The Rise of Venice

Other Characters


 In 1342-3 King Edward III was blamed for  precipitating the first and the worst of world scale financial crises. He committed the unforgivable sin of defaulting on his depts.

His actions destroyed the incredible wealthy Florentine banks of Bardi, Peruzzi and Acciaiuoli, thereby disrupting trade and committing the world to decades of deprivation.

The financial world  blamed him personally for their crisis. They decided to make an example of him.

Italian Banks There is however a different way of interpreting events— that the crisis was an inevitable by product of trading practices. It is perhaps slightly surprising that the king of England was in dept to Italian banks 

The Trade Routes

The source of wealth in the early Middle Ages Silk and spices were rare commodities in Europe. On the other hand fur, glass and wool were rare commodities outside of Europe.  On the basis of this disparity, the spice and silk trade routes had been opened up long before the rise of the Roman Empire.

Spice Markets The spice route led through Egypt and Arabia to the Arabian sea. Then, as today the spices; pepper, cinnamon, cloves,nutmeg,ginger and turmeric enhanced the flavour of food. The only source was in the far east and the trading activity was frenetic.

Arab Dowh Taking advantage of the seasonal winds Arab Traders sailed the arabian sea to reach the east cost of Africa and the western coast of India. From India came the spices. it was known that they did not originate in India but came from further east.

African Fragrancies

gold-frankincense-and-myrrh-2012 From Africa came the equally highly valued Frankincense and Myrrh. A measure of their worth may be gained from the fact that these were the gifts reputed to have been brought from the east to the newborn Jesus.

The Distribution of Treasures

Silk Road Running east to China was the Silk route which carried much more the the silk from which it was named.


Slave Traders The export of slaves was an important factor in the development of trade. As well as becoming a renowned centre for commodity trading Venice had a thriving slave market. From this trade the Venetian state grew rich.

The Venetian role


The nature of the trading philosophy was simple— buy relatively cheaply where the goods were readily available and sell at a higher price where they were relatively scarce.

The World's Market Place The Venetians were perceptive traders. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Arab incursions into North Africa, the seas of the Eastern Mediterranean sea were far from safe for trading ships. The Venetians invented the convoy system and built large numbers of heavily armed protection vessels to guard the convoys.

The provision of naval support was addressed as if trade was total war. The Arsenale in Venice utilised a production line and if necessary a ship could be launched every twenty four hours.

How did King Edward get in dept because of this ?(see King Edwards Revolt)



The most dangerous woman in the world

The Treasure of Trencavel

List of Characters

Table Of Contents



List of Places

Table of Contents

Pseudo History


Extract from The Prisoner of Foix--Chapter 43 -The EntranceNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley-26th April 1355


'Looks like we are going to see a bit of excitement, John. The Captain tried to get an agreement from the Prince that if there is surf running across the channel to Arcachon we will turn back to Bordeaux, but the Prince would hear none of it. Instead, he has offered to provide insurance for all three ships. If they are damaged or sunk, the owners will be compensated and every sailor who makes the passage will be given a bounty payment. What none of this seems to take into account is that if we sink in rough, fast-flowing waters we might all drown.'

John raised his eyebrows. 'But that is what we are going to do?'

'Yes, despite the fact that surf running accross the entrance is not uncommon and the deep water channel moves continually. In the end, the Prince attacked their captains on their weakest point, their professional pride! He threw down the gauntlet. He offered to take the Sally first through the channel, and to take control during the passage.' He raised his brow. 'We are going into the Bay of Arcachon, come what may! '

Extract from The Eagle of Carcassone -- Chapter 24-- A Real GoddessNo need to buy a Kindle. Read it on your computer or tablet

John Stanley - 22 July 1355

An hour later John walked with Ximene close to the river along the valley below St Feriole. It was the very essence of a summer’s day. The sun was fierce but in the shadow of the trees, it was cool and fragrant. The trees and shrubs along the riverbank hid their progress, from the Château, from St Feriole.

Eventually they reached a point where John thought it was safe to emerge from cover. To his satisfaction the stream extended into a pool with a sandy beach, shaded by trees. Where the stream entered the pool there was a flat grassy area, almost circular. Behind this, the bulk of two mountain ridges provided a splendid backdrop. He looked around once more ‘Not just a good training ground but a great training ground. If the Greek heroes knew about this they might be tempted to join me, to train with me’

Ximene laughed out loud. He turned to look at her. She had removed her outer clothes and was wearing a white chemise, cut short so that it barely reached her knees. Around her waist, she wore a plaited leather belt, obviously fashioned from the multitude of leather straps to be found in the tackle room.

She ran her hands down over her breasts. ‘When you were unconscious I heard you muttering about gods and goddesses, so  I have decided that from now on, for you, I will be the goddess.’

The Prisoner of FoixVol 1 of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

Aquitaine, an English possession, is in crisis. It is under threat from neighbouring nations and internal dissension.

The Black Prince, King Edward III’s eldest son has been given the task of taking command in Aquitaine.

Suddenly there is an opportunity. Ximene Trencavel is the heiress to the lands of Occitan, to the east of Aquitaine: lands controlled by the Franks. Ximene wants independence, both for herself and for Occitan.

A union between Aquitaine and Occitan would be mutually beneficial. The Black Prince undertakes a secret journey to meet Ximene to negotiate a marriage contract. It is, however, a marriage neither of them really wants.

Meanwhile, the  Franks plot to murder Ximene to prevent ,not just the marriage, but any kind of union between England and Occitan.

The Eagle Of CarcassonneVol II of the series—The Treasure of Trencavel

The loose alliance between Ximene Trencavel and the Black Prince is under threat.

The Prince invades Occitan, to show his support for Ximene but it becomes an invasion which creates more problems than it solves.

The Prince has fallen hopelessly in love with Joan of Kent and Joan is now determined to marry him and become the next Queen of England.

Joan is therefore  determined to convince Ximene that she should not marry the Prince.

Part of her strategy is to encourage Ximene’s relationship with John Stanley—one of the Princes bodyguards—not an easy task as both John and Ximene have doubts about their compatibility.

However, John is grievously injured in a battle and Ximene commits herself to nurse him back to health.