery, shops and warehouses for storing goods. Though nominal subjects of the emperor, the Venetians had effectively acquired their own colony, with all the necessary infrastructure, in the heart of the richest city on earth, under extremely favorable conditions… . Quietly echoing the solemn convoluted lines of the Byzantine decree was the sweetest Greek word a Venetian might ever want to hear:monopoly. Venice’s jostling rivals in maritime trade—Genoa, Pisa, and Amalfi—were now put at such disadvantage that their presence in Constantinople was almost futile.

The Golden Bull of 1082 was the golden key that opened up the treasure-house of eastern trade for Venice.33

The Venetian colony in Constantinople grew to approximately twelve thousand people rather quickly, and, as Roger Crowley notes, slowly, “decade by decade, the trade of Byzantium imperceptibly passed into their hands.”34 Venice had become the lifeblood of the Byzantine Empire. This, more than anything else, was the document that catapulted the Venetian Empire into such economic and military dominance.

b. The Fourth Crusade and the Venetian Sacking of Constantinople

(1) The Sequence

This was the circumstance, then, behind what must surely be one of the most despicable betrayals in history: the Venetian role in the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204), and its sacking of Constantinople, in April 1204. This misadventure is one of the most sordid in Western history and some time must be given to it, in order to appreciate Venice’s role, and the possible hidden implications that emerge when one adds a bit of speculation into the mixture.

We may begin this part of the story by observing that the East Romans35 grew to regret the implications of the Golden Bull of 1082, as Venice quickly became synonymous with the trade of the Empire itself. For Venice’s part, it was a matter of a careful diplomatic balancing act between the East Romans and the Crusades “on the one hand and their enemy, the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt, on the other.”36 Matters were not helped, at least as far as the East Romans were concerned, by the fact that Venice continued to trade war material, including slaves, with the Fatimids, the mortal enemy of Byzantium. The one weapon that Byzantium did have against the Venetians remained the imperial control of trading privileges. This was exercised against the growing power of Venice in typically byzantine fashion, by “playing the Republic off against its commercial rivals, Pisa and Genoa,”37 for by 1111 Pisa had been given similar imperial trading privileges in Constantinople, and in 1156, Genoa—Venice’s great maritime rival—was granted privileges. Both Pisa and Genoa, like Venice in the original Golden Bull of 1082, were granted “tax breaks, a commercial quarter, and landing stages” in the imperial capital.38

Even that was not enough to stem the tide of Venetian influence, so in 1171, Emperor Manuel I “took the whole Venetian population in his empire hostage and detained it for years. The crisis took two decades to resolve and left a bitter legacy of mutual mistrust.”39 Then, in 1198, Pope Innocent III called for a Fourth Crusade against the Islamic world. And with that, the stage was set for the episode that set Byzantium and Venice on a collision course.

When the call was issued, both Genoa and Pisa were at war with each other, leaving Venice alone with the material and maritime resources able to transport an army to the Middle East. The pope, in his call for the Crusade, had forbidden trade with the Islamic world, and this, of course, Venice could not abide. Hence, it sent legates to Rome to negotiate a lifting of the ban. Innocent III, needing Venetian galleys to transport the Crusade army, relented and lifted the ban, but placed a carefully worded prohibition on any trade of war material to the Middle East.40

Against that backdrop, six French knights arrived in Venice during the first week of Lent in 1201 to negotiate with the Venetian Doge, Enrico Dandolo, the terms of Venetian involvement in the Crusade. Dandolo, at this point, was over ninety years old and blind, and hence was known as “the blind Doge.”41

Here we must digress, for no one knows exactly how Doge Dandolo became blind in the first place. He always maintained that it had occurred from a blow to his head.42 But others were not so sure that he was even blind at all, for “his eyes were attested to be indeed still bright and clear,” and, as we shall see, Dandolo played a crucial role in leading the Venetian military and naval effort.43 Others merely maintained that the old Doge carefully concealed his blindness. But in any case, Dandolo became symbolic of the cunning and byzantine methods that many came—justifiably—to attribute to the Most Serene Republic.

After carefully scrutinizing the knights’ testimonial letters and concluding that they were authentic, the Blind Doge entered formal negotiations, and terms were quickly concluded. The Venetians’ terms were generous, and, upon careful examination, duplicitous:

We will build horse transports to carry 4,500 horses and 9,000 squires; and 4,500 knights and 20,000 foot soldiers will be embarked on ships; and our terms will include provisions for both men and horses for nine months. This is the minimum we will provide, conditional on payment of four marks per horse and two per man. And all the terms we are setting out for you will be valid for a year from the day of departure from the port of Venice to serve God and Christendom, wherever that may take us. The sum of money specified above totals 94,000 marks. And we will additionally supply fifty armed galleys, free of charge, for as long as our alliance lasts, with the condition that we receive half of all the conquests that we make, either by way of territory or money, either by land or at sea. Now take counsel among yourselves as to whether you are willing and able to go ahead with this.44

Note the phrase “wherever that may take us,” for the knights quickly assented to the terms and the contract of alliance was concluded. Little did they or Pope Innocent III know that the contract’s lack of any mention of Egypt was deliberate, for as the contract was being sealed, Venetian ambassadors were in Cairo negotiating a trade agreement with the Viceroy of the Sultan, giving him “a categorical assurance that Venice had no intention of being party to any attack on Egyptian territory.”45

That left a landing in the Eastern Mediterranean town of Acre as the only viable option, unless of course the Venetian objective was something else entirely, as suggested by the phrase “wherever that may take us.” As we shall see the events unfold, this may indeed be a possibility, for while Venice was secretly negotiating assurances with Cairo, at the very same time it had negotiated a secret agreement with the knights themselves that the destination was not to be the Holy Land, but Egypt!46 What was the driving force behind this agenda? It is worth noting that a mere one hundred years earlier, the Venetian Doge Ordelafo Falier (1101–1118) “had raised to the status of a patriotic duty the demand that merchant ships returning from the East should bring back antiquities, marbles, and carvings for the decoration of the newly rebuilt Church of Saint Mark.”47 This raises the possibility that other types of “antiquities” were actually being sought, such as manuscripts and ancient maps, an invaluable source of knowledge to a maritime power such as Venice. As we shall see later in this chapter, and again in chapter nine, this possibility becomes more likely as each episode is considered. That Egypt may have been, at least as far as the knights were concerned, the ultimate strategic objective made military sense, for Saladin’s incomparable victories over the Crusaders in the Holy Land had been accomplished by drawing on the vast resources of Egypt and the supply lines from Alexandria and Cairo.

As far as the knights were concerned, the expedition was to cut the supply lines to the Holy Land, leaving it to fall into the Crusading army’s lap like an over-ripened fruit. But note that as far as Venice was concerned, the secret double-dealings between the Egyptian Viceroy and the French knights had left them in de facto control of the objectives, since they commanded the fleet that was to transport the army. Venice had created conditions of maximum diplomatic and military flexibility, which could be exploited to the fullest for its own benefit. Indeed, if they chose to land the expedition in Egypt, Venice stood to gain by stealing the Genoese and Pisan dominance of Egyptian trade out from underneath them.

And already, the Venetians had profited from the contract of alliance, known as the Treaty of Venice, for the knights had to borrow the first two thousand marks of down payment from Venetian banks on the Rialto to finance the expedition.48

In any case, the fleet was to be ready to receive the crusading army by Saint John’s Day, June 24, in 1202.49

All the construction of this vast fleet, with its siege engines, ropes, galleys, sails and so on was conducted in large part by the Venetian State Arsenal, established in 1104 a kind of assembly line of the implements of military and maritime power.50 When the date for the assembly and embarkation of the army came, the army had barely begun to assemble, stragglers were coming in small numbers, and the size of the army was far below that for which Venice and the knights had contracted. Other portions of the army simply departed for the East from other ports altogether. By July, the army was still assembling in Venice, but its numbers were still far below that for which the alliance was negotiated. As time wore on, tensions increased between the army and the Venetians, and still the army had not sailed for the East.

At this juncture, Dandolo negotiated a deferment of payment from the army in return for the army’s embarkation and a share in its conquests.51 And the very first of these targets that Dandolo had in mind was the port city of Zara, on the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic, long a thorn in Venice’s eyes, and, most importantly, a Christian city. Pope Innocent III, learning of Dandolo’s intentions, threatened the entire city of Venice with excommunication should it attack Zara.52 In spite of this threat, Zara was attacked, and the Lion of St. Mark once again flew from its ramparts, virtually guaranteeing that the entire Adriatic sea was now a Venetian lake. But the papal excommunication came anyway.

By the time Zara had fallen, it was too late to continue the Crusade during winter. And here, once again, fate—and Venetian diplomatic treachery—intervened. On January 1, 1203, King Philip of Swabia sent ambassadors to the Crusading army and to Doge Dandolo, who was travelling with them. Philip’s brother-in-law was an East Roman nobleman and prince, Alexius Angelus, whose uncle, Isaac, had been deposed from the imperial throne in Constantinople by its current Emperor, Alexius III. It is quite crucial to note that this political backdrop was clearly known to Dandolo and the Venetian diplomatic corps long before the expedition finally set sail. And we have already seen the example of Venetian duplicity with respect to the Egyptians and to the French knights. So this opens up the possibility that the embassy from Philip, and Philip’s and Alexius Angelus’ intentions, were known prior to the expedition ever having embarked.

The Germans offered the Crusaders and Dandolo a new deal: in return for Venetian support in restoring Alexius’ “inheritance,” i.e. the imperial throne of Constantinople, Alexius in return would place the entire Eastern Church—which had severed communion with the papacy and the Church of the West some three hundred years before—under Roman obedience. The deal was sweetened with a promise to pay the Venetians 200,000 silver marks, and to pledge East Roman military assistance in Egypt for a year.53 Dandolo, in the meantime, had completely razed Zara’s fortifications and palaces, leaving only the churches standing, “determined that the rebellious city should be incapable of further defiance.”54

Meanwhile, Pope Innocent III thundered excommunications against the Venetians in the expedition. Unfortunately, his letters were simply suppressed by the bishops accompanying the army,55 doubtless at the instigation of Dandolo.

In any case, the expedition, now determined upon Constantinople as its target, arrived in the imperial city on June 23, 1203. While the details are too lengthy to go into here,56 it is to be noted that the Blind Doge himself played a leading role in the assault, thus again raising the question of whether or not he was truly blind. In any case, the result of the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade was predictable: a Latin hierarchy was installed in Constantinople, and a Latin Emperor, virtually a puppet of Venice, was also installed. But most importantly, Venice obtained a virtual lock-out of rivals Pisa and Genoa from Constantinople and a restoration of its monopoly trading privileges. Given that Venice had negotiated duplicitously both with Egypt and with the French knights, and that the Crusade ended up in Constantinople with Venice exercising a virtual stranglehold on the Empire, it is possible that this was the Blind Doge’s intentions from the outset.

But there was something else Venice may have gained, and here the facts end, and the speculations begin …

(2) The Speculation

At one time, at the height of its extent from the Emperors Justinian I to Heraclius I (610–641), the East Roman or Byzantine Empire extended from Tunisia in North Africa through Egypt, into Mesopotamia, Anatolia, the southern Balkan peninsula, and of course Dalmatia, Venezia, and southern Italy. As such, it had access to the rich library resources of Egypt and whatever may have remained of the treasures of the lost library of Alexandria, including whatever was left of ancient high maritime knowledge and maps. As we shall discover in chapter nine, there is indeed evidence that such maritime knowledge, and other lost knowledge from Egypt, made its way into the imperial archives of Constantinople. The imperial city was not only a vast storehouse of actual treasures,57 but a treasure house of information.

Let us now make an assumption, involving the following components:

1)That there was in High Antiquity a maritime knowledge of the world commensurate with our own, and this knowledge included the existence of the North and South American (and Antarctic) continents that were only (re) discovered during the voyages of exploration in the fifteenth century;

2)That this knowledge was retained on charts and maps copied, with varying degrees of accuracy, through the ages;

3)That this knowledge was retained in various repositories, including the Library of Alexandria;

4)That some of this knowledge survived the destructive fires that swept that Library; and finally,

5)That some of this knowledge made it to the imperial archives of the East Roman Empire.

As will be discovered in chapter nine, there is some evidence that all these components of our assumption are true.

Now we make one final assumption. We assume that at some point Venice may have encountered the existence of this knowledge, perhaps during the sack of Constantinople, and the re-establishment of its monopoly over the trade through the imperial city. What would Venice have done with such knowledge, if it had possessed it? I contend that it would have suppressed that knowledge, for the simple fact that its geopolitical situation in the northwest of the Adriatic Sea would not have easily allowed it access through the Straits of Gibraltar, having to run the gauntlet of Genoese, Pisan, and later Spanish dominance of the Western Mediterranean. The opening of trade routes that by-passed the Eastern Mediterranean and overland routes to the Far East, much less of a whole “New World,” would have been a threat to that trading Empire, one which, given its geopolitical situation, Venice would have wanted to suppress, and to deny to potential competitors. Indeed, as we shall see in chapter nine, there is a Genoese connection to this whole train of thought … a famous one in fact.

c. The Fall of Constantinople (1453), and the Beginning of the Decline

For the moment, however, we must return to our historical survey.

When Constantinople finally fell to the Turks and Sultan Mehmet II in 1453, it was inevitable that many Greeks fled to the most Byzantine city in the west, bringing what remained of the library and treasures of the Imperial City with them58 and thus contributing to the rise of the Renaissance in Italy in the fifteenth century. But we are getting ahead of ourselves, for the Fall of Constantinople to the Turks also meant that Venice became the frontline state of Christendom.59 As the Ottoman Empire slowly and gradually grew in military and naval power, Venice’s colonies and bases in the eastern Mediterranean were slowly chipped away, forcing the Republic to turn to an expansion of territory on the Italian mainland. Additionally, the opening of the route to the Far East around the horn of Africa by Portugal, and the discovery of the New World by Genoese adventurer Christopher Columbus for Spain, spelled the end of Venice’s virtual trading monopoly with the East. Indeed, Tarpley notes that the discovery of the New World meant that “At the deepest level, some patricians realized that the lagoon city could now be crushed like an egg-shell, and was not a suitable base for world domination. As after 1200 there had been talk of moving the capital, perhaps to Constantinople, so now plans began to hatch that would facilitate a metastasis of the Venetian cancer towards the Atlantic world.”60 We shall have more to say about that metastasis later in this and subsequent chapters.

3. The Reformation, Counter-Reformation, and Venice

The other signal event, after the discovery of the New World and its subsequent colonization in the 16th century, was the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation, and we shall spend some time with it, because again both Venice and Giordano Bruno are curiously implicated.

To see exactly how Bruno and Venice are implicated, it is important to recall from the previous chapter that Bruno’s basic cosmological view was Hermetic and Neoplatonic in nature, reliant upon that ancient Topological Metaphor of the Medium. The Venetian oligarchy, conversely, pursued a basic cosmological view of materialism, rooted in “the cult of Aristotle.”61 Indeed, as Webster Tarpley notes, the Venetians were the first Western Europeans to read Aristotle in the original Greek.62

Into the midst of this ferment stepped Martin Luther, with his doctrine of justification by faith alone. But there is a hidden Venetian influence on Luther. Gasparo Cardinal Contarini—and pay attention to that last name for we will encounter it again in the next chapter in an extraordinary way—wrote an amazing passage during the crisis of the League of Cambrai (which we shall discuss in the next section):

I began with my whole spirit to turn to this greatest good which I saw, for love of me, on the cross, with his arms open, and his breast opened up right to his heart. This I, the wretch who had not had enough courage for the atonement of my iniquities to leave the world and do penance, turned to him; and since I asked him to let me share in the satisfaction which he, without any sins of his own, had made for us, he was quick to accept me and to cause his Father completely to cancel the debt I had contracted, which I myself was incapable of satisfying.63

This is, of course, an appeal to the doctrine of Anselm of Canterbury, who formulated the doctrine of the Atonement in terms of debt. According to this doctrine, mankind, having offended the infinitely righteous God, owed an infinite debt to Him, but since mankind was only finite, could never pay it. Yet, since mankind owed the debt, only mankind could be the responsible party for paying it. Anselm’s solution to this dilemma was to state that this was the reason for the Incarnation. The infinite Son of God became man, and repaid the debt, thus “balancing the books,” a doctrine that effectively reduced God and salvation to a ledger transaction.64 It is highly significant that, once again, we find the pattern we first encountered in Babylon’s Banksters being repeated, namely the association of the temple with finance, this time through the direct importation into religion of the language of debt redemption and sacrifice. And it is equally significant that a Venetian Cardinal is adopting this language. As Tarpley notes, “the parallels to Luther are evident, even though Contarini still allows hope and a little love a role in salvation, in addition to faith. Later, in a letter of 1523, after Contarini had seen Luther, he would go beyond this and wholly embrace the Lutheran position.”65

Note what we have: a Roman Catholic Cardinal embracing the Lutheran position at the height of the beginning crisis of the Reformation. This is, as we shall see shortly, not the only time Venetian agents are playing both sides of the religious issue, for we find at the same time, in Henry VIII’s England, Thomas Cromwell, who had replaced Cardinal Wolsey as Henry’s chief advisor. “Cromwell,” Tarpley notes, “had reportedly been a mercenary soldier in Italy during the wars of the early 1500s, and, according to (Cardinal) Pole, was at one time the clerk or bookkeeper to a Venetian merchant. One version has Cromwell working for 20 years for a Venetian branch office in Antwerp.”66 Concurrently with all of this, Pope Paul III directed Cardinal Contarini—the same man who had embraced a basically Lutheran position—“to chair a commission that would develop ways to reform the church. Contarini was joined by Caraffa, Sadoletol Pole, Giberti, Cortese of San Giorgio Maggiore,67 plus prelates from Salerno and Brindisi—an overwhelmingly Venetian commission.”68 In other words, Venice had taken control of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.

One effect of this commission and the Catholic reforming Council of Trent was the creation of the notorious “Index” of books which were prohibited for Catholics to read. Needless to say, the “Aristotelian” bias of the Index quickly became evident, as Neoplatonic and Hermetic books were prohibited. It was, as Tarpley observed, “a barometer of who now held power in Rome. By 1565, there were no fewer than seven Venetian cardinals.”69 Here lies the ultimate reason for Bruno’s denunciation by Mocenigo, for Bruno, of course, was a Hermeticist, and his cosmology challenged the whole broadly Aristotelian materialism that Venice was trying to promote.

But Venice’s promotion of both sides of the emerging religious conflict during the sixteenth century was deliberate. Then, as now, the world was entering a new era of the rapid dissemination of information made possible by the movable type printing press. Then, as now, this threatened the power of oligarchical financial elites, particularly that of Venice, and then, as now, that elite moved quickly to inject its influence into the information stream by acquiring the technology of the printing press, and quickly promoting the publication of works of both sides in the religious controversy. Tarpley observes that “What gave Luther and the rest of the Protestant reformers real clout was a publicity and diffusion of their ideas that owed much to the Venetian publishing establishment. The Venetian presses quickly turned out 40,000 copies of the writings of Luther, Calvin, Melancthon, and the heresiarch Juan Valdes, especially popular in Italy.”70 Meanwhile, the same Gasparo Cardinal Contarini who had adopted the views of Martin Luther had cultivated a relationship with Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and the implacable foe of Protestantism. Contarini intervened directly with the Pope to influence the papal approval of the Jesuit order.71

Why would Venice have played both sides against the middle, backing both Protestant and Catholic causes? As noted previously, the discovery of the New World spelled the end of the Venetian trade and financial empire. The strategic decision was therefore taken to quite literally transfer the headquarters of their financial oligarchy northward, under the cover of deliberately exacerbated religious tensions in Europe.72 It was a goal of Venetian policy to foment a general religious war in Europe to facilitate the transfer of the vast family oligarchical fortunes northward,73 a war that eventually became the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648).

In the sixteenth century, however, it was Gasparo Cardinal Contarini who was at the center of networks reaching deep into both Catholic and Protestant Europe, dispatching his agent Francesco Zorzi to England to act as Henry VIII’s “sex councilor” in his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Contarini’s networks also protected John Calvin and Luther74 while Contarini was involved in helping to midwife the Jesuit order into existence! Venice’s influence in Lutheran Germany and Bohemia, moreover, was the Count Heinrich Mathias “of Thurn-Valsassina (1567–1633). This is the senior branch of the family, originally from Venetian territory, which is otherwise known as della Torre, Torre e Tasso, and later as Thurn und Taxis.”75 This, as we shall discover in coming chapters, is not the only link between the oligarchical families of the northern Italian city-states and the prominent and powerful noble houses of Saxony, Hanover, the Netherlands, and England.

Bruno, of course, stepped into this picture in the late sixteenth century with his journeys—suspiciously—to Calvin’s Geneva, Catholic Paris, Anglican England, and Lutheran Germany, before being tempted back to Venice by the perfidious Mocenigo. Bruno, in other words, may have been a Venetian agent in his travels.

There is some evidence for this. Tarpley notes that

After 1582, the oligarchical Venetian government institutions were controlled by the Giovani, a cabal of patricians who had emerged from a salon of strategic discussions called Ridotto Morosini. The participants included Morosini, Nicolo Contarini [!], Leonardo Dona, Antonio Querini, the Servite monks Paolo Sarpi, and Fulganzio Micanzio, Galileo Galilei, and sometimes Griodano Bruno.76

Indeed, Tarpley states explicitly that Venice sent Bruno, and later one of his disciples, to Paris.77

Here we must pause and speculate for a moment about why Venice would then have been so complicit in Bruno’s execution. As we have noted in previous chapters, Bruno’s whole cosmological and memory system posed a threat to the basic worldview of Venice. It was something the Venetian oligarchy both had to control and monopolize for its own purposes, as evident in Mocenigo’s efforts to get Bruno to teach him his memory system, and also to prevent spreading to its potential rivals.

But now we have an additional possible motivation behind Venice’s role in Bruno’s arrest, for Bruno, it will be recalled, had disclosed to Zuane Mocenigo his intentions to found a secret society precisely to spread his Hermetic teachings, an act that would have spelled an end to the Venetian oligarchy’s attempt to monopolize the system. Additionally, according to Tarpley Bruno was a part of the strategic discussions in Venice, which may indeed have disclosed to him Venetian intentions to foment a religious crisis. On thatscore alone, Bruno may have been able to expose the whole enterprise, and thus had to be eliminated.

By the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, shortly after Bruno’s execution by the Inquisition, Venice had done something else, and here we must cite Tarpley extensively:

Venice was extremely liquid at this time, with about 14 million ducats in coins in reserve around 1600.78 At about the same time, incredibly, the Venetian regime had completed the process of paying off its entire public debt, leaving the state with no outstanding obligations of any type. This overall highly liquid situation is a sure sign that flights of capital are underway, in the direction of the countries singled out by the Giovani as future partners or victims: France, England, and the Netherlands.

The Genoese around the St. George’s Bank received virtually the entire world’s circulating gold stocks. The two cities teamed up starting around 1579 at the Piacenza Fair, a prototype of a clearing house for European banks, which soon had a turnover of 20 million ducats a year. This fair was a precursor of the post-Versailles Bank for International Settlements.

In 1603, Venice and Genoa assumed direction of the finances of Stuart England, and imparted their characteristic method into the British East India Company. It is also this tandem that was present at the creation of the great Amsterdam Bank, the financial hinge of the seventeenth century, and of the Dutch East India Company. Venice and Genoa were also the midwives for the great financial power growing up in Geneva, which specialized in controlling the French public debt and in fostering the delphic spirits of the Enlightenment.79

In other words, during the religious upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (which Venice certainly helped exacerbate, as we have seen, by publishing Protestant works while simultaneously promoting the creation of the Jesuit order and playing an influential role in the Catholic Counter-Reformation), Venice was quietly creating new corporate fronts in Amsterdam and England, and transferring the bulk of the oligarchical family fortunes from the swamp in the Venetian lagoon to the swamp from which Amsterdam grew.

But why, in addition to its strategic conclusion that the seat of their oligarchical empire had to be transferred northward and toward the Atlantic because of the discovery of the New World, did Venice sense such urgency to transfer its base of operations? The answer is in what was, literally, the first real general European War, the War of the League of Cambrai …

4. The War of the League of Cambrai (1508–1516): The True First General European War

By 1508, Europe had had it with the byzantine methods, intrigues, and double dealings of the oligarchs and bankers of the Most Serene Republic of Venice. It was, literally a war of Europe—represented by the Papacy, France, Spain, and the Hapsburg Empire in Austria—against Venice.80 The formation of this powerful alliance was the brainchild of Julius Cardinal della Rovere, who, upon his election to the Papacy, took the name of Julius II. Julius determined to put an end to Venetian ecclesiastical independence after typically Venetian affronts to the papacy:

Determined to assert his jurisdiction, ‘even’—as he put it—‘if it costs me the tiara itself’, he now summoned all his diplomatic strength towards his primary objective, not just the isolation but the humiliation of Venice, her deliberate reduction to a level whence she could never recover her old authority and prosperity. A new stream of emissaries was dispatched from Rome—to France and Spain, to (Hapsburg Emperor) Maximilian, to Milan, to Hungary and the Netherlands. All bore the same proposal, for a joint expedition by western Christendom against the Venetian Republic, and the consequent dismemberment of her Empire.81

The carrots Pope Julius II dangled in front of each of the European powers were significant. The Austrian Hapsburg Empire would receive Verona, Vicienza, and Padua. France would obtain the territories of Bergamo, Brescia, Crema, Cremona “and all those territories that Venice had acquired by the Treaty of Blois nine years before.”82 In southern Italy, Brindisi and Otranto would go back to the House of Aragon and Hungary would receive the Dalmatian coast. There would, as John Julian Norwich quipped, “Be something for everyone.”83 Julius’s geopolitical reasoning was simple: in the south, Spanish Naples was the strong state, in the north, French-dominated Milan. But the rest of Italy had to be dominated by the Papacy, and that meant the Venetian Empire had to go.84

We can get a measure of European loss of patience with the Most Serene Republic by a glance at the actual formal preamble to the Treaty that created the League of Cambrai, for it was formed, as it explicitly states,

… to put an end to the losses, the injuries, the violations, the damages which the Venetians have inflicted, not only on the Apostolic See but on the Holy Roman Empire, on the House of Austria, on the Dukes of Milan, on the Kings of Naples and on divers other princes, occupying and tyrannically usurping their goods, their possessions, their cities and castles, as if they had deliberately conspired to do ill to all around them.

Thus we have found it not only will-advised and honourable, but even necessary, to summon all people to take their just revenge and so to extinguish, like a great fire, the insatiable rapacity of the Venetians and their thirst for power.85

France quickly marched, and inflicted a crushing defeat on Venetian forces at the Battle of Agnadello.86 Emperor Maximilian quickly mobilized a large army and also began to move—slowly—against Venice.

With the advent of the Portuguese trade routes around Africa and the rise of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, the impending loss of her territories on the Italian mainland spelled disaster for Venice, for her Empire no longer depended solely on sea trade.87

Venice had to fight against overwhelming odds, and though it retook Padua from the French and subsequently successfully defended it against French and Imperial forces,88 causing the League to begin to unravel with the help of quiet Venetian diplomacy,89 the mere threat of Maximilian’s huge armies pressing from the north, and papal armies from the south, forced Venice to contemplate the unthinkable: an alliance with the Ottoman Empire.90 “To the princes of the West, had they known of it, such an appeal could only have appeared as an additional proof of Venetian faithlessness.”91Unfortunately for the Venetians, the Sultan did not respond to their proposals, forcing Venice to accept Pope Julius II’s terms:

They proved savage: Venice must subject herself totally to the Holy See. Gone would be her traditional right to appoint bishops and clergy within her boundaries, to try them in her courts, to tax them without papal consent. Gone, too, would be her jurisdiction over subjects of the papal states in her territory. The Pope was to receive full compensation for all his expenses in recovering his territories and for all the revenues which he had lost while those territories were in Venetian hands. The Adriatic Sea was henceforth to be open to all, free of the customs dues which Venice had been accustomed to demand from foreign shipping.92

With the Venetian surrender, Julius II had effectively dissolved his own league, viewing France now as the chief enemy in the north, and effectively siding with Venice.93 The League had for all intents and purposes fallen apart.94

Finally, to make a very long and complicated story short, when the Venetian and Papal alliance against the French in northern Italy proved to be of no benefit to Venice when Julius essentially cut them out of any share of the spoils, Venice, in typical fashion, changed sides once again and allied with France.95 Julius’ treachery was not helped by his threat against Venice to revive the League of Cambrai.

Thus, in scarcely more than four years, the three principal protagonists in the war of the League of Cambrai had gone through every possible permutation in the pattern of alliances. First France and the Papacy were allied against Venice, then Venice and the Papacy ranged themselves against France; now Venice and France combined against the Papacy—and indeed, all comers.96

One sees here the Venetian behavior and Realpolitik that had led to the formation of the League in the first place, with the city-state performing classic balance-of-power diplomacy and playing its chief rivals off against each other. But for Venice and its financial oligarchs, the lessons of the League, and the discovery of the New World shortly before, were clear: the oligarchs had to move headquarters.

5. The End of the Most Serene Republic: Napoleon Bonaparte and His Peculiar Demands

The end of the Most Serene Republic of Venice came, of course, from revolutionary France, and a general named Napoleon Bonaparte. Since the beginning of the French Revolution, Venetian intelligence had been warning the Republic of the danger that the revolutionaries posed,97 in their stated objective to export the revolution to all of Europe. Venice was a particular target because, as we shall discover in the next chapter, her constitution, while republican, was hardly the embodiment of the egalitarian principles of the French Revolution. Quite the contrary, it was an elitist constitution,98 a republic by the oligarchy and for the oligarchy. By the time of Napoleon’s northern Italian campaign against Austria and the arrival of French armies on Venice’s doorstep, the rot had long set in, and the real financial power had long since been transferred northward.

Bonaparte’s demands, as the French ships began to unload artillery on the outer islands of the lagoon, say it all: the oligarchy must dissolve the Republic and abdicate, replacing the constitution with a democracy.99 Napoleon also demanded, “The credit of the mint and the national bank (were) to be guaranteed by the state.”100 In effect, Bonaparte had said that the oligarchy must abdicate not only their political power, but their financial monopoly over the credit and currency of the Venetian state.

But as we have seen, almost two centuries before the arrival of Napoleon the oligarchs had liquidated the public debt and assembled a huge reserve of liquid capital for their flight capital program northwards, a long-range strategic consideration that in its outlines resembles the similar flight capital plan of the Nazis toward the end of World War II. By the time Napoleon forced the dissolution of the Republic, the spoils had fled.

But what was the secret of Venetian oligarchical longevity? Indeed, who were the oligarchs? This is where the story gets even darker …

________________________

1Webster Griffin Tarpley, “The Venetian Conspiracy,” Against Oligarchy, http://tarpley.net/online-books/against-oligarchy/the-venetian-conspiracy/, p. 1.

2Tarpley, “The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy in Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Enlightenment, and the Thirty Years’ War,” Against Oligarchy, http://tarpley.net/online-books/against-oligarchy/the-venetian-conspiracy/, p. 1.

3For this episode, see John Julian Norwich, A History of Venice (New York: Vintage Books, 1989), pp. 29-30.

4Farrell, Babylon’s Banksters, pp. 267–274.

5Ibid., p. 268.

6Ibid.

7Ibid.

8Ibid., p. 269.

9Ibid., p. 270.

10Tenney Frank, The American Historical Review, Vol. 21, July 21, 1916, p. 689, cited in Farrell, Babylon’s Banksters, p. 268.

11Ibid., pp. 689–690, emphasis added, cited in Babylon’s Banksters, p. 270.

12Farrell, Babylon’s Banksters, p. 270, citing Juvenal, Satires, III:62.

13Farrell, Babylon’s Banksters, p. 271.

14Ibid., p. 272.

15Tarpley, “Venice’s War Against Western Civilization,” Against Oligarchy, http://tarpley.net/online-books/against-oligarchy/venices-war-against-western-civilization/, p. 2.

16As I point out in my The Cosmic War, p. 328, the symbolism also has ancient Egyptian roots as well.

17Tarpley notes: “Already between 300 and 400 AD there are traces of families whose names will later become infamous: Candiano, Faliero, Dandolo. Legend has it that the big influx of refugees came during the raids of Attila the Hun in 452 A.D.” (See Tarpley, “The Venetian Conspiracy.”)

18Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 4.

19Ibid., p. 5.

20Ibid., p. 7.

21Roger Crowley, City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas (New York: Random House), p. xxix.

22Ibid.

23Ibid., p. 16.

24Ibid.

25See Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 8.

26Ibid., p. 9.

27Ibid., p. 15.

28Ibid., p. 24.

29Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 24.

30Ibid., p. 25.

31Ibid., pp. 29–30.

32Crowley, City of Fortune, p. 16.

33Ibid., pp. 16–17.

34Ibid., p. 17.

35I refer to them as such because the subjects of the Empire, though predominantly Greeks or Greek-speaking, called themselves “Romans” as a matter of their “national and cultural identity.” They did not call themselves “Byzantines” and as such, to do so now would be an inaccuracy.

36Crowley, City of Fortune, p. 17.

37Ibid., p. 18.

38Ibid.

39Ibid., p. 19.

40Crowley, City of Fortune, pp. 21–22.

41Ibid., pp. 22–23.

42Ibid., p. 24.

43Ibid. Norwich maintains that Enrico Dandolo’s relative Andrea Dandolo, a historian, stated that Enrico’s blindness came from his antagonism of the Roman Emperor Manuel I during the hostage crisis, and that, as was Byzantine legal custom, Dandolo was blinded on the Emperor’s command. (See Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 124.)

44Crowley, City of Fortune, pp. 25–26, emphasis added.

45Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 128.

46Crowley, City of Fortune, p. 31.

47Ibid., p. 30, emphasis added.

48Ibid., p. 34.

49Ibid., p. 29.

50Ibid., pp. 35–36.

51Ibid., p. 41.

52Ibid., p. 48.

53Ibid., pp. 53–54. It should be noted that Crowley states, “It is uncertain if Dandolo knew in advance of the plan to divert the Crusade to Constantinople; it is likely that he appraised it with a very cool eye,” (p. 55). I find this highly unlikely, since a trading empire such as Venice would certainly have had up-to-date intelligence on the circumstances in Egypt, Constantinople, and Germany, with which it carried on a lucrative trade in silver bullion and other commodities. In my opinion Dandolo skillfully negotiated the original contract to allow Venice maximum flexibility, including the ability to change the strategic objectives of the Crusade. He could hardly have been oblivious to the circumstances of Alexius Angelus and his imperial claims, and given the prior bitterness between Byzantium and Venice over the Venetian hostage crisis, and Byzantium’s subsequent allowance of rivals Pisa’s and Genoa’s trading privileges, I think it is highly likely that this entered into Venetian planning from the outset. The attack against Zara would therefore have been an inevitable lure to the Germans to send the embassy, making it appear that Alexius, and not Venice, had initiated the events that followed.

54Ibid., p. 57.

55Ibid., p. 56.

56For the story of the Fourth Crusade’s sack of Constantinople, see the eminently readable account in Crowley, pp. 60–92.

57Ibid., pp. 64, 103.

58Norwich, A History of Venice, p. 340.

59Crowley, City of Fortune, p. 317.

60Tarpley, “The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy,” pp. 2–3.

61Ibid., p. 1

62Ibid.

63Ibid., p. 4, citing Jedin, “Ein ‘Thurmerlebnis’ des jungen Contarini,” p. 117, and Dermot Fenlon, “Heresy and Obedience in Tridentine Italy,” p. 8.

64See Farrell and de Hart, The Grid of the Gods, pp. 201–217.

65Tarpley, “The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy,” p. 4.

66Ibid., p. 8.

67San Giorgio Maggiore, the Benedictine monastery dedicated to St. George in the Venetian lagoon.

68Ibid., p. 9.

69Ibid, p. 11.

70Tarpley, “The Venetian Conspiracy,” p. 16.

71Ibid., p. 17.

72Tarpley, “The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy,” p. 9.

73Ibid., p. 14.

74Tarpley, “Venice’s War Against Western Civilization,” p. 4.

75Tarpley, “The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy,” p. 16.

76Ibid., p. 11.

77Tarpley, “Venice’s War Against Western Civilization,” p. 14.

781600, it will be recalled, was the year of Bruno’s execution.

79Tarpley, “The Venetian Conspiracy,” p. 18.

80For the background to the formation of the League, see Norwich, A History of Venice, pp. 390–392.

81Ibid., p. 394.

82Ibid.

83Ibid.

84Ibid., p. 395.

85Ibid.

86Ibid., p. 399.

87Ibid., pp. 400–401.

88Ibid., pp. 404–405.

89Ibid., pp. 405–406.

90Ibid., p. 407.

91Ibid.

92Ibid., p. 408.

93Ibid., p. 409.

94Ibid., p. 414.

95Ibid, p. 425.

96Ibid., pp. 425–426.

97Ibid., p. 606.

98Ibid.

99Ibid., p. 627.

100Ibid., p. 630.

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