Francesco Morosini

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Francesco Morosini

Francesco Morosini (born February 26, 1618 in Venice , † January 6, 1694 in Nauplia ) was the 108th Doge of Venice . He ruled from 1688 to 1694 at the height of the Great Turkish War (or 7th Venetian Turkish War).


The Morosini family provided a total of four doges, before Francesco the doges Domenico Morosini (1148–1156), Marino Morosini (1249–1253) and Michele Morosini , who died of the plague just four months after his election in 1382 .


Morosini was the second of three sons of the procurator of San Marco Pietro Morosini and Maria Morosini, a distant relative. He embarked on a military career early on. As a youth he had been able to gain nautical experience on board a galley. As a young man he took part in battles against pirates in the Adriatic , the Castro War and the War for Crete ( Candia ), where he was eventually promoted to provveditore general . After twenty-five years of fierce fighting over Crete , he had to surrender the island to the Turks in 1669. Venice was allowed to maintain some naval bases on the island in addition to an honorable withdrawal and was allowed to keep the islands of Tinos and Kythera as well as areas in Dalmatia . On his return to Venice, he was accused of cowardice and treason, but acquitted on all counts (the mercenaries from France, the Papal States , Malta and Germany had last left the Venetians in the lurch).

Morosini became known as the leader of the Venetian troops in the struggle with the Ottoman Empire for supremacy in the eastern Mediterranean.

In 1684, the 66-year-old was once again appointed commander of the fleet against the Turks. In the fight against the Ottomans, a coalition had come about between Venice and the papal troops, which were reinforced by France. An alliance with Austria, which had successfully fended off the conquest of Vienna by the Turks in 1683, was initially rejected in Venice, but in view of the existential threat they finally joined the coalition . Even the tsar, who wanted free access to the Mediterranean Sea, joined the anti-Turkish alliance, whereupon Venice supported him with shipbuilding experts.

Francesco Morosini. Medal in memory of the conquest of Morea

Between 1684 and 1687, Morosini regained almost as much territory in the Ionian Sea and the Peloponnese as had previously been lost to the Turks. For this he was awarded the honorary title Peloponnesiacus by the Venetian Senate . In 1687 he attacked Athens on the side of the Venetian generalissimo Otto Wilhelm von Königsmarck , where the fatal shot of a Venetian cannon at the Parthenon used as a powder depot occurred. The previously largely intact structure was damaged and fragments of sculptures and reliefs were taken away as booty.

The Doge's Office

Morosini was unanimously elected Doge on April 3, 1688 in the first ballot and in absentia. At this time he was as a fleet commander ( Capitan general da mar ) before Aegina . He had already taken Argos and Nauplia in 1686 . At his request, the Great Council allowed him to continue to lead the fleet in the fight against the Turks. In the meantime he was represented in his office by Girolamo Grimani and Lorenzo Donà. In 1688 there was a bloody battle for the city of Chalkis on Euboea . The troops of Venice and its allies, around 13,000 strong, were decimated to 4,000 men in the fighting. Diseases and epidemics further weakened the fleet, so that the conquest of Euboea failed. During the siege of the fortress Monemvasia, the doge fell ill. He turned the command over to Girolamo Corner, who eventually starved the city.

Morosini entered Venice on January 10, 1689 in a triumphal procession. He then retired to the Morosini family's palazzo on Campo di San Stefano in Venice. It was the first time in Venetian history that a doge was allowed to live outside the Doge's Palace.

In the meantime there had been further casualties in the fighting with the Turks. An attempt to recapture Crete under Domenico Mocenigo failed in 1692, and the military situation in the Peloponnese did not look good. On May 24, 1693, the Senate again handed command of the fleet to the now 75-year-old Doge. Morosini conquered the islands of Salamis , Spetses and Hydra and prevented the Turks from conquering Corinth .

He died on January 6, 1694 off Nauplia . His final message to the Senate was that he regretted not having done more for Venice. Morosini's body was brought to Venice and buried in the Church of Santo Stefano .


  • Bartolomeo Nazan (circle): Francesco Morosini. Museo Correr , Venice
  • Giovanni Cartonico: The Doge Morosini on Horseback. Museo Correr, Venice
  • Filippo Parodi: Francesco Morosini, 1687, bust. Doge's Palace , Venice; Marble copy in the Correr Museum, Venice.


predecessor Office successor
Marcantonio Giustinian Doge of Venice
1688 - 1694
Silvestro Valier

Web links

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