I have dedicated this book to my late mentor and friend, David Herlihy, because I owe so much to his good influence on my life and work. More than I can say, I miss him. I can hope that this effort to combine social and economic history with a political and cultural framework would have pleased him. Among the many things I owe to David is that he introduced me to Robert S. Lopez, in whose steps anyone working on Genoese history must gratefully follow. I also wish to recall two other teachers -- Felix Gilbert, who opened my medievalist's mind to the ideas of the Renaissance, and Myron Gilmore, who taught me to forget about the differences between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and to think more about the audience for which any work is intended.
David Abulafia, James B. Given, George Gorse, and Benjamin Z. Kedar read the entire manuscript and offered support and many good ideas. Avner Greif gave me the benefit of his advice for the first two chapters. I am grateful for their counsel and friendship. The canons of the profession spare anonymous readers their just praise and occasional censure, but in my case I owe a lot to their most useful and encouraging readings. Among my Genoese colleagues Gabriella Airaldi and Sandra Origone