Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

History Renaissance

The Republic of Venice

De magistratibus et republica Venetorum

by (author) Gasparo Contarini

edited by Filippo Sabetti

translated by Amanda Murphy & Giuseppe Pezzini

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Sep 2019
Renaissance, History & Theory, Italy
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2019
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2019
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2022
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


At a time when social scientists are increasingly focusing on the reasons why nations fail and democracies die, Filippo Sabetti turns to the opposite issue, asking instead why institutions endure. To do so, he presents Gasparo Contarini’s sixteenth-century description of the Republic of Venice to help modern readers understand what made Venice the longest-lived self-constituted republic.


In its long history, Venice was the only city that succeeded in constructing a durable republicanism, and it was one of the earliest to depart from the hierarchical world of national monarchies and sovereignties. Sabetti suggests that students of politics will find Contarini’s The Republic of Venice just as instructive, if not more so, as Machiavelli’s The Prince. In his analysis of human nature, Contarini matches Machiavelli's secularism and realism, but goes much further; examining the case of Venice, he shows how it is possible for fallible human beings to construct a successful and stable government. This is the first modern English-language edition of Contarini’s classic work, based directly on the original Latin.

About the authors

Gasparo Contarini (1483–1542) was a Venetian humanist scholar, theologian, diplomat, and Roman Catholic cardinal. He was an advocate of extensive reform within the church and a leader in the movement for reconciliation with the Lutheran Reformers.

Gasparo Contarini's profile page

Filippo Sabetti is a professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University.

Filippo Sabetti's profile page

is a professor of English Language and Translation at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan

Amanda Murphy's profile page

Giuseppe Pezzini is a lecturer in Latin at the University of St Andrews, Scotland.

Giuseppe Pezzini's profile page

Other titles by Gasparo Contarini

Other titles by Filippo Sabetti

Other titles by Amanda Murphy

Other titles by Giuseppe Pezzini