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Corfù: the Levant and defensive structures II



The debate raging in the Senate  in the autumn of 559 was of great importance regarding relationships between Venetian institutions and military power. The Senate discussed the opportunity to build in the city 'a refuge able in case of war to save the people of this island'. For two days two radically opposed camps battled over the duties to be awarded to the commanding general of the infantry  Sforza Pallavicino, and finally reached a compromise. Half of the Senate members wanted 'him to go and it seeming right to him, he begin work... thus capable of working and starting and continuing according to his opinion, for he being present and responsible there, it was better than giving all the information to the "proti" who then do not carry to completion what is assigned them'.1 Those against this proposal claimed instead that 'it would be much better that he, once he had seen and assessed, should make a report, because thus also here [in Venice], the governors could see and understand and reach a decision that seemed most opportune to them, and because it is not right to retract authority and give it to his subordinates, without their authority, who, they also being patrons, might do something that then did not satisfy the governors'.2 This second proposal shows part of the Senate's clear opposition to the creation of a fairly independent position, liberated from institutional dictates, and the policy directives that political accords offered.

1'egli andasse e parendoli desse anco principio ad operare... che anco fosse buono di fare e principiare secondo il suo parere et avanzare tempo, oltre che essendo egli sopra l'opera faria meglio che mandando poi misure a' proti, che poi non eseguiscano quanto bisogna'
2'saria molto meglio che, havendo veduto et giudicato, dovesse referire, perchè anco de qui li signori potessero veder et intendere et far quella resolutione che paresse loro il meglio, et che non era conveniente spogliarsi della propria authorità et darla a' suoi ministri, che senza il consenso loro, che pur erano patroni, havesse ad operar cosa che poi non fosse di loro sattisfazione'

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Viaggio virtuale tra le fonti storiche veneziane
Rotta: Venezia e il Levante (sec XV - sec XVIII)
© 1996 by the VENIVA consortium