Venetians and Greeks - The War for Candia previous 9/9 next

Candia: taxation and territory


The problem of taxation in the islands of the dominion originated in the requirements of the fleet and its provisioning, as well as the need to equip decent defensive works. Consequences of this problem, however, concerned much more the network of relationships between the Venetian government and local society, attesting to the difficulties inherent in the rapport between subjects and the 'Prince' (or 'ruler'). These difficulties were not limited to civilian administration alone, but involved the religious sector as well, in both Candia  and Corfù . Senate  decrees would from time to time set forth the sums that various sectors were ordered to contribute to the Republic of Venice for a single fortress under construction. Giulio Savorgnan recounts that when he was governing Candia, all the peasants of the district (whether they had stock to care for or not) had to provide two or three weeks of work per year (according to the district they came from - the mountains, Chania , or Rethymno ) or a single week (assigned in wealthier privileged cases) for natives of the district of Candia. A Senate decree of 1567 records that citizens, Jews, feudal landowners, noblemen, and priests instead had to contribute a daily sum of 8 tournois . Such taxation, however, was widely disregarded in practice. Peasants shirked such obligations, and were hidden (or 'occultati') by feudal landowners who protected them.

It was not easy to devise a solution to the problem. In the choice between Savorgnan's proposal - an increase in taxes and greater severity in collecting them - and the old paternalistic approach, which aimed at the peace and well-being of its subjects above all else in an effort to avoid bitter conflict (in his 1575 report the Provveditore Generale  Luca Michiel declared that 'gentleness and humanity' were called for more than 'severity and harshness') the second option was selected.

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Viaggio virtuale tra le fonti storiche veneziane
Rotta: Venezia e il Levante (sec XV - sec XVIII)
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