Lorenzo de Monacis was a distinguished diplomat of the Venetian Republic. He was also an influential historian who wrote the history of Venice, a work which formed the basis of Marcantonio Sabellico's writings on the history of Venice.
De Monacis combined early humanist ideas and his own experience as a diplomat during a time of expansion of the Venetian imperium and developed literary works which sought to give an ideological basis to Venetian expansionism. His works provided Venice with an ideological support base which justified the initial stages of the Venetian incursions into Italy and Dalmatia.
In 1386 Lorenzo de Monacis accompanied Venetian diplomat Pantaleone Barbo to Hungary representing Venice's interests during a crisis involving the succession to the Hungarian throne. The diplomatic mission was successful as described in a report by de Monacis to the Venetian government. During the mission, de Monacis wrote a poem defending Hungarian queens Mary and Elizabeth who were accused of the murder of Charles II of Hungary.
In 1389, de Monacis accompanied Barbo again on another diplomatic mission to Hungary when they fell victims to robbery. The two diplomats, having lost all their personal belongings during the incident, received 60 gold ducats as compensation awarded to them by the Maggior Consiglio of Venice. De Monacis returned to Hungary on another mission in 1390.
In November 1388 de Monacis was elected Grand Chancellor of Crete, one of the most prestigious offices in the Venetian realm. During that time he also supervised the agreement between Venice and Maria d'Enghien, inheritor of Argos-Nafplion, which saw the sale of the two cities to Venice for 500 ducats.
In 1395, while still Chancellor of Crete, he was sent to France along with Giovanni Alberto, a fellow diplomat, to settle a trade dispute through diplomacy.
De Monacis wrote a variety of works such as histories, poems, diplomatic reports, and orations in Latin. The common thread of his works was the ideological position that Venice was a force for good and defender of freedom which protected its neighbours who gratefully accepted its dominion over them in exchange for the stability it provided them. His works formed the ideological background which justified the early stages of Venetian expansion into Italy and Dalmatia.
His work Chronicon de rebus Venetis ab U.C. ad annum 1354..., ed. Fl. Corner (Venice, 1758), has been described as a "very valuable source for thirteenth-century prosopography", due to the fact that it contains original material from archives that de Monacis was able to access in Venice and Candia due to his position.
As a historiographer, de Monacis has attempted to give a more balanced account of the sack of Constantinople by the Latins by using non-Venetian sources such as Nicetas Choniates; the Venetian sources had a heavy, anti-Byzantine bias.
- Knapton, Michael; Law, John E.; Smith, Alison. Venice and the Veneto during the Renaissance: the Legacy of Benjamin Kohl. Firenze University Press. pp. 75–77. ISBN 978-88-6655-663-3.
- Judith Herrin; Guillaume Saint-Guillain (2011). Identities and Allegiances in the Eastern Mediterranean After 1204. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 288–289. ISBN 978-1-4094-1098-0.
- E. B Fryde (1 July 1984). Humanism and Renaissance Historiography. A&C Black. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-8264-2750-2.