We bring no store of ingots, of spice or precious stones
But that which we have gathered, with sweat and aching bones
In flame beneath the tropics, in frost beneath the floe
And jeopardy of every wind, that doth between them go
And some we got by purchase, and some we got by trade
And some we got by courtesy, of pike and carronade
—Rudyard Kipling, ''The Merchantmen'
In earliest times La Serinissima, the city of the Virgin, had been given a masculine identity by its citizens. It was the Lion City. The very conditions of its existence made warfare an inevitable part of its history. There was warfare against the natural world and then warfare against its competitors. It was obligated to fight for its survival. Venice had archers and oarsmen and maritime warriors. Sea powers are natural competitors. While land powers may agree to the division of land into frontiers, the ocean has no frontier. Wherever there is sea, there are hostile ships. Throughout its long history, Venice could never rest.
—Peter Ackroyd, Venice
Such trade warriors were not uncommon in the history of the Hansa. Within the roomy stone hall that served as entry and storeroom to those ancient dwelling-houses, it was usual to see helmet, armour, and sword hanging up above stores of codfish, barrels of herrings, casks of beer, bales of cloth, or what not besides.
—Helen Zimmern, The Hansa towns.
Whoever would be a good burgher at Danzig must be industrious both at commerce and arms.
—Motto of a Danzig archery society
Vimes felt a sudden surge of civic pride. There had to be something right about a citizenry which, when faced with catastrophe, thought about selling sausages to the participants.
Home is where the heart is, but the stars are made of latinum!
—Ferengi Rule of Acquisition #75, Star Trek
The "Spiders" might regard war as a noisy, vulgar, inefficient way to settle differences, but when violence was the only solution, they went about it with the same pragmatism they brought to serious matters like making money. "Merciless as a Quarn" was a high compliment among human merchants, but it held another, grimmer reality, and the Quarn liked pirates even less than humans did. They weren't simply murderous criminals, but murderous criminals who were bad for business.
Knowledge is power, and the Phoenicians sell to the highest bidder. With such fluid allegiance, they survive. But when the arcane secret or treasure proves too powerful, the Purple People take special care to keep it from the other factions. Across the world, occult energies gather, and secrets ripen, opening like eager petals. Always the Phoenicians are there. The most favourable angle, the last man standing, prize in hand - these are their creeds.
—The Buzzing, The Secret World