The Tax Return (1515) of Marin Sanudo: fiscality, family and language in Renaissance Venice

Ronnie Ferguson*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Marin Sanudo’s finances, family relationships, and choice of written vernacular are the three focal points of the present study. These hitherto only partially explored issues are addressed via a little known primary source. Sanudo’s handwritten submission for the Venetian redecima tax survey initiated in May 1514 is offered here in a philological first edition, with translation and contextualisation. His tax return discloses precise information about his housing interests, retail outlets, and overall income. It adds to our knowledge of the living arrangements in Ca’ Sanudo at S. Giacomo dell’Orio and suggests both tensions and collaboration within the Sanudo clan. Linguistically the document is intriguing. Cross comparison confirms that Sanudo’s written vernacular is not the linguistic impasto familiar from his historical works. His prose is revealed as less hybrid here than anywhere else in his output, with spelling, phonology, morphology, and lexis leaning strongly towards Venetian, and with Tuscan traits unobtrusive.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalItalian Studies
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date21 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jun 2024


  • Venice
  • Renaissance
  • Sanudo
  • Taxation
  • Family
  • Vernacular


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