The Republic of Venice represented a model and an important landmark for political writers and Englishmen of letters of the sixteenth and early seventeenth century, as clearly shown by the works of Francis Bacon, but also of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. Hobbes was no exception and in The Elements of Law, we find high praise addressed to the government of Venice. However, in his following political works all reference to the Republic of Venice disappears, and the causes of this change in perspective need to be investigated. In order to understand Hobbes’s interest in and admiration for the Venetian State, as well as the reasons for the eclipse of Venice in his writings, we have to look at the historical and political context of the time, the period from the interdict crisis to the English Civil War.
Keywords: Hobbes, Venice, aristocracy, interdict crisis, English Civil War, Bodin, Giannotti