Michael Martoccio

Position title: Assistant Professor of History

Email: martoccio@wisc.edu

Phone: 608.265.2735

Office: 4115 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 4003 Mosse Humanities
Office Hours: TBA

Michael Martoccio headshot


I am an economic and military historian of the early modern Mediterranean, with an emphasis on Italy.  I am especially interested in how early modern economic practices – consumerism, market culture, and the commercialization of war – shaped notions of sovereignty, territoriality, and political geography.

My monograph, Leviathan for Sale, which is under contract with Oxford University Press, examines for the first time the market for city-states: the practice of Renaissance Italian cities buying and selling neighboring towns within Italy and across the Mediterranean. Drawing on a wealth of archival sources including promissory notes, diplomatic reports, treaties, public council debates, private letters, chronicles, funeral orations, civic rituals, poetry, prose, and manuscript illuminations from Italy and beyond, this book shows how all levels of Italian society made territorial conquest legible by means of the language, customs, and practices of commerce and the marketplace.

In addition, I am currently at the beginning stages of my second book titled Theater of Mars: Building the Business of War in Genoa, 1684-1797. Merging urban history with military history, this book shows how the Genoese altered the city’s docks, walls, gates, hospitals, hotels, warehouses, stables, and the Jewish ghetto to better structure, formalize, and routinize the business of war in the city. In this way, Theater of Mars offers a new urban military history that reveals the multi-dimensional effects of war on built environments.

My work has been supported by the Renaissance Society of America, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Newberry Library, and has appeared in Past & Present, The English Historical Review, War in History, Business History, The Journal of Interdisciplinary History as well as collections by the University of Toronto Press, Cambridge University Press, Brepols, and Brill.

I teach courses on early modern economic culture, military history, Mediterranean society, and the Renaissance.


Ph.D., Northwestern University
B.A., Duke University

Selected Publications

  • “Provisions, Passports and the Problems of International Warfare in Early Eighteenth-Century Northern Italy: A Micro-Historical Study.’ (with Prof. Aaron Graham). European History Quarterly. (Accepted and Forthcoming, Autumn 2022).
  • “The Peru of Italy: The Bank of Saint George in the English, French, and German Press, 1684-1797,” in Enrico Zucchi and Alessandro Metlica, Questioning Republicanism in Early Modern Genoa. Under Contract with Brepols (Accepted and Forthcoming, 2022).
  • “City Leagues, Mercenary Companies, and Regional Recruitment in Renaissance Italy.” The English Historical Review. (Accepted and Forthcoming, Spring 2022).
  • ‘Employment, Trade, and War Business in the Early Modern Mediterranean,” in André Holenstein and Philippe Rogger, Military Entrepreneurs in Early Modern Europe (Brill, 2022).
  • “The Art of Mercato: Buying City-States in Renaissance Tuscany.” Past and Present 252 (August 2021): 53-99.*
    • * Winner: Best Article in Medieval and Early Modern Italian History from the Society for Italian Historical Studies.
  • “The Place for Such Business’: The Business of War in the City of Genoa, 1701-1714.” War in History 29 (June 2021).
  • “‘A Man of Particular Ability:’ A Jewish-Genoese Contractor in the Fiscal-Military System.” Business History 64: Special Issue on Minorities and Grain Trade in Early Modern Europe (May 2021).
  • “Renaissance States of Mind,” in John Brooke et. al., eds., State Formations: Global Histories and Cultures of Statehood (Cambridge University Press, 2018).
  • “Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Candle Making as State Making in Late Medieval Siena and Florence,” in Mark Jurdjevic and Rolf Strom-Olsen, eds., Rethinking Early Modernity (University of Toronto Press, 2016).
  • “Ideal Types and Negotiated Identities: A Comparative Approach to the City-State.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 45, 2 (2014): 187–200.

Selected Awards

  • Best Article in Medieval and Early Modern Italian History | The Society for Italian Historical Studies, 2021
  • Venetian Research Program for Individual Scholars | The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, 2018
  • Harold Perkins Prize for Best Dissertation in Department of History | Northwestern University, 2016
  • Short-Term Research Grant | Renaissance Society of America, 2015-2016

History Courses

  • History 201 – The Historians Craft: Mercenaries, Pirates, and Renegades in the Early Modern Mediterranean – Syllabus 2022 (pdf)
  • History 500 – The Trial of Joan of Arc