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V. MALLIA-MILANES (Ed.), Al Servizio della Repubblica di Venezia: Le Lettere di Massimiliano Buzzaccarini Gonzaga, Commendatore di Malta, inviate alla Magistratura dei Cinque Saviialla Mercanzia 1754-1776. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014. HB, 637 pages. Illustrated. ISBN: 9788820992736

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V. MALLIA-MILANES (Ed.), Al Servizio della Repubblica di Venezia: Le Lettere di Massimiliano Buzzaccarini Gonzaga, Commendatore di Malta, inviate alla Magistratura dei Cinque Saviialla Mercanzia 1754-1776. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014. HB, 637 pages. Illustrated. ISBN: 9788820992736

www.libridergi.org
Kitap Tanıtımı, Eleştiri ve Çeviri Dergisi
Journal of Book Notices, Reviews and Translations
Volume I (2015)
V. MALLIA-MILANES (Ed.), Al Servizio della Repubblica di Venezia: Le
Lettere di Massimiliano Buzzaccarini Gonzaga,
Commendatore di
Malta, inviate alla Magistratura dei Cinque Saviialla Mercanzia 1754-
1776. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 20
14. HB, 637
pages. Illustrated. ISBN 9788820992736.
Simon Mercieca SENIOR
Libri: Kitap Tanıtımı, Eleştiri ve Çeviri Dergisi’nde bulunan içeriklerin tümü kullanıcılara açık,
serbestçe/ücretsiz açık erişimli bir dergidir. Kullanıcılar, yayıncıdan ve yazar(lar)dan izin
almaksızın, dergideki makaleleri tam metin olarak okuyabilir, indirebilir, dağıtabilir, makalelerin
çıktısını alabilir ve kaynak göstererek makalelere bağlantı verebilir.
Libri, uluslararası hakemli elektronik (online) bir dergi olup değerlendirme süreci biten makaleler
derginin web sitesinde (www.libridergi.org) yıl boyunca ilgili sayının içinde (Volume I: Ocak-Aralık
2015) yayımlanır. Aralık ayı sonunda ilgili yıla ait sayı tamamlanır.
Dergide yayımlanan eserlerin sorumluluğu yazarlarına aittir.
Künye
V. MALLIA-MILANES (Ed.), Al Servizio della Repubblica di Venezia: Le Lettere di Massimiliano
Buzzaccarini Gonzaga, Commendatore di Malta, inviate alla Magistratura dei Cinque Saviialla
Mercanzia 1754-1776. Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014. HB, 637 pages.
Illustrated. ISBN 9788820992736. Tanıtan: Simon Mercieca SENIOR, Libri I (2015) 77-79. DOI:
10.20480/lbr.2015115468
Geliş Tarihi: 24.10.2015
Kabul Tarihi: 26.10.2015
Online Yayın Tarihi: 29.12.2015
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.20480/lbr.2018115468
Editörya
Phaselis Project
www.phaselis.org
Kitap Tanıtımı, Eleştiri ve Çeviri Dergisi
Vol. I (2015) 77-79
V. MALLIA-MILANES (Ed.), Al Servizio della Repubblica di Venezia: Le Lettere di
Massimiliano Buzzaccarini Gonzaga, Commendatore di Malta, inviate alla
Magistratura dei Cinque Saviialla Mercanzia 1754-1776. Città del Vaticano:
Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2014. HB, 637 pages. Illustrated.
ISBN: 9788820992736.
S. Mercieca SENIOR
When religious belief was declared dead in Europe, academic interest in religion started to
increase rather than decrease. This is attested by the increase in the number of books available
that study various aspects of religious dynamism in the past. Victor Mallia-Milanes’ new
book does not fall under the heading History of Religion as it is normally understood in our
contemporary society but it is expedient to state that it is a book about religion. It deals with
the relationship of the Republic of Venice with the Knights of Saint John. The latter are now
popularly known as the Knights of Malta. More importantly, they are a Religious Order of the
Roman Catholic Church. This research seeks to instill a different appreciation of these two
political one-time powers by placing them within the framework of what is known as economic
diplomacy.
In brief, it is a study of the diplomatic relationship between a country governed by a
Religious Order and the Republic of Venice. Venice was one of the first countries in Europe to
adopt and become a secular realm, a century before this concept became fashionable during
the period of Enlightenment. La Serenissima and the Order of Saint John had one element in
common; both were steeped in tradition and both were staunch believers in what Montesquieu
termed an alliance between State and Religion.
The Order of the Knights of Malta was the epitome of a power for whom religion and
statehood was one and the same thing. After winning many battles, the Grand Master of the
Order of St. John became the undisputed head of an island called Malta. In the same period, the
Cinque Savii alla Mercanzia became the designated authority to regulate all trading matters
pertaining to Venice.
The core of this book is the documentation supported by an extensive historical introduction.
The editor of these documents, Victor Mallia Milanes, remains faithful to the original text,
setting the correct backdrop to these diplomatic letters, wherein he touches on various aspects
of Mediterranean life in the 18th century without shying away from giving us his own interpre-
tation of the history of the period.
These documents are in Italian, which was the lingua franca of the Mediterranean at the
Dr. Lecturer, History Department. University of Malta. simon.mercieca@um.edu.mt
Geliş Tarihi: 24.10.2015
Kabul Tarihi: 26.10.2015
Yayın Tarihi: 29.12.2015
DOI: 10.20480/lbr.2015115468
Victor MALLIA-MILANES
time. The protagonist is Massimiliano Buzzaccarini Gonzaga, a Venetian knight of Malta and the
resident Venetian minister in Malta. He wrote practically every fortnight, providing a chronicle
of events in Malta, and sharing his views upon various issues with the Cinque Savii. He also
recounts trading disputes that arose from time to time between the corsairs operating from
Malta and the Venetian merchants operating in the Levant.
These letters, therefore, are not only of great importance to the historian but are also of
interest to those who study the history of the Italian language as Buzzaccarini Gonzaga wrote in
his Venetian dialect and the diplomatic language of these letters follows the style of the time.
The language is balanced and one can sense Buzzaccarini Gonzaga’s efforts to diffuse, and to
leave behind the drama of previous centuries between the two maritime powers, even if, on
various occasions, he had to deal with extremely thorny issues and Malta’s legal system under
the Knights of St. John, which left much to be desired. Buzzaccarini Gonzaga spent a great deal
of energy safe-guarding the interests of Venetians traders, who felt maligned by the actions of
the corsairs operating under the protection of the flag of the Knights of Malta. This was the
principal bone of contention.
Prior to the suppression of the Venetian Republic by French Republican forces at the Treaty
of Campo Formio in 1797, the Serenissima had enjoyed 900-years of uninterrupted statehood.
Usually, the last decades before the final fall of a Republic are more often than not defined as
periods of decline or instability. These documents challenge that assertion. On the contrary,
they attest to the various efforts, and the periods of revival. This correspondence
highlights Venice’s expertise in the way she dealt with other powers. For this reason, these
documents offer a beautiful journey through various aspects of Venetian history in the late 18th
century and the trade relationship between Venice and the Sublime Porte. These letters provide
the reader with more than a glimpse of the last phase of one of the longest surviving powers in
Europe. Buzzaccarini Gonzaga writes to the point and avoids the characteristic vagueness for
which some of the diplomatic correspondence of the period is known.
One of the strategies advocated in any academic course on International Relations is how to
achieve security. The advice is for countries to seek friendly relations with neighbouring giants.
This is what the Knights of Malta would seek to achieve for the first time in the second half of
the 18th century. In a renewed collaboration, Venice and Malta found a hidden force through
which they could face the shared threats, perceived or real, coming from the Ottoman Porte.
Both became trusted friends. Venice and Malta began to share economic and defence
strategies. They were not interested in wars, rather more in bringing about an economic miracle
to help them survive the challenges of the time. For this to happen, both sides realized peace
had to prevail in the Mediterranean.
The spirit of the Enlightenment, which began in Italy, more precisely in Northern Italy, with
Venice being one of its promoters, would become, in the end, a force of military aggression.
Unlike what many of the enlightened thinkers said, or believed, the Enlightenment brought
about the creation of new tensions in Europe and the Mediterranean, and as Edward Said
would show, produced 19th century colonialism. In other words, by the end of the 18th century,
the real threat for the two countries did not come from the East but from the West. It was this
same Enlightenment that Venice had proudly embraced which would turn on her and bring
about her political downfall.
Al Servizio della Repubblica di Venezia
79
The diplomats engaged in this exchange of correspondence quite fail to anticipate this end.
Perhaps, they were overtaken by what is known as emotional “authority. Both the State of
Venice and Malta were overtaken by the dynamism of trade, attesting to the human
experiences and the individual needs of the merchant-traders, but, at the same time quite
unable to see the storm that was brewing on the horizon. This story extends beyond the period
covered by these documents and the protagonists of these documents were no longer there
to witness the devastating impact of the French Revolution upon both Venice and Malta.
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