Daily mythology: Venice

Do you know how Venice was founded? Well, a long time ago people on the Adriatic coast were constantly stepping into wasp-nests, and, getting tired of stings they decided to build a city on the blue lagoon in front of them. There were no yellow jackets there on the water. People took big trunks and rammed them into the ground and built their houses, palaces and churches upon them, beginning from Rialto (“riva alta” = “high coast”), and additionally they needed boats instead of chariots and cars.
The city grew fast, but what to do with sewages? Soon the blue lagoon turned green, because along the popular saying “With or without bliss/ everybody has to piss” they peed into the water……
What about the wasps? They couldn’t found a new city. If they could, they would perhaps name it Waspington.


Another myth is the following: When Attila (German: Etzel) and his Huns invaded North Italy the Veneti (a tribe) fled to the lagoon and founded a new city. The horse-people couldn’t get there. In this context the etymology of “Venetia” is interesting: The name comes from the Indo-European root “wen” = love (etymology for tourists), but in same time “Venetus” means “sea-blue”, “venire” “to come”. It seemed that the first migrants screamed “veni etiam!”, “yet I have come!”, while the invaders on the shore sang “Mama told me not to come”.
Venice never coped with horses (except those on the roof of St.Marcus, but they are stolen from Constantinople). The Roman empire was founded by land-troops (Objection! Scipio Africanus). The Phoenician or Carthaginian extended their power with ships (Objection! Hannibal’s elephants) Do you know other land- or sea-powers? (But that would be another story)
Venice’s power came from ships. The “horse-people” riding their way from east to west – remember Cengis-Kahn, remember Süleyman besieging Vienna – didn’t like to go to sea. In fact first (and maybe only? let’s ask the British) the Turks found the synthesis: They marched through the Balkans, in same time admirals like Barbaros, Turgut Reis or Piri Reis crossed the seas….


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