Doge of Venice

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Giovanni Bellini : Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan (1501)

The Doge [ ˈdoːʒə ] (from Latin Dux (leader, leader, prince)) was the head of state of the Republic of Venice . The name is derived from a term used in Roman administration: From the 4th century onwards, dux was the name for the highest military commander of a border province among the Romans .

Originally the Doge was a local representative of the Exarch of Ravenna , who in turn was the governor of the Byzantine Empire in Northern Italy . With the emancipation of Venice from Byzantium, the Doge became the ruler of an increasingly independent state structure. The first doge was Paulicius , usually called Paoluccio Anafesto in Venetian historiography, but today Ursus (Orso Ipato) is the first doge. The number of Doges has accordingly been reduced from 120 to 118.

Some doges were not counted as mere usurpers in the course of time, and one was later removed from the doge lists because he was also a patriarch . The discussion about the question of whether the fellow Doges are counted, mostly sons, sometimes brothers of ruling Doges, especially if they died before the death of their fathers or brothers themselves and therefore never ruled alone, is still in flux. In addition, until the early 13th century there were a few deputies, most of whom were referred to as vice- dukes . The total number of rulers who were not (no longer) recognized as doges towards the end of the republic was 15, plus the five magistri militum , who ruled for a year . The last Doge, Ludovico Manin , abdicated on May 12, 1797, after the Grand Council had previously dissolved itself in view of Napoleon's advance .

Changes in the cut of the office, title

The uncertainty as to who should be counted as a doge is related to the change in office. The Doge combined both military and judicial functions, so that the office had almost unlimited power in the early Middle Ages . This also included at least three attempts to form a dynasty. The collection of a fellow Doge in order to relocate this route was forbidden in 1032. In 1122, for the first time, a "vice-dog" was charged as a substitute for the actual doge, who was sometimes absent for several years; This happened for the last time in 1202. In order to limit his power, the Doge was assigned various control organs, and later the Council of Ten . The latter was something like the supreme control authority. From then on, at the latest, the office of Doge was of a more representative nature, but the military command remained with him. Co-or vice-genes were no longer collected.

In addition to the title dux , the Doges had a number of other titles that reflected their relationship with other powers. They often carried Byzantine titles, such as Hypathos (Ipato), which roughly corresponds to the consul. Maurizio Galbaio (764–787) held the title magister militum, consul et imperialis dux Veneciarum provinciae , so he still saw himself as a doge of an imperial province. Giustiniano Particiaco only carried the title of imperialis hypatus et humilis dux Venetiae without mentioning a province belonging to the empire. The status of subordination disappeared with the transfer of Byzantine honorary titles. The addition Dei gratia (by the grace of God) came into constant use only in the 11th century.

In view of the Hungarian expansion towards the Adriatic, perhaps Vitale Falier (1084-1096), but certainly Vitale Michiel I (1096-1102), claimed the title of dux Croatiae , which means the title dux Venetiae atque Dalmatiae sive Chroaciae et imperialis prothosevastos . According to the Venetiarum historia vulgo Petro Iustiniano adiudicata , created around 1350 , the Doge Domenico Morosini also added atque Ystrie dominator as an extension of his titulature , after Pula had to submit to Istria in 1150. However, this title only bears a single document from 1153: et totius Ystrie inclito dominatori .

From 1205 at the latest, after the conquest of the Byzantine Empire and the establishment of the Latin Empire , the Doge was given the title Dei gratia gloriosus Venetiarum, Dalmatiae atque Chroatiae dux, ac dominus quartae partis et dimidie totius imperii Romaniae - so he was not just the Doge of the Venetians , from Dalmatia and Croatia, but also from three eighths of the Roman Empire, which later historians called Byzantium. Marino Zeno , Podestà of the Venetians in the capital of Constantinople , was the first to accept this title . Only then was the title, which was often attributed to the leader of the conquering fleet, Enrico Dandolo , taken over by his successor Pietro Ziani . Enrico Dandolo had received the title of protosebastos from the emperor .

From 1358, when Venice gave up its claims to the areas on the eastern Adriatic coast that appeared in the title, the title was apparently reduced to Dei gratia dux Veneciarum et cetera , a regulation that lasted until 1797. The office developed in this direction from the 14th century, especially from Andrea Dandolo , because the Doge, who presided over all the important bodies, increasingly became a visionary of the divine plan and the embodiment of Venice's special relationship with God.

Electoral process

Visualization of the nomination process
Visualization of the nomination process
Election of the Doge by the Forty-One, Gabriele Bella (1730–1799), oil on canvas, Pinacoteca Querini Stampalia

The process of the doge election, which was held by the people's assembly until 1172, became more and more complicated over time. While twelve electors were sufficient for the election of Doge Sebastiano Ziani , who was the first to be elected by a small circle, in 1172, a forty-member electoral college was needed to elect his successor. The concern of the families that one of them might seize power and establish a family dynasty on the model of other Italian cities or former doges led to a complicated procedure aimed at preventing election manipulation.

The electoral system was therefore a mixture of random decisions by lot and public, free and carefully conducted deliberations and resolutions.

Eligible were members of the Grand Council, in which the male nobility met regularly for elections and votes. Each of them deposited a lottery ball in an urn. On St. Mark's Square , a boy of about ten, the ballottess , was selected, who drew 30 balls from the urn.

  • 30 balls were reduced to 9 by lot. These 9 remaining chose 40.
  • 40 were again reduced to 12 by lot. These 12 chose 25.
  • 25 were reduced to 9 by lot. These 9 chose 45.
  • 45 were reduced to 11 by lot. Those 11 chose 41.
  • These 41 nominated the Doge for assembly approval (after Frederic C. Lane ).

The quorum for the election of the Doge was 25 votes. The Ballottin belonged after the election to the retinue of the Doge.

This could be deposed by the Signoria , but he was forbidden to resign. He was always elected for life.


Portrait of the Dogaressa Morosina Morosini, Domenico Tintoretto
Doge's coat of arms until 1797

Since the 14th century, the doge wore the corno ducale, a special type of headgear. The corno is a stiff cap with a horn-like tip and a crown-like metal ring. It is traced back to the fishermen's headgear on the one hand, and to the “ducal hat” on the other. Under the corno he wore the cuffia , a cap made of fine linen. The Zogia coronation cap was made of brocade and adorned with precious stones, while the usual corno was made of less precious material. At the coronation, the doge wore a long undergarment , the dogalina , which was belted with a narrow belt with a gold buckle, and a wide cloak with a cape-like collar made of ermine fur , the bavaro . Striking buttons, the campanoni d'oro, were part of the doge's robe with a stand-up collar .

The private clothing corresponded to the everyday clothing of a Venetian nobile . The Dogaressa wore a smaller cap.

Burial places

Almost all of Doge's graves are in Venetian churches, 27 in San Zanipolo alone. Enrico Dandolo's grave is, however, in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople .

List of the Doges of Venice

The following list shows the numbered Doge rulers who were recognized as such towards the end of the Republic. In addition, the rulers of the early period of Venice named in the sources appear here, who were no longer recognized as doges in the 17th and 18th centuries. State-controlled historiography only accepted as doges those who ruled alone or with a fellow doge; if these fellow Doges died during the Doge's lifetime, they were also not included in the Doge's lists. The Magistri militum of the 8th century are not included , but Marcello Tegalliano is included, who is not referred to as Dux in any of the early sources . Today Marcello is no more counted among the Doges than his alleged predecessor Paoluccio Anafesto ( Paulicius ), to whom Venetian historiography and general historiography was the first Doge to adhere for a long time. The reigns of the early Doges are uncertain and have mostly only established themselves in the course of the formation of traditions, as listed in the table. Doges were also only removed from the "Doge catalog" centuries later, such as Orso Orseolo , the Patriarch of Grado, who ruled as Doge from 1026 to 1027. "Some of the oldest historians put the patriarch in the ranks of the real rulers, the newer ones, to whom it seems incomprehensible that a patriarch ruled their people, left him out of this list," writes Johann Friedrich LeBret . This decision leads LeBret in a footnote on Lorenzo De Monachis (1351-1428), whose chronicle was written between 1421 and his death.

numbering Surname Reign comment
1. Paulicius 697-717 legendary, historicity controversial
2. Marcellus (Magister militum) 717-726 in the sources only Magister militum , not Dux , historicity controversial
3. Orso Ipato 726-737 probably first doge
- Dominicus Leo 737-738 first of the five magistri militum
- Felix Cornicula 738-739 second of the five magistri militum
4th Diodato Ipato 742-755 around 739–740 third of the five Magistri militum , later Doge
- Julianus Hypathus 740-741 fourth of the five magistri militum
- Johannes Fabriciacus 741-742 last of the five magistri militum
5. Galla 755-756 the only doge to whom none of the usual family names was assigned, blinded; not recognized as a doge by some historians
6th Domenico Monegario 756-764 elected Doge with the support of Desiderius, King of the Lombards ; two annually changing tribunes, blinded
7th Maurizio Galbaio 764-787 is still explicitly considered an imperial (Byzantine) Dux , dies a natural death
8th. Giovanni Galbaio 787-804 first son of a dog who was raised to be a fellow doge by his father (without election); flees to Franconia
- Mauritius (II.) ? -804 second son of a dog who was raised to be a fellow doge by his father
9. Obelerio Antenoreo 804-809 Siege by Pippin, attempted coup in 829, killed in the process, last advocate of a capital Malamocco against Rialto
- Beatus ? -809 Brother and fellow dog of Obelerius, † 811 in Zara, the move to Rialto is occasionally attributed to him
- Valentinus ? -809 Brother and fellow dog of Obelerius, was possibly allowed to stay in Rialto after the fall of his brothers
10. Agnello Particiaco 809-827 According to popular interpretation, the residence moves to Rialto, where it remains until 1797, dies of natural causes
11. Giustiniano Particiaco 827-829 survived his father Agnellus as (5th) fellow dog (from 809?) and therefore follows him in office, 2nd attempt to form a dynasty
- Agnellus (II.) 809? –820? Son and co-dog of his father Justinianus (Giustiniano); dies in Constantinople
12. Giovanni I. Particiaco 829-837 follows his brother Justinianus in office, triumphs over Obelerius, is expelled by Caroso, recalled after his death; ends his life after being deposed in the monastery
- Caroso 832 Giovanni I. Particiaco falls as a Byzantine tribune, declares himself doge, but is blinded after 3 or 6 months
- Ursus Particiacus 832 ruled the city briefly between the fall of Caroso and the return of Johannes Particiacus, referred to as "rector" by Andrea Dandolo
13. Pietro Tradonico 836-864 interrupts the line of Particiaco doges, murdered by conspirators
- Johannes Tradonicus 836-863 Son and fellow dog of Petrus Tradonicus, referred to in the oldest sources as "dux"; dies the year before he is murdered
14th Orso I. Particiaco 864-881 first ban on the slave trade, which has no effect, dies a natural death
15th Giovanni II Particiaco 881-887 one of Orsos I's four sons, tried to resign several times due to illness, recommends Pietro Candiano as his successor; with him the Particiaco dynasty ends, 1st destruction of Comacchio
- Peter at 885 (8.) Co-dog and youngest brother of Giovanni II Particiaco
- Ursus to 887 Mitdoge, resigns Particiaco with his older brother Giovanni II
16. Pietro I. Candiano 887 first doge to die in battle outside of Venetian territory
17th Pietro Tribuno 887-912 Defense of the Hungarians, construction of a city wall, "actual city founder"
18th Orso II. Particiaco 912-932 almost no sources, treaties with post-Carolingian rulers
19th Pietro II Candiano 932-939 Third attempt by a family, after the Galbaio and Particiaco families, to enforce a dynasty, 2. Comacchio's destruction
20th Pietro Particiaco / Badoer 939-942 Occasionally counted as Pietro II, when Peter (see above) was still counted as a doge; no sources for years 933–942
21st Pietro III Candiano 942-959 Trade blockade against Aquileia, fight against Slavic pirates, civil war-like conditions in the fight with his son (and successor)
22nd Pietro IV Candiano 959-976 overthrows his father, marries property in the empire, bodyguard, overthrow of the Candiano, largest city fire (976), destruction of the archive
23. Pietro Orseolo 976-978 flees to a monastery in Catalonia, canonized in 1731
24. Vitale Candiano 978-979 achieved by Emperor Otto II. Extension of privileges, retires to the monastery
25th Tribuno Memmo 979-991 Compromise candidate between Candiano and Orseolo, reconstruction of the city destroyed in 976, civil war-like conditions and Ottonian lock, goes to the monastery
26th Pietro II Orseolo 991-1009 is considered the most important doge of the early Venetian period, friendly relations with the emperors, expansion in the Adriatic, marriage project between his son Johannes and Byzantium
- Giovanni Orseolo 1002-1008 Co-dog of his father Pietro II. Orseolo (984–1008), Byzantine marriage project, dies with his family of "plague"
27. Ottone Orseolo 1009-1026 younger brother Giovanni Orseolos, co-dog after his death in 1008, marries daughter of the King of Hungary, deterioration of relations with the Roman-German Empire, is overthrown, flees to Constantinople; is recalled, but dies on the return journey
- Orso Orseolo 1026-1027 Patriarch of Aquileia , in doge lists until the 15th century; recalls Ottone
28. Pietro Centranigo / Barbolano 1026-1032 Compromise candidate of the opponents of Domenico Flabanico, loss of the most important trading privileges, continued dispute with Aquileia, deposed, flees to Constantinople
- Domenico Orseolo 1032 Gets the dog's seat in a coup d'etat, but is overthrown the next day, flees to Ravenna, where he dies a little later
29 Domenico Flabanico 1032-1043 End of the attempts to enforce a hereditary nature of the Dogat; Survey on co-doges is prohibited in 1032 (11 in total)
30th Domenico I. Contarini 1043-1071 Oriental Schism (1054)
31. Domenico Silvo 1071-1084 obtained the first great trade privilege in Byzantium (1082) from Emperor Alexios I.
32. Vital Falier 1084-1096 In 1084 he was granted an important trading privilege in the Roman-German Empire from Heinrich IV.
33. Vitale Michiel I. 1096-1102 Fleet train in the wake of the First Crusade
34. Ordelafo Faliero 1102-1118 1111 renewal of privileges in the empire, 1116 visit by Emperor Heinrich V in Venice, dies in fighting at Zara
35. Domenico Michiel 1118-1130 Crusade from 1122-1125; In 1126 forces the renewal of Byzantium's trading privilege, which was suspended in 1118
- Leachim 1122-1125 Son of Domenico Michiel , represented him from 1122 to 1125 as "Vice-Doge" (before about eleven "Co-Doges")
- Domenico Michiel (Vice Doge) 1122-1125 Together with Leachim from 1122 to 1125, he represents the Doge Domenico Michiel as "Vice-Dog"
36. Pietro Polani 1130-1148 Son-in-law of Doge Domenico Michiel
37. Domenico Morosini 1148-1156 His power is restricted by taking an oath, and influential advisers are added; the hereditary position of the Doge's office is finally prevented.
38. Vitale Michiel II. 1156-1172 War against Byzantium; Epidemic and military disaster.
- Lunardo Michiel 1171-1172 Son of Vitale Michiel II , stays in Venice as vice duke in 1171 when his father leads the fleet in the Aegean.
39. Sebastiano Ziani 1172-1178 first doge who was not elected by the popular assembly (arengo, concio)
40. Orio Mastropiero 1178-1192 The influence of the iudices is declining, the Minor Council becomes the core of power at the expense of the Doge.
41. Enrico Dandolo 1192-1205 1202–1204 Fourth Crusade under Dandolo's leadership, 1203 and 1204 conquest of Constantinople
- Ranieri Dandolo 1202-1205 Son of Enrico Dandolo, whom he represents as vice-duke in Venice from 1202
42. Pietro Ziani 1205-1229
43. Jacopo Tiepolo 1229-1249
44. Marino Morosini 1249-1252
45. Renier Zen 1253-1268
46. Lorenzo Tiepolo 1268-1275
47. Jacopo Contarini 1275-1280
48. Giovanni Dandolo 1280-1289
49. Pietro Gradenigo 1289-1311
50. Marino Zorzi 1311-1312
51. Giovanni Soranzo 1312-1328
52. Francesco Dandolo 1328-1339
53. Bartolomeo Gradenigo 1339-1342
54. Andrea Dandolo 1343-1354
55. Marino Faliero 1354-1355 is beheaded after an alleged or actual conspiracy and falls under the “condemnation of memory” (condamnatio memoriae).
56. Giovanni Gradenigo 1355-1356
57. Giovanni Dolfin 1356-1361
58. Lorenzo Celsi 1361-1365
59. Marco Cornaro 1365-1368
60. Andrea Contarini 1368-1382
61. Michele Morosini 1382
62. Antonio Venier 1382-1400
63. Michele Steno 1400-1413
64. Tommaso Mocenigo 1414-1423
65. Francesco Foscari 1423-1457
66. Pasquale Malipiero 1457-1462
67. Cristoforo Moro 1462-1471
68. Niccolò Tron 1471-1473
69. Nicolò Marcello 1473-1474
70. Pietro Mocenigo 1474-1476
71. Andrea Vendramin 1476-1478
72. Giovanni Mocenigo 1478-1485
73. Marco Barbarigo 1485-1486
74. Agostino Barbarigo 1486-1501
75. Leonardo Loredan 1501-1521
76. Antonio Grimani 1521-1523
77. Andrea Gritti 1523-1538
78. Pietro Lando 1538-1545
79. Francesco Donà 1545-1553
80. Marcantonio Trevisan 1553-1554
81. Francesco Venier 1554-1556
82. Lorenzo Priuli 1556-1559
83. Gerolamo Priuli 1559-1567
84. Pietro Loredan 1567-1570
85. Alvise Mocenigo I. 1570-1577
86. Sebastiano Venier 1577-1578
87. Nicolò da Ponte 1578-1585
88 Pasquale Cicogna 1585-1595
89. Marino Grimani 1595-1605
90. Leonardo Donà 1606-1612
91. Marcantonio Memmo 1612-1615
92. Giovanni Bembo 1615-1618
93. Nicolò Donà 1618
94. Antonio Priuli 1618-1623
95. Francesco Contarini 1623-1624
96. Giovanni I. Cornaro 1625-1629
97. Nicolò Contarini 1630-1631
98 Francesco Erizzo 1631-1646
99 Francesco Molin 1646-1655
100. Carlo Contarini 1655-1656
101. Francesco Cornaro 1656
102. Bertuccio Valier 1656-1658
103. Giovanni Pesaro 1658-1659
104. Domenico II Contarini 1659-1675
105. Niccolò Sagredo 1675-1676
106. Alvise Contarini 1676-1684
107. Marcantonio Giustinian 1684-1688
108. Francesco Morosini 1688-1694
109. Silvestro Valier 1694-1700
110. Alvise Mocenigo II. 1700-1709
111. Giovanni II. Cornaro 1709-1722
112. Alvise Mocenigo III. 1722-1732
113. Carlo Ruzzini 1732-1735
114. Alvise Pisani 1735-1741
115. Pietro Grimani 1741-1752
116. Francesco Loredan 1752-1762
117. Marco Foscarini 1762-1763
118. Alvise Mocenigo IV. 1763-1779
119. Paolo Renier 1779-1789
120. Ludovico Manin 1789-1797 hands the city over to Napoleon , who passes it on to Habsburg : end of the Republic of Venice

See also


  • Şerban Marin: Dominus quartae partis et dimidiae totius imperii Romaniae: The Fourth Crusade and the Dogal Title in the Venetian Chronicles' Representation , in: Quaderni della Casa Romena di Venezia 3 (2004) 119-150.
  • Gino Benzoni (Ed.): I Dogi , Electa, Milan 1982.
  • Claudio Rendina: I Dogi. Storia e segreti. Dalle 120 biography dei serenissimi di Venezia rivivono retroscena e intrighi della Repubblica del Leone tra patrizi, mercanti, patriarchi e dogaresse in una millenaria epopea italiana. Newton Compton, Rome 1984 ( Quest'Italia 66, ZDB -ID 433075-4 ).
  • Andrea Da Mosto : I Dogi di Venezia , Giunti, Florence et al. 2003 (new edition of the 1939 edition, out of date).
  • Jürg Meyer zur Capellen : On the Venetian doge portrait in the second half of the Quattrocento , in: Konsthistorisk tidskrift / Journal of Art History 50 (1981) 70–86.

Web links

Commons : Doge's coat of arms  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Doge Portraits  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. For example Thomas F. Madden in his Opus Venice. A New History , which appeared in 2012 (p. 26), which explicitly mentions the total number of 118 doges.
  2. Maurizio Viroli: As if God existed: Religion and Liberty in the History of Italy , Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 31.
  3. Roberto Cessi , Fanny Bennato (Ed.): Venetiarum historia vulgo Petro Iustiniano adiudicata , Padua 1964.
  4. ^ Vittorio Lazzarini : I titoli dei Dogi de Venezia , in: Nuovo Archivio Veneto, ns 5 (1903) 271-313 ( online ).
  5. Suzanne Mariko Miller: Venice in the East Adriatic: Experiences and Experiments in Colonial Rule in Dalmatia and Istria (c. 1150-1358) , Diss., Stanford University, 2007, p. 139.
  6. ^ Debra Pincus: Hard Times and Ducal Radiance. Andrea Dandolo and the Construction of the Ruler in Fourteenth-Century Venice , in: John Jeffries Martin, Dennis Romano (Eds.): Venice Reconsidered. The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297-1797 , Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, pp. 89-136.
  7. The census was only stabilized towards the end of the republic. Piero Giustinian († 1576) still counts in his Opus Dell'historie venetiane di Pietro Giustiniano nobile veneto. Di nuouo riuedute, & ampliate, nelle quali si contengono tutte le cose notabili, occorse dal principio della fondatione della città, sino all'anno 1575 , Lodouico Auanzo, 1576, p. 9 ( digital copy ); also in the edition Gio. Battista Brigna, 1671, p. 12, Tradonico as 12th Doge. Modern research usually no longer accepts the first two doges as incumbents.
  8. This refers to the Chronicle of Laurentius de Monachis edited by Muratori, the Chronicon de rebus Venetis from UC ad annum MCCCLIV , Venice 1758, Book IV, p. 77 ( digitized version ).
  9. Francesco Zanotto: Il Palazzo ducale di Venezia , vol. 4, Venice 1861, p. 46 f. ( Digitized version ).
This version was added to the selection of informative lists and portals on May 29, 2006 .