RELATION

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RELATION (Italian relazione) was the name given to the full and minute account which a Venetian ambassador was obliged to render, on his return, to the council of the Pregadi, respecting the state of the country to which he had been sent, its foreign and domestic relations, the character of the prince, chief officers and people. These, together with the reports which the ambassadors were obliged to make every week, were preserved in the archives. As early as 1268, the senate passed a law obliging the ambassadors to write down every thing remarkable which fell under their observation. In 1465, the word relazione came into use. The last of these relazioni mention the beginning of the French revolution. They were often copied by order of patrons of science, so that many are found in the libraries at Rome, Paris, Berlin ; some are in Gotha, and several in smaller libraries of Italy. In the beginning of 1831, a number of them were sold among the manuscripts of the late lord Guildford. The circumstance that Venice stood, in early times, in very important relations to all the principal powers of Europe, particularly to Spain and the sultan, when the Porte was at the apex of its power, renders the relazioni one of the most important and most interesting sources of modern history.