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Original scientific paper

Military Entrepreneurship in Venetian Dalmatia and Boka During the Morean War (1684 – 1699)

Nikola Markulin ; Zadar, Croatia

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page 91-142

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The author of this paper analyses, on the basis of original documents of Venetian military administration, the emergence of military entrepreneurship in Venetian lands in the Eastern Adriatic (Dalmatia and Boka) during the Morean War (1684–1699). Venetian military organisation in Dalmatia and Boka during the 17th century and the wide spectrum of military business-related activities are topics relatively seldom studied in domestic historiography. Same as was the case in other countries and armies of early modern Europe, Venetian military organisation, particularly when recruiting and organising professional military units, relied on the services of military entrepreneurs in the said period. Using the knowledge of the modern world historiography, the author describes the basic patterns of military business-related activities in Dalmatia and Boka, which are reflected in the recruiting, equipping and organising of infantry units named Oltramarini, and of cavalry units usually referred to as Croati a cavallo. He thereby particularly analyses various contract models regarding the recruiting of units, which military entrepreneurs had concluded with Venetian authorities; changes of terms and conditions in those contracts; as well as the pace of recruiting the units named Oltramarini and Croati a cavallo during the said war. The author pays special attention to the issue of the engagement of local elites in the military business-related activities, as well as to their more pronounced social stratification as a consequence thereof. The paper further analyses the patron-client network that members of local elites had established during developing their military business-related activities, as well as it describes the basic mechanisms of state control over military business-related activities. Finally, viewing the problem from a wider theoretical perspective, the author presents the way in which military sources of social power had formed the overall social reality in the early modern Dalmatia and Boka.


military entrepreneurship, Morean War, Dalmatia and Boka, Venetian military administration, local elites, Oltramarini, Croati a cavallo

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