Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Shipping and trade in Venetian Crete

Shipping and trade in Venetian Crete; The case study of Curcumeli’s company (16th century)

Funded by: Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies/ Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs
Host Institution: IMS/FORTH

The postdoctoral research will examine the shipping enterprises of 16th century Venetian Crete through the case study of the mercantile company of the Curcumeli brothers. The research will be based on unpublished archival sources of the State Archive of Venice (Archivio di Stato di Venezia), the Archive of the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice and the Archive of the Correr Museum (Museo Civico Correr). The purpose of this study is to analyze the mercantile system of Venetian Crete from the perspective of both social and economic history. In particular, the study will be based in social network analysis. The aim is to provide insight into the type of relationships between the entrepreneurs of the period (merchants and shipowners). From the perspective of economic history, the origins of the company's financial resources will be reviewed; the practices and methods used to ensure the company’s continuity and the measures taken to avoid - as far as possible - financial losses (i. e. insurance, guarantees, arbitrations, etc.).

This  study will contribute to a better understanding of a Cretan maritime business. More precisely, it will offer information about the mercantile networks of Venetian Crete, the type of collaborations developed between the participants and the impact of their mercantile and economic activities in Mediterranean and international trade of the under-study period. The results of the research, both qualitative and quantitative, will be presented in an extended paper. From the qualitative point of view emphasis will be given on the company’s participants, their collaborations and social networks and the type of the goods transported. On the other hand, the quantitative analysis will result to statistical information about the company’s funds, profits and losses. The examination of the aforementioned aims in an in-depth analysis of the social networks and partnerships developed between Crete, Venice and other port-cities of the Mediterranean. From the perspective of the economic history, the research will shed more light on the economic practices of the under-study period and the flow of money between the participants (merchants, shipowners, agricultural producers) during the exercise of their shipping and mercantile activities.

Project Team

Aristea Gratsea

Aristea Gratsea

Postdoctoral researcher
Curriculum vitae
This research has received funding from the Hellenic Institute of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice / Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs