Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy in Reformation, Counter-reformation, Enlightenment, and the Thirty Years’ War


Protestant Venice Catholic Contarini Luther heresy reformation Venice

During the last dozen years, our philosophical association has advanced the thesis that many of the disasters of modern history have been rooted in the heritage of the former Venetian Republic. This includes the central role of the Venetians in cutting short the Golden Renaissance of Italy, in precipitating the Protestant reformation and the wars of religion, and in creating the pseudo-scientific, irrationalist currents of thought that are called the Enlightenment. I would like to return to some of these themes today in order to explore them in greater detail.

Our interest in exposing the Venetian war against the Italian renaissance of the Quattrocento is coherent with our commitment to the Renaissance as an ideal, and with our efforts to launch a new Renaissance today. As has just been stressed, the benchmark for civilization, culture, religion and morality in the last half millennium is constituted by the work of Cardinal Nicolaus of Cusa, the founder of modern science, and of his associate Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Pope Pius II. Through their cooperation with the best representatives of Medici Florence in the time of the Council of Florence of 1439, Nicolaus and Aeneas Silvius saved western civilization from the Dark Age that had begun with the defeat of Frederick II of Hohenstaufen at the hands of the Black Guelph oligarchs. During that Dark Age, the Roman Catholic Church had been substantially destroyed by the Avignon captivity and the Great Schism, both against the backdrop of such events as the Hundred Years’ War, the Wars of the Roses, and the advance of the Ottoman Empire. Without Nicolaus and Aeneas Silvius, there would have been no Europe and no church by 1500; Venice opposed both through the Morosini agent Gregory von Heimburg [Gilbert, 191]. Paolo Morosini dedicated to Heimburg one of the landmark propaganda pieces on the Venetian oligarchical system to be published during the fifteenth century, “Concerning the affairs and structure of the Venetian Republic, dedicated to Gregory of Heimburg, the most eminent doctor of the Germans.” Gregory was the thug and agent provocateur who attempted to sabotage the work of Pius II, Cusanus, and Bessarion, and who is thus a prominent and typical representative of the anti-papal, anti- imperial current among the electors and other princes (Fuersten) of the Holy Roman Empire. This was the stratum of oligarchs played by the Venetians during the conciliar movement, mobilized by Venice against Pius II’s proposed crusade, and which would form the basis of Luther’s support during the “Reformation.”

The essence of Venice is oligarchism, usury, slavery, and the cult of Aristotle. The traditional rate of interest was above 20% – a Volcker prime rate. The Venetians were the first in western Europe to read Aristotle directly in the Greek text – first at the School of the Rialto, where leading patricians lectured on Aristotle, and later, after about 1400, at the University of Padova, where the Venetian nobles studied. We must remember that Venice was a branch of the Byzantine Empire which became powerful enough to capture Constantinople in the Fourth Crusade, shortly after 1200. Venice, like Byzantium, saw religion as a tool of state power, with new cults to be concocted as the need arose.  (more...)

The Role of the Venetian Oligarchy in Reformation, Counter-reformation, Enlightenment, and the Thirty Years’ War

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