Book Series Studies in the Early Middle Ages, vol. 41

In Search of the First Venetians

Prosopography of Early Medieval Venice

Luigi Andrea Berto

  • Pages: 485 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54101-3
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55915-5
  • E-book
  • Available

Based on an extensive source analysis, this book provides the biographical information of all early medieval Venetians, thus offering an invaluable research tool for the history of Venice.


"(...) the information that [this volume] conveys is detailed, comprehensive, and thought-provoking. If it does no more than provide accessible evidence to support new arguments and suggest ways to process it, this work will have contributed substantially to the scholarly discourse on socio-political and cultural formation in early medieval Venice, in the Mediterranean, and in Europe." (Suzanne Mariko Miller, in: The Medieval Review, 15.08.40)

"In all, this book is a useful auxiliary tool for the study of early medieval Venice. It offers far more than a simple list of names, but is a compilation of individuals organized using different categories and enriched with various information. Containing around 1230 entries this volume will support a wide variety of investigations into the named individuals of early medieval Venice and we can look forward to the comprehensive analysis of the data offered by this study that will inevitably result from it." (Anja Thaller, in: Mediaevistik 28, 2015, p. 461-463)

"(...) verdienstvollen Arbeit, deren Nutzen für künftige Forschungen zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte des nördlichen Adriaraumes nicht zu leugnen ist." (Harald Krahwinkler, in: Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung 124 [2016], p. 544-545)

“Berto's prosopography is, therefore, a welcome addition to similar enterprises describing the human population and change of Medieval Italy. This new achievement is a precious tool for any kind of research (…) Historiography on Venice (and not only) will surely benefit from this work.” (Francesco Borri, in Sehepunkte, 17/1, 2017)

“(…) this work forms a valuable trilogy that provides an important platform for much needed research on the development of Venice in the early medieval period.” (Christopher Heath, in Al-Masaq, 29/1, 2017, p. 89-90)


This prosopographical study provides information about each Venetian living in the early Middle Ages, from the invasion of the Lombards in 569 - an action that forced part of northeast Italy’s population to seek refuge on the islands of the Venetian lagoon - to the rule of Duke Petrus Ursoylus II (991-1008). There is an entry for each individual listing all available information and quoting the full text of primary sources within the footnotes. The data are organized in categories such as families, first names, rulers, women, office holders, ecclesiastics, occupations, and places of residence (Venice was a duchy with different urban centres).

Venice is an extremely important place for this kind of analysis. It is the area in which family name use began for the first time in medieval Europe. Venice was never conquered by a ‘Germanic’ people, and therefore it is possible to study the evolution of a post-Roman/Byzantine society by analyzing the names of the Venetians. Moreover, scholars interested in later periods will be able to find the origins of all the most important Venetian families.



The Early Medieval Venetians


Appendix 1: First Names

Appendix 2: Rulers of Venice

Appendix 3: Co-Rulers

Appendix 4: Venetian Rulers and Co‑Rulers Holding Honorific Byzantine Titles

Appendix 5: Tribunes

Appendix 6: Other Offices and Titles

Appendix 7: Occupations

Appendix 8: Advocati

Appendix 9: Liberti

Appendix 10: Ethnic Definitions

Appendix 11: People Mentioning from Where They Are

Appendix 12: Ecclesiatics