- Gaining entrance to the Venetian patriciate in the seventeenth century: The van Axel and Ghelthof families from the Low Countries
- Mélanges de l'École française de Rome - Italie et Méditerranée
- Volume | Issue number
- 125 | 1
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
This contribution traces how two immigrant families from the Low Countries, the van Axels and Ghelthofs, gained entrance to the Venetian patriciate during the seventeenth century. Venice’s reduced commercial power, the demographic crisis of the patriciate, and increasing financial pressures made this process of social climbing possible. Yet it was the conscious and multigenerational efforts of both the van Axel and Ghelthof families that ensured them a place among the Venetian elite. Long before aggregation to the patriciate became possible, members of both families sought to construct and preserve a stable social lineage, which could hold its own among the Venetian elite. This process involved different generations and entailed forming bonds with established and new Venetian noble families. By the time the van Axels and Ghelthofs requested admittance to the Venetian nobility, they enjoyed the support of a lobby within the patriciate strong enough to overcome opposition.
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