Data on Medieval Venice
Data and replication files for 'International trade and institutional change: Medieval Venice's response to globalization'
by Diego Puga and Daniel Trefler
This site distributes and documents the dataset on prominent families in medieval Venice, their membership of Venice's Great Council 1261-1296, their participation in colleganza contracts 1073-1342, and their marriages 1400-1600, created by Diego Puga and Daniel Trefler for their article 'International trade and institutional change: Medieval Venice's response to globalization', published in Quarterly Journal of Economics 129(2), May 2014: 753-821, as well as the computer code required to replicate their results. Users of this dataset are asked to cite the Quarterly Journal of Economics article as the source. We would also appreciate it if you let us know the details of any paper in which you use the data by sending an email to Diego Puga (
These data and replication files, documented below, are freely available for download from this site as a zip file:
(619 Kb.) . This contains:
- A correspondance between family name variants appearing in historical sources and standardized family names for prominent Venetian families in Stata 12 format (
venice_familynames.dta) and in comma-delimited ascii format (
- Data on membership of the Great Council of Venice 1261-1296 in Stata version 12 format (
venice_greatcouncil.dta) and in comma-delimited ascii format (
- Data on Venetian colleganza contracts 1073-1342 in Stata version 12 format (
venice_colleganza.dta) and in comma-delimited ascii format (
- Data on Venetian marriages involving a noble husband 1400-1600 in Stata version 12 format (
venice_marriages.dta) and in comma-delimited ascii format (
- A Stata do file that replicates the empirical results of the article 'International trade and institutional change: Medieval Venice's response to globalization':
venice_empirics.do. In addition, the log file produced by this do file (
venice_empirics.log) when run in Stata 13 on 16 January 2014.
Standardized family names
In order to document the political participation, involvement in international trade, and marrriage patterns of prominent families in medieval Venice, we must identify such families in heterogeneous historical sources. Since each family is referred to in historical sources using different variants of their family name, we group all variants representing the same family. We use an extended definition of family (casata). Sometimes a casata was made up of multiple branches (rami), but separating these systematically is not feasible. See Raines (2003, 23-25). The standardization of family names presents many difficulties. Even within the same source, the same family name appears sometimes in Latin and other times in Italian (e.g., Mauroceno or Morosini). There are multiple patronymic prefixes (d', da, de, di, dalla, della, de ca', de cha, de Casa, da Casa, etc.). There are also many spelling variants, the doubling of the 'n' or of the 'l' being the most common variants. Other variations reflect differences between Venetian and Italian, such as the alternative spellings 'ç', 'z' or 'zh' for the interdental voiceless fricative (a sound that is used in Venetian but not in Italian). The standardization was done with careful assistance from Lisa Chen and Jennifer Konieczny, Ph.D. students in the Medieval History Department at the University of Toronto. The correspondance between family name variants and standardized family names includes all the family name variants found in the historical sources used in this project for each prominent family, meaning a family that held seats in the Great Council at any point in 1261-1296 according to our Great Council membership data described below, or was present in the Great Council at any point from 1297 onwards according to Raines (2003), or was politically prominent in 960-1141 according to Rosch (1989), or was among high-office holders in 1142-1204 according to Castagnetti (1995). Note that this correspondence is not required to reproduce our results, since all other data files also include standardized family names. The correspondence is provided to help merge additional sources with our data. The data (files
venice_familynames.csv) include the following variables:
- familyname: Family name. Variant of a family name as it appears in one or more of the historical sources.
- familyname_std: Standardized family name. A standardised family name used to group all variants representing the same family.
Great Council members 1261-1296
Section 5 of the article presents evidence that in the period leading up to the Serrata there was a high degree of mobility into and out of the Great Council; a majority of seats in the Great Council were held by a relatively small number of powerful families; and, some of these families were losing seat shares to merchants that had not previously participated in the Great Council. To this end, we have constructed a database on representation in the Great Council. A Great Council session lasted for one year, starting in October. The Council recorded the names of its members and these lists have survived for each of the sessions in 1261-1262, 1264-1271, 1275-1284, and 1293-1296. The handwritten lists, together with other surviving records of Great Council deliberations, have been transcribed in the Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio di Venezia (Cessi, 1931-1950). The data on members of the Great Council of Venice 1261-1296 (files
venice_greatcouncil.csv) include the following variables:
- firstname: First name of Great Council member.
- familyname: Family name of Great Council member as it appears in the original document.
- familyname_std: Standardized family name of Great Council member.
- gc_session_start: Start year of Great Council session.
- gc_session_end: End year of Great Council session.
- sestiere: Sestiere or district for which the Great Council member was elected (Venice was divided into six districts: Cannaregio, Castello, Dorsoduro, San Marco, San Polo, Santa Croce .
Colleganza contracts 1073-1342
To examine the impact of the reorganization of the galley trade in the 1320s and the 1324 Capitulare Navigantium, we look at the characteristics of merchants who used the colleganza before and after 1324 to see whether non-nobles were excluded and whether, among nobles, usage shifted to those with greater political power (as measured by seat shares in the Great Council). We begin by examining colleganza contracts that have survived for the period 1073-1342. In particular, we examine all contracts that appear in Morozzo della Rocca and Lombardo (1940, 2 volumes), Lombardo and Morozzo della Rocca (1953), Tiepolo (1970), and Sebellico (1973, 2 volumes). These volumes are collections of all types of commercial contracts, such as dowries, wills, lease agreements, loans, settlements, etc. We first identify which of these commercial documents are colleganza or settlements of a colleganza. In some of these volumes, each contract is preceded by an editorial header giving the date, place and type of contract; however, these headers are often vague or inaccurate so we instead reviewed each of the 2,833 documents individually.
Identification is tricky and requires a considerable investment in time to learn how to distinguish colleganza from other related contracts. We have benefitted enormously from numerous discussions with Yadira González de Lara on the coding of colleganza. Colleganza contracts are most clearly identified by the statement that, in the event of profits, the travelling merchant receives a share of these profits e.g., 'Reliquam quartam partem in me retinere debeam.' Settlements of colleganza require a careful reading to understand what type of contract is being settled. The most common difficulty is distinguishing between a colleganza and a sea loan. Where no other distinguishing features are available, we follow González de Lara (2008) in classifying a contract as a colleganza if the travelling merchant rendered accounts under oath. Sometimes both the original colleganza and its settlement have survived, in which case we count only the original contract; however, most often only one of the two has survived, in which case we date the contract to the date of the original colleganza (which is almost always specified in the settlement). There are a small number of other related contracts dealing with the transfer of colleganza obligations, and we include these as well. There are two settlements of colleganza for which only a fragment of the original parchment has survived. Since the names of the merchants are missing, we exclude these two.
The data on Venetian colleganza contracts 1073-1342 (files
venice_colleganza.csv) include the following variables:
- source: Document source. This is Lombardo and Morozzo della Rocca (1953), or Morozzo della Rocca and Lombardo (1940), or Sebellico (1973), or Tiepolo (1970)
- docnumber: Document number as listed in the source.
- year: Year colleganza contract signed (in Gregorian calendar). The Venetian calendar year started on March 1st. We have converted all dates to follow the standard Gregorian Calendar.
- contract_type: Contract classification. This can be colleganza, colleganza settlement (for the settlement of a colleganza for which the original colleganza contract has not survived), repeat (for a contract pertaining a colleganza that is already in an earlier document, as in the the settlement of a colleganza when both the original colleganza and its settlement have survived), or colleganza reference (for other contracts referring to a colleganza, typically contracts dealing with the transfer of colleganza obligations).
- repeat_note: Additional information for repeats explaining why they are classified as such and providing the document number where this colleganza first appears.
- tractor_firstname_italian: Travelling merchant's first name (Italian). The Italian version of the first name typically appears in the editorial header preceding the contract or in the index.
- tractor_familyname_italian: Travelling merchant's family name (Italian). The Italian version of the family name typically appears in the editorial header preceding the contract or in the index.
- tractor_firstname_latin: Travelling merchant's first name (Latin). This is the first name as it appears in the contract itself.
- tractor_familyname_latin: Travelling merchant's family name (Latin). This is the family name as it appears in the contract itself.
- tractor_familyname_std_gc: Travelling merchant's standardized family name, if in the Great Council 1261-1323. This variable is only present for merchants with family members in the Great Council in 1261-1323. We have our data on Great Council membership and seat shares for 1261-1296 described above. From Raines (2003, appendix 1), we also have Great Council membership (but not seat shares) for 1297-1323. We match the merchants' family names in the colleganza with the 1261-1296 and 1297-1323 Great Council family names. In the article, we refer to merchants with family members in the Great Council in 1261-1323 (those for whom this variable is non-empty) as 'nobles' and to all others as 'commoners.'
- tractor_familyname_std: Travelling merchant's standardized family name. As a robustness check, we also classified a merchant as noble not only if he had family members in the Great Council in 1261-1323 but also if his family name appears in Rösch's (1989) list of families that were politically prominent in 960-1141 or in Castagnetti's (1995) list of families providing high-office holders in 1142-1204. This is the alternative classification of merchants into 'nobles' (those for whom this variable is non-empty) and 'commoners' used in footnote 50.
- tractor_2_firstname_italian: 2nd travelling merchant's first name (Italian).
- tractor_2_familyname_italian: 2nd travelling merchant's family name (Italian).
- tractor_2_firstname_latin: 2nd travelling merchant's first name (Latin).
- tractor_2_familyname_latin: 2nd travelling merchant's family name (Latin).
- tractor_2_familyname_std_gc: 2nd travelling merchant's standardized family name, if in the Great Council 1261-1323.
- tractor_2_familyname_std: 2nd travelling merchant's standardized family name.
- stans_firstname_italian: Sedentary merchant's first name (Italian).
- stans_familyname_italian: Sedentary merchant's family name (Italian).
- stans_firstname_latin: Sedentary merchant's first name (Latin).
- stans_familyname_latin: Sedentary merchant's family name (Latin).
- stans_familyname_std_gc: Sedentary merchant's standardized family name, if in the Great Council 1261-1323.
- stans_familyname_std: Sedentary merchant's standardized family name.
- stans_2_firstname_italian: 2nd sedentary merchant's first name (Italian).
- stans_2_familyname_italian: 2nd sedentary merchant's family name (Italian).
- stans_2_firstname_latin: 2nd sedentary merchant's first name (Latin).
- stans_2_familyname_latin: 2nd sedentary merchant's family name (Latin).
- stans_2_familyname_std_gc: 2nd sedentary merchant's standardized family name, if in the Great Council 1261-1323.
- stans_2_familyname_std: 2nd sedentary merchant's standardized family name.
Marriages involving a noble husband 1400-1600
A handwritten list kept at the Archivio di Stato di Venezia records Venetian marriages involving a noble husband. This was compiled in the late nineteenth century by archivist Giuseppe Giomo from multiple sources, including the records of Avogaria di comun and an earlier compilation by Marco Barbaro. We have digitized this list and performed the same standardization of family names described above. This allows us to track the evolution of power within Venice's nobility. Our analysis in the article uses marriages among noble families for the period 1400-1599. The handwritten list also contains a few earlier marriages (23 in 1398 and another 33 scattered over the period 1348-1397), but these are far too few to be useful. It also contains marriages for 1600-1887, but these are beyond our period of interest. Nevertheless, we provide data for the entire period 1348-1887. The handwritten list only contains marriages involving a noble husband. Our analysis in the article uses marriages among noble families, but we also provide data for marriages between noble husbands and non-noble wives. The data on Venetian marriages involving a noble husband (files
venice_marriages.csv) include the following variables:
- wife_familyname_std: Wife's standardized family name. This variable is only present for noble wives; it is empty for non-noble wives.
- wife_familyname: Wife's family name as it appears in the original document.
- wife_firstname: Wife's first name.
- husband_familyname_std: Husband's standardized family name. This variable is present for all marriages.
- husband_familyname: Husband's family name as it appears in the original document.
- husband_firstname: Husband's first name.
- year: Year of marriage. Note this variable is missing for about 5% of marriages.
- year_str: String representing year of marriage as it appears in the original document. A very small number of marriages have an approximate date instead of an exact data. For these marriages, year_str is the date as recorded in the handwritten document (e.g., 1436-1437, or 144?) and year is an approximate value derived from this (e.g., 1437 or 1445). For all other marriages year_str and year coincide, although year_str is stored as a string and year as an integer.
- marriage_number: Number this marriage makes in all recorded for the same wife. This variable takes value 1 unless the original document records the wife as being a widow who re-marries, in which case it is 2 for the woman's second marriage, 3 for her third marriage, and 4 for her fourth marriage.
Castagnetti, Andrea. 1995. Il primo comune. In Giovanni Cracco and Gherardo Ortalli (eds.) Storia di Venezia dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, Volume II: L'età del comune. Rome, Italy: Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana, 81-130.
Cessi, Roberto (ed.). 1931-1950. Deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio di Venezia. 3 volumes. Bologna, Italy: Nicola Zanichelli.
Giomo, Giuseppe. Indice per nome di donna dei matrimoni dei patrizi Venetie. Archivio di Stato di Venezia, indice 82 ter I/II.
Lombardo, Antonino and Raimondo Morozzo della Rocca (eds.). 1953. Nuovi documenti del commercio veneto dei sec. XI-XIII. Venice, Italy: Deputazione di storia patria per le Venezie.
Morozzo della Rocca, Raimondo and Antonino Lombardo (eds.). 1940. Documenti del commercio veneziano nei secoli XI-XIII. 2 volumes. Turin, Italy: Istituto storico per il Medio Evo.
Puga, Diego and Daniel Trefler. 2014. International trade and institutional change: Medieval Venice's response to globalization. Quarterly Journal of Economics 129(2): 753-821.
Rösch, Gerhard. 1989. Der Venezianische Adel bis zur Schliessung des Grossen Rates: zur Genese einer Führungsschicht. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke.
Raines, Dorit. 2003. Cooptazione, aggregazione e presenza al maggior consiglio: le casate del patriziato Veneziano, 1297-1797. Storia di Venezia, Rivista 1: 1-35.
Sebellico, Andreina Bondi (ed.). 1973. Felice de Merlis prete e notaio in Venezia ed Ayas 1315-1348. 2 Volumes. Venice, Italy: Comitato per la Pubblicazione delle Fonti Relative alla Storia di Venezia.
Tiepolo, Maria Francesca (ed.). 1970. Domenico prete di S. Maurizio, notaio in Venezia, 1309-1316. Venice, Italy: Comitato per la Pubblicazione delle Fonti Relative alla Storia di Venezia.