Michael Martoccio

m martoccio

The Genoa case study


Michael Martoccio was a Research Associate on The European Fiscal-Military System project between 2019 and 2022, with responsiblity for the Genoa case study, before taking up his current post as Assistant Professor of History at the University of Wisconsi-Madison.

He writes: "I am a historian of Renaissance Italy whose work intersects history, economics, and political science to examine inter-urban military and economic cooperation. In particular, I am interested in how Renaissance Italians built durable financial networks, legal institutions, and ethical discourses to prevent or limit international violence.

I received my BA in History and Medieval/Renaissance Studies at Duke University in 2007 and my PhD in History with a Minor Specialization in Politics from Northwestern University in 2015. I have held fellowships at The Ohio State University and Northwestern University and taught at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs and University of Colorado, Boulder. My work has been supported by The Renaissance Society of America, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Newberry Library, and has appeared in The Journal of Interdisciplinary History as well as published collections by the University of Toronto Press and Cambridge University Press.

My monograph-in-progress, Leviathan for Sale, examines for the first time the market for city-states: the practice of Renaissance Italian cities buying and selling neighboring towns and castles within Italy and across the Mediterranean. Drawing upon original financial data from Florence and Venice alongside diaries, written and visual artistic production, and civic rituals, Leviathan for Sale exposes how the politics, economics, and culture of the Renaissance owed as much to the lands Italian cities bought as it did the wars they fought.

As part of The European Fiscal-Military System 1530-1870, I will specialize in the hub of Genoa. In particular, I am currently at the beginning stages of a second, monograph-length project tentatively titled Theater of Mars: The Business of War in Genoa, 1684-1797. From May 1684, when French warships bombarded the city, to the end of the Genoese Republic in 1797, approximately a quarter-million combatants boarded onto and stepped off of hundreds of vessels into the port of Genoa on their way to and from battlefields across the Mediterranean. Neither a consumer nor a supplier of war goods, Genoa acted as a centralized depot where Spanish, French, Dutch, British, and Austrian recruiters, soldiers, generals, spies, diplomats, suppliers, financers, transporters, muleteers, and others involved in war-making came together to meet the demands of Europe’s ever-longer, bloodier wars. In so doing, these military entrepreneurs were shaped by and themselves altered the cityscape of Genoa. Theater of Mars thus is not a military history of Genoa, but a study of the international business of war in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries set in the city of Genoa."

Read more at Martoccio , Michael – Department of History – UW–Madison (wisc.edu)


“Renaissance States of Mind": https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/state-formations/87E62164A5EB674FFCC713CC9992EDFF

“Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Candle Making as State Making in Late Medieval Siena and Florence”: https://crrs.ca/publications/essays-studies/es39/

“Ideal Types and Negotiated Identities: A Comparative Approach to the City-State,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 45, 2 (2014):187–200 


"’A man of particular ability’: A Jewish-Genoese military contractor in the fiscal-military system". Business History, (2021) DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2021.1907569

"‘The place for such business’: The business of war in the city of Genoa, 1701-1714". War in History, 2021: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/09683445211017153 


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