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Roundtable Discussion

East of Venice: La Serenissima as seen from its eastern frontiers

A panel discussion with Larry Wolff, Molly Greene, Patricia Fortini Brown, and Daphne Lappa, moderated by Konstantina Zanou

Viewing the history of the Venetian Republic through the lens of its neighbors in the Balkans and its Mediterranean frontiers, this international panel of specialists examines the various exchanges—cultural, linguistic, and religious, among others—between the Ottoman and the Venetian worlds, between East and West.

Patricia Fortini Brown (Princeton University)
Munire et Ornare: The Face of the Serenissima in the Stato da Mar”
The imprint of Venetian rule is still seen throughout the Mediterranean in city walls, portals, civic buildings, waterworks, and sculpted reliefs of the Lion of Saint Mark.  This paper examines how Venice created an infrastructure in its subject cities that provided both military protection and civic adornment in response to pressures from the Ottomans on the one hand and local elites on the other.

Larry Wolff (New York University)
“Venice and the Singing Turk:  Operas on Turkish Subjects from the 1680s to the 1820s”
This presentation will consider operas about Turks during the long eighteenth century and their significance in Venetian culture.  The phenomenon of the "singing Turk" will be considered in the context of Venetian-Ottoman relations and the broader European cultural engagement with the Ottoman empire in the age of Enlightenment.

Molly Greene (Princeton University)
“Venice, the Greeks, and the Rise of Ottoman Power”
From the time of the Fourth Crusade (1204), large numbers of Greek Orthodox lived under Venetian rule in the eastern Mediterranean, and the relationship was often a difficult one.   Despite this, with the consolidation of Ottoman power in the fifteenth century, the Republic of St. Mark emerges in the literature as a place of refuge, a haven for Greek refugees streaming out of the wreckage of the Byzantine Empire (and, later on, from Venetian Crete.)  In my talk I challenge this very enduring view of the consequences of Ottoman power for the Greek Orthodox and their relationship to Venice.

Daphne Lappa (University of Crete)
“Borderland Religion in the Eastern End of the Serenissima: Greeks in the Venetian City of Corfu”
What did it mean to be “Greek” in the early modern Venetian and Ottoman lands? Was this a uniform category? Or, could it take on different, local contents? The paper addresses these questions through the study of Greek-Orthodox religion as practiced in the city of Corfu, a part of the Venetian maritime state since the late fourteenth century. Using the concept of “borderland religion” to frame the very local, urban religious mélange of Latin and Greek elements in Corfu, it also compares it with Ottoman Greek-Orthodox religiosity, suggesting that these presented two different ways of being “Greek.” 

​Konstantina Zanou (Columbia University)
Organizer and moderator

Co-presented by Carnegie Hall, Columbia University’s Department of Italian and its Italian and Mediterranean Colloquium and The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America.

*Above: detail of painting by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770); "Rinaldo Enchanted By Armida"; located in the Art Institute of Chicago.

More on Carnegie Hall’s La Serenissima series: https://www.carnegiehall.org/venice/

Event Date 
Mon, Feb 13, 2017, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Free and open to the public.

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