[winged lion -- the
symbol of Venice]

Venice: The Methodology of Evil -- Part I

by Donald Phau

Printed in The American Almanac, May 16, 1994.

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``The nature of the time, most serene Prince, requires this: an observance of an old proverb, which enjoins kissing the hand we are unable to cut off.'' --Sebastian Giustinian, Venetian ambassador to England, writing to the Doge in 1519

St. Mark's Cathedral, adorned by the four bronze horses looted from Constantinople in 1201, overlooks the Grand Canal of Venice.

``In his play, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Dr. Faustus, Marlowe shows us the Devil: Mephistopheles ... consciously modeled on Venice's method of evil.''

``Barabas is skilled in the Venetian art of turning one's adversaries against each other to protect oneself. But he foolishly fails to realize that he himself is a puppet of gamemasters at a higher level....''

Scenes from William Shakespeare's Othello and Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta (right). An early seventeenth-century poster advertising performances of Marlowe's Dr. Faustus.

``The Three ruled with the help of an elaborate network of agents and informers. The city was divided up, with a set number of informers for each ward and parish.''

``Sometimes the Three's justice was too swift to permit a burial. A victim would be found floating in the Grand Canal, his throat slit open by one of Venice's paid assassins.''

A fifteenth-century engraving of a merchant vessel in Melhoni, a Venetian outpost in Greece; a seventeenth-century engraving of Venice's famous Rialto; a seventeenth-century engraving of the Doge in his boat on the Grand Canal; a late eighteenth-century engraving of party-goers on a Venetian street, reminiscent of the police-state atmosphere created in the city-state by the Doge's huge network of spies and informers.

Venice: The Methodology of Evil

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I once asked Lyndon LaRouche a question that I had been mulling over for a number of years. Why, I asked, had the United States, in its over 200-year-long existence, failed to produce great artists, poets, and composers comparable to those of Europe after the Italian Renaissance of the fifteenth century? Why no da Vincis, Schillers, or Beethovens?

His reply (see below) was not what I had anticipated. LaRouche asserted that the answer was to be found by going back hundreds of years, to understand the once-mighty empire of the Italian city-state of Venice. It was by studying Venice and its methodology of evil, which sought to annihilate the accomplishments of the Renaissance, that I would find the answer.

He then pointed me in the direction of where to learn about this metholodogy of evil. For example, he said I should read the works of Christopher Marlowe, the great English playwright. He specifically cited Marlowe's Dr. Faustus and The Jew of Malta, pointing to the last act of the latter play as characterizing Venice's methods.

LaRouche also stressed the importance of reading the dispatches of the fifteenth-, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Venetian ambassadors. The ambassadors, at the end of their assignments, also wrote lengthy summaries of their missions; these, LaRouche said, were a ``treasure trove'' of historical information and leads.

I was able to obtain copies of many of these dispatches and final reports. They were indeed the most exciting histories that I have ever read. These were no academic accounts of events, but on-the-scene intelligence evaluations of the ambassadors' host countries. Their purpose was to give the Venetian leadership the means to formulate strategies for economic, cultural and military warfare against their enemies. This article makes use of a few of these reports and attempts to tell the reader what I have learned about the Venetians' methodology of evil.

* * *

The year is 1508. The major Christian powers of Europe have allied together into the League of Cambrai, under the banner of Pope Julius II. France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary have joined against the relatively tiny Italian city-state of Venice. The preamble of the League's treaty states that its purpose is to end ``the insatiable cupidity of the Venetians and their thirst of dominion.'' For several years, the destruction of Venice is all but assured. Venice is saved only in 1516, when the Vatican arranges a peace agreement.

What was it about Venice which provoked the wrath and military might of the leading powers of the continent, uniting the usually contentious nations of Europe?

By the early sixteenth century, Venice was the preeminent international financial power of the West, a usurer, slave-trader and military plunderer, with a well-deserved reputation as pure evil. For over five centuries, Venetian ``policy'' had dominated world politics. From a small city on the lagoons off the Adriatic Sea, it grew to an empire of over one and a half million people by the end of the fourteenth century. Venice's empire was built through a combination of military power and deceit. In the year 1202, Venetian manipulations caused the rerouting of what has become known as the Fourth Crusade. Instead of freeing the Holy Land from the Infidel, the Turk, the Crusaders never reached their destination but actually ended up sacking Christian cities for Venice.

Venice learned its lesson from its near-destruction by the League of Cambrai. The years following the League were one of reflection and reformulation of her policies. She knew that such an alliance of nations against her must never happen again. For a quarter-century, since the Portuguese discovery of the trade route around Africa's Cape of Good Hope in 1486, Venice had seen its position as the gateway to Asia begin to wither away. Such famous Venetian explorers as Marco Polo 200 years earlier had made her the center of commerce for the world, but with the African sea route discovered, centers of trade shifted north to cities such as Antwerp.

After their near destruction by the League of Cambrai, a group of young Venetian noblemen went from the University of Padua into the monasteries of the Camaldese monks, an order of the Benedictines. It was here, in their isolated cells, living as hermits, that the theological doctrines of what would become radical Protestantism were developed. Venice's agents would then be deployed to subvert the Catholic Church from within, and create the anti-Church Protestant movements from without. The result would be the Thirty Years' War which would devastate the continent of Europe.

The Venetian Method

Above all, the evil that was Venice was seen by her contemporaries in her manipulation of events and individuals through conspiracy and deceit: a kind of modern pioneer in religious warfare, espionage, and diplomatic warfare. It was that characteristic of Venice that formed the subject for so many great dramatists of the period--including the Elizabethans William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe--and, later, Germany's Friedrich Schiller.

The character of Iago in Shakespeare's play Othello, Moor of Venice is perhaps the best case-study of the Venetian method. Intimate adviser, apparent friend and comforter to Othello--a Moorish general retained to defend Venice--Iago (``honest Iago,'' as the deluded Othello calls him) plays upon the Moor's latent jealousies until Othello is driven to madness. Convinced by Iago's unbearable psychological manipulation that his beloved (and innocent) bride Desdemona has betrayed him, Othello finally murders her and then destroys himself. At the end of the play, as he is dragged off to execution, the monstrous Iago is laughing over their bodies.

It is an open question whether Shakespeare intended to evoke in the character of Othello the character of Henry VIII and his manipulated jealousies--his Venetian-manipulated jealousies--with their catastrophic consequences. Whether he intended it or not, the resemblance between the maddened Othello and the King descending into madness is there.

In his story, The Ghost Seer, Friedrich Schiller takes the reader step by step into the jaws of a Venetian trap. Here a foreign prince, the drama's main character, who is visiting Venice, is psychologically broken and put under the control of the Venetian oligarchy.

In Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta, the main character, Barabas, is skilled in the Venetian art of turning one's adversaries against each other to protect oneself. But Barabas foolishly fails to realize that he himself is a puppet of gamemasters at a higher level: the Knights of Malta for whom he performs as a money lender and financial wheeler-dealer. In the play's closing, Barabas reflects triumphantly--and yet pathetically--on his modus operandi, when he says:

``And thus roundly goes the business;
Thus, loving neither, will I live with both,
Making a profit of my policy;
And he from whom my most advantage comes,
Shall be my friend.''
To the audience, however, Marlowe has made it quite clear that Barabas is as much the victim as the victimizer.

Lastly, in his play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Dr. Faustus, Marlowe shows us the Devil: Mephistopheles. Feeding on Faust's weaknesses, Mephistopheles purchases Faust's soul. Marlowe consciously modelled Mephistopheles' trickery on Venice's method of evil.

The Diplomatic Dispatches

Venice as seen through the eyes of the poet and dramatist is a foul sight indeed. But there is another, perhaps even more accurate, portrait of this evil power available to us today. This is the picture that can be constructed by the study of the dispatches of Venice's network of ambassadors and diplomats throughout Europe.

I have reviewed several editions of the diplomatic dispatches of Venetian ambassadors to England and elsewhere in Europe, and found them full of leads and information about the actions and intentions of the Venetian oligarchy over the centuries. Such dispatches, combined with the final ambassadorial reports mandated by Venetian law, are the best sources available for a study of Venice. For years these items were kept secret in Venice's archives, with many documents in cipher and probably in invisible ink, which Venice was first to patent. Today these documents, all 1.5 million of them, are kept in nearly 300 rooms in a Venetian palace.

This series of articles will make use of a small amount of this material. The series is divided into three sections: first, how Venice applies its methodology of evil to diplomatic warfare; second, the Venetian hand behind the religious wars of the sixteenth century and later; and finally, how Venice utilized both these capabilities to launch its takeover of England, which became the center of its new base of operations, and from which it carries out its evil work to this day.

The Arsenal

The heart of Venice's power was a city within a city called the Arsenal. Founded at the end of the thirteenth century, it was dedicated to shipbuilding and armaments. By the end of the fifteenth century, the Arsenal employed 16,000 shipbuilders and 36,000 seamen. Three magistrates or keepers were in charge; they were obliged to inhabit three official houses called Paradiso, Purgatorio, and Inferno. Each keeper was on duty fifteen days at a time and kept the key to the only entrance to the Arsenal.

Before the battle of Lepanto in 1570, the Arsenal was producing one new galley every 100 days. When Henry III of France visited Venice, a galley was put together and launched in two hours.

The Venetians were the first to build ships on a grand scale. Historian Clara Erkstine Clement writes in her 1893 history of Venice, (Venice, Queen of the Adriatic):

``Their transport ships could carry a thousand men with their stores, their galeasses permitted sixteen hundred men to fight on board, while they carried fifty pieces of heavy artillery, and had their prows made cannon proof.''

Venice's navy was the power which was the basis for its domination of world trade from the thirteenth century to the beginning of the sixteenth century. With its geographical location, Venice controlled all commerce between the East and the West. All trade with India, China, and the Mideast, unless it went on dangerous routes over land, went through Venice. The Venetian State controlled all commerce, i.e., it was hardly an example of free enterprise.

Clement writes:

``Private owners of vessels were not allowed to send cargoes to ports where Venice sent fleets. Vessels were built and fitted out by the State, and put up at auction to be bidden for by the merchants, the voyages all being made according to regulations, and a good share of the profits paid to the State. Private owners were licensed before freightening a ship, and no ship not commanded by a Venetian was permitted to sail from the lagoons. Ships of war guarded the mouths of the rivers, and all foreign vessels were liable to inspection. All kinds of goods carried in Venetian ships were obliged to be taken to Venice before they could be sent to any other port.''
To support this trade, Venice established mail routes. For example, she had weekly mail with Nuremberg in 1505.

The Serenissima Republica

A myth started over 500 years ago by the Venetians themselves, was that Venice was the ``model republic.'' At a time when most of the world was ruled by monarchs or despots, Venice was ruled by a Grand Council, usually comprised of 1,000 to 2,000 members. Venice's Doge was a ceremonial figurehead. But Venice's ``republic'' was hardly one open to an educated citizenry, participating in free elections.

The Grand Council was open to only 180 noble families and their descendants. To graduate from the Grand Council to the smaller Senate, was a rigorous process starting at age 20. At that age every boy of the noble class had to claim admission to the larger Great Council. Clement writes of the young noblemen:

``He could follow no personal tastes in studies or pursuits.... At the age of twenty five, the beginning of manhood, he must enter the Great Council, serve on laborious committees, go thence to the Senate.''
After the League of Cambrai, the Grand Council's powers were assumed by the Council of Ten. From among the Ten came the ``Inquisitors''--the Council of Three.

Two of the ``Three'' dressed in black; the Doge, their chief and the seat of state power, dressed in scarlet. Operating out of a small chamber in the Doge's palace, next to the torture chamber and above the city's dungeons, the Three were a terrible sight to behold. The saying was ``The Ten send you to the torture chamber, the Three to your grave.''

Sometimes the Three's justice was too swift to permit a burial. A victim would be found floating in the Grand Canal, his throat slit open by one of Venice's paid assassins. Sometimes the enemy of the state was made into a public example: His body could be found in the public square of St. Mark's, hanging between the cathedral's famous ``columns.''

The Three ruled with the help of an elaborate network of agents and informers. The city was divided up, with a set number of informers for each ward and parish. One historian writes of the Three's all-pervasive spy network:

``Venetians and visitors were to amuse themselves and cease to bother their heads about serious matters; and to make sure that they did so, the agents of the Three were increased in number until they became an invisible enemy. It would be difficult to overestimate their number or their omniscience. It can confidently be stated that in every great noble's palace there was at least one informer, and no man in his senses would have talked politics in front of a waiter or servant. Pretended priests, your trusted retainer, your own familiar friend: they could all be paid spies.''
The ``Serene Republic'' pioneered racist laws, predating the Nazis by at least 500 years. Jews were forbidden to own property and enter the professions, and were forced to live in special sections of the city; one of these was called ``The Ghetto,'' (the origin of that now-familiar term). All Jews had to wear special badges on their clothes and no Jewish home could close its doors at any time. Synagogues were forbidden, and for a period of time Jews could not bury their dead.

Even the nobility were not protected from the prying eyes of the Three. After Gasparo Contarini, the famous Venetian who was to become a cardinal and play a future pivtoal role in the Reformation, was appointed to the Council of Three in 1530, it was ordered that no more than eight nobles assemble together privately. The historian Rawdon Brown wrote of the Council of Ten:

``More terrible than any personal despot, because of impalpable, imperious to the dagger of the assassin, it was no concrete despotism, but the very essence of tyranny. To seek its overthrow was in vain. Those who strove to wrestle with it clasped empty air; they struck at it, but the blow was wasted on space. Evasive and pervasive, this dark unscrutable body ruled Venice with a rod of iron.''

The Crusade That Wasn't

In 1201, France launched what would be called the Fourth Crusade to liberate Jerusalem from Saladin the Infidel, ruler of the Ottoman Turks. Most of the Christian nations of the time participated. Soldiers were mobilized, armies dispatched, and ships launched. But no military forces ever reached the Holy Land. Instead, Christian cities were sacked and looted. What happened is an example of the depth of deceit and evil of Venice.

France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands sent troops to retake the Holy Land. But only the Venetians had the ships capable of transporting the troops. The Doge, Enrico Dandolo, blind and over 80 years old, drove a hard bargain. He agreed to provide 480 ships to transport 35,000 men and 4,500 horse for the price of 340,000 silver marks, about 80,000 kilograms of silver and equal to eight times the yearly income of the King of England or France at the time. An agreement was made that the amount be paid in four payments. The soldiers assembled on the docks of Venice but part of the last payment was still owed. Dandolo said no money, no ships--but then he offered a deal.

Dandolo proposed that on the way to Jerusalem, a slight detour be made in lieu of the final payment. The deal made was that the Crusaders join Venice in reconquering the Christian city of Zara, a former Venetian possession. When the ``Holy'' warriors reached the city gates, the Pope's representative came out pleading, ``it belongs to Christians, and you are pilgrims.'' Notwithstanding his plea, the city was sacked and looted. In response, Pope Innocent III excommunicated Venice.

Still, the Crusaders did not move on to Jerusalem. The Venetians had another stopover. While at camp in Zara, the Venetians were approached by one Alexius, who claimed to be the son of the rightful Emperor of Constantinople. Alexius asked them to get his kingdom back. The Venetians, with the Crusaders as their battering ram, agreed in return for 200,000 marks.

At the time, Constantinople was the richest city in Europe and it followed the Greek Orthodox Eastern Rite. The Venetians and the crusaders sacked the city, with one-third of it set afire. The Venetians got half the booty plus 50,000 pounds still owed by the Crusaders.

The real face of the so-called ``Christian'' Venetians was clearly demonstrated by what they did to Constantinople. The historian Pears writes:

``Every insult was offered to the religion of the conquered citizens. Churches and monasteries were the richest storehouses, and were therefore the first buildings to be rifled. Monks and priests were selected for insult. The priest's robes were placed by the Crusaders on their horses. The icons were ruthlessly torn down from the screens or were broken. The sacred buildings were ransacked for relics or their beautiful caskets.... Horses and mules were taken into the Church in order to carry off the loads of sacred vessels and the gold and silver plates of the throne, the pulpits, and the doors, and the beautiful ornaments of the church. The soldiers made the chief church of Christendom the scene of their profanity. A prostitute was seated in the patriarchal chair, who danced, and sang a ribald for the amusement of the soldiers.''
Many of the sacred objects in Venice's holiest church, St. Mark's were looted from Constantinople: Venice's famous ``Horses of St. Mark,'' four antique bronzes, were also stolen.

With the conquest of Constantinople, besides the riches, Venice's territory was greatly expanded; many cities and islands became theirs. One writer says: ``the magnificence of the New Rome was transferred to Venice.''

Venice continued to conquer territory until its empire included millions of people. When the Peace of Cambrai was signed in 1516, however, the League of Cambrai reduced Venice down to her lagoons. Clara Clement writes of Venice:

``now her former strength was replaced by the only weapon left to her, diplomacy.''

Diplomatic Warfare

A mere shadow of its former glory after the League of Cambrai, Venice used every trick and deceit to try to play off one nation against the other to regain her empire. Her main weapon was her diplomats. At the beginning, Venice formulated one strategy to ally with France against the Holy Roman Emperor, Maximillian. In return, France would aid her in reconquering her lost cities. Part of her strategy, which we will focus on, was to keep England, a growing power, neutral.

In 1515, the Serenissima sent one of her most capable diplomats, Sebastian Giustinian, to London. Giustinian's diplomatic dispatches provide an insight into the ``principle of evil'' at work. The ambassador's task was to profile England's new King, Henry VIII, and his court, gain Henry's confidence and manipulate him to Venice's ends. In one of his first dispatches from London, he acknowledges his instructions to act with deceit to accomplish his mission. He writes:

``I shall keep well on the watch to learn everything, and will endeavour to ingratiate myself well with these lords, and of the result, my letters shall inform your sublimity.''
Guistinian's assignment to England came at a transition point in Venice's strategy for control of Europe. With the opening of the route around southern Africa in 1498, the center of world trade had shifted north from Vnice, to England and the Netherlands. We have already discussed the effects of the League of Cambrai on the Serenissima: Now, Venice hatched a plan to regain her empire, beginning with the Italian cities of Brescia and Verona, with the help of Francis I of France, who Giustinian visits on the way to his new post in the court of Henry VIII.

Now in London, Giustinian's ability to ``ingratiate'' himself is immediately apparent in his masterful dealing with the new Portuguese ambassador who comes to the court. The new ambassador is young and is easily manipulated. They meet over dinner. Immediately, the Portuguese ambassador accuses Venice of siding with the Turks to disrupt the spice trade Portugal has just established with India. Giustinian replies, assuring the ambassador that Venice would never side with the Infidel. He writes the Doge:

``Touching his assertion about aid actually given to the Soldan [the Turk], both in artillery and counsel, he ought to know that your Excellency might be more reasonably suspected of anything than of favouring the infidels against the Christians, and especially those to whom you were linked by such strong ties of friendship."

The Venetian then turns up the heat, implying that all of Venice would be affronted to dare be accused of siding with the Infidel. Venice, after all, is Christian. He continues:

``... should these arguments fail to convince him, I added the following fact, namely, that in our Senate there are about 250 members who deliberate on State affairs, nor is it credible that they would sacrifice the salvation of their souls, for the indulgence of any passion, knowing that whosoever gives counsel or favour to the infidels against the Christians is excommunicated, and can only be absolved by the Pontiff.''
Giustinian then ``ingratiates'' himself using praise and lies to manipulate the young Portuguese ambassador. He continues:
``... nor would a similar proceeding tally with the religion of our State, which experiences extreme consolation, and has ever derived such, from the great exploit, glory, and increase of the King of Portugal, and consequently of the Christian religion through his Majesty, and that there was no one in Venice but who felt anxious for all India, which is Mahommedan, to acknowledge our faith, and resume the arms of Christ [sic], and although it seems that our citizens are somewhat injured by the spice trade being turned to Portugal, yet are we more zealous for the Christian faith, than for a little additional emolument, adding many other arguments however, with all moderation and gentleness, confuting his accusations....''
Finally, Giustinian writes of his success in deceiving his dinner guest--probably after a few more goblets of wine:
``After a while my gentleness overcame his arrogance, and he said, `Domine Oratoz, your language and manner convince me that you are innocent of all deceit, and your Signory likewise, and I owe myself vanquished and receive you as that good and very dear friend which you have always been to me.'|''
The Venetian would next turn his ``skills'' on his main targets.

When Giustinian first arrived at Henry's court, he used his knowledge of the king's love of music to win his friendship. In his final report to the Senate, Giustinian writes that Henry ``practices [on musical instruments] day and night.'' Giustinian himself was a trained musician. On hearing this, the King invited him to play with his court musicians, which he did, to Henry's great delight. A year later, the ``Signory'' would send Venice's top organist, a Friar Meno, to London, where, Giustinian writes, he played to the ``incredible admiration and pleasure of everyone.'' Henry immediately appointed him court organist, giving Venice further intelligence access to Henry's private and state affairs.

The Final Report

Ambassador Giustinian's final report to the Senate analyzing his mission is an excellent source document to understand how Venice ``represents a principle of evil.'' At first the reader is surprised that the report devotes barely one paragraph to the monarch of England, Henry VIII. Giustinian writes:
``He is affable, gracious, harms no one, does not covet his neighbour's goods and is satisfied with his own dominions.''
Shortly, however, the reader learns why the ambassador gives such short shrift to Henry. His target is Cardinal Wolsey, Henry's Lord Chancellor. Next we see how a master intelligence operative works.

Giustinian writes of Wolsey:

``He is of low origin: He has two brothers, one of whom holds an untitled benefice, and the other is pushing the fortune.

``This Cardinal is the person who rules both the King and the entire kingdom. On the ambassador's first arrival in England, he used to say to him,--`His Majesty will do so and so: subsequently, by degrees, he went forgetting himself, and commenced saying, `We shall do so and so'; at this present he has reached such a pitch that he says, `I shall do so and so.'|''

``He is about forty-six years old, very handsome, learned, extremely eloquent, of vast ability, and indefatigable. He, alone, transacts the same business as that which occupies all the magistracies, offices, and councils of Venice, both civil and criminal; and all state affairs, likewise, are managed by him, let their nature be what it may.''

Having shown that Cardinal Wolsey is the real power in England, Guistinian continues his report. First we learn of the good side of the Cardinal.
``He is pensive, and has the reputation of being extremely just: He favours the people exceedingly, and especially the poor; hearing their suits, and seeking to despatch them instantly; he also makes the lawyers plead gratis for all paupers.''
What follows next is key, and a perfect example of the Venetian method as described by Lyndon LaRouche:
``You go to an individual person, and you corrupt them by knowing the principle of corruption which is imbedded in every person.''
The cardinal has invited Giustinian to his palace for dinner. The ambassador uses the opportunity to ``case the joint.'' Like a thief planning his robbery in advance, he commits to memory every item of value in sight, even the items in the cardinal's bedroom:
``He is in very great repute--seven times more so than if he were Pope. He has a very fine palace, where one traverses eight rooms before reaching his audience chamber, and they are all hung with tapestry, which is changed once a week. He always has a sideboard of plate worth 25,000 ducats, wherever he may be; and his silver is estimated at 150,000 ducats. In his own chamber there is always a cupboard with vessels to the amount of 30,000 ducats, this being customary with the English nobility.

``He is supposed to be very rich indeed, in money, plate, and household stuff.''

The above is only one side of the equation. Giustinian then reports on the sources of the cardinal's income:
``The archbishopric of York yields him about 14,000 ducats; the bishopric of Bath 8,000. One-third of the fees derived from the great seal are his; the other two are divided between the King and the Chancellor. The Cardinal's share amounts to about 5,000 ducats. By the new year's gifts, which he receives in like manner as the King, he makes some 15,000 ducats.''
The reader should now put himself in the seat of a Venetian senator listening to Giustinian as he gives his report. The senator has quickly determined that just the value of the items visible in the cardinal's palace alone are four times his annual income. How is this possible?

The answer is obvious. Perhaps the cardinal will accept a bribe from the Signory. Like Mephistopheles, Venice seeks to purchase the cardinal's soul. The ambassador next proposes the deal.

``Cardinal Wolsey is very anxious for the Signory to send him one hundred Damascene carpets, for which he asked several times, and expected to receive them by the last galleys. The ambassador urged the Senate to make this present.... This present might make him pass a decree in our favour, and, at any rate, it would render the Cardinal friendly to our nation in other matters; for no one obtains audience from him unless at the third or fourth attempt.''
Giustinian ended his mission to England successfully. England kept out of any alliances with continental Europe against Venice. During his mission, 1515 through 1519, his friendship with Henry VIII came close to rupturing. Once, Henry angrily accused the ambassador of ``perfidy,'' suspecting that Venice was secretly allying with England's enemies. Giustinian, however, calmly replied, placating Henry's anger.

The ambassador, retelling the incident later, in a dispatch to Venice, writes,

``The nature of the time, most serene Prince, requires this, an observance of an old proverb, which enjoins kissing the hand we are unable to cut off.''
A few years later, Henry fell under total control of his Venetian advisers. Later in this series we will report on the consequences: Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine of Aragon and the shattering of the English-Spanish alliance, his break with the Catholic Church, and the years of religious wars which followed.

Venice Against the Church

Venice's methodology, according to LaRouche, is based on convincing people that ``that which affects their senses and their appetites and their impulses, is of primary importance. Counterposed to this is the Platonic conception which locates man's identity in his creative capacities, a belief more fully developed in the Christian concept of imago viva Dei, man made and living in the image of God. It was this Platonic conception that the evil of Venice has sought to eliminate.

To confront Plato's conceptions, Venice made full use of Aristotle. During his own lifetime, Aristotle's philosophy provided the justification for ancient Greece's system of slavery. Venice's adoption of Aristotle is not surprising; by the fifteenth century, she had become the greatest slave-trading state in history.

The Venetian hatred for the potential power of man's creative abilities was and is at the root of its goal, that of destroying the Christian nation-state, since it is the state's role to nurture these abilities. Outwardly Christian, owing its allegiance to the Catholic Church and the Pope, Venice continually sought to subvert the Catholic Church--especially its role as an institution dedicated to imago viva Dei. Particularly alarming to the Venetians was the mid-fourteenth-century Church Council of Florence, at which Nicolaus of Cusa and his allies succeeded in uniting the western and eastern churches around the principle of the Filioque.

The Filioque, reflected down to modern times in the Nicene Creed adopted at Florence, asserts that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both God the Father and from God the Son; therefore, as each individual human being participates in Christ, each individual has the potential for creative participation in the development of the universe--the essence of Christian natural law.

The cultural program of the Council of Florence spurred Western Europe's Golden Renaissance of advances in painting, sculpture, geometry and science. The political program of the Council sought to capture these great advances in culture in the establishment of a revolutionary ordering of human affairs in both East and West: the creation and strengthening of sovereign nation-states committed to economic growth, and the development of populations which could eventually function as educated, self-governing citizenries. This was Nicolaus of Cusa's ideal of the Catholic Concordance.

Such a program was anathema to Venice, as it spelled doom for the oligarchical system based on the oppression of most of the human population through such institutions as slave trading and usury.

Clara Clement describes the Venetian oligarchy's relationship to the Church:

``The Church was a national church, and its Patriarch, the heir of Saint Mark, was, from the Venetian point of view, the peer of the heir of Saint Peter. It being a strictly Venetian or State Church, the Doge was its head equally with the Patriarch and indeed in a certain way more important; for the chief Church of Venice was not that of the Patriarch, but the Chapel of the Doge, while the Chapel of San Marco was far more powerful than the Bishop, who was officially its superior.''
Venice's first Church was established in 452 A.D., dedicated to St. James. But 100 years later, Venice had already turned eastward and built a new chapel to St. Theodore, who, Clement says, was ``a young Syrian soldier, Saint, much honored in the Oriental church.''

The Roman Catholic popes battled with Venice repeatedly over the centuries. In the fourteenth century, the Pope excommunicated all of Venice. All her property and that of all its citizens were sequestered. All her treaties were nullified. It was forbidden to trade or eat with a Venetian and they could be sold into slavery. A new Crusade was called against Venice and for seizure of all her property.

``In England, in France, in Italy, in the East, the merchants were robbed ... Venetian countinghouses, banks, and factories were forced open, sacked and destroyed.''
Venice's Trojan Horse role within the Catholic Church was, on occasion, discovered. One revealing interview by Venice's ambassador to England with Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, King Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor, is a good example of the truth coming out into the open. The following is an ambassadorial dispatch by Sebastian Giustinian. It is addressed to ``your Sublimity,'' which is the Venetian Doge, read by the Council of Three, the real power in Venice. It opens with the ambassador feigning shock over an attack by Wolsey on Venice, for welcoming with open arms an English cardinal expelled from Rome following his participation in an effort to poison Pope Leo X.

Guistinian writes:

``I could not express to your Highness the rabid insolent language used by him, both against your Sublimity and myself, repeating, as he did, several times that he held me not in the slightest account, nor yet the Venetians, who we wont to favour ribalds and rebels, and to persecute the good, and that God and the potentates of the world would avenge such deeds; and that your Highness was always for the rebels of the Church, and opposed to the Pontiffs, past and present, and for this you had done penance, and were accustomed to proceed with deceit and mendacity, and that the city of Venice would be a seat for conspirators against the Pontiffs, on which accounts he meant to be the State's bitter enemy and mine, though at the same time, by reason of my other good qualities, he regretted my being the minister of such iniquities; and that your Signory would also find that his majesty took this thing very much amiss, saying, `Go on,' and write to the State to proceed favouring rebels against me, for she will see what victory she will gain.''

To be continued.


  • Clement, Clara Erkstine, Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. Boston: C.H. Simonds & Co., 1893.
  • Brown, Rawdon, Four Years in the Court of Henry VIII, (2 volumes). London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1854.

LaRouche: Venice Represents a Principle of Evil

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From a recent comment on historical research by American statesman Lyndon LaRouche. The Venetian method is the method of not taking sides, but playing sides against one another, to one's advantage. You go into a country, you go among a people, you go to an individual person, and you corrupt them by knowing the principle of corruption which is imbedded in every person. That principle of corruption is the person's self-ego as an autonomous ego, as a microcosm, in counterposition, in struggle, against the macrocosm. Not the individual as a part of a macrocosm, as a reflection of the macrocosm; not the individual as imago Dei--in the image of God the Creator--but the individual as a sensual creature in war against not all but the all, to correct the ordinary reading of Hobbes.

Once you understand that method, you can see the examples of how that method is consciously applied by the Venetians, in philosophy and elsewhere. That is what empiricism is, what materialism is, in the form in which people like Pompanazzi, Gasparo Contarini, and so forth, introduced it [into western philosophical thinking].

To cultivate this sensuality, through sense-certainty, by making sense-certainty primary and convincing people that sense-certainty is primary, is the principle of evil. To convince people that that which affects their senses and their appetites and their impulses, as Adam Smith echoes this outlook in his Theory of the Moral Sentiments and again in his treatise on free trade, The Wealth of Nations, is the principle of evil.

To get a sense of how the Venetians understand this principle and use it, one should study the Venetians in action. Then you see how the populist phenomena in the United States in various expressions, was used by the Venetians of Britain and elsewhere, in order to corrupt the United States. The issue of the gold standard, for example, is a good case in point from the late nineteenth century. That was a case of pure Venetian evil corrupting the United States: the gold standard, as opposed to the gold reserve standard, which is a completely different thing. The gold standard, of course, is a Physiocratic standard. You'll find all these populists to this day are still whining about their blasted gold standard. Listen to their argument. You're listening to the voice of evil coming right out of their stomach or some place lower.

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The preceding article is a rough version of the article that appeared in The American Almanac. It is made available here with the permission of The New Federalist Newspaper. Any use of, or quotations from, this article must attribute them to The New Federalist, and The American Almanac.

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