Thomas F. Madden
Fellow: Awarded 2012
Field of Study: Medieval and Renaissance History
Competition: US & Canada
Thomas F. Madden is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University. His research focuses on the medieval Mediterranean world, with special emphases on the history of the crusading movement and the Republic of Venice. Most of his publications, in one form or another, touch on these two areas of study. Because he believes that history is not only an academic discipline but an inheritance owned by all, he divides his scholarly energy between intensive research resulting in academic publications and the production of general works that bring the fruits of scholarly investigation to the public. His scholarly monographs include The Fourth Crusade: The Conquest of Constantinople (1997) and Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice (2003), which was awarded the Haskins Medal from the Medieval Academy of America. Among his publications for wider readership are Crusades: The Illustrated History (2004); The New Concise History of the Crusades (2005); and Venice: A New History (2012).
Madden's current research pursues two complimentary threads in the history of Venice in the Mediterranean. First, it examines Venice's crusading activities during the medieval and early modern periods, both as a component in Western Europe's crusading agenda and as a factor in the development of Venice itself. Second, it seeks to uncover an authentic Venetian understanding of the crusades and the effect that understanding had on Venetian religion, individual piety, and communal identity. It is, therefore, a close analysis of Venetian memory—both real and imagined—of their own actions within the context of the crusades. This study seeks to explain how Venetians could maintain an image of themselves as loyal and selfless crusaders committed to the defense of the Church, while popes like Pius II referred to them as: "hypocrites. They wish to appear Christians before the world but in reality they never think of God and, except for the state, which they regard as a deity, they hold nothing sacred, nothing holy."