Ioanna LordanouDec 16, 2020
Venice's Secret Service
Organising Intelligence in the Renaissance
Oxford University Press 2019
Today we are here with Dr. Ioanna Iordanou, a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Oxford Brookes University and an Honorary Researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at Warwick University in Coventry, to talk about her recent book, Venice’s Secret Service: Organizing Intelligence in the Renaissance, out with Oxford University Press in 2019.
Venice's Secret Service is the untold and arresting story of the world's earliest centrally-organized state intelligence service. Long before the inception of SIS and the CIA, in the period of the Renaissance, the Republic of Venice had masterminded a remarkable centrally-organized state intelligence organization that played a pivotal role in the defense of the Venetian empire. Housed in the imposing Doge's Palace and under the direction of the Council of Ten, the notorious governmental committee that acted as Venice's spy chiefs, this 'proto-modern' organization served prominent intelligence functions including operations (intelligence and covert action), analysis, cryptography and steganography, cryptanalysis, and even the development of lethal substances. Official informants and amateur spies were shipped across Europe, Anatolia, and Northern Africa, conducting Venice's stealthy intelligence operations. Revealing a plethora of secrets, their keepers, and their seekers, Venice's Secret Service explores the social and managerial processes that enabled their existence and that furnished the foundation for an extraordinary intelligence organization created by one of the early modern world's most cosmopolitan states.
Jana Byars is the Academic Director of Netherlands: International Perspectives on Sexuality and Gender.