IV.1. Venetian Rule and the Greeks

The gradual conquest of Byzantine territory by the Venetians (13th-16th c. in Crete, the Cyclades, Euboia, Cyprus, the Peloponnese and the Ionian Islands) was a contributory factor in the emergence of a new political reality in the Mediterranean. Exercising control over the South-East Mediterranean was immensely important for trading purposes and therefore for the international image and the prestige of La Serenissima.

In the early centuries Venetian rule was harsh for the Greek Orthodox population (or Graikoi as they were often called) and therefore they frequently reacted violently (in Crete, for example, there were a succession of revolts up to the14th c). But gradually differences were ironed out. From the resulting fusion a mixed system of government emerged and a composite Greco-Venetian culture, which moved between Greek Orthodox and Western traditions.