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inTthe thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries 

OF MICHELE STENO. A.D. 1204- 1400 








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H 9\ 

Printed by Eallantyne, Hanson &* Co. 
At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh 


Nine years ago I published a volume on the Early History 
of Venice, which I brought down to the conquest of Con- 
stantinople in A.D. 1204. Very few copies of this have 
been sold, and some of the English reviews of it found it 
very dry. But, on the whole, I had no reason to complain 
of the treatment it received from the critics, which was 
indeed better than it deserved. Only one review was dis- 
tinctly condemnatory : this was the work of a scholar well 
versed in Venetian and in general mediaeval history, who was 
apparently an accomplished disciple of the late Professor 
Freeman, and had imbibed not only much of the learning 
of his master, but also a strong infusion of his literary 
manners. I was, on the other hand, much gratified by the 
very kind appreciation of my book that was contributed by 
an accomplished English student of Italian literature to the 
Athenceum. I was still more pleased, and not a little sur- 
prised, to receive from German scholars two notices of my 
book, which, while not sparing criticism, treated it as a 
work of interest to European learning. Of these reviews, 
one was contributed to the Deutsche Literaturzeitu?ig of the 
24th of May 1902 by Dr. Ernst Gerland of Homburg, who 
is or was, I believe, editor of the Byzantinische Zeitschrift 
and author of a Geschichte des lateinischen Kaiserreichs von 
Konstantmopel, the first volume of which has appeared 
since his review of my book ; the other by Dr. H. Kretzsch- 
mayr to the Mittheilungen des Jnstituts fur osterreichische 
Geschichtsforschung in Wien. I wish to thank both of these 


gentlemen not only for their courteous treatment of my 
book, but for sending me their reviews, which have given 
me many hints and referred me to recent German authori- 
ties that have, I hope, been of use in my present book. 

I have found some difficulty in deciding how far to 
extend my narrative over other fields than that of Venetian 
history proper. I have claimed in my twelfth chapter that 
the events that formed the sequel of the conquest of Con- 
stantinople may properly be included in Venetian history. 
Perhaps the quotations from Browning's "Sordello" in 
chap. iii. may be less justifiable, and I also may have gone 
into too many details in my fourth chapter as to Venetian 
legislation, and in my thirteenth as to merchants and 
missionaries in Cathay. 

I am not at all confident that I have given a correct 
account of the famous " Serrata del Consiglio." I have 
read much about it in Venetian accounts written when 
the constitution that it established was still in working 
order, and in German monographs written since the 
archives at Venice and elsewhere have been opened to 
scientific examination. Neither Dr. Maximilian Claar's 
elaborate work, Die Etihvicklung der venezianischen Verfas- 
sung ; nor the chapter in Count Correr's Venezia e le Sue 
Lagutie, which Italian writers look upon as of the highest 
authority on constitutional questions ; nor the old Italian 
accounts given us by Donato Giannotti and Cardinal Con- 
tarini appear to me to explain satisfactorily the change that 
Gradenigo made in the election of the Great Council. I am 
not sure that Lebret's account, written (as I have remarked 
in the text) at a time when the aristocratic constitution was 
still in operation, is not the most satisfactory. 

Of the original authorities for my present period I need 
not say much. Every one who has had occasion to con- 
sult the Chronicles contained in Muratori's great series of 
Rerum Italicarum Scriptores knows how excellent many of 
them are. Of those whose works I have had to read, 


Andrea Dandolo and his continuators are good, business- 
like writers, but do not possess any of the graces of style, 
the terseness, or the naivete, or the picturesque detail that 
we find in such writers as Ramon Muntaner, whom I have 
called the Xenophon of the Catalonian Anabasis, or 
Rolandini of Padua, or Galeazzo Gataro, who wrote a 
Chronicle of Padua under the Carraras,^ or still more in 
Martino da Canale (a writer not included in Muratori's 
collection), of whom I have made so much use in this 
volume. Rolandini of Padua - was town clerk, Gataro and 
his son and continuator Andrea were advocates. The 
Cortusii, Gulielmo and Alberghetto, were also distinguished 
citizens of Padua, an uncle and nephew, whose Annals, 
without any study of elegance, are authentic records of an 
interesting period.^ Martino da Canale was a clerk, as we 
have seen,* in "the Board of the Sea," that is, of Customs, 
at Venice. Giorgio Stella was in the service of the Genoese 
repubUc, and his father had been chancellor ; ^ the Villani 
— Giovanni, Matteo, and Philippo— had held high civil 
offices in Florence.'' The chroniclers of these times seem 
to have been not so often in orders as notaries — that is, 
men of business of a good education, who were from their 
position familiar with current history and often behind the 
scenes. I have omitted to mention Laurentius de Monacis, 
Chancellor of Crete, a Venetian citizen, as the law required, 
a writer whom we have constantly met with in this volume, 
a grave man of high character, whose judgments on the 

^ Chronicon Patavinum Italica Lingua conscriptum auclore Andrea 
de Gataris, &c. , in J\. I. S., xvii. cols. 7-904. This includes also the 
work of Andrea's father, Galeazzo. 

^ Rolandini Patavini de Factis in Marchia Tarvisina, Libri xii., in 
A\ I. S., viii. cols. 157-360. 

* Cortusii Patavini Duo, in A'. I. S., xii. cols. 767-988. 

* Infra, p. 173. 

* Georgii Stellre Annales Genuenses . . . per Johannem Stellam 
ejus Fratem continuati, in A'. I. S., xvii. cols. 951- 131 8. 

* Johannis Villani Florentini Hist. Universalis, occupies cols. 9-1002 
in J?. I. S., xiii. It is in Italian. Matthrei Villanii ejusque filii 
Philippi Historia (also in Italian) is in /^. I. S., xiv. cols. 9-770. 


events he had seen passing are always of value. ^ The last 
of the chroniclers from Muratori's collection with whom I 
have been much concerned is Daniele di Chinasso, a good 
and apparently accurate writer, of whom nothing is known 
but that he was a native of Treviso, living at Venice during 
the war of Chioggia, which he relates ; and that his history 
was thought so highly of by Andrea Gataro that he pro- 
posed to insert it bodily in his chronicle, and had copied it 
out at length for this purpose.^ The only one of the 
chronicles in Muratori of which it has been necessary to 
express any doubts is the Vita Caroli Zeni, the authenticity 
of which I have discussed in a note on p. 509.^ 

In the view I have taken of the Venetian constitution I 
have relied much more on the old Italian writers — Donato 
Giannotti, a Florentine exile at Venice, Cardinal Contarini, 
and others — than on Daru, and modern French, German, 
and Italian writers. Daru wrote under instructions from 
his master. Napoleon, to make out a case in justification 
of the destruction of the venerable republic. Venice had 
been very far from a monarchy, and could not be vilified in 
the same way as the old monarchies of Europe. It had 
borne for centuries the name of republic, and in many 
ways had, it could not be denied, done honour to the 
name. But nothing could be farther from the ideals of 
Rousseau and Robespierre than such a republic as A^enice. 
It was not founded on the doctrine of equality, the doctrine 
that every man's opinion on the political questions that 
had to be solved by governments was as good as his neigh- 
bour's. It held, on the contrary, that the art of governing 

^ Only a fragment of Laurentiiis de Monacis is to be found in R. I. S., 
viii. (the part dealing with the career of Ecelino da Romano). The 
remainder was published separately by Plaminio Corner, the author of 
EcclesicB Venetie, as an appendix to vol. viii. of Muratori. 

2 Danielis Chinatii Tarvisini belli apud Fossam Clodiam et alibi 
inter Venetos et Genuenses gesti anno MCCCLXXXVIII. et sequentibus 
Italico sermone accurata descriptio, in J\. J. S., xv. cols. 697-804. 

•^ Vita Caroli Zeni . . . auciore Jacobo Zenoejusnepote, in A\ /. J., 
xix. cols. 207-372. 


one's fellow-creatures well was one that could be acquired 
best by apprenticeship to the work of government, that 
those whose wealth gave them leisure to work at this 
apprenticeship from their youth upwards were most likely 
to make progress in it, and that a capacity for doing the 
work of government was inherited from fathers who had 
learned to do it well, just as, to use Horace's words, in 
oxen and horses the virtues of sires were transmitted to 
their progeny. This was the fundamental principle of 
Venetian education and training, and was justified by the 
qualities of the grave patricians who commanded the fleets 
and armies of Venice, who managed her diplomacy, or who 
established and conducted the great mercantile undertak- 
ings that were so powerful an instrument in advancing the 
civilisation of the world. I have not therefore thought it 
necessary to apologise for the Venetians, who disbelieved 
in democracy and in the natural right of unskilled men to 
govern themselves and their fellows ill, and who did not 
hit upon the modern doctrine that justice requires every 
one to have some representative placed in power by his 
vote who will look after his interests for fear of losing his 
important and advantageous position as a representative. 
And yet the governing classes of A^enice impressed such 
observers as Rudolph of Habsburg and Petrarch by their 
justice more than by any other quality ; just as men of 
business in our own time, who have to obtain parliamen- 
tary powers for any great undertaking, find the hereditary 
upper house more just and more intelligent than the elected 
house of representatives. 

Of modern helps for the study of Venetian history I have 
to a large extent had to rely on the same writers as in my 
former book. Ducange has not been so constantly referred 
to as for the earlier history, nor Tafel and Thomas. Carl 
Hopfs great "History of Mediaeval Greece" has been a 
more constant guide, whose only weakness is that he is too 
thorough, too exhaustive, and too careless of the value of 


arrangement and generalisation. Heyd's " History of the 
Levant Trade of the Middle Ages," which I have used, as 
every one does, in the improved and extended French 
translation, is as thorough a book as Hopfs, and far more 
attractive. In the affairs of Cyprus, which occupy much of 
the later chapters of my book, the Comte de Mas Latrie is 
an indispensable and most sufficient guide. 

I ought to add that what I said in the Introduction to 
my former book did less than justice to the great work of 
Romanin, which I have learnt to trust more and more. 
He is not a master of style, but his Storia Docume7itata is 
an early model, and a very good one, of the kind of history 
founded on original documents that is becoming every 
year more and more the most useful and highly appreci- 
ated product of historical work. 

It remains for me only to express my thanks : (i) To the 
Trustees of the British Museum for permission to reproduce 
Furlani's Plan of Constantinople, and several of the prints 
from Franco's Habiti. (2) To the Society for Promotion 
of Hellenic Studies, and particularly to Mr. John ff. Baker 
Penoyre, its Secretary, and ^Ir. F. W. Hasluck, for very 
courteously allowing me to use the Society's photograph 
of Famagusta Cathedral, and those of Cyzicus, the Euripus, 
Modone, and Monembasia by Mr. Hasluck. 


I. The Latin Empire of Romania . . i 

II. The Restored Greek Empire and 
Genoa — Venice in Negropont and 
Crete . . . . . .29 

III. The Emperor Frederic II. . . . 53 


LATION ...... 87 

V. Ecelino DA Romano . . . -105 

VI. Rivalry of Venice and Genoa in the 

Levant 120 

VII. Form of Election of Doge — Homage 

OF the Arti 140 

VIII. Venetian Supremacy in Adriatic . 163 

IX. The "Serrata del Consiglio," 1299 . 187 

X. Troubles at Ferrara — Conspiracy of 
Tiepolo and Creation of Council 
of Ten 205 

XI. Rivalries of Anjou and Aragon, and 

of Venice and Genoa . . .241 

XII. The Catalonian Company at Constanti- 
nople AND Athens .... 260 

XIII. Marco Polo and his Successors . . 297 


XIV. The Beginnings of the Terra Ferma 
AND the New Palace 

XV. The Age of Andrea Dandolo 

XVI. Marin Faliero 

XVII. Peter I. of Cyprus 

XVIII. The Carraras at Padua 

XIX. War of Chioggia 

XX. Venice and the Visconti 

XXI. The Senate of Venice . 






Plan of Venice .... 

Plan of Constantinople 

EuRiPus (Negropont) .... 

Fro7?t a photograph supplied by the Hellenic Society 


From a photograph supplied by the Helletiic Society. 

Facade of Santi Giovanni e Paolo . 

Procession in Piazza San Marco 

The Pergamo or Capitello in San 

Doge-elect carried round Piazza 

Sitting of the Great Council . 

Ballottini with Urns and Ballots . 

MODONE. ...... 

From a photograph supplied by the Hellenic Society. 


From a photograph sicpplied by the Hellenic Society. 

Harbour of Zara .... 

Doge viewing Bull-bait from Balcony 
OF Palace ..... 



To face page 30 

.. 39 









SCALA d'OrO . 


Palazzi Farsetti e Loredan (Cornaro 


Summer Nights on the Lagoon . 
Famagosta Cathedral . 

From a photograph supplied by the Hellenic So, 

Chioggia ..... 

Tomb of Doge Michele Morosini 

Hall of Collegio : Doge and Signoria 
giving Audience to Legate . 

To face page 440 






Page 32, line 2%, for ' 

, 42, „ II, for' 

, 47, „ 8, for' 

, 48, „ 33./"' ' 

, 56, „ 30. M ' 

, 148, „ 2.2, for ' 

, 378, „ 22, for' 

, 436, „ 35, >^' 

, 466, „ 2<^,for ' 

, 468, „ 21, for ' 

, 484, „ 14, for' 

, 514, „ 26, for' 

, 565. ,. 21, for' 

, 566, „ 17, for' 

^ ^acnXeiav /xov " rt'ad " ^acrtXeiac /[tou.' 

' connection " reai/ " connexion." 

■ Roumania" read'' Romania." 

' ferrens " read " ferreus." 

' connection " read "connexion." 

' Cancellaria " read " Cancelleria." 

1373" r^a^"l343." 

vella " read " nella." 

p. 467 " read " pp. 467, 468." 

1265 " read " 1365." 
' Machant " read " Machaut." 

France " read " Hungary." 
' dit erra " read " di terra." 

Marc " read " Mare." 





When Pietro Ziani, a rich and virtuous nobleman, who 
had been Podestk of Padua and Count of Arbe, and was 
at this time one of the doge's counsellors, was elected to 
succeed the great doge, Enrico Dandolo, who had died at 
Constantinople, it must have seemed doubtful to him and 
to those who elected him, whether the part he would be 
called upon to play would be that of an Italian prince, or 
that of a despot in the East. The conquest of Constan- 
tinople had necessarily complicated the position of Venice 
and doubled her role. She remained, as she had been in 
the struggle between Frederic Barbarossa and the Lombard 
republics, a powerful factor in the affairs of Italy, soon to 
be almost as disturbed as before the Peace of Venice ; but 
she was also called upon to play a leading part in the 
affairs of the Latin East. We have seen that her policy 
was at first to minimise this part, that she took no steps to 
occupy much of the Byzantine territory that had come to 
her by the treaty of partition, and confined her energies in 
the main to the islands, and especially Crete. But she 
could not help being concerned with the troubled and 


chequered fortunes of the Latin Empire and the lesser 
Prankish seigneuries — the Kingdom or Empire of Thessa- 
lonica, the Principality of Achaia, the Dukedom of Athens, 
and others that established themselves for a longer or 
shorter time on the ruins of the Byzantine dominion. The 
power of Venice in the Eastern Mediterranean was destined 
to last longer than any of these principalities, but at first it 
had much less hold on the land. 

Henry of Flanders, who in 1206, was elected Emperor 
of Romania on the death of his brother Baldwin in captivity, 
and reigned till 12 16, was a chivalrous and able ruler, who 
conciliated and employed the ablest of his Greek subjects,^ 
and held his own in the very difficult circumstances in 
which he was placed. He kept on good terms with the 
Latin Church, his most powerful ally, but to do so he was 
obliged to resign all hopes of popularity with the Greek 
population, who were devoted to their own Church and 
bitterly hostile to Rome, and had close at hand, as power- 
ful supporters in need, the Greek princes Theodore Lascaris 
and John Dukas, named Vatatzes, who were endeavouring 
to maintain the succession of Byzantine Emperors at Nicsea. 
But besides the hostility of his Greek subjects he had to 
contend with that of his brother's rival, Boniface of Mont- 
ferrat, now calling himself King of Saloniki or Thessalonica, 
and claiming a superiority over the Frankish barons settled 
south of that city. Boniface indeed died in 1207, the year 
after Henry became Emperor, killed in battle against the 
Bulgarians ; Villehardouin's chronicle ends with a lamen- 
tation over his death. " Halas ! con dolorous domage ci ot 
a I'empereor Henri et k tos les Latins de la terre de Romenie, 
de tel homme perdre par tel mesaventure, un des meillors 
barons et des plus larges et des meillors chevaliers qui fust 
el remanant dou monde." - Demetrius, Boniface's son 
by the Empress Margaret, Isaac Angelus' widow, who 

^ Georg. Acrop. , p. 31 Bonn, vol. xviii. 

* Villehard., cxvi. 298-300 ; Wailly., cclxxvii. p. 362 Bouchet. 


succeeded on his father's death, ^ was a child of two years 
old ; but the regent or bailo for the young King, the Count 
of Biandrate, one of the chief nobles of North Italy, was 
ambitious on his own account and on that of the kingdom 
of Thessalonica, and refused to do homage to Henry, claim- 
ing feudal superiority over all Southern Greece, for that 
kingdom. Henry temporised, referring the question at 
issue between himself and Biandrate to the Court of the 
Barons of the Empire held at Ravenika in Macedonia,- at 
which it was decided that the southern feudatories were 
directly dependent on the Emperor, and Henry was allowed 
to enter Thebes, and apparently Salonika also, as suzerain. 
Biandrate did not resist, but retired to Italy. 

While the Emperor Henry was still on the throne two 
Frankish barons established themselves in Southern Greece 
— Otho de la Roche, a Burgundian nobleman, at Athens and 
Thebes, William de Champlitte at Andravida in the Morea, 
which in those days was the name of only the western half 
of the Peloponnesus. Otho took the title of " Grand Sire " 
(jLityas Kvpios) of Athens, which his nephew Guy afterwards 
exchanged for that of duke. William de Champlitte stayed 
only a few years in the East, and then returned to France, 
but Geoffrey de Villehardouin (the younger, nephew to his 
famous namesake, the Marshal of Champagne), who super- 
seded Champlitte, had from the first the title of Prince of 
Achaia, and revived the claim to superiority over the South 
of Greece originally put forward by Boniface. Frankish 
dukes of Athens and Frankish princes of Achaia, frequently 
hostile to one another, maintained themselves in Greece 
long after the Frankish Empire in Constantinople had 
ceased to have any real existence. 

That Empire, besides the disadvantage it suffered from 

^ An elder half-brother, William, succeeded to the Marquisate of 
Montferrat in Lombardy. 

^ Ravenika was situate between the Axius and the Strymon (Buchon, 
Recherches Hist. 1845, i. 70). But Tafel {De Thessalonica ejusque 
Agro, p. 488) thinks it was near Thermopylae in Thessaly. 


its unpopular alliance with the Popes, and its feudal con- 
stitution, that was alien to the customs of the Greeks, was 
singularly unfortunate in the failure of a regular succession. 
By what seems almost a malignant destiny, the succession 
to the Latin Empire, as to the crusading kingdom of 
Jerusalem, where above all things a warrior was needed 
to rule, was constantly falling to a woman or a minor. 
When Henry of Flanders died, the electors chose as his 
successor Peter de Courtenay, Count of Auxerre,^ whose 
only claim to the office was that he was husband of 
Yolande of Flanders, the sister of Baldwin and Henry. 
And on Peter's murder by Theodore, despot of Epirus, 
before he had even taken possession of his throne, Yolande 
governed as regent for her son Philip, Count of Namur, 
who remained in Belgium. When Philip decided not to 
come to the East, his younger brother Robert was elected 
Emperor, and reigned for nine disastrous years (a.d. 12 19- 
1228). He lost early in his reign Conon of Bethune, 
whom we have met with as one of the most brilliant leaders 
of the Fourth Crusade, who had stayed with the Emperors 
Baldwin and Henry and been their wisest counsellor. The 
young Emperor's own character was not such as to fit him 
for his difficult and dangerous position. The event that 
occupies most space in the accounts we have of his reign 
is an act of cruel and hideous vengeance perpetrated by 
a rival lover on the Emperor's mistress, which he had not 
the courage to resent or punish. So when, in 1228, he 
died in the Morea, when returning from a mission to the 
Pope, the electors would not run the risk of a long minority 
by electing his brother Baldwin, then ten years old, but 
appealed to John de Brienne, titular King of Jerusalem, 
an old man over eighty, but a Crusader, who had ten years 
before fought for the Cross under the walls of Damietta, 
to take the crown of Constantinople. It was agreed that 

^ A minority of the barons had been for calb'ng Andrew, King of 
Hungary, to the throne (Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, vol. 85, p. 247). 


the young Baldwin should marry John's daughter, and at 
the age of twenty have the government of the trans- 
Bosporine province of the Empire, and on John's death 
succeed to the whole Empire, John's heirs being com- 
pensated by the territory west of Adrianople or east of 
Nicomedia, if either could be conquered from Bulgarians 
or Greeks. 

John of Brienne, we are told by Georgius Acropolita ^ 
who had seen him, was a man of magnificent physique, 
and his military reputation was high. He was indeed 
a soldier of fortune who had fought his way to a kingdom 
and an empire. But naturally, at the age of eighty, his 
energy was not what it had been, and he allowed himself 
to sink into indolent luxury in the palace of Constantinople. 
Acropolita says that John reproached himself for keeping 
out of the Empire one who could have governed it so 
well as his namesake John Vatatzes,'^ who had succeeded 
Theodore Lascaris at Nicaea. Under this brave and 
capable sovereign the bounds of the Empire of Nicaea 
were considerably extended, so that the Latin Emperors' 
territory in Asia had shrunk to a few places in the 
peninsula between Nicomedia and the Bosporus. Nor 
did their European territories remain long unattacked. 
Adrianople had never been secure in their possession ; the 
neighbourhood of the Bulgarian King, who, as much as 
themselves, enjoyed the favour of the Pope, constantly 
threatened them, and another power sprang up in the twenty 
years following the Latin conquest that for a time seemed 

^ Pp. 48, 49, in Bonn edition, vol. xviii. See also Monachits 
Faduanus, lib. ii. anno 1218 {apudVcx^z, xix. p. 151). The chronicle 
is there called Annalcs S. Justina Patavini. The monk's words are: 
" Johannes rex Jerosolimitanus, vir strenuus et forma pre filiis hominum 
speciosus." It is also in Murat., R. I. S., viii. c. 660. 

^ Acropolita calls both rivals 'Iwcivj'tjj simply, but John of Brienne 
is 6 p?)^, with the addition in one place (Bonn, vol. xviii. p. 50) 6 koX 
SafftXevs K.uucrTavTLVov irSXews (pruj.i^ofj.ei'osy the title of ;3acriXei)j unquali- 
fied being reserved for the legitimate Greek sovereign (see a learned 
note of Dousa on pp. 246-47, vol. xviii. of the Bonn ed.). 


likely to put an end to the Latin dominion. This was the 
despoteia established in Epirus by Michael, the illegitimate 
son of an uncle of Isaac Angelos. He continued the old 
Byzantine government as an independent prince in all the 
country from 'Dyrrachium to Naupactus, the seat of his 
government being at Janina or Arta, but acknowledging 
a nominal subjection to Theodore Lascaris. He and his 
brother and successor, Theodore, who assumed the three 
royal surnames of Angelus, Comnenus, and Ducas, estab- 
lished a strong military force of Greeks, Wallachians, and 
Albanians. Michael was assassinated in a.d. 12 14, but 
Theodore maintained himself in his brother's place, and in 
1217 he took prisoner and killed, as we have seen, Peter 
Courtenay, the Latin Emperor. In 1222, he put an end 
to the reign of Demetrius, the son ot Boniface of Mont- 
ferrat, and proclaimed himself Emperor of Thessalonica.^ 
He next made advances to the northward, towards Adrian- 
ople, till John Vatatzes, fearing he might get the start 
of himself in recovering Constantinople for the Greeks, 
stopped his further progress by forming a close alliance 
with Asan the Bulgarian King, in virtue of which in 1230 
the latter defeated, took prisoner, and blinded Theodore. 
But Asan soon afterwards, marrying his prisoner's daughter, 
released his father-in-law, and helped him to recover 
Thessalonica, of which he refused to be Emperor on 
account of his blindness, but made his son John Emperor 
and governed in his name.'^ John Vatatzes was, however, 
able to stir up Theodore's two brothers, Manuel and 
Constantine, who invaded Thessaly, and some years of civil 
war between uncles and nephew followed, under which the 

1 See Finlay, iii. 301 (ed. 1877). Acropolita (pp. 36, -^-j Bonn, 
vol. xviii.) speaks with great bitterness of Theodore's assuming the purple 
robe and red sandals and creating despots, sebastocrators, great 
domestics and protovestiaries. Dandolo (x. 4, 28), who calls him 
Theodorus Lascaris Comnenus, adds, "qui pro Grsecorum Imperatore 
se gerebat" (Murat., R. I. S., xii. col. 340). 

- Acrop., pp. 65, 66 Bonn, vol. xviii. 


power created by Michael and Theodore crumbled away, 
till in 1234 Thessalonica was taken and John compelled 
to renounce his claim to empire and accept the position 
of despot under the Emperor of Nicaea. 

The disappearance of the Empire of Thessalonica left 
no power but the Empire of Nicaea and the Kingdom of 
Bulgaria to try conclusions with the Latins. John of 
Brienne still held the capital, but had been driven out of 
all but one or two strongholds in Asia Minor, and now 
began to be straitened also on the European side of the 
Bosporus. On the other hand, John Vatatzes and the 
Bulgarian King were firmly united and were daily increasing 
in power. A marriage took place between Theodore, the 
son of John Vatatzes, and Helen, Asan's daughter, both 
children under twelve ; and an army of Greeks and Bul- 
garians carried on active operations against the Latins 
almost under the walls of Constantinople. It was agreed 
that when the imperial city was recovered a partition of the 
European dominions should be made, John taking the 
Chersonese and the Maritza valley, Asan the country north 
of Adrianople. 

John of Brienne had been five or six years in Constanti- 
nople, when the course of his Greek rival was simplified 
and smoothed by the fall of the Empire of Thessalonica. 
During these years he had made more than one endeavour 
to bring about a modus vivendi between the Greek and 
Latin Churches, but had been frustrated by the Pope's 
objection to any compromise of his claims. He had 
some hopes that Leo Gavalas of Rhodes might cause a 
diversion by his rebeUion against John Vatatzes ; but the 
year 1235 found Gavalas, though still probably disaffected, 
commanding John Vatatzes' fleet and blockading the 
Golden Horn. A Venetian fleet came to the rescue of 
the Latin Emperor,^ and Leonardo Querino and Marco 

^ This seems to be far the most probable account, though Ducange 
{Hist, de C. P., pp. 98, 99)' attributes the destruction of the Greek fleet 


Gausono, its commanders, won a decisive victory over 
Gavalas under the eyes of the Emperor's army encamped 
on the shore, and took twenty-four galleys, thus restoring 
confidence to the Latins.^ 

In 1237 John of Brienne died. His successor, Baldwin 
II., was at the time abroad, soliciting from the princes of 
the West men and money to uphold the cause of the 
Latin Church in the East. He did not return to Con- 
stantinople till 1239. Pope Gregory IX. and St. Louis 
had given him money and troops that the Greek writers 
speak of as amounting to 60,000 men.^ About the same 
time the Bulgarian King deserted the alliance of John 
Vatatzes and endeavoured to save the Latin Empire from 
destruction. He was a trimmer by nature, and at this 
time his position on the frontiers of civilisation, in face 
of the hordes of heathen Mongols, whose irruptions were 
among the most important historical events of the thirteenth 
century, made him disinclined to involve himself in an 
offensive alliance with the Empire of Nicaea. An indirect 

to a handful of infantry left in the city by Brienne with no ships : his 
authority for this appears to be the rhymed chronicle of Philip ^iouskes 
of Tournay, a writer of the thirteenth century, an extract from whose 
chronicle is printed in Ducange's Villehardonin (see pp. 223, 224). 
As to Philip's identity see Potthast, s.v. 

1 " Latinis incolis data fiducia," Dand., x. 5, 15 (Mur., R. I. S., xii. 
col. 349). In the next section (x. 5, 16) Dandolo says that th£ doge's 
legate, Marsilio Giorgio, made Leo Gavalas lord of Rhodes "sibi 
fidelem et tributarium " ; but the Ambrosian annotator (see "Early 
History of Venice," Introduction, pp. xiii. and xiv.) says this is a 
mistake, that Rhodes was ceded not by Leo "Caesar" but by his 
brother, and not to the Venetians, but to the Genoese. The naval 
defeat, admitted by Acropolita (p. 64 Bonn) appears to have been of 
a later date. Daru (i. 261, 262) gives a more detailed account, b^ 
apparently founded on Dandolo only. 

* Acropolita, 62, 63 Bonn, vol. xviii. He says St. Louis was not 
only Baldwin's kinsman, but a bitter enemy of the Greeks, t.e. no 
doubt of the Greek Church. The troops he sent, starting from rrfs 
dvo} TaWias — 5ta twv inrupeiwu tQv 'A\iriut> ets t6 'OffrpLKiov a^lKOvro, 
and after passing along Hungary, crossed the Danube into Bulgaria, 
where 'OcttplkIov is, I presume, an early instance of the use of Austria, 
as to which see " Early History of Venice," p. 54, n. 2. 


result of the Mongolian advance westward was that the 
Comans, a horde of Pagan savages not unknown before in 
the neighbourhood of Constantinople/ were driven over 
the Danube, and, being allowed to pass by the Bulgarians, 
took service under Baldwin II., in whose army "one could 
see," in the words of Daru, " French, Venetians, Crusaders 
of different nations, Greeks, Mahometans and Barbarians, 
marching with the Pope's bull in their hands against the 
Emperor of Nicaea." ^ 

The Bulgarian King was soon again on the side of the 
Greeks, but John Vatatzes did not live to see Constanti- 
nople in Greek hands. He died in 1254, and during the 
last fifteen years of his life he conquered Thessalonica and 
recovered most of Thrace from the Bulgarians. Nor did 
Theodore II., his son, in his reign of nearly four years, 
though an able administrator like his father, succeed in 
driving out the Latins. That achievement was reserved 
for the first prominent member of a family that played 
from this time till 1452 a leading part in the affairs of the 
Eastern Empire. VVe have already met with George 
Paleologus as commander of the garrison of Durazzo ^ in 
the war that Alexius, the first of the Comnenian Emperors, 
had to wage against Robert Guiscard : the family had 
continued to occupy a prominent position during the 
century and a half that had passed since that time. 
Michael Paleologus, the present head of the family, was 
the son of Andronicus Paleologus, by Irene, Alexius III.'s 
daughter, the elder sister of Anna, who had married 
Theodore Lascaris I. Irene had, after her first hus- 
band's death, married John Vatatzes, and her virtues 
and talents had contributed not a little to the successes of 
that Emperor's glorious reign. Michael had, therefore, 
been very near the throne ever since its removal to Nicaea, 

^ See " Early Hist, of Venice," p. 421. 
^ i. pp. 265, 266, 3rd ed. (Paris, 1826). 
* " Early Hist, of Venice," p. 213. 


and had more than once incurred the jealous suspicion of 
Theodore II., whose violent temper attacks of epilepsy 
sometimes excited, till it was beyond the control of his 
ordinarily excellent understanding. But Michael Paleo- 
logus, always cool and patient, was an adept at the soft 
answer that turns away wrath, and continued in favour 
throughout Theodore's reign, and was in high military 
employment when the Emperor's death placed John IV., 
a boy of eight, on the throne. The regent, Muzalon, was 
unpopular with the nobles and populace of the Empire, 
but Michael, instead of taking advantage of this to sup- 
plant him, had allowed him to continue in office until his 
unpopularity had brought to maturity a conspiracy against 
him. Only a few days after Theodore II.'s death 
Muzalon was assassinated in the church of the monastery 
of Sosander in Magnesia, where Theodore died and was 
buried, and Michael, supported by the army and the 
patriarch and clergy of Nicaea, was first made guardian to 
the young Emperor and despot, and, as soon as any 
danger from foreign enemies arose, was elected Emperor 
on the I St of January 1259. 

Meanwhile Baldwin II., the Latin Emperor, who eighteen 
years before had returned from the West to take possession 
of his uneasy throne, saw his dominions gradually narrow- 
ing and his treasury emptying. Few of the fendal nobles, 
whose fathers had fought under the Counts of Flanders or 
the Marquis of Montferrat, remained, and many of the 
Latin clergy had abandoned their benefices and returned 
to the West, sometimes carrying with them the sacred 
vessels and relics of their Eastern churches. Baldwin was 
related to St. Louis, and his wife was niece to Blanche, 
the King's mother, and both King and Queen had given 
him encouragement and substantial help during his long 
sojourn in the West. The France of St. Louis was wealthy, 
and coveted relics, and the Latin Emperor of Constanti- 
nople still had many precious relics left from the spoil 


taken in 1204. In particular there was the "inestimable 
pearl," the Crown of Thorns, which the Saviour, who had 
worn it as part of the shame endured for us, would surely 
wish to be reverently honoured by His subjects on earth 
" till, on His coming to judgment, He should again place 
it on His head in sight of the world assembled for 
judgment." ^ But the sale of so holy a treasure would 
have appeared a profanity to Louis : so it was agreed 
that Baldwin should present it to the King, who had 
already done so much, and would in the future do more, 
to sustain the falling Latin Church in the East. Circum- 
stances enabled the King's bounty to assume almost the 
shape of a purchase : for when his envoys — two Friars 
Preachers, one of whom had been prior of their order at 
Constantinople and could identify the Crown — with an 
envoy from Baldwin, reached Constantinople, they found 
the Crown had already been pledged to some Venetian 
citizens,^ who had advanced a large sum on its security, and 
was sealed up in a casket for despatch to Venice. The 
King's envoys accompanied the Crown to Venice, escaping 
both the storms of winter and the galleys that the Greek 
Emperor, John Vatatzes,^ sent to intercept them ; and leav- 
ing the Crown in the Treasury of St. Mark, in the keeping 
of one of their number, Friar Andrew, the other returned 
hastily to France, and came back with the money requisite 
to redeem the treasure, the Emperor Frederick II. giving 
them a safe conduct through his dominions. The Vene- 
tians were loth to part with it, but the Day of SS. Gervasius 
and Protasius,* on which the pledge was to be forfeited, 

^ See the Tract or Sermon of Walter Cornutus, Archbishop of 
Sens, "de susceptione Coronse Spinete Jesu Christi," in Bouquet, xxii. 
pp. 26 sqq. 

* See Tafel and Thomas, ii. 346-49, where details are given. The 
Commune of Venice had lent about one-third of the whole sum and 
the Abbess of St. Mary, 7; Ilepi^X^Trros, about the same. The remainder 
had come from two Venetian nobles and "certain noble Genoese." 

' " Vastachius — pessimus Zelator Imperii" (Bouquet, xxii., u.s.,Tp. 30). 

* The 19th of July. 


had not come, and they did not venture to retain it. It 
was carried to France unhurt by heat or rain, and at 
Villeneuve I'Archeveque, five leagues from Sens, was met 
by the King. Seals were compared to make sure of the 
genuineness of the relic,^ and on St. Laurence's Day, the 
loth of August, it was carried to Sens and thence to Paris, 
where after being shown to the people near the church of 
St. Antoine, in that famous suburb, and afterwards in Notre 
Dame, " the pontifical church of the blessed Virgin," it 
found a resting-place in the chapel of St. Nicolas in the 
royal palace, on the site of which was erected the chapel 
built specially for the Holy Crown by St. Louis, the 
"Sainte Chapelle" we now all know, in the Palais de 
Justice, that has succeeded the Palace of St. Louis.^ 

Besides the subsidies sent by St. Louis, Baldwin nego- 
tiated a loan from the Venetian house of Capello,^ giving 
his son Philip as a hostage for its payment. He stripped 
the copper from the domes of churches in Constantinople 
and sold it. But all these efforts were to no purpose. 
Money could not save an Empire lacking supporters and 
an Emperor lacking courage. The lands round the capital 
had passed from the feudal lords, who had mostly returned 
to Europe, to the cultivators of the soil, who were Greeks, 
as were also the farmers of the confiscated lands of the Greek 
Emperors. So when at last the Emperor Michael Paleologus 
and his able general, Alexis Strategopoulos, had overcome 
the obstinate power of Michael II., Theodore's nephew, 

^ " Consignatum vas ligneuni reseratur, apparent circa vas argenteum 
sigilla baronum," i.e. of the barons of Constantinople. "Attulerunt 
autem prajfali nuncii sigilla procerum cum litteris patentibus ad regem 
et Balduinum. Facta igitur collatione ipsorum cum sigillis quibus erat 
sacroe Coronse vas sigiiatum, iuveniunt vera esse." The seal of the 
doge had also been affixed "ad majorem certitudinem " (Bouquet, xxii., 
U.S.. p. 30). 

- See Paris sous Philippe le Bel (Geraud) in Collection de Doe ti mens 
Inidits stir I' Hist, de France {Sir. Hist. Polit., 1837, pp. 400, 401). 

* Marino Sanudo Torsello in his Istoria di Romania (Hopf's 
Chroniqiies Greco- Romanes, p. 1 1 5) says the loan was from Ca Ferro, 
" the house of Ferro," for which Capello may be a mistake. 


who was then despot of Epirus — the last hope of the Latin 
Empire — and were able to make a joint attack on the 
imperial city, they found a Greek party in its walls, 
willing to betray its Latin masters. Accident helped the 
assailants. The Venetians in Constantinople, unlike the 
Frank Crusaders, had never relaxed their hold on the city. 
Their colony still held the wharfs and landing-places on 
the Golden Horn, where they had settled under the 
Comneni.^ The Emperor Michael had allied himself with 
the Genoese against them, and a Genoese fleet was to 
arrive in 1261. To balance this, a new podesta sent from 
Venice in that year, Marco Gradenigo, brought with him 
some galleys, and Baldwin's advisers took advantage of 
this arrival to send an expedition to recover Daphnusia 
(now Sozopolis) a safe harbour in the Black Sea, near 
Bourgas, which would be useful in the probable event of 
a struggle with Genoa for the supremacy in those waters. 
This expedition stripped the city of troops, and the Greek 
partisans of the Emperor of Nicaea at once conveyed infor- 
mation of this to Strategopoulos, who was able that night 
to scale the walls and occupy the city without resistance. 
Baldwin might have held out in the palace till his allies 
cam© back from Daphnusia, but lost courage, embarked 
on a Venetian ship he found in the port, and fled to 

A guard maintained by the Venetian merchants had 
been long the most efficient part of the garrison of Con- 
stantinople, and so much of this as had not gone on the 
expedition to Daphnusia was ready and willing to defend 
the Venetian houses and wharves on the Golden Horn. 
Even when the Greek general had burned the streets in 
which Franks and Venetians lived, and forced them to 

^ See, e.g., the enumeration of places in the grant from the Venetian 
podesti in C. P. Marin Geno to the Patriarch of Grade in a.d. 1206 
(Tafel and Thomas, ii. p. 4, No. clxiv. ; Fontes rerum Austriac, abth. 
ii. bd. xiii.). 


put their women and children and movable goods on ship- 
board, they presented so formidable a front that he was glad 
to make a truce, under which their non-combatants, with 
the most portable of their possessions, were removed to 
Euboea, though not without very severe sufferings.^ 

The Latin Empire had lasted but fifty-seven years, and 
it seemed likely, so far as the royal city and the district 
round it were concerned, to leave not a rack behind. We 
have seen that the Frankish chiefs had been gradually 
quitting their fiefs and returning to the West, and that 
their places had been taken by Greek proprietors or 
farmers. The Latin Church in Romania had not been 
more flourishing ; the Roman clergy had been unwilling 
to accept the position of missionaries in the midst of a 
hostile population of obstinate schismatics. As early as 
i2o6. Innocent III. had written a long letter of instruc- 
tions to the Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, authorising 
him first, after three citations, to deprive bishops who were 
contumacious to him, or had deserted their sees in Ro- 
mania, and with less formality, priests who had absented 
themselves from their cures for an unreasonable time; 
secondly, to cumulate several sees on one bishop rather 
than to unite dioceses, where for any reason a sufficient 
number of bishops could not be found ; thirdly, for 
dioceses where all the inhabitants were Greeks, to con- 
secrate Greeks as bishops, if such could be found "de- 
voted and faithful to thee and to us " ; fourthly, to allow 
Greek priests to persist in their own ritual " as to sacrifices 
and sacraments " until the Holy See should decide on 
these questions.' 

These concessions show how warily even so uncom- 
promising an assertor of Papal supremacy as Innocent III. 
had to walk in dealing with a Church that had been 

* The account in Finlay ("Byzantine and Greek Empires, 1057- 
1453," pp. 425-28) is clear and instructive. 

" The letter is in Tafel and Thomas, ii. p. 19, No. clxx. 


" inobediens et rebellis " before the Latin conquest, and in 
which there would seem to have been more local independ- 
ence of individual churches than was in accordance with 
Papal ideas. In Cyprus, and other places, where before the 
conquest the churches had been exempt from the jurisdiction 
of Constantinople, the Latin patriarch's authority was not 
to be pressed, "lest Pisans and Venetians and other 
foreigners having churches of this kind at Constantinople 
should be provoked against the Latin Empire, who ought 
to be rather attracted by indulgence, till the Empire is 
established on a solid and immovable basis." ^ 

The reference to the Pisans and Venetians in this passage 
is not friendly, and still less friendly is a passage that fol- 
lows, ordering the patriarch to compel the Venetians to 
pay tithes to the persons and churches entitled to receive 
them at Constantinople, disregarding the custom of Venice, 
where a tenth was paid only at death on all the property 
acquired during life, so that the Church of Constantinople 
was defrauded of its rights in the case of every Venetian, 
who, after living and earning property there, returned to 
end his days at Venice. 

Three days after the date of this letter to the patriarch, 
the long-threatened censure for the diversion of the Crusade 
to Zara was launched in a letter from the Pope to the 
doge and people of the Venetians.- The censure was 
milder than might have been expected. The Venetians were 
reminded that they had turned aside the army of the Lord, 
and carried it to attack a Christian people instead of faith- 
less Saracens, that they had contemned the sentence of 
excommunication, and broken the vow of the Cross. They 
had at Constantinople plundered the treasures of churches, 
and taken forcible possession of Church property, and had 

^ " Donee illud soliditate immobili roboretur " (Tafel and Thomas, 
U.S., p. 22). 

* Tafel and Thomas, ii. p. 27, No. clxxii. It is dated 5th August 

1 6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

claimed Church offices as the hereditary right of Venetians.^ 
How could they make good to the Holy Land the loss it 
had suffered by the diversion of so vast a host, raised at 
such cost, which had shown itself strong enough to subju- 
gate Constantinople and Greece, and might as easily have 
recovered Jerusalem, and wrested Alexandria and Egypt 
from the hands of the infidel ? Though it was pleasing to 
the Pope that Constantinople returned to the obedience of 
Holy Church, he would have been better pleased if Jeru- 
salem had been replaced in the power of the people of 
Christ. And often the inflicter of a just punishment is 
displeasing to God.- But though the exposition of their 
sins is forcible, the penalty inflicted is small. The Pope 
suspends the sentence of excommunication, " which almost 
all the world thinks ought to be inflicted," waiting patiently 
for their correction. The only penalty actually inflicted 
is the withholding from the bishop elect of Zara of the 
pallium, that conferred the rank of metropolitan, a rank 
originally granted as a special favour to Venice.^ 

We can form some notion of the want of harmony be- 
tween the Holy See and the Venetians from a letter of 
January 1207, from Innocent to the Patriarch of Constan- 
tinople, that is amusing in itself, and curious, as showing 
the Pope in the character of a Rationalist.'* The Em- 
peror Henry had bestowed on the church of St. Sophia an 
icon of the blessed Virgin Mary, painted by St. Luke, that 
was venerated throughout Greece, and some relics found 
in the chapel of the Great Palace. The Venetian podestk 
claimed that the icon had been previously given to him, 

^ This refers to the stipulation that the patriarch and canons of 
St. Sophia should always be Venetians (see " Early History of Venice," 


* " Srepe placet Deo passio flagellati, quando displicet ei actio 

^ The censure is still suspended, and a nuncio is sent by the Pope to 
discuss the question of the pallium for Zara in July 1209. See the 
Pope's letter in Tafel and Thomas, ii. p. 100, No. ccviii. 

* Tafel and Thomas, ii. pp. 45-47) No. clxxviii. 


and demanded its surrender, which the patriarch refused, 
"adding ironically, that the podestil might take it, if he 
could find it in the church." The icon was in the sacrarium 
under a triple lock, one of the locks being that of the 
church door. But by the podesta's order a man was 
let down from the roof by a rope, who, not finding the 
icon, forced one of the great doors of the church, so as to 
let in a crowd of Venetians. These were told by a worth- 
less Greek (" per quendam Graeculum ") where the icon 
was, and began to break down the doors of the sacrarium. 
The narrative is given us in the second person, the Pope 
describing to the patriarch his own action : " You then, 
getting on the roof of the ala or side gallery, and looking 
down on the church robbers, inhibited them by threat of 
interdict and excommunication from carrying their purpose 
into effect, and, this not stopping them, you publicly 
and solemnly, with lighted candles, knotted the chain of 
anathema round the aforesaid podesta with all his counsel- 
lors and abettors. Notwithstanding this they broke open 
the doors of the sacrarium, and carried off the icon by 
force to the church of the Pantocrator {i.e. of God Omni- 
potent), on which you went to the Cardinal of St. Susanna, 
the Pope's legate, who confirmed your sentence, subjecting 
to interdict all the churches which are in the quarters of 
the robbers." The Pope's letter confirms the legate's 
action, but adds the singular qualification, that he does so 
only to prevent the crime of sacrilege from going un- 
punished, "although the Holy See by no means approves 
the opinion of certain Greeks, that the spirit of the blessed 
Virgin abides in the said image, on which account they 
perhaps pay it undue veneration, and detests as unlawful 
the agreement entered into for sharing the relics taken in 
the city." ^ 

The unfortunate Patriarch of Constantinople, Thomas 

' I have referred to the Pope's scruples on this subject in my " Early 
History of Venice," p. 413. 


1 8 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Morosini, was in a position that deserves the sympathy of 
the most hard-hearted. While he was denounced by a 
grave Greek historian as better fed than a fatted pig, 
and ridiculed for his smooth-shaven chin, his gloves of 
leather and tight-fitting sleeves,^ he was between hammer 
and anvil in the matter of the Venetian claims to all the 
ecclesiastical patronage in the Latin Church of Constanti- 
nople. Innocent sent him a letter censuring him for having 
sworn to institute no one to a canonry of St. Sophia who 
was not a Venetian by birth or beneficed for ten years in 
the Church of Venice, and ordering him peremptorily to 
abjure. We have the patriarch's reply in a letter to the 
Pope, written by three Latin bishops of sees in the neigh- 
bourhood of Constantinople ; in this letter the bishops 
quote verbatim a speech the patriarch had made at a 
conference of clergy called at Constantinople to consider 
the Pope's letter. The speech told a cruel story of per- 
secution. When he was returning from Rome to his 
patriarchate he had to pass through Venice, where he 
found, as soon as he touched the shore, a tumultuous 
crowd of the common people, led by a son of the doge 
and some counsellors,- waiting for him. A rumour had 
gone before him that he had the Pope's orders to 
administer his patronage in Romania without regard to 
nationality, and the Venetians held, truly enough, that this 
was an infringement of their rights under the agreement at 
the time of the partition of the Empire, which provided 
that, if the Emperor was a Frank, the patriarch and the 
canons should always be Venetians. They tried to induce 
Morosini to swear he would appoint none but Venetians, 

1 Nicetas's language is violent : IV-ero €k Beverlas irarpidpx'rjs Kuvarav- 
Tivov TToXews Qoofidaios tis Scoria, ttjv fxev i]\LKLa.v fj.eaos ri-jv 5^ (j to /xariK 7)1/ 
■w\a.(jLV \aKKeinov avbs evrpacpforepos' rjf S^ Kal XeTo? ti'PV to tov TrpocwTrov 
^5a<poi, K.T.\ (p. S54 Bonn, £>e Si'o-n/s Constantinopolita7iis). In Con- 
stantinople in the thirteenth century, as here in the twentieth, novelties 
in vesture or ritual aroused more animosity than those in doctrine or 

^ i.e. Members of the Lesser Council and of the Signoria. 


and when he refused this, said he should not have a passage 
to Constantinople or stir out of the city. And there was 
worse to come; for creditors to whom he had sworn to 
repay a loan while in Venice, when they found that he was 
to be detained in Venice, would allow him no delay, and he 
could find no one who would lend him money to pay off 
the debt. He says that he feared that some Venetians, 
who were ready to start for Constantinople, would lay 
hands upon the funds in the treasury of St. Sophia, on 
which he and the clergy of his Church depended for their 
daily bread. In this strait he admits that, by the advice of 
the wisest friends he could find, he took the oath the 
Venetians required of him, but inserted a clause saving 
his obedience to the Apostolic See and the oath he had 
made to Innocent, and also any special order the Pope 
or his successors might send to him. Notwithstanding this 
careful hedging about of his oath, he professed his willing- 
ness to abjure it, and did so there and then, laying his 
hands on the book ; he proceeded also to admit to their 
stalls in the choir all the canons desired by the Pope, one 
of them being Blasius, a priest of Piacenza.^ 

The claims of the Venetians to Church patronage in 
Romania gave trouble to the Papal Court again in 1 2 1 1 . 
We have a letter of Innocent III. dated in August of that 
year to the chapter of St. Sophia and the heads {prcelati) 
of the conventual churches in Constantinople. The 
Pope appears to have issued some instructions to the 
chapter as to their action in view of a probable vacancy of 
the see. The patriarch was then grievously ill in Thessa- 
lonica,2 and the chapter had met to discuss what they 
should do in anticipation of his death, but had adjourned 
forithree days on account of the absence of some members 
of their body. At the end of the three days they found 

' Tafel and Thomas, ii. pp. IOI-I07, No. ccix. 
'•^ He died at Thessalonia about June 121 1 {Epist. Iniioc. III., xiv 
97 ; Le Quien, iii. 799). 


a mob of Venetians in the church, in arms, irreverently 
crowding into the stalls or round the altar, threatening 
loudly to murder and mutilate all who opposed the election 
of a Venetian. The Venetian party in the chapter, while 
the rest of that body were still waiting outside, nominated 
the dean, a Venetian, the excluded members being able to 
do nothing but sign, in the presence of witnesses, their 
appeal to the Pope, and choose three names ^ to submit to 
him, with a request that he would select one of them. The 
Pope's reply from which our knowledge of these facts is 
derived, refused to recognise the irregular election or to 
select a patriarch himself, and bade the chapter meet again 
and, with the aid of the Holy Spirit invoked, begin the 
proceedings de novor 

But this did not settle the difficulty, and just a year 
afterwards, on the 17th August 12 12, Innocent had the 
matter again before him. A double election had taken 
place, or rather one candidate had been elected, but the 
supporters of another alleged that the election had been 
by a minority, and called upon ("postulated") the Pope to 
declare their candidate to be lawful patriarch. The facts 
are not very clear to us, and appear to show that there was 
much confusion in the regulations of the Latin Church of 
Romania. The rival parties were not agreed as to who 
were the electors, or whether absent electors could vote by 
their proctors, or without formally appointing proctors, or 
whether the canons of St. Sophia and the prcepositi and 
prcelati of certain other churches stood on the same footing. 
The point that is most interesting to a historian of Venice 
is that both candidates were Venetians : the elected can- 
didate the plebanus or parish priest of St. Paul ^ in Venice, 

^ One of the names selected was that of Sicardus, Bishop of Cremona, 
the author of the Chronicle printed in the seventh volume of Muratori's 
R. I. S. 

* Tafel and Thomas, ii. p. 127, No. ccxxvii. 

^ Not, of course, the great Dominican church of Santi Giovanni e 
Paolo, which was not then founded, but the church known as San 
Polo, between the Frari and the Rialto Bridge. 


his rival the Archbishop of Heraclea on the Propontis. 
The supporters of the latter asserted that they had chosen 
a Venetian " to avoid offence " ] no doubt they feared a 
rising of the Venetian mob in the capital if the new patri- 
arch had not been a Venetian : but they contended for 
the admission of a larger electing body than their opponents 
allowed, on the ground that the constitution of their Church 
had increased the number of electors to thwart the designs 
of those who wished to make God's sanctuary a hereditary 
estate ; apparently wishing, by adopting the Pope's language 
as to the Venetian compact, to suggest that he should 
reject both candidates and choose one who was not a 
Venetian. Each party alleged that the candidate of the 
other party was unworthy, the supporters of the Venetian 
priest saying that the archbishop was immoral and illiterate, 
those of the archbishop that the priest had been ordained 
sub-deacon so recently that the canons must have believed, 
when they elected him, that he was only in minor orders 
and so ineligible. As to their own candidate they asserted 
that he was " etsi non eminenter, competenter literatus,''^ and 
that, if his opponents were right as to his immorality — 
and it appears that a son " in monachatu genifus " was 
known in Constantinople — a long subsequent course of 
virtue had atoned for it. The archbishop was supported 
by the Emperor Henry, by the suffragan bishops, and by 
the desires of the people.' 

The Pope did not decide the dispute in Rome : but 
sent Maximus, his notary, to go first to Venice to inquire 
into the past record of each candidate, and then to go on 
to Constantinople to report as to the character of the 
several electors and the conduct of the election. He had 
large powers to choose either candidate or reject both, and 

^ The name of the Archbishop of Heraclea is not given by any con- 
temporary writer, but Paolo Ramnusio, the sixteenth-century historian 
of the Fourth Crusade, calls him Fantinus {dc Deliciis Italicis, lib. iv., 
quoted by Le Quien, Oriens Christ., iii. col. 966). 

22 VENICE IN THE 13th &: 14th CENTURIES 

refer the decision, either by agreement of the parties or of 
his own authority, to the Apostolic See.^ We learn from a 
subsequent letter that Maximus held an inquiry at Venice, 
but was unable to get a passage from thence to Con- 
stantinople; on which the Pope committed the remaining 
part of the inquiry to the Cardinal Bishop of Albano, his 
legate at Constantinople.^ The legate was not able to 
reconcile the opposing parties, and we learn from a con- 
temporary annalist, the monk Godfrey, that in 12 15, when 
the fourth Lateran Council was sitting, the Archbishop of 
Heraclea and the priest of San Polo arrived at Rome, both 
claiming to be recognised as lawful patriarch. Innocent 
laid the matter before the Council, by which the claims of 
both were rejected and a third candidate chosen. We do 
not know for certain the name of this candidate, some 
authorities calling him Gervasius and others Everardus ; 
but it seems certain he was not a Venetian : Alberic of Trois 
Fontaines, a contemporary, says that he came from Tuscany.^ 
In 1220 the see was again vacant, and the electors, not 
being able to agree, asked Honorius III. to nominate a 
patriarch, and he chose one Matthew or Matthias, who 
was a Venetian and had been Bishop of Equilium * in the 
Lagoons. Of this patriarch we know that he crowned the 
Emperor Robert in the year 1221. The Pope may have 
chosen a Venetian to avoid trouble with the Venetians at 
Constantinople ; but this object does not seem to have 
been attained, as in the next year the Pope had to take 
the patriarch to task, upbraiding him in scriptural language 
with showing himself a hireling and not a shepherd, caring 

^ Tafel and Thomas, ii. p. 150, No. ccxxxiv. 

^ Ibid., ii. p. 173, No. ccxxxix. 

^ See Le Quien, Oricns Clu-isttanits, iii. col. 799 sqq., with the 
authorities there quoted. The passage of Alberic referred to in 
the text is to be found under the year 1227 at p. 919 of Pertz, SS., 
vol. xxiii. 

* Some of our authorities call him Bishop of Aquila, but there is no 
doubt that Aquilanus is a mistake for Equilinus (see Le Quien, iii. 


more for the milk and the wool of his sheep than for 
reclaiming those who strayed and supporting the weak ; 
seldom celebrating mass, communicating with those whom 
the Pope's legate had excommunicated, and " entering into 
unlawful agreements with the Venetians against other 
nations." I presume that the last words reveal the true 
ground of the Pope's censure, and that the patriarch had 
endeavoured to gratify the Venetian clergy of his diocese 
by reviving the old rule that Venetians only should receive 
preferment in his Church. Or it may refer to a fact which 
we learn from Dandolo's Chronicle,^ that Matthew at the 
request of the Patriarch of Grado consented to the churches 
of Venetians in Romania being exempt from the jurisdiction 
of Constantinople, as they had been in the time of the Greek 
emperors, an arrangement that would have contributed more 
to the ease of the patriarch than to the good discipline of 
his Church. 

It is not improbable that Simon, the Archbishop of Tyre, 
who was chosen by the Pope in 1227 to succeed Matthew, 
was a Venetian,^ but hardly anything is known of him. He 
was succeeded in 1234 by Nicolas, who had been Bishop 
of Spoleto. Nicolas fell on troublous times, and in 1236 
Pope Gregory IX. had to appeal to the Latin bishops of 
the Morea to come to the relief of the necessities of the 
patriarch, who " from the fortune of war and the wickedness 
of the Greeks had lost nearly all his rents and other 
property, and had expended what was left to him in the 
defence of the Empire of Romania, so that there was not 
left to him sufficient to maintain himself." We do not 
know what response was made to the Pope's appeal ; but 
in 1245 the Patriarch Nicolas, who two years before had 
been made Innocent IV.'s legate in the Crusading army, 

1 X. iv. 34; Mur., xii. col. 342. 

* Spondanus, Bishop of Pamiers, a seventeenth-century continuer of 
Baronius, says that all the Latin Patriarchs of Constantinople were 
Venetians ; but this is not strictly true, as we have seen. 


was himself present at the Council of Lyons, and there set 
forth the calamities of his Church, whose suffragan bishops 
had been reduced from thirty to three. He died in 1251 
at Milan. 

His successor, Pantaleone Giustiniani, who lived to see 
the Greek re-conquest of his city, was certainly a Venetian 
patrician, and Innocent IV., by whom he was chosen (he 
had been one of the Pope's chaplains) went out of his way 
to celebrate the constant devotion of the Venetian people 
to the Apostolic See, " from their obedience to which 
nothing had been able to tear them away, whatever flood 
had beaten upon the foundation of the Catholic faith." ^ 
The shortness of the Pope's memory for the backslidings 
of the Venetians of the Fourth Crusade must no doubt be 
ascribed to his hope to stir up their successors to take the 
Cross and contribute their wealth for another Crusade. 
The patriarch was authorised to show them an example 
by mortgaging the property of his Church for 1000 marks, 
but we may doubt whether the security would have found 
favour in the eyes of Venetian money-lenders. 

Alexander IV., the next Pope, again appealed to the 
bishops and abbots of Romania to provide a yearly income 
of 500 marks of silver for the patriarch : and the Franciscan 
friars, who had already become a power in the Church, were 
commissioned to preach through East and West the duty of 
coming to the rescue of the Latin Church in the East. 
But all was in vain, and in 1261 the patriarch Giustiniani 
fled with the Emperor Baldwin from Constantinople ^ and 
took refuge in Italy. Giustiniani lived till 1286, but seems 
never to have returned to the East. On his death, one 
Peter, of whom nothing is known, was elected by the 
dispersed canons ; he lived partly at Venice, partly at 
Negropont till 1301. His successor was elected by one 

^ The Pope's letter is cited in Le Quien, Oriens Christ., iii. col. 808, 
and in Tafel and Thomas, ii. 482 sq. 

* Dandolo, apied Murat. R. I. S., xii. 369. 


canon, the only survivor of the chapter. After him the right 
of election was taken, by Boniface VIII., into the hands of 
the Pope. The succession has been kept up to the present 
day, both of patriarchs and other Oriental bishops, but 
since the hope of restoring the authority of the Roman 
Church in lands inhabited by Christians of the Eastern 
Church or by Mohammedans has faded away, these digni- 
taries have been treated as bishops " in partibus infi- 
delium" and have been generally employed as coadjutor 
Bishops in dioceses of the West. ^ 

We find in other documents in the great collection of 
Tafel and Thomas, evidences of the position of independence 
enjoyed in the Latin Empire of Constantinople by the 
doge and his podesta. In 121 7 the Emperor Peter and 
his wife Yolande, on the eve of their departure from Italy 
on the expedition against Theodore of Epirus that proved 
fatal to the Emperor, confirm to the doge, as ruler 
" quartcB partis et dimidicc " of the Empire of Romania, the 
treaty of partition and all other agreements made by their 
predecessors Baldwin and Henry, and by Boniface of 
Montferrat with Enrico Dandolo, " bone memorie inclito 
viro" and with Marino Geno the podesta.- Their rights 
under the partition included, it was specially provided, 
the possession of three-eighths of the city as well as of the 
rest of the Empire,^ and they were thus, in their factories 
on the Golden Horn, no longer privileged guests, but 
sovereign owners. The privileges they had formerly ob- 
tained by treaty with the Comneni, they now stipulated 
for with other powers in the Levant, with Theodore Lascar 
for example, and with the Seljukian Soldan at Iconium. 
In 1 2 19 Jacopo Teupulo (or Tiepolo), the doge's podestti in 
Constantinople, made a treaty for five years with Theodore 

^ See Le Quien, Oriens Ckr., iii. col. 792. Many particulars as to 
titular patriarchs of Constantinople after Giustiniani's death are given 
by Ducange, Hist, de Constantinople, ii. pp. 157-60 (ed. Buchon). 

^ Tafel and Thomas, ii. pp. 194, 195, No. ccli. 

' " Dedenz ia cite et defors" (Villeh. p. 136). 


Lascar, " Emperor faithful to God in Christ and Governor 
of the Romans, and ever Augustus " : in this treaty trading 
privileges, protection of shipwrecked sailors, and of the 
goods of merchants dying in the Emperor's dominions are 
promised in similar words to those of so many treaties 
before the conquest, while the Emperor promises not to 
send galleys or corsairs ^ to ConstantinopoUtan waters 
without the Venetians' consent, and either party promises 
not to coin money of the same form as the coinage of the 
other."^ In 1220 the same podesta makes a treaty with the 
Soldan of Turkey {i.e. of Iconium), Ala-eddin Kaikobad, 
stipulating for the protection of Venetian merchants and 
travellers in Syria and other parts of the Soldan's do- 

It is interesting to note in the first of these documents 
how the practical mind of the Venetian governor does 
not scruple to sign a treaty of commerce with Theodore 
Lascar, in which the latter calls himself Emperor of the 
Romans, although the Latin Emperor set up by the 
Venetians themselves claimed the exclusive right to that 
title. Such matters of ceremony were not to be weighed 
for a moment against the all-important questions of the 
security of Venetian merchants trading in foreign lands. 
The Venetians, like other Christians of that day, thought 
much of the duty of recovering the Holy Sepulchre from 
the hands of the infidels, and of restoring the Greek 
Church to the obedience of the older Rome. But ques- 
tions of trade interested their patriotism towards their own 
city, as we can now see that they also concerned the 

^ " Currentia ligiiaP 

* Tafel and Thomas, ii. 205-7, No. cclii. With reference to the last 
provision, there is reason to believe that the Latin Emperors had not, 
or did not exercise, the power of coining any money of gold or silver. 
Only bronze coins dating from the Latin Empire are found : those of 
higher value that were in use were either old Byzantine coins or 
Venetian ducats (De Saulcy, Niunism. dcs Croisades, pp. 120 sqq.). 

^ Tafel and Thomas, ii. pp. 221-25, No. cclviii. ; Heyd, i. 302 
(Fr. trans.). 


interests of the world present and future, which must not 
be deprived, for reasons of policy or sentiment, of its 
natural right to rectify, by free exchange of commodities, 
the hard condition, imposed, as Virgil says, at the time of 
Deucalion's flood, that different lands should produce 
different fruits. Any general admission that such a right 
as this existed, was far indeed from the thoughts of the men 
of the early thirteenth century : but the Venetians, acting 
on an instinctive belief in it, held on a consistent course 
through good report and evil report. At the time of the 
Fourth Crusade, and for some time afterwards, it was evil 
report : they were censured by Popes, and probably 
blamed by the general opinion of the Christian world, for 
taking Constantinople instead of Jerusalem, and for making 
treaties of commerce with unbelievers. In the next century, 
a great Venetian merchant and statesman, Marino Sanudo 
the elder, in his famous treatise, Secreta Fideliuni Cruets, 
sketched out a plan by which the interests of this world 
and the next might be reconciled, the Holy Sepulchre 
might be recovered, and Venice obtain the control of the 
trade with India and China. He and his contemporaries 
clearly saw that Egypt was the head and centre of Mussul- 
man power, and that her strength came from the wealth 
that the Indian trade poured into her lap ; and he pro- 
posed an elaborate system (in default of the conquest of 
Egypt by Venice, which he looked on as the best solution 
of the problem) for destroying the wealth of Egypt by 
diverting the Indian trade to Syria and Greece; a system 
of prohibitory duties and blockades, that a recent French 
writer has aptly compared to Napoleon's scheme of a 
dlocus continental against England. Had Sanudo's designs 
been reduced to practice, they would probably have failed, 
as did Napoleon's ; for the routes taken by trade are deter- 
mined by natural laws, and it is difficult or impossible, in 
the long run, for any government to stop an exchange 
of goods that is greatly to the advantage of both buyer 


and seller. But Sanudo's treatise remains to show us 
how a Venetian of the beginning of the fourteenth century 
anticipated one of the most characteristic of the Idees 
Napoleoniennes, and how it was possible for a religious 
Venetian of that age to combine the Crusading spirit with 
a zeal for extending the trade of his city, modifying the 
former to something quite different from what it was to 
Innocent III., so that it might not interfere with, but 
rather subserve, the latter.^ 

^ The Sccreta Fideliiim Crucis has been printed only once, so far as 
I know, in Bongar's Gesta Dei per Francos, torn. ii. The French 
writer referred to in the text is M. St. Marc Girardin in a brilliant 
paper on "Z« On'gines de la Question d' Orient'" in Rev. des deux 
Alondes for ist May 1864. There is an interesting tract by H. Simons- 
feld on the Secreta Fidelium Crucis [Studien zu Marino Sanudo detn 
dlteren, Hanover, 1880). See also Arch. Ven., xx. 401. 




It was not to be expected that, when the Greek Emperors 
returned to Constantinople from Nicaea, they should be as 
friendly with Venice as their predecessors before the Latin 
conquest. Under Michael Paleologus and his successors 
Genoa, not Venice, was the greatest of the Italian republics 
in Levantine waters. Of this change, and the wars between 
Venice and Genoa, to which it led, I shall have much to 
say soon. In the present chapter I have to deal with 
the early relations between Genoa and the Eastern Empire. 
Genoese ships were not a new phenomenon in Syria or 
on the Bosporus ; they had taken part in the capture 
of Jerusalem by Godfrey of Bouillon, and had won settle- 
ments in the Syrian ports. From these they traded with 
Constantinople, and as early as 1155, when Manuel 
Comnenus was reigning there, his envoy, Demetrius Mac- 
ropolites, had come to Genoa, and in the church of 
St. Lawrence had signed a convention with the Genoese 
consuls. In return for the promise of the consuls not to 
injure Manuel's cities or lands unless it were necessary in 
defence of their own settlements in Syria, Demetrius pro- 
mised the Genoese a factory ^ and landing-place in Con- 
stantinople, with all the trading privileges that the Pisans 

^ " Embolus" seems properly to mean a street lined with arcades, 
but it was extended so as to comprehend the area occupied by such a 
street or bazaar and the houses round it. See Heyd, i. pp. 248, 249, 
and the authorities referred to in his note 2. esp. Ducange, C. P. 
Christiana, i. 109 sqq. 


already enjoyed there. ^ What these were we know from 
a charter of Isaac Angelus of later date (a.d. 1192), in 
which he confirmed treaties made by Alexius and Manuel 
Comnenus, granting the Pisans a factory and dwelling- 
houses and two churches (one of which they themselves 
had built) ; two landing-places, one in the district of Icana- 
tissa, which we hear of frequently in documents connected 
with the Venetian colony, and, in addition, partial exemption 
from import duties.- Manuel promised the Genoese lands, 
houses, and privileges such as he and his predecessor had 
granted to the Pisans ; but the fulfilment of this promise 
was, we are told, long delayed.^ In 11 74, the time at 
which Manuel's quarrel with Venice was at its worst, a 
Genoese of the famous family of Grimaldi was sent to 
Constantinople to demand the fulfilment of this and other 
promises ; we have the instructions given him by the con- 
suls and his oath to execute them faithfully ;■* but no result 
appears to have followed till October 11 78, when a treaty 
was made by Amico da Morta, another ambassador from 
Genoa : by this the Emperor promised to the Genoese a 
factory, landing-place, and church beyond Constantinople 
in the place called Orcu,^ in a good and pleasant situation. 

^ " Embolum et scalas cum commercio et omni iure in eis perti- 
nentibus sicuti Pisani habent " (see the document in Sauli, Colonia 
Genovese in Galata, ii. p. 181). Caffaro, Ann. Jan., sub anno 1155 
(p. 42 of vol. i. of ed. of Caffaro and his Continuers in Fotiti per la 
Storia d' Italia), sajs they were granted "■' rjiant et fimdicum et ecclesiam 
in C.P., et per tota/n terratn suam coiitercium diinitiutum de deceno in 
uiceno qiiintc" i.e. a diminution of import duties from lo to 4 per cent. 

^ i^Kova<sfla.v KOfj.fj.epKiov, i.e. I presume '^ excitsationem commercii." 
For the meaning of " commercium " see "Early History of Venice," 
p. 221, n. I. 

•* Heyd (i. 204) thinks that from 11 57 to 1162 the Genoese had a 
trading settlement in Constantinople, but that in the latter year it was 
destroyed and some of its inhabitants massacred by the Pisans. See 
Caffaro, Ann. Jan., i. pp. 67, ''8 ri.s. 

■* These are given in No. III. of Documenti in Appendix to Sauli, 
Col. Genov., ii., pp. 183-88. The instructions are dated a year later 
than the oath, but this is probably merely a clerical error. 

* "Embolum et scalam et ecclesiam ultra Constantinopolim in loco 
qui dicitur orcu in loco bono et placabili." The place Orcu has not been 
identified. (Sauli, Col. Genov., ii. p. 192 ; see also Heyd, i. 205.) 


I ■ Cfljlt' m«i«o iow. tienc W tcsorp ci 
z'Pprta dcicaihllo- '^ronTurcO' 
■^' Senna Andrea- ^ 

5 ■ Mmivatro ■ 

b 'Valaxp dc Coficmitno mpcrado*- 

y^'Soria coJ\mMiha- 

S • Vorta dufiumc ■ 

5)' '£ofrtadcfchmtcp; 

loCarcdt hcscatotf 

f I ■tcrta dcEa fan'na ■ z i . "Vci^o 

iT^foi'tcidcnc^c.scafie' ^zz ■Santa ^(etre • 

1 4 ^arta aefijale ■ l»oj n ucr jmrjig- z4 ■ScraaUo dvuc Intaka cl fi 

1. 1 Scrta hona MlariiM- zS'Tcnnu- 

10 Ayscnalc ■zSSairtodemitri'' 

■ ^ ' 1^1^ ^■^'"'^ ■ , Z8 •Santa ofterma- 

l^'^allc da cauaUl. ^a Coiiseo (Ufbh-itj. 

T-O.^atriartbaiv -^o , Colciutu jfforiaia 


The " I'alazzo de Costantino imperador" (No. 6 in Index) is the Pala 

' ' Porta del f 


3t' Cata dc (namT^rt 

3z ■ Scraglia uccdtio ■ 

3 J • Wx:nfc dl ufiOHtiiiO ' 

■ii^ Santa tomato ■ 


3&'Pia'^ cohtifta' 

■37'Baiav'ip ntendc dtufiantPK 

J9 ■ U masare d* junnetitt' 

4^ ■\so\c dete firinalic habltatc da 
421 Turchia ■ turchi ■ 

43 Santo hclcna' 

j^ ^anro galaumi ' , 

45" Chiranude cinatror^' jl'armata' 
4^ Vouc fid la mqggior fa^c del- 
■4-7 ■Sehulture d' ccrci- 
48 ^oria do ■/? antertic 
4^ .torta ajmcofk' 
5 Vorta ,r u\iara • 

St'~Perta dalle [tombardc 
Sz^'Borxi d'acfntadolce- 
sZ'hombardc dc pcra^ 
S4V.//C dc aoWcilft • 
^i Santa "^encranaa' , 
SbScftulittfc dcTurcnt' 

JrtVcrtcfw* (^'wtcffM de\iaCo\6na' 

n'ANTINOPLE, 1567 

f Blachernas, often mentioned in the text. 'I'he Tower of Anenia was near the 
e" (No. 8 in Index). 

P- 3°- 


Manuel had, probably at the same time, proposed to remove 
the Pisans from their original quarters on the south side of 
the Golden Horn to the farther side opposite the capital ; ^ 
but had withdrawn this proposal on their remonstrance, 
and allowed them to stay in the capital itself. The Pisan 
and Genoese settlements were near together, but not con- 
terminous, for in 1 201 the Genoese consuls instructed their 
ambassador to obtain an extension of their embolus and 
scalag so as to touch those of Pisa.^ In October 1202 their 
request was granted, Isaac making over to Ottobono Dela- 
croza {i.e. della Croce) an enlarged site very minutely 
described, with a second landing-place, in the city.^ Two 
years after this came the Fourth Crusade, in which the 
Genoese took no part ; but, on the contrary, their country- 
men in Constantinople, with the Pisans, fought bravely in 
the defence of the walls.* They do not seem to have been 
disturbed by the Latin Emperors ; but the Venetians had 
now, as we have seen, become a chief power in the capital, 
and the relations between them and the Genoese were far 
from friendly, though not openly hostile. The Venetian 
maritime power, firmly seated on the Bosporus and the 
Sea of Marmora, could control the navigation of the Black 
Sea, with its numerous Greek cities, through which some 
part of the trade with India and China had always passed. 
Before the conquest the Greek Emperors had had to com- 
plain of acts of piracy committed in the Levant by Genoese 

^ iv TOij iripav /lepe^iv dvTLKpv ttjs MeyaXoirdXeoos. The Greek charter 
is printed in Miklosich und Miiller, Ac^a et Diplomat Grceca, iii. pp. 3- 
24. It contains a most elaborate description of the land and buildings 
granted near the gate of the dockyard and that of Icanatissa. 

^ Sauli, ti.s., ii. 195 sqq. The Pisan and Genoese settlements, as 
well as those of Venetians and Amalfitans, were between the Galata 
Bridge and the Seraglio Point. The Genoese was the most easterly, 
the Venetians most westerly (Van Millingen, " Byzantine Const.," 
p. 219). The Venetians after the Latin conquest had also a settlement 
at the head of the Golden Horn, near the Blacherni\> Palace (Ileyd, i. 
p. 28s). 

* Miklosich und Miiller, iii. 49 sqq. 

* " Early History," pp. m, 378. 


pirates. In 1 192 certain Genoese ships had made a descent 
on Rhodes under a treacherous pretence of friendship, and 
plundered and slaughtered the peaceful subjects of the 
Emperor Isaac ; the same pirates had cut off some Venetian 
ships coming from Palestine and Egypt with ambassadors 
of Isaac and of " the most noble Sultan of Egypt, Saladin," 
on board, had killed the ambassadors and Roman and 
Syrian merchants whom they found in the ships, and carried 
off the Arab horses, the mules, and the wild animals for 
the Emperor's preserves or menageries which the Sultan of 
Egypt was sending to Isaac. ^ The government at Con- 
stantinople endeavoured to use Genoese captains of ships 
to find out and punish corsairs from their own country : at 
other times they offered to take the corsairs themselves into 
their service.- 

It is probable that the difference between a merchant 
and a pirate in Levantine waters was often slight. The 
jealousy between Genoa and Venice showed itself in 
actual hostilities between individual ship captains. Thus, 
after the conquest, we read of relics stolen from a Venetian 
ship coming from Constantinople, by the Genoese Dondalio 
Bo Fornaro ; of Genoese sailors, with the permission of 
their government, helping Count Arrigo of Malta in 

1 We have two documents, Nos. VI. and VII. in vol. iii. of Miklosich 
und Miiller, pp. 37-40 and 40-46, describing the outrage. At p. 38 
the words are rd irapa rov ^aXaxarivov aroKivTa ttJ ^aaiXeigi /jlov (pdpid 
T€ Kai fxovXdpia Kal &\\oia iwa KvvqyiTLKo., at p. 41 rQv Trpos tt)v ^aai- 
\eiav ixov aroKlvrwv (papLwv Kal dWuv dypuLv re Kal ridaaaevfiivuv ^tLwv. 
The first of these documents is the Emperor's remonstrance to the 
consuls and other rulers of Genoa ; the second his acceptance of the 
security given by Genoa against any renewal of the outrage, and his 
consent to leave ihe colony and its privileges untouched. The list of 
the Sultan's presents is instructive : besides the (papia or Arab horses 
there is mentioned |i XaXowv, ^aKaaixe'Ka.iov, d/xTrapdruv, ^XaTriwy, ceXoxa- 
"Xlvctiv xpvcrwv /xerd Xidaploiv Kal fxapyaptrapliov. ^vXaXdr; is, I presume, 
the " lign-aloe" of Balaam ; it seems to have been used for perfume or 
incense. " Oil of balsam " was used " m conficiendo sacro Chrisniate " 
(Ducaiige, Gloss. Grcec, s.v.) ; d/jLirdpara would be "ornaments of 
amber," /JXamd " purple silks," cfXoxdXiva "saddles and bridles." 

'^ Miklosich und Miiller, iii. p. 48, 

GENOA AND VENICE (1217-19) 33 

fomenting a Cretan rebellion against Venice; of the 
Venetians hanging at Corfu Leone Ventrano, a Genoese 
whom they caught in the act of helping Count Arrigo 
against them.^ 

An interesting light is thrown on the relations between 
Venice and Genoa during the Latin Empire by an agree- 
ment for a peace of four years, made by the Doge Pietro 
Ziani with an ambassador of the podestk and commune 
of Genoa. This is dated by the editors of the great 
collection of documents relating to Venetian trade with 
the Levant as belonging to the years 1217-19.2 The 
agreement is expressly said to apply to Genoese subjects 
and Venetians abroad as well as at home, and by it the 
doge covenants that Genoese subjects in the Empire of 
Romania should be in the same position as in the time of 
the Emperor Alexius — i.e., before the conquest — with the 
same right to trade and paying the same duties. In a part 
of Romania — " quaria parte et dz/nidia" — the doge had 
succeeded to the sovereign right of Alexius, and in virtue 
of these could grant to the Genoese privileges in matters 
of trade or litigation. The agreement, besides fixing the 
import duties to be paid on Genoese goods, has some 
curious provisions as to Venetian criminals {^^ raptores seu 
raubatores ") caught by the Genoese. If they had movable 
goods these could be seized by the Genoese Government to 
compensate the aggrieved party ; if immovable property 
between Grado and Capo d'Argine {i.e. in what was after- 
wards called the Dogado), the doge would pay the penalty 

1 See Sauli, Col. Gen. in Gal., i. pp. 47, 48. Of Leone Ventrano (or 
Vetrano) and Count Arrigo [alias Enrico Pescatore) I have spoken in 
" Early History of Venice," pp. 423, 425, 426. 

^ Tafel and Thomas, ii. pp. 197-205. The heads of this peace 
agreed to at Parma are also given under date of nth May 12 18 in 
Lib. Jur. Reip. Gen., i. 609 [Hist. Pat. Mon.). These provide for a 
peace of ten years. At pp. 815-20 of the same volume we have the 
heads of a peace made in May 1228, when the former expired, to last 
for four years from the following Michaelmas. The contents of the 
two documents are substantially the same. 



incurred up to the estimated value of such property and 
reimburse the State by confiscating the property. If the 
offender did not appear, or if he escaped from arrest into 
Venetian territory, the doge would give him up " in the 
city of Cremona or elsewhere by agreement," Cremona being 
chosen, I presume, as half-way between Genoa and Venice. 
This treaty does not specially refer to any Genoese 
colony in the capital itself, and, though the evidence is a 
little conflicting on this point, ^ it seems probable that, at 
the beginning of the Latin Empire, when Venice was so 
powerful there, her rival was excluded from her old 
quarters. We know that, at this time or somewhat later, 
Genoa was extending her commercial relations with the 
Empire of Thessalonica that Boniface had founded as a 
rival to the Latin Empire of Romania. We hear of them 
both at Thessalonica itself, and at Thebes, where Guy de 
la Roche, lord of Athens, a vassal of Boniface, encouraged 
the silk manufacture. In this manufacture Genoese mer- 
chants were engaged, as we learn from a provision in the 
privilege granted them by de la Roche, who stipulated that 
their exemption from custom dues should not apply to 
silks from their own factories, so as to enable them to 
undersell the Greek manufacturers.^ 

1 De Simoni {Giorn. Ligttst.^ 1874, p. 143) found in the archives of 
Genoa a grant from the Emperor Baldwin to the Genoese in 1204 (the 
year of the Latin conquest) of a site in Constantinople which they had 
held in the time of the Comneni ''^ tibi molendina sunt et remi fiunt." 
This was no doubt the site in Coparia (from kwiti], " an oar ") which is 
mentioned in other passages (e.^. Miklosich und Mliller, iii. 6). It 
was in the Neorion, the vaXala e^dpTrjais (van Millingen, p. 221). But 
there is some doubt whether the grant was to Genoa or to Pisa. Pisa 
was after the conquest generally in alliance with Venice against Genoa. 
See Ogerii Panis, Ann. Jan., s.a., 120 ) (p. 103 of vol. ii. of Caffaro in 
Fonti per la Storia d' Italia). 

- Heyd, i. 293. It seems that there had been also Venetian silk 
factories at Thebes. A Genoese ambassador to Constantinople is in- 
structed to get from the Emperor the privilege of trading in panni di 
seta apiid Stivam sicut Veneti soliti erant. "Stiva" for Thebes is 
parallel to Stamboul and Espigas (de Simoni in Giorti. Ligust, 1874, 
p. 156). 


When Michael Paleologus' forces were gradually closing 
in upon the Latins in Constantinople, and in 1261 were 
besieging the castle of Galata, which at that time seems to 
have been held by the Venetians, an embassy from Genoa 
came to him, with whom he made a treaty undertaking to 
grant to Genoa the palace and Church in Constantinople 
that the Venetians had had and the city of Smyrna, and to 
allow to the Genoese and Pisans, and to no other Latins, 
free navigation in the Black Sea in addition to the usual 
exemptions from duties, in return for the promise of Genoa 
to furnish a number of ships of war, the captains and crews 
of which were to be paid by the Emperor.^ The treaty is 
an epoch in the history of Genoese trade with the Levant, 
marking the point at which Genoa took the leading position 
at Constantinople, which had till then been held by Venice. 

Nicephorus Gregoras says that the concession of trading 
privileges to Genoa at the time of the restoration of the 
Greek Empire was in consideration of promised help in the 
reconquest, which was never actually given. It was believed 
in Italy that Genoese aid had counted for much in the 
recovery of the city, as we find in a passage of the 
Florentine chronicler, Giovanni Villani.^ It was natural 
to think this in view of the favour shown to them by 
Michael Paleologus, and that there was some foundation 
for it we may infer even from the passage in which 
Nicephorus denies it. He says that the Emperor found 
after the expulsion of the Latins a mixed multitude of 

^ Murat., K. I. S., vi. p. 528; Sauli, i. p. 60. The treaty can be 
best read in Lib. Jut:, i. pp. 1350 sqq. {Hist. Patr. Moniiin.). 
The Emperor grants lands and privileges in tliose cities he already 
possesses, and in Constantinople and others "which by the mercy of 
God he may acquire." Smyrna is apparently granted in fee — '■'jure 
proprieiatis et dominii cufn pletia jurisdictione mera et tnisia . . . 
videlicet totum ilhid qitod pe7-tinet imperatorie tnaiestati.'" The 
Emperor will not allow " ire negotiatn7?i intra tnajtis vtare aliijjiem 
latinuni nisi januenses et pisanos," and those importing " pecuniaf/i sen 
res nostri vestiarii." 

* See the passage, lib. vi. c 71 in Murat., R. I. S., xiii. 202. Sauli 
quotes this as from Matteo Villani. 


artisans and small tradesmen,^ Venetians or Pisans, left 
behind in numbers large enough to be dangerous, and 
thought it would not conduce to peace or safety to settle 
side by side with them in the city the Genoese to whom 
he had promised exemption from duties if they helped him 
to recover the city, a promise that he now fulfilled, although 
he had got possession of the city without their aid." So 
he set apart for them the place known as Galata, over 
against the city across the Golden Horn.^ A concession 
evidently made with so much reluctance is not likely to 
have been gratuitous. This was the beginning of the 
famous Genoese colony at Galata, that played so important 
a part in the subsequent history of the Greek Empire. 

It was no doubt as difficult to keep the peace between 
the sailors of the Italian republics whose ships were 
constantly passing through the Hellespont or Bosporus in 
pursuit of more or less legitimate commerce, sometimes 
not easily distinguishable from piracy, as it was three 
centuries later to keep the peace between English and 
Spaniards in the Spanish Main. The Black Sea was less 
under the control of a regular government than the Straits 
or the Propontis ; and it was lined with Greek cities, full 
of Greek or foreign merchants, having in their hands some 
of the trade with India and China and all of that with 
Russia and the Baltic. We read in Pachymeres how the 
Emperor Michael gave one Manuel, the son of Zacharias, a 
Genoese nobleman, a concession to work the alum mines 
in the mountains east of Phocoea in Asia Minor, and in 
order to give him a monopoly, forbade the export of alum 
from the Euxine. This interfered with the trade of the 
Genoese at home and of their colonies on the Bosporus, both 
of whom had been engaged in this export, but the colonists 

1 XeipiiivaKTiKbv Kal dyopais a.<JXo\ovix€Vov nXrjOos (Nic. Greg., i. p. 97). 

^ 6 5t) Kol wi-K\-fipwKe vvv Kal Tavra Sixa rrjs a<pQ)v ^orjOelas yevdfitvos 
aiirris iyKpaTTjs (Nic. Greg., iv. p. 5 ; i. p. 97 Bonn). 

^ avTiiripav irepl rbv tov raXctrou rbivov airovifxn xwpiov eh otKrjaiv 
(Nic. Greg., at sup.). 


found it advisable to submit to the Emperor's orders. 
Genoese ships, however, continued the trade, sailed 
through the Straits without the usual salutes to the 
Emperor's palace, and by their bold seamanship kept afloat 
through the winter in the Euxine and plundered the Greek 
merchantmen they fell in with, waiting to carry off their 
spoil till a north wind blew strong enough to carry them 
through the Bosporus, and past the mouth of the Golden 
Horn, in defiance of the Greek ships at watch there to 
waylay them.^ 

The Genoese pirate would have found not only Greek 
merchantmen in the Euxine, but Venetians also. One of 
the chief entrepots for the trade of the Far East was 
Soldaia or Sogdaia, now Novo-Shudak, on the south-east 
coast of the Crimea. There Syrian and Mesopotamian 
traders from Trebisond and Turkish merchants from Sinope 
brought silks, cottons, and spices to exchange for the furs 
of Russia, for which there was a great demand in the 
Mussulman world. This trade became more active when 
the Tartars in the first half of the thirteenth century con- 
quered the Crimea. In 1260 Mafifio and Nicolb Polo of 
Venice landed there with jewels for the Khan of the 
Kiptchak Tartars, and there, twenty years later, Marco, 
their brother, uncle of a more celebrated namesake, Marco, 
son of the above Nicolb, had a house that he left by his 
will, subject to a life interest in his son and daughter, to 
the Franciscan convent in the town, an interesting evidence 
of the ubiquity of that order less than a century after its 
founder's retirement from the world. ^ 

^ Pachymeres, i. pp. 420 sqq. His amusing account of the stratagem 
by which the Emperor caught one of these pirate-ships is hardly 
credible. See Heyd, i. 438, as to the concession to Manuel Zaccaria. 
Phoccea is called in Sauli {Col. Gen. in Gal.) " Foglie Vecchie." Its 
commercial importance was due to these beds of alum, which was 
much used in dying silk or wool (Heyd, ii. 570). 

* Heyd, i. 298-300. The will can be read in Cicogna, Inscriz. 
Venez. iii. 489 sqq. He describes himself there as " Marcus Paulo 
quondam de Costajitinopoli." His son Nicolas was, at the date of the 
will (a.d. 1280), residing in Soldaia. 


Venetian merchants were also engaged in the export of 
wheat from Bulgaria, and had a treaty right to carry it 
through the dominions of the Greek Emperor ; but now 
that Venice was out of favour at Constantinople, the 
Government there kept her merchants strictly to the letter 
of their treaty, and would not allow them to sell their wheat 
in Greek markets.^ In other ways the Venetians were made 
to feel their changed position since the reconquest. Their 
representative was no longer podesta, as he had been under 
the Latin Emperors, but bailo (MTratouAos, equal to Bajulus, 
as Mttd/owv for Byron) ; the higher title of podesta, Grecised as 
k^ova-KKn-qs, was reserved for the Genoese ofificer. The bailo 
was not invited to the imperial table on the great religious fes- 
tivals, as the Genoese podesta was, and though he went every 
Sunday to the Emperor's court he was not treated as of 
the first rank. Though his dignity was less, his duties were 
not less onerous, for he was bound to be the champion of 
his countrymen throughout the Empire, an unpopular race, 
whom every petty official could venture to oppress, so that 
the bailo was constantly employed in remonstrating against 
injustice or infringement of treaty rights.- The Venetian 
colony occupied still its old home on the south shore of 
the Golden Horn, but probably straitened in extent by the 
enlargement of the great palace that adjoined it, and by 
some additional fortifications built, near what is now the 
Seraglio Point, after the return of the Greek Emperor.^ 

But though, on the Bosporus, the star of Venice was 
no longer in the ascendant, there were many parts of the 
old Eastern Empire where the Lion of St. Mark still held 
his own. Negropont and Crete became important Vene- 
tian outposts, commanding the navigation of the ^gean 
Sea and the important trade with Egypt. In the original 
treaty of partition, Negropont had been part of the share 
of Venice ; but from her inability to take possession of all 

1 Heyd, i. 467. ^ lb., i. 464. 

^ Paspates, ^v^avrtval ^leX^rat, pp. 208, 209. 














^— ^ 














her dominions at once, it had been left derelict, and an 
interloper had stepped in, in the person of Jacques d'Avesnes, 
a Flemish knight, who had followed Boniface of Montferrat 
in his march southwards into North and Central Greece. 
From 1204 till 1207 Boniface, as Emperor of Thessalonica, 
exercised supreme authority in Greece north of the Isthmus 
of Corinth.^ Jacques d'Avesnes did not stay in the island, 
but, after accepting the surrender of the castle of Negro- 
pont, passed on to the Morea, leaving his conquest to the 
Marquis Boniface, who set up a feudal organisation in 
three baronies under Terzieri.^ One of these was Ravano 
dalle Carceri of Verona, whose brother Henry was Bishop 
of Mantua. After Boniface's death in 1207 Ravano, in 
order to escape from the strict rule of the Emperor Henry, 
placed the island under Venice. We can read in Tafel 
and Thomas^ the formal privilegium by which another 
brother of Ravano, Rodondello, with his uncle and one 
of his vassals, promise on behalf of Ravano that he will 
become the doge's faithful subject, having the same friends 
and enemies with him; that he will pay every year 2100 
gold hyperpera with a gold-edged robe of samite ■* for the 
doge, and an altar-cloth for St. Mark's Church ; that he will 
grant the Venetians a church and a warehouse and exemp- 
tion from customs, and that he will have laudes in honour 
of the Doge sung at the great festivals in the Cathedral of 
Negropont.^ Lawsuits affecting Venetians are to be tried 

^ Hopf, Gesch. Griechenlands, in Ersch und Gruber, 85, p. 207. 

- The baronies were Oreus in the north, Carystus in the south, and 
Chalcis or Egripus, called sometimes Terziero di Verona, in the centre. 
Egripus was a corruption of Euripus, the ancient name of the strait ; 
it was further corrupted into Negripo, which the Italians made signi- 
ficant as Negroponte, or in Latin Niger Pons, and this Italian name 
has superseded Euboea as the name of the whole island (L. Ross, 
Wanderungen in Griechenland, ii. pp. 29, 112). Ross found remains of 
the castle near the bridge from the mainland, with the Lion of St. Mark 
and Venetian coats of arms carved on the walls. 

" ii. p. 89 sqq. No. cciv. 

■* '■'■ Examitum aitro iextum." 

^ For "laudes" see " Early History of Venice," pp. 182, 183. 


by Venetian judges, whose sentences they promise that 
Ravano will enforce. In the same collection ^ we have 
another deed of the year 1216, by which Pietro Barbo, the 
Bailo of Negropont appointed under the doge's seal, grants 
one-third of the island to the wife and daughter of Ravano, 
who no doubt had died in the interval, another third to 
the sons of Rodondello, Ravano's brother, and the re- 
maining third to two other Veronese gentlemen. The 
bailo reserves to the Venetian Government certain churches 
and houses with a campus or piazza in Negropont. There 
he himself lived, and governed the Venetian colony with 
the assistance of two counsellors ; ^ whenever a new owner 
came into possession of one of the baronies, he required 
investiture from the bailo, and did homage to him as the 
representative of the doge. But the Republic was not the 
only feudal superior of the Terzieri : they were also vassals 
of the Prince of Morea, Geoffrey or Godfrey de Ville- 
hardouin, nephew of the great Marshal of Champagne, 
who, as we have seen,^ had received the greater part of the 
Peloponnese as a fief from Boniface. This division of 
authority was probably due to the fact that Ravano's 
daughter and heiress, Carintana, had married William Ville- 
hardouin, the younger son of Godfrey, who succeeded on 
the death of an elder brother in 1245. The Princes of 
the Morea or Achaia were powerful people, not likely to 
acquiesce in the government of a distant Republic, and it 
is not surprising to find that in 1256 the tribute of 2100 
hyperpera had been commuted into a customs duty {comer- 
cliuni) payable by foreign merchants, but not by Vene- 
tians or by the representatives of the dalle Carceri. We 
learn this from letters patent issued in that year by Narzoto 

^ ii. pp. 175 sqq., No. ccxli. 

" The deeds in Tafel and Thomas, iii. 1-12, are dated " z « viajori 
domo comttnis Venccic, que condain fait domini Ravani de Carceribus 
de Verona." Ravano's dwelling-house had become the Government 

^ " Early History ofVenice," p. 422. 


dalle Carceri, dated from Thebes, in which he promises 
Marco Gradonico, the Bailo of Negropont, to make war 
upon the Prince of Achaia.^ War, in fact, broke out in 
that year between Venice and the prince, in consequence 
of the claim of the prince, on the death of his wife, to the 
barony of Oreos, the northern third of Negropont. The 
lords of the two other baronies, Veronese adventurers, 
resisted William's claim, and undertook to make war 
upon the Prince of Achaia. Upon this William entered 
Negropont, summoned the recalcitrant Terzieri before 
him to his castle of Orobiae or Rupo, at the northern 
end of the Euripus, and imprisoned them there. Their 
wives and kinsmen in the island appealed to the Venetian 
bailo, Paolo Gradenigo, for vengeance, and Venice was not 
unwilling to take up their cause. It was not only sympathy 
for the oppressed that moved her. The Principality of 
Achaia, under William and his predecessor Godfrey II., 
had grown wealthy and powerful, and its conquest of the 
pirate-nest of Monembasia, which had been held till 1249 
by Greeks friendly to the Emperors at Nicsea, had put the 
prince in a position to exercise sea-power in the Eastern 
Mediterranean. That was sure to excite jealousy in Venice: 
whatever was the fate of the Latin Empire and Latin 
Church in Constantinople, the main object of Venice was 
naval and commercial supremacy in the Eastern Medi- 
terranean. The Prince of Achaia had been for some time 
aiming at the same object, and now the dispute as to the 
succession in Oreos threatened the hold of Venice upon 
Negropont, one of her two chief strongholds in the Levant. 
The Prince of Achaia, in the feebleness of the later I^atin 
Empire, had acquired a certain authority over Southern 
Greece and the ^gean, in which, however, Guy, the Lord 
or Megaskur of Athens, only reluctantly acquiesced. Otto, 

^ ^' Item protnittimns fcuere vivam guerram contra Principem 
AchaicE et coadiutores suos per nos et nostras heredes in perpetuum^^ 
(Tafel and Thomas, iii. 13-16). 


the father of Guy, a Burgundian baron from La Roche 
sur Ougnon in Franche Comte, had taken a consider- 
able part in the Fourth Crusade, and been a principal 
adherent of the Marquis of Montferrat.^ Guy became 
lord when Otto returned to France in 1225; he was 
lord not only of Athens, but of Thebes, and Argos 
and Nauplia, and had some claims to Negropont ; he 
resided mostly at Thebes, in the Cadmea, a lieutenant 
or bailo of his own family occupying the Acropolis of 
Athens ; at Thebes there had arisen, as we have seen,- a 
flourishing manufacture of silk, in connection with which 
Guy in 1 240 made a treaty with a Genoese colony established 
there under a consul at a time when they were excluded by 
Venetian influence from the rest of Romania.' This was 
another reason for Venice interfering in the dispute about 

Guy de la Roche, after some hesitation, decided to take 
the side of Venice against the Prince of Achaia, and there 
were other malcontents on the mainland. But at first the 
prince's army under Godfrey de Bruyeres, Lord of Karytena,* 
in Arcadia, a preux chevalier among the barons of the 
Peloponnese, overran the island and took possession of 
the capital, Negropont, which the Venetian fleet could not 
till 1258 reduce to submission. The Venetians on their part 
won a victory in Euboea over the feudal array of the 

^ For " Othes" de la Roche see Villeh. (ed. Wailly), 152, 284, 450, 
669, 681-82 ; Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, pp. 275, 276. 

In Buchon {Nouvelles Recherches Hist., vol. i. pt. i, pp. Ixxxiv. sqq.) 
is a " Genealogie de la Maison de la Roche." See also Schmitt's 
Introduction to the "Chronicle of the Morea" (Methuen, 1904), 
pp. Ixxxviii.-ix. 

* Ante, p. 34. 

^ Hopf, U.S., p. 276. 

* Karytena or Karitena is in the upper valley of the Alpheus, from 
fifteen to twenty miles above Olympia. Godfrey was married to a 
daughter of Guy de la Roche. For Godfrey (or Geoffrey) and his 
home, Karitena, see Mr. H. F. Tozer's very instructive paper on the 
Franks in the Peloponnese ("Journal of Hellenic Studies," iv. pp. 


Prince of Achaia, the foot-soldiers from the ^ lagoons 
using great iron hooks ^ to pull down from their horses 
the Morean knights, whom St. Louis had seen in 
Cyprus, and had longed to have fighting in his ranks 
in Palestine instead of the Pullani or Syrian half-castes. 
Marino Sanudo the elder, the author of the Secreta 
Fidelium Cruds, whose history of Romania, that Hopf 
found in a MS. of the Library of St. Mark and in- 
cluded in his Chroniques Greco- Romanes, is the most 
nearly contemporary account of these events that has 
come down to us, had seen and talked to many of these 
knights when prisoners at Venice. 

The war spread from the island to the mainland, when 
the Lord of Athens took up arms against the Prince of 
Achaia. The prince invaded Attica, and at the same time 
Guy de la Roche attacked and occupied Corinth, but in 
advancing through the passes of Megara, near Mount 
Karydi,^ suffered so complete a defeat that he had to shut 
himself up in his castle at Thebes, where the barons of 
Achaia induced him to surrender on condition that their 
feudal assembly should decide as to his punishment. The 
prince charged him with defiance of his feudal lord, and 
pressed for the forfeiture of his fief. The strict feudal 
customs of the Assize of Jerusalem had been made the law 
of the Latin Empire and its dependencies, but it was not 
quite clear whether Guy, who in respect of a few only of 
his possessions was William's vassal, had incurred for- 
feiture, and the barons, some of whom were no doubt his 

' " Ranipigoni." M. Sanudo in Hopf, C/?r(7«. Grdco-Ro7}ianes,\). 105. 

* Sanudo's words are, " al passo del Moscro detto Cariddi.'" Cariddi 
is the Italian form of Charybdis, and one is tempted to read " Mostro," 
" the pass of the monster called Charybdis." But Charybdis seems 
never to have been localised elsewhere than in the Straits of Messina. 
The " Scironian rocks," which are very likely the pass referred to, 
were connected with the legend of a robber Sciron : and the neigh- 
bourhood of Megara was associated with the legend of Scylla, daughter 
of Nisus, a namesake of the sea monster of the rock opposite Charybdis, 
and sometimes confounded with her. 


kinsmen or friends, declared themselves incompetent to 
decide on his punishment. It is a curious illustration of 
the position of what Pope Honorius III. called the Nova 
Francia in the East that the barons suggested that the case 
of the Lord of Athens should be referred to the King of 
France. St. Louis, not only as the Mirror of Chivalry but 
as lord paramount over the French at home or abroad, was 
to decide whether Guy de la Roche should forfeit his fiefs. 
Prince William, who had known St. Louis in Cyprus in 
1249, acquiesced in the reference; and Guy, in March 
1259, sailed for Brindisi on his way to France to answer 
the charges against him. These were preferred not only 
by the prince against a rebellious vassal, but by " pilgrims 
and merchants " against the sovereign of the corsairs of 
Nauplia, whose depredations had long afflicted the Levant. 
He was detained at Paris for the investigation of those 
charges till events we shall soon come to recalled him to 

Prince William in 1259 married as his third wife a 
daughter of Michael, Prince of Epirus, the head of that 
illegitimate branch of the Comneni which, as we have seen, 
seemed likely at one time to anticipate the representatives 
of the Nica3an dynasty in the reconquest of Constantinople. 
At the date of this marriage the Latin Empire of Constanti- 
nople was on the eve of falling. Michael Paleologus, who 
had just accomplished his usurpation of the throne of the 
Lascars, and Alexius Strategopoulos were closing round 
the capital, while Georgius Acropolita, the historian, as 
representative of the Nic^ean Government, was without 
much success opposing the Despot of Epirus. Another 
daughter of the latter had lately become the wife of 
Manfred, King of Apulia, the Emperor Frederic II. 's 
bastard son, and both sons-in-law were called upon to aid 

^ Marino Sanudo Torsello, fol. 3 r in Hopf's Chron. Grt'co- Romanes, 
pp. 105, 106; Hopf, Gesch. Griech., in Ersch und Gruber, 85, pp. 
279 sq. 


the despot against Paleologus. Manfred sent four hundred 
German horsemen, while Villehardouin led in person the 
flower of his steel-clad knights, whom St. Louis had so 
highly valued. Both contingents succeeded in joining the 
despot at Kastoria, in Western Macedonia, but were com- 
pletely defeated in an engagement with John Comnenus, 
the Sebastocrator, Michael Paleologus' half-brother.^ The 
Prince of Achaia was taken prisoner, brought before 
Michael Paleologus at Lampsacus, and offered a free 
return to France and money to purchase lands there in 
place of those he had unjustly taken in Greece. He refused 
this offer as dishonourable, and stayed in prison'nearly two 
years. During these two years the Latin Empire fell, and 
Baldwin IL fled to Negropont, conveyed thither on a 
Venetian ship belonging to the Pesaro family, and was 
entertained with great honour by the Terzieri, who, in 
alliance with Venice, were now governing the island. He 
went on to Athens and Thebes, where he had an equally 
loyal welcome from Guy de la Roche, who had lately 
returned from France, in compliance with the demand of 
the barons that he should be Bailo or Regent of Achaia 
during the Prince's captivity. He came back cleared of 
all the charges against him, and with the title of Duke of 
Athens in place of that of Grand Sire or Megaskur. His 

1 The battle was fought at Pelagonia in October 1259 (Hopf in Ersch 
und Gruber, 85, p. 283). Sanudo, who gives the Sebastocrator the 
name of" Sevasto Cratora," speaks of him as a kinsman of Villehar- 
douin. He speculates as to Villehardouin's object in marching to the 
North, and suggests he may have wished either to punish the Venetians 
in Constantinople for their opposition to him in Negropont, or to give 
a helping hand to the falling Latin Empire. Ducange is the authority 
for calling the Sebastocrator a half-brother of Michael Paleologus ; but 
from the same writer's Faniiliic Byzantince, p. 210, I think it is clear 
that he was Johannes Angelus Ducas Comnenus, a natural son of 
Michael II., Despot of Epirus, and brother-in-law of Villehardouin. 
He was Sebastocrator of Great Vlachia and Neopatras, a local officer, 
and has been confused with Michael Paleologus' half-brother Con- 
stantinus Paleologus (Ducange, F. B., p. 232), who held the court 
office of Sebastocrator, the next in dignity after that of Basileus, whom 
I mention on p. 46. See a subsequent note on p. 265, n. 3. 


first act as regent was to make peace between the Princi- 
pality and Venice. Lorenzo Tiepolo, a Venetian, who, as 
sharing the lordship of two islands in the ^gean (Scyros 
and Scopelos) with one of the Ghisi family, was also a 
vassal of Villehardouin, negotiated the terms of peace, 
which were on the whole favourable to the prince, as they 
left him still feudal superior to the Terzieri of Negropont, 
whom Venice had claimed as her subjects exclusively. 
Venice was to have only the same position she had had in 
the lifetime of Carintana; her old trading quarters were 
restored to her, and the customs on goods coming into the 
Euripus either from north or south ; the fort of Negropont 
was to be destroyed, but any buildings the Terzieri might 
put up on the site were to be subject to a right of pre- 
emption by Venice. 

The Venetians were not pleased with the result of the 
war, and blamed the Bailo Gradenigo for having provoked 
it. Future baili were instructed to have no dealings in 
fiefs in the island, and above all, not to sequestrate lands 
in it for the Republic. In face of the revival of Byzantine 
energy under the Paleologi, while the Sebastocrator Con- 
stantine Paleologus, the Emperor's brother, was using the 
fortresses in the Morea, that had been surrendered to the 
Emperor as the price of Prince William's release from 
captivity, as a basis for the recovery of the rest of the 
peninsula, it behoved all the Latins in the East to hold 
together : " the questions of the continued existence of 
Frankish dominion in Greece and of Venetian hegemony 
on the Mediterranean resolved themselves into one." ^ 
The Bailo of the Republic at Negropont, the Duke of 
Athens, and the Prince of Achaia at Lacedaemon, Kala- 
mata, or Andravida, kept up the last remains of the 

* Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, p. 286. The three fortresses given 
up to the Byzantines were Monembasia (Malvoisie), Misithra, and 
Maina, all in Laconia. The treaty with Venice is in Tafel and 
Thomas, iii. pp. 51-55, and also in Hopf's Chroniques Grico- Romanes .^ 
p. no. 


Western power planted in the Levant by the leaders of 
the Fourth Crusade. 

Venice had, however, a second stronghold in the Levant, 
which was not so closely involved with the varying destinies 
of Constantinople. Crete, sold to her in 1204 by Boniface 
of Montferrat,^ and wrested in the next few years from 
Count Enrico of Malta and the Genoese, did not form 
part of the Latin Empire of Rouraania. It was in 1212 
made the subject of a systematic attempt at colonisation. 
The doge and his council ceded, by a document that can 
be read in Tafel and Thomas,- all the lands in the island, 
except a tract on the north coast near the capital and 
another round the fort of Temeno, which were reserved 
by the Government of the Republic, to volunteers from the 
six Sestieri of the city; a sixth part of the island being 
allotted, it would appear, to each Sestiere, so that the 
colonists would find themselves in a new home named 
after their old home, and surrounded by neighbours who 
had been their neighbours in Venice.^ It is evidence of 
the energy of the Venetians of that day that, though the 
Republic had only for a few years held but one point in 
Crete (Spinalonga in the district of Mirabello), the Govern- 
ment was ready to undertake the task of dividing the whole 
island, and the colonists that of conquering and holding 
fast their allotments. The lands were divided into knights' 
fees, granted to nobles, and Serjeants' fees, granted to 
burgesses ; the latter each one-sixth of the former in size. 
The knights' fees were much more numerous than the 
Serjeants', which would seem to show, as is indeed pro- 
bable from all the other evidence, that the impulse towards 

^ See " Early History of Venice," p. 419, note I. 

* ii. 129-136, No. ccxxix. 

^ Thus the Sestiere Sti. Apostoli had the east of the island, Sithia, 
Girapetra (Hierapetra), Lassithi, and Castel Mirabello; that of San 
Marco the south-west, Pediada, Castel Belvedere ; that of Sta. Croce, 
the Mesarea or interior of the island (Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, 
p. 241). 


emigration and conquest was stronger among the nobles 
than among the commons. The whole were under a 
governor called the duke, who provided them with houses 
in the capital, and homesteads for their horses or cattle in 
the country districts. These were their property, and 
could be sold, but only to Venetians, and with the doge's 
consent. Each knight was bound for himself and his 
heirs to maintain the island for Venice, and for this object 
to keep one war-horse for himself and two other horses 
for his two squires,^ and a hauberk and complete suit of 
armour : ^ each serjeant was to be armed " sicut convenit." 
For four years the colony was to be free from tribute, 
afterwards to pay 500 hyperpera every September. The 
duke, who represented the Venetian Government, and 
generally held his office for two years, was assisted or 
controlled by two counsellors representing the doge, and 
a greater and lesser council selected from the colonists, 
besides avvogadori, giudici, earner litighi, &c., all instituted 
on the model of Venice.^ Giacomo Tiepolo, the first duke, 
was so much harassed by risings of the Greeks against the 
Venetian Government, that he had to appeal for help to 
Marco Sanudo, a Venetian noble and merchant, nephew 
of the Doge Enrico Dandolo, who had received from the 
Latin Emperor a grant of the Dodecannesos, or Cyclades, 
as a fief of Romania, and had established himself firmly in 
Naxos,^ where he had built a strong castle that still exists, 

^ In some of the grants it was stipulated that the squires should not 
be Greeks. 

"* " Eqjnim uniifn de annis et alias diias eqtiitatm-as et scutiferos duos 
— obergiim aut pancerhirn vel capironeni et alia arina." Yox obergum 
(" hauberk ") see Diez, s.\. usbergo. Capiro is equivalent to Caparo 
{q.v. apiid Ducange), and is commonly the chaperon or hood of 
monks or friars, but we find '^ capiro ferre its" in Rolandini's "Chro- 
nicle of Padua." Paticerittin is the German Panzer. 

^ Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, p. 312. 

* The name of Naxos was apparently obsolete at this time ; Marino 
Sanudo calls the island Nicosa : Lorenzo de Monacis, a chronicler of the 
fifteenth century, calls it Nixia. Lorenzo says of Marco Sanudo and 
others like him : " Excitantur animi aliquorum nobilium Venetortim, 


and a town on the sea-coast favourably situated for trade 
with Venice and Constantinople.^ He answered Tiepolo's 
summons with great alacrity : but Tiepolo soon had reason 
to regret that he had called in a powerful and unscrupulous 
ally. When a dispute arose about the lands and castles 
Sanudo was to receive as a reward for his services, he 
made common cause with the Greek insurgents and the 
Count of Malta, and the Venetian garrison in Candia was 
so hard pressed that Tiepolo had to escape to Rettimo in 
woman's clothes. Sanudo seems to have nourished the 
ambition of adding Crete to his island dominion, and 
becoming a king : but Venetian reinforcements arrived at 
Kallilimenia (the Fair Haven of St. Paul) just in time, 
and Tiepolo was put in possession of forces that the Duke 
of the Cyclades did not venture to meet. He had to 
evacuate the island, not without some money compensa- 
tion for his trouble, and the Venetian Duke, Paolo Quirini, 
who succeeded Tiepolo in 12 16, was left to try conclusions 
with his Greek subjects. The Greeks who, 250 years 
before, had under Nicephorus Phocas, the general of 
Romanus H., and afterwards himself Emperor, wrested 
Crete from the Saracens, had left a hardy and warlike 
progeny to hold their conquest, and these Greek immi- 
grants, the Archontes as they are generally called, were 
now the leaders of the resistance to Venice. The family 
of Hagiostephanites were the most famous of them : and 
others named Scordili and Melissini constantly appear in 
our history. The island abounded in what Lorenzo de 
Monacis calls " difficult valleys and impervious places 
between them," - in which the light-armed natives were 
no doubt more at home than Venetian horsemen could 
be. The raiding of cattle or horses, both by Venetian 

Lotnba7-dorum et aitonaji Italorum, ad iuvadatduni oppida et insulas 
ohm subjectas imperio pmdiclo, qnce sine 7-egimine fltictuabant " (p. 143, 
ed. of Flam. Cornelius, 1758). 

1 Finlay, " Mediaeval Greece and Trebizond," p. 326. 

^ De Monacis, ut supra, p. 154. 



castellans and by Greek Archontes, went on constantly, as 
in the Highlands of Scotland in the time of Rob Roy. 
When the deadly feuds arising from these raids blazed up 
into armed rebellion, the duke had to send expeditions 
into the valleys. One of these under Pietro Tonisto and 
Giovanni Gritti, sent to quell a rising in the country west 
of the scala or landing-place of Milopotamo, was surprised 
in the mountains of Psicro by a multitude of Greeks, who 
killed Gritti and many other Venetian nobles. 

Shortly after this, in 1 2 1 9, the Duke Domenico Delfino had 
to purchase peace by granting certain knights' fees {caval- 
larice) to Greeks in the neighbourhood of the river Mussela.^ 
This looks like a well-meaning attempt to enlist the native 
inhabitants on the side of good order ; but it did not 
succeed, for, when Giovanni Storlato was duke (1228- 
1230), the prevalence of disorder obliged him to call in the 
Duke of the ^gean again, and to allow him to build a 
fort at Suda on the north coast : on which the Greek rebels 
offered the island to the Emperor of Nicjea, John Vatatzes, 
who sent his Megaducha with thirty-three ships to take it. 
But Storlato was able to resist so successfully, though 
deserted by Sanudo — who, our authorities say, was bribed 
by the Greeks to return to his islands — that the Megaducha 
could not maintain his ground : and, on his voyage back to 
Constantinople, he was lost with all but three of his ships in 
a storm he met with offCerigo.- Some of Vatatzes' troops, 
however, remained on the island, under one Gregorios 
Lopardas, and entrenched themselves in a fort called San 
Nicolo, and would not accept the offer of Angelo Gradenigo, 

1 De Monacis says: "a Jiumine AIitsselcB versus occidentem." 
Hopf {11. s., p. 312) says this river (which he calls Musella) was in 
the west of the island. The treaty granting these fees is in Tafel and 
Thomas, ii. 210-13, No. cclv. 

2 Our authorities, Lorenzo de Monacis (p. 156), followed by Flaminio 
Cornaro [Creia Sacra, ii. p. 263), call the Duke of the Twelve Islands 
Marco Sanudo, but Marco was dead in 1227, and the reigning duke at 
this time was his son Angelo. 


who was duke in 1234, to grant them a safe conduct to 
Anatolia. It was not till 1236, when Stefano Giustiniani 
had succeeded to the dukedom, which he held for the 
unusually long period of five years, that the Nicaean 
troops finally evacuated the island. But so long as Vatatzes 
lived, a renewed invasion was always probable, and in 1252 
a new colony from Venice was settled on lands near Punta 
di Spata, partly divided into knights' or Serjeants' fees, 
partly reserved for the Republic. This settlement was 
the origin of the new town of Canea, the second capital 
after Candia, and now the most important town of 

This was only nine years before Michael Paleologus re- 
covered Constantinople. The Greek Emperors at Nicsea 
were growing in power ; in 1250 Theodore Contostephanos, 
an admiral serving John Vatatzes, then near the end of his 
long and prosperous reign, had taken Rhodes from the 
Genoese, who, aided by some of Villehardouin's feudal levies 
from the Morea, had conquered it from the family of Leo 
Gabalas, an adventurer who, in the anarchy that followed 
the Crusaders' capture of Constantinople, had set up an 
almost independent dominion there, and called himself 
Lord of Rhodes and the Cyclades. Rhodes was a fertile 
island, and had long been enriched by trade, and the 
conquest of so important a place at their doors could not 
but threaten the Venetians in Crete. In 1264 the Doge 
Renier Geno wrote to Pope Urban IV. that Crete was 
overrun by Greek troops, and the subjects of the republic 
hard pressed. He spoke of the island as that on which all 
the strength of the Empire of Romania (that is, of Latin 
dominion in the East) rested.^ And the Republic never 
relaxed its efforts to retain so important a possession. 
Every rebellion, whether of Greek Archontes or of Venetian 
colonists was put down by the dukes sent there. The 

* Tafel and Thomas, iii, 56-59; Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, 
P- 314. 


colonists were conciliated with so much success that they 
were loyal to Venice for a century. The Greeks were 
driven into the mountains in the east of the island. If 
Venice could hold the seaports, the main use of Crete as 
a stepping-stone on the way to Egypt was secured to 



Before following the fortunes of the Venetian dominion 
in the Levant through the period that followed the re- 
conquest of Constantinople by the Greeks, it will be well 
to trace the domestic events of the city in the lagoons 
during the fifty-seven years that the Latin Empire lasted, 
and the part that Venice took in the troubled affairs of 
Italy. For this part of my task the main authority is the 
Chronicle of Andrea Dandolo, which is, however, very far 
from confining itself to Venetian history, but ranges over 
the general history of the world, especially of Palestine, of 
Constantinople and Greece, and of Cyprus. 

Pietro Ziani, the doge who succeeded Enrico Dandolo 
in 1205, was a son of the famous Doge Sebastiano Ziani, 
who had taken so prominent a part in reconciling Frederic 
Barbarossa and Pope Alexander IIL in 11 78. In those 
days Pietro had been captain of a galley under his father, 
and is said to have fought for the Pope in the very prob- 
lematical engagement at Salvore in Istria in 1177, ^^^ to 
have afterwards commanded the six galleys that escorted 
the Emperor from Ravenna to Chioggia in the following 
year. The family was old and rich : an ancestor was said 
to have found a golden cow in a cellar at Altino, a relic of 
ancient heathendom, and the wealth of the house of Ziani 
had passed into a proverb.^ Pietro is said to have sailed 
in the Venetian fleet that took Zara and Constantinople, 
but he appears, at the date of Dandolo's death, to have 

* " L'haver da ca Ziani" (Cicogna, /scr., iv. 5'^.2, n. l). 

54 VENICE IN THE 13th &: 14th CENTURIES 

been count of the island of Arbe, and also one of the 
six counsellors of the doge : and the Altino Chronicle, 
which for this time is a document of high authority, 
tells us that he was one of those called together by 
Renier Dandolo, the vice-doge, when the news of his 
father's death reached Venice, that they might summon all 
the citizens from Capo d'Argine to Grado to choose the 
board of forty to whom the constitution committed the 
election of a doge.^ The chronicler goes on to say that 
forty ^^ snpicntes ei kgales viri^' were chosen, who by the 
grace of God came in one short hour to an almost unani- 
mous decision, which was hailed and even anticipated by 
the popular feeling, so that when one Peter was put forward 
by his brother electors to announce their choice, a shout 
was raised by the people, " This election will fall from 
Peter on Peter." - 

The new doge was welcome to the Church for his piety 
and his care for the clergy, and to all for his munificence : 
he was beUeved often to spend his nights in prayer, he had 
been zealous in providing for the promotion of poor de- 
serving priests to better cures, and he had taken particular 
pleasure in relieving the distress of impoverished nobles. 
His intellectual powers must have been great, if it is true, 
as we read in Cicogna, that on one occasion he gave audi- 
ence to five deputations from Lombardy, and twenty-two 
from the March of Ancona in succession, appearing to 
sleep while listening to them, but at the end answering 
them, one by one, without confusion or obscurity.^ 

^ Hist. Duciini Vencf., apud Pertz, SS., xiv. p. 94. For the high 
value of this part of the Altino Chron. see pp. 3 and 4 of Simonsfeld's 
Introduction in this %'olumc of Pertz, and a longer discussion in Simons- 
feld's Venet. Studicn, pp. 131 sqq. 

^ " Statim, antequam loqueretitr, vox de popiilo facta est : ' De Petro 
in Pelriim ibit clectio ista ' " (H. D. V., u.s., p. 95). 

■* Cicogna, Iscriz. Ven., iv. 538. For his measures for relieving the 
poor clergy see GalliccioUi, Memorie Vencte, iv. 355 ; Romanin, ii. 
p. 194. The original authority for all these anecdotes is the Hist. 
Ducuni Vencticoruni in book vi. of the Altino Chronicle (pp. 197, 198 


Besides the constant disputes with Genoa to which I 
have had occasion to refer in the last chapters, Pietro 
Ziani became involved, in the year 1215, in a war with 
Padua. The Altino Chronicle tells us briefly that the 
quarrel was occasioned by certain sports held at Spineta, 
near Treviso, at which Paduans and Trevisans, moved only 
by jealousy, took up arms against Venice. This was em- 
bellished by details of the festa, and its consequences, 
which can be read in Romanin, who has apparently derived 
them from Rolandino of Padua, who was a boy at the time 
the events happened,^ but of which neither the well- 
informed Altino chronicler, nor Da Canale, though the 
latter is a lover of picturesque detail, tells us anything. 
The account of Da Canale ^ is, that the Venetians had 
built between Chioggia and Adria, a tower, called " delle 
Bebbe," to be a check on any freebooters who might wish to 
commit outrages on peaceful travellers. The Paduans took 
umbrage at this, and sent to the doge to say that, if he 
did not pull down the tower, they would come and do 
so. When they attempted to carry out their threat, the 
doge sent a large force to repel them, including contingents 
from Chioggia and the neighbouring towns, who laid waste 
the Paduan fields, and kept the tower standing for the 
protection of the high roads.^ For their services in this 
war, we are told, the people of Chioggia were relieved of 
an ancient tribute of three fowls for each family,'* that they 

of A. S. /., i. 8, Pertz, SS., xiv. p. 96), which is very full in this 

^ Aptid Vexiz, SS., xix. p. 45. In his very curious account he calls 
the fete " ctiria solacii et leticte." 

^ Arch. Star. ItaL, ist series, vol. viii. pp. 354 sqq. 

' Da Canale describes how the Venetian sailors ^^ portermt avetic 
yaus les cordes des 7tes, et enveloperent si bien la tor des cordes, que il 
ne dotoient li cos des tiiauganiatis tie des perieres" (c. Ixxiii., A. S. I., 
i. 8, p. 356). 

* Dand., x. 4, 25 ; Mur., R. I. S., xii. c. 339 ; Da Canale, c. Ixxiv. 
(A. S. /., i. 8, p. 356). The poultry of the marshes of Adria and the 
Polesina was famous, the hens being said to lay two eggs a day (Filiasi, 
Saggio, i. 179). 


had paid to the doge, and were placed under a podesta 
instead of an officer with the less honourable title of Gastaldo. 
A treaty between Venice and Padua was made by the 
mediation of Wolcher, Patriarch of Aquileia, under instruc- 
tions from Pope Innocent III. This must have been one 
of the last acts of that vigorous pontificate ; for Innocent 
died on the i6th of July in the same year, 1216. 

For some years after this Venice seems to have been free 
from ItaUan entanglements, and men's minds were much 
turned towards the Holy Land. In 12 16 Andrew, King 
of Hungary, the only sovereign of Europe who was then 
willing to strike a blow for the Holy Sepulchre, made a 
treaty with the Venetians, by which he had to pay 550 silver 
marks for each ship of 500,000 lbs. burden, and carrying 
a crew of fifty sailors, that they supplied for the passage to 
Palestine. We do not know how many ships were supplied. 
The King started for the Holy Land and landed at Acre, 
but had very soon to return in consequence of disturbances 
in his own kingdom.^ By a clause in this treaty the 
Venetians obtained from Andrew a renunciation of his 
claims on Zara, and freedom of trade and travel through- 
out Hungary. 

The ships that Venice supplied in this year did not 
apparently sail from Venice, but from Spalato. Innocent 
III., who had been a prime mover in the arrangements for 
this Fifth Crusade, had stipulated that its starting-place 
should not be Venice ; no doubt he was determined not to 
risk a repetition of the annoyances and scandals of the 
Fourth. The expedition to Damietta, which was the form 
this Crusade ultimately took, has little connection with the 
history of Venice. 

Nor did Venice supply ships for the expedition which in 
1228 the Emperor Frederic II., after having been ex- 
communicated by Pope Honorius IV. for delay in fulfilling 
the vow taken at his coronation, at length undertook in the 

^ He left Palestine soon after Epiphany 1218 (Wilken, vi. p. 156). 


face of open opposition from the next Pope, Gregory IX., 
on the ground that he, an excommunicated man, had pre- 
sumed to come forward as a soldier of the Cross, and 
which he accompHshed successfully by means of a treaty 
with the infidel, for which he was still more bitterly de- 
nounced by the Pope, but as a result of which he was 
enabled to crown himself in the Church of the Holy 
Sepulchre as King of Jerusalem, ^ the last Western sove- 
reign who wore that uneasy crown. 

Venice, indeed, was not much concerned with the 
Emperor Frederic and his Italian difficulties during the 
lifetime of Pietro Ziani. Her quarrel with Padua, which 
was revived after five years, and in connexion with which 
we first read in Dandolo the dreadful name of Ezelin da 
Romano, and have from the same chronicler a legendary 
explanation of the names of Ghibelline and Guelf, was 
again ended by a five years' truce. The doge, as we are 
told by the Altino chronicler, was so great a lover of peace 
that no war he was engaged in was due to his initiative. 
His voice in his council was always for peace. "War," he 
used to say, " we can always have, if we want it ; peace you 
should zealously seek for, and keep when found." And 
therefore, the chronicler adds, the God of peace gave him 
victory over his enemies.- 

When already an old man, he lost his first wife, of the 
Ca Baseggio, whom the chronicler describes as '■^ nobilis et 
decora nimis,'' and as he was childless, by the advice of his 
counsellors married a second wife, " Constance, daughter 
of the illustrious Tancred, King of Sicily," the illegitimate 
descendant of the family of Robert Guiscard, who for a 
time maintained the independence of his country against 
the Emperor Henry VI. ^ By her he had a son and two 

^ His claim to the kingdom came from his wife, at this time dead, 
Yolande or lolante, daughter of John of Brienne an<i Mary, the sister 
and heiress of Amaury, the last king of the house of Baldwin du Bourg. 

^ Lib. 6, U.S., p. 196 (Fertz, SS., xiv. p. 96). 

^ See Gibbon, vii. 142-44 (Dr. Smith's ed.). 


daughters, of whom we know little more than the names : 
the family, so rich and important for a short time, produced 
no later doge, and seems to have died out before the earliest 
Libra d'Oro or register of the Venetian nobility was compiled. 

Dandolo tells us that, when the doge grew old and 
infirm, he had a chapel made in the ducal palace and 
dedicated to St. Nicolas, that he might hear mass without 
the fatigue of going down to San Marco. The palace both 
within and without has been entirely altered since Pietro 
Ziani's time ; but we may conclude that this chapel of St. 
Nicolas is now represented by the Chiesetta of the Doge 
Pasquale Cicogna.^ We can read in Flaminio Cornaro's 
"Churches of Venice"- a bull of Pope Urban V. granting 
indulgences to those who visited this chapel on the great 
Church festivals, and offered alms for the poor prisoners 
confined in the palace.^ 

At length, in the beginning of the year 1229, after a 
peaceful and glorious reign of twenty-three years, the 
doge, unable to bear any longer the burden of office, 
resigned, and retired with his family to his own house on 
the Ora, or Bank of Sta. Giustina, in the northern part of 
the city, near the later church of San Francesco della 
Vinea. Some accounts'* say that he became a monk in 

1 He was doge at the end of the sixteenth century. He did much 
to beautify the ducal palace and built the present Rialto Bridge. 

2 X. 119. 

' In the interesting collection oiDocumenti intorno al Palazzo Dticale 
by G. B. Loreazi (a handsome quarto dedicated to Ruskin) there 
are several documents relating to this church or chapel " Sti. Nicoiai 
de Palatio." In 13 19 the council orders that the goods of a lunatic 
that fell to the Commune should be expended in beautifying the chapel, 
that was then altogether bare of pictures, by painting on its walls 
'■'■ hystoriam Pape qiiando fuit Venetiis cum domino Imperatore." In 
1400 the Council of Ten ordered the necessary expenditure for 
repainting and restoring the pictures which viexe '^ vcttistaic delete," 
" considerate loco notabili et excellent! nbi sita est dicta Ecclesia." In 
1 506 we find expenditure sanctioned for decorating {''per conzar") the 
new Chapel of St. N. (Doc, Nos. 36, 127, 278, 279). 

■• Cicogna (/rcn^. Ven., iv. 533) gives all the authorities. The more 
ancient do not say that he became a monk. 


the convent of San Giorgio Maggiore, and it is possible 
that, without quitting his home, he became associated in 
some way with that famous convent, for, when he died, in 
the first month after his retirement,^ he was buried there in 
the grave of his father and predecessor, Sebastiano.- By 
his will he left houses and money and saltworks in Chioggia 
to the " opera," i.e. the fabric of San Marco, and to other 
churches and convents in Venice and abroad. 

In his reign, it would appear, the city and lagoon suffered 
from more than one great convulsion of nature. The islands 
of Ammiana and Costanziaca, lying south of Torcello and 
Burano, are said to have been swallowed up by a wave of 
the sea. This is not mentioned by Dandolo, and the 
Chronicle that mentions it does so only incidentally in 
reporting a probably apocryphal speech ^ of the Doge Pietro 
Ziani proposing to remove the seat of government to 
Constantinople. The two islands, which were connected 
by a bridge, were populous, and contained many religious 
houses, one of them being the Convent of Sant' Adriano in 
Costanziaca, that was founded by Anna, the daughter of 
the Doge Vitale Michieli, whom her father gave in marriage 
to the monk of San Niccolo, the only member of the 
Giustiniani family who returned alive from the fatal expedi- 
tion against Manuel Comnenus in 11 74, in order that that 
great family might not perish from the city. For some 
reason or other the islands were deserted, but the better 
authorities say that this was from their unhealthiness, and 
the ruins of their churches and convents that are mentioned 
by writers of the sixteenth century or later as visible in 
their days, would be more consistent with a gradual 

^ Pompeo Litta, Celehri Famiglie Italiane, vol. v. tavola iv. (under 
Nortnatini Re di Sicilid) gives March 1230 as the date of his 

^ The grave was opened in 161 1, and the remains of three bodies, 
no doubt those of Sebastiano and his two sons, were found in it (Cic, 
/. F., iv. pp. 533, 534). 

^ This question is well argued in Cicogna, /. V., iv. 534, 535. 


desertion than with a sudden sinking into the sea.^ But 
whether these two islands were overwhelmed or not, there 
is no doubt that a great earthquake visited the city on 
Christmas Day 1223, by which one side of the monastery 
of San Giorgio was thrown down.- It was probably the 
same earthquake that so ruined Malamocco, that its 
bishop's see was removed in 1225 to Chioggia.^ 

When, on 6th March 1229, the forty electors met in San 
Marco to choose a successor to Pietro Ziani, their votes 
were equally divided between Giacomo Tiepolo and 
Marino Dandolo.'^ The former we know to have been 
one of the foremost Venetians of that great age. He had 
been sent as the first duke to Crete after its acquisition, 
and had subsequently been podesta at Constantinople. A 
Marin Dandolo had, in 1307, like Marco Sanudo, who was 
probably his cousin, sought his fortune among the Greek 
islands, and had become ruler of Andros.^ He died 
apparently while still Lord of Andros, shortly before 1243. 

^ Filiasi, Sa^'gio, ii. pp. 212 sqq. Another story is that the houses 
in the islands were so infested by snakes that it was necessary to desert 

^ Dand., x. 4, 41 ; Murat., A'. /. S., xii. col. 343 (marginal note in 
Cod. Ambros.) ; Sanudo, Vite de' Dogi, in Murat., A'. /. S., xxii. col. 

^ This date is by no means certain. Dandolo says the change was 
made in A.D. 11 10, when Ordelafo Faliero was doge (Mur., R. I. S., 
xii. col. 262). 

* Pompeo Litta, vol. viii. tav. i, under Tiepolo says that Tiepolo's 
competitor was Ranieri Dandolo. This cannot be the son of Enrico, 
who was vice-doge during his father's absence in the East, as he was 
killed in Crete in 1209 (Dand., x. iv. 12). 

'■' We meet with the name of Marin Dandolo frequently : (i) as that 
of the commander of one of the ten galleys that escorted the Emperor 
and Pope home after the meeting at Venice in 1 177 (see quotation from 
a seventeenth or eighteenth century MS. of additions to Dandolo in 
Simonsfeld's Venet. Studien, pp. 141, 142) ; (2) in Tafel and Thomas, ii. 
49, a Mariiuis Dandalus witnesses a grant to San Giorgio of a fishery 
in Constantinople; this is dated in February 1207 ; (3) is recited as 
having witnessed the investiture of the Archbishop of Durazzo in 
September 1216 {ib. ii. p. 123) ; (4) a Marinus Dandalus is one of the 
Knights of the Sestiere San Marco sent to Crete in September 1211 
{ib. ii. p. 134). 


The election of a doge was regulated by an ordinance 
made in the interregnum after Sebastiano Ziani's abdica- 
tion in 1 1 78, which had made no provision for the case of 
an equal division of votes. Before the next election in 
1249 the number of electors was increased by one to 
obviate this difficulty. But on the present occasion there 
was no legal way out of it. In the words of Andrea 
Dandolo : " The assembly approved a proposal that a 
perilous dissension should be set at rest by casting lots," ^ 
and the lot decided for Tiepolo. That this cutting the 
knot was disliked by sticklers for legality is probable 
enough, and may explain the story which follows in 
Dandolo, that when Tiepolo, three days after, called upon 
his predecessor, then on his deathbed, Ziani would not see 
him, " contemning him either on account of his birth or 
because of the unusual manner of his elevation." The 
meaning of the passage is a little doubtful ; but the former 
reason could hardly have been the true one, for Tiepolo's 
family was as noble as any in Venice. A Tiepolo had 
been among the six Tribunes, by whom the first doge, 
Pauluccio Anafesto, was held to have been elected. 
Pompeo Litta,2 the genealogist, mentions a tradition that 
the Tiepoli were descended from a noble family of ancient 
Rome, and the form of the name used by early chroniclers 
— Teupulus or Theupulus— suggests, both by its beginning 
and its ending, a Byzantine origin. The offices which the 
new doge had held were the most important open to a 
Venetian of that age, and marked him out as a man who 
had dealt as an equal with Greek and Latin Emperors and 
Turkish Soldans. He, like his predecessor, married a 
daughter of Tancred, King of Sicily. 

The Promissione, or long and detailed declaration as to 

^ "w concio7ie laudahir ut sortibus periculosa divisio sopireiur" 
(Dand. x. 5 ; Murat., u.s., col. 346). 

' Cclehri Famiglie Italiane, vol. viii. tav. i., under Tiepolo di 


his future action as doge, to which he swore on the day of 
his election, has come down to us, and was adopted as 
a model by several of his successors. This is in part a 
general promise, similar to that in our King's coronation 
oath, to execute the duties of his office with diligence ; to 
administer justice impartially, whether in enforcing the 
sentences of the judges or in deciding by his own con- 
science cases in which the judges disagreed ; to study the 
honour and profit of Venice ; to keep all secrets of State ; to 
allow no grant of public property to be made without the 
sanction of a majority of both greater and lesser councils ; 
to let elections to the patriarchal see of Grado and the 
other bishoprics and abbeys in his duchy be made by the 
persons entitled to vote under the law of the Church, and 
not to exact any " service " or payment for investiture ; to 
send no letters to Pope, Emperor, or other sovereign, 
without the concurrence of a majority of his council, and 
to show to the council all such letters he received ; to treat 
all Venetians of whatever class alike. It also contains a 
strict undertaking not to appoint another person doge in 
his lifetime, the feeling at Venice being always strong 
against joint-doges as a step towards making the office 
hereditary. It binds the doge in concert with his council 
to see that looo bushels of corn should be imported by 
sea every year, with another looo unless both councils 
and the Quarantia sanctioned the omission of this. But it 
also contains a number of promises as to matters of detail, 
we might almost say parochial matters, such as the duties on 
imports from the Quarnero, that on apples from Lombardy, 
the stamp-duties on salt, the customary payments from 
Chioggia hitherto made to the doge, but in future to go to 
the Commune, the honoraria to be made to the Judges de 
Proprio, i.e., those who decided cases affecting property. 
A good deal of the document is taken with engagements as 
to the partition between the doge and the Commune of 
the public income and expenditure. Thus the duty on 


Lombard apples is to go two-thirds to the doge, one-third to 
the Vicedomini, or local financial agents of the Commune. 
The doge is to have no part of the dues on sealing packets 
of salt, or of the market- dues on fish and butchers' meat, 
except the complimentary presents to "our Court" that 
were made every year on the first Thursday in Lent,^ nor 
of other fortieths except the import duty on crabs and 
cherries from Treviso, the former of which was to belong 
all to the doge, the latter two-thirds to him and one-third 
to the local collectors. The Commune was to have all 
payments from Chioggia, except customary offerings of a 
gondola, hay, and wine made to the doge when he went 
himself, or sent his servants, to hunt there, and was to have 
power to let the Chioggiotes themselves elect their Gas- 
taldio and dispose of the ripaticiim or landing dues and the 
fines for killing or wounding, which had formerly gone to 
the doge. In. return for these concessions, the Commune 
was to bear the expense of sending embassies or armies, 
except that the doge was to continue to bear the cost of 
his own journeys in the Dogado, i.e., between Grado on the 
north and Loreo and Capodargine (Cavarzere) on the south, 
and was to pay his share of any property-tax ^ or forced loan 
ordered by the council. 

One or two provisions of the Promise have reference to 
the giving and receiving of presents. The Judges de 
Proprio of the palace,^ whom the doge undertakes not to 

' " In die Jovis de carnis privio.^' Ducange, s.v. " carnis privium," 
explains that there were two "carnis privia," the old being the week 
beginning with Quinquagesima, the new that beginning with the first 
Sunday in Lent. " Ca7-nis privinni" I presume, is equivalent to 
'' carnis privatioT a more prosaic expression than the " Car?ii Vale" 
which has survived. 

- This seems to me the meaning of " Averaticum," avere or averia 
being common words for all kinds of property, though especially for 
horses and mules. We have have^-e in this document. Romanin's 
conjectural emendation, adiiitaticurn (ii.p. 214, n. 2), seems unnecessary, 
and I do not understand it. 

^ These were superior judges of first instance, ond are distinguished 
as Jtidices niajores or nobiliores from the gastaldi, who were judices 


appoint without election, are to enjoy their customary 
revenue, and the next paragraph gives us a pleasing 
glimpse of the ordinary life of that primitive time. " We 
are bound," the doge says, " to give each of them yearly 
four jars of wine from the vineyards of our duchy, those of 
Chioggia and of Camanso ' by preference, but if our vine- 
yards are wrecked by storms, we will cause them to have 
other wine of Chioggia." The doge was to receive no 
presents " in any manner or of any kind from any person " ; 
but exceptions to this very rigid rule follow. Presents for 
the Commune might be received by the doge, if handed 
over at once to the chamberlain of the Commune, and the 
doge or his messengers might receive in general presents 
of cooked victuals or bottles of wine, and of game (" in 
bestiis sylvestris'''' and "/« volatilibus sylvestris"), provided 
he did not receive more than one beast or ten brace of 
birds at a time from any donor ; and it was particularly 
added that he must receive none of these gifts from any 
wishing to obtain any favour from the doge or Commune. 
From such a person the only presents allowed were " rose- 
water, leaves, and flowers, and scented herbs, and balsam." 
Customary gifts were allowed also at the wedding of a 
doge, his sons or daughters, grandsons or granddaughters, 
but they must be of victuals only. 

We have in the Promise a good deal of interesting 
information as to the doge's official income. He was 
entitled to receive every year from the chamberlain of the 
Commune a sum of 2800 librce demxriornm, 700 being 
paid each quarter ; besides he had 350 Romanates from 
the revenue of the county of Veglia, with 60 more for 

mediocres or minores. The Quarantia or the Senate, according to the 
nature of the matter in dispute, was the Court of Appeal (Claar, Ent- 
wicklung der Venez. Verf., pp. 8i, 82 ; Hain, Der Doge von Venedig, 
pp. 62-65). 

^ In the list of regalia due to the doge, to which I refer in note on 
p. 61;, we read : " Deve avere il doge il vino dclle Vigne di Ca Maiizo 
in Chioggia." 


the regalia of the same county. He also was entitled to 
regalia from the islands of Cherso and Ossero, from the 
county of Arbe, from Ragusa and Sansego, and certain 
feudal dues {honorificentiff) from Istria, and a moiety of the 
cloth of gold sent by the Lords of Negropont to the doge 
and St. Mark.i 

* The payments from Veglia appear to have been fixed by pro- 
missiones or contracts made by Joannes Vido and Henricus, Counts of 
Veglia, with Enrico Dandolo. Veglia, Cherso or Ossero, Arbe and 
Sansego are all islands in the Quarnero or Gulf of Fiume. Our docu- 
ment speaks of Cherso and Ossero as two places, Cherso being in the 
north and Ossero in the south of one long island. Romanati were 
gold coins with the effigy of Romanus Diogenes, Emperor at Constan- 
tinople from 1067 to T078, just before the beginning of the Comnenian 
dynasty. They were of the same value as the old aureus or gold 
solidus, and as the coin afterwards called Manuelatus or manlatus 
from the Emperor Manuel Comnenus. There is a curious list of the 
regalia to which the doge was entitled — i.e. annual gifts in money or 
goods — printed among the documents appended to Cecchetti's II Doge 
di Venezia (pp. 233-36). It is of the year 1478, two centuries later 
than the time of Giac. Tiepolo, but it throws some light on that doge's 
Promissione. The gifts are redolent of the simplicity of early times. 
At Christmas, Arbe sent 10 lbs. of Chinese silk, Ossero 40 martens' 
skins, Veglia 30 fox-skins, the monks of Brondolo a pig of at least 
70 lbs. weight, the gastaldo of San Niccolo de' Mendicoli 20 pair of 
good clossi (?) ; Maggia and Trieste were to pay anfore oi -wmQ (" buona 
Robbola"). On the festa of the Madonna delle Scuole {i.e. of the 
Marie or Brides of Venice (see "Early History," pp. 1 13-16), the 
glass-makers of Murano paid by their gastaldo 100 large and 100 small 
bowls, and 200 flagons ; the town of Fano, four tniri of oil. Other 
payments were to be made on the Sensa or Feast of the Ascension, on 
Giovedi grasso and Giovedi Santo and Easter. The citizens of Poveglia, 
who had the reputation of being quarrelsome, were frequently fined, 
and 5^ of every 7 piccoli imposed on them for these fines were the 
doge's perquisite. A number of the dues were payable in services : 
thus, the Arte or Guild of Glovers had to dress the furs of the palace ; 
that of the Furriers ( Varoteri) to dress the sables, lambskins, and other 
furs of the do<,'e, dogaressa, and other inmates of the palace, the 
gastaldo of the barbers was to find " un ba7-bitonsore buono pei servizi 
di Palazzo" ; the gastaldi of the Carpenters and Caulkers {Marangoni 
e Calafai) were each to provide a master workman for the Bucintoro 
and other ships of the palace for three days in the year, the doge pro- 
viding food for the workman : the esciisati of the doge (whom Cecchetti, 
I think, calls his giiardia nobile) were bound to carry home and stow 
in the palace all purchases made for the use of the palace. Dandolo 
says the " Excusati Ducatus" were the fishermen and fowlers of Dorso- 
duro, "ad servitia Ducatus deputati" (Mur., R. I. S., xii. p. 188). 
See my " Early History," p. 96, n. 2. 



There is always some difficulty in fixing the value of 
ancient money, and in the case of Venetian money addi- 
tional ambiguity is introduced by the co-existence, from the 
reign of Enrico Dandolo (a.d. 1200) of two kinds of 
denario, the piccolo and the grosso, the latter being of the 
value of twenty-six of the former. But it seems to be 
certain that where we have, as in the document we are 
considering, librcB denariorum simply without the addition 
of grossorum, the sum specified is the lira of piccoli, which 
at the time we have reached, the first half of the thirteenth 
century, was of the intrinsic value, according to our best 
authorities, of a little more than four Italian lire of the 
present day. This would give us 11,200 lire, or about 
;£4S° '^^ English money, as the doge's official salary from 
Venice, but this modest sum is considerably increased by 
the 410 Romanati or gold solidi (of which 72 went to 
the pound weight, each coin weighing 4.49 to 4.53 
grammes, i.e., about the value of iis. 4d. of our money), 
amounting in all to ^^232, and by the unspecified regalia 
of Cherso and Ossero, Arbe, Ragusa, and Sansego, not to 
speak of his moiety of the cloth of gold from Negropont. 
If we estimate that these several items raised his total 
income to ;^85o, this would, according to the careful 
calculation made by Hallam,^ represent in purchasing 
power a sum nearly twenty times as large, so that the doge 
maybe said to have had a civil list of from ;^i6,ooo to 
;^i 7,000, an income that would have required to be supple- 
mented by large private resources, such as we are told of 
in the case of Pietro Ziani, in order to make the Sovereign 
of the Lagoons a fit match, as he and Giacomo Tiepolo 
were both considered, for a daughter of a family that 
claimed to be royal.^ 

1 " Middle Ages," iii. pp. 445 sqq. (ed. of 1819). 

^ At the date of Amelot de la Houssaye's Gouverftement de Venise, 
1676, the doge had a salary of 12,000 crowns (ecus), half of which 
went for the four fetes of the year, and a good deal more in largesses, 
scattering of coin in the Piazza of St. Mark on the day of his accession, 


There are one or two other points worth notice in the 
Promissio. The doge claimed the right of bestowing on 
whom he pleases all rooms in his palace that have doors 
on the street, but acknowledges that he is bound, at his own 
expense, to have all the palace, including these rooms, 
roofed over ; although if any persons to whom he granted 
rooms were displeasing to the majority of the council, the 
doge was bound to eject them,^ and put in their place 
persons approved by the council : so that this patronage 
really belonged to the State as much as to the doge in 
person. He also undertakes to keep at least twenty 
servants, including the cooks employed in the kitchen, and 
to fill up within a month any vacancy occurring in this 

The doge promises to expend nine silver marks on mak- 
ing three trumpets to be given to the Church of St. Mark 
at his death, and to give, within a year of his accession, to 
the same church cloth of gold to the value of at least 
25 Venetian pounds. His benefactions to other churches 
can be withheld by the majority of his council ; but 
their power to do this, as also their general power of over- 
ruling his actions, is guarded by a special clause excluding 
matters relating to St. Mark's. That church was the doge's 
private chapel, and the council had no authority there.- 

The twenty years of the Doge Tiepolo's government 
(1229-49) coincided with the end of the reign of the 

so that it was indispensable that a rich man should be elected (p. 162), 
and his income must arise from a strictly limited number of sources, as 
he was not allowed to trade, or to hold feudal property in foreign parts, 
or to own land in Venetian territory outside the Dogado, while his 
expenses out of pocket were heavy, for he paid war-taxes, and his 
travelling expenses in the Dogado, and had to pay for all goods he 
bought within eight days (Claar, Entwicklu7ig der Venez. Verfasswig, 
p. 124). 

* " Eis tenemus dare comiatum [congt?) in voluntate Consilii nostri." 

^ The Promissio is printed at pp. 430-38 of vol. ii. of Romanin. 

The original is in the Library of St. Mark. Cecchetti (// Doge di 

Venezia, p. ill) says that Romanin's edition is ^^ con molte abbrevta- 



Emperor Frederic II. That reign was long ; he had suc- 
ceeded to the kingdom of Sicily when a child, three years 
old, in 1 197. His mother, left a widow, had placed him under 
the guardianship of the great Pope, Innocent III. His 
kingdom of Sicily paid tribute to the Holy See, and Innocent 
claimed to be feudal lord paramount. But the marriage 
of the heiress of Sicily and Apulia with the son and heir 
of Frederic Barbarossa had from the first been alarming to 
the Popes ; and they felt, now that the crowns of Germany 
and Sicily were worn by a young and able prince, who in 1220 
was elected Roman Emperor, that the territory they pro- 
fessed to have derived either from Constantine's donation 
or the Countess Matilda's bequest, was in danger of 
being crushed by its mighty neighbour, seated on both its 
northern and its southern frontiers. From his childhood 
Frederic had known too well the ambition and intrigue of 
the Papal Court, and during his youth causes of quarrel 
had accumulated. Besides the jealousy that had always 
subsisted between the Popes and the house of Suabia, and 
the impatience of the control of a priest sure to be felt by 
the young heir of so great an inheritance as the Sicilian 
kingdom, there were other causes of alienation, in par- 
ticular the numbers and wealth of the Saracens in Sicily, 
which caused it to be looked on as hardly a Christian land, 
and the favour Frederic showed to his loyal Saracen sub- 
jects. He found it convenient to place Saracen garrisons, 
men who cared nothing for Papal anathemas, at Nocera 
and Capua, near the Papal frontiers. He was accused 
by the Pope of allowing, and himself practising, the vices 
of the Saracens in his luxurious court at Palermo. This 
suspicion of laxity was strengthened by the readiness with 
which, when forced reluctantly to undertake a Crusade, he 
had obtained the temporary surrender of Jerusalem by nego- 
tiation with the Sultan of Egypt rather than by the sword. 
His short-lived sojourn in the Holy City, warranting him in 
taking the title of the King of Jerusalem, which he had 


assumed on his marriage, added to his prestige and in- 
creased the suspicion with which the Pope regarded him. 
Gregory IX., as saintly and austere as Innocent III., and 
with as overweening a sense of the claims of his office, 
found himself confronted by an Emperor brilliant and 
intelligent, loving the beautiful world in which he found 
himself, full of the joy of life, and believing in the high 
claims of the Empire, as fervently as the Pope did in 
those of the Church, of Rome. With Gregory IX. and 
Frederic II. began the long struggle between Christian 
tradition and the Renaissance ; and as in the time of 
Frederic Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III., the contest 
of Emperor and Pope became the most significant feature 
in the aspect of the times. 

As in those days too, the cities of Lombardy, keen in 
maintaining and extending their liberties and loyal to the 
Church, submitted reluctantly to the old and burdensome 
prerogatives of the Emperor, and their disaffection was 
secretly encouraged by the Pope. The factions of Pope 
and Emperor, Guelf and Ghibelline ^ could there be easily 
fanned into a flame. Venice could not but be affected by 
the civil strife of Lombardy : she was, as in the days of 
Frederic Barbarossa, not a violent partisan, but inclined 
to the Guelf side ; - and at the time of the renewal of the 
strife under Frederic II., the chief representatives of the 

* As to these names, first brought into Italy about the year 1200, 
though they had been known earlier in Germany, there is an excellent 
summary of our knowledge in Hallam's "Middle Ages," i. p. 366 
(2nd ed. 1819). 

* Dandolo says (x. iv. 39; Mur., K. I. S., xii. col. 343), that 
" Frederic after his mother's death, led astray by unjust advisers, began 
to oppress the kingdom {i.e. Apulia and Sicily), and to reduce the 
Church into servitude, and collected in one cily, Nocera, the Saracens 
wlio were dispersed through the kingdom." Da Canale (c. Ixxxvi. 
p. 368, A. S. /., i. viii.) says : "I would have you know that my lord 
the doge took the part of the Apostle ; and for this reason there made 
war on Venice a great part of the Lombards, Cremona and Verona, the 
Paduans and Ferrarese and Trevisans." He goes on to speak of the 
fighting about P'errara in 1240. 


imperial cause were her near neighbours in Verona, 
Padua, and the March of Treviso, and eminently unquiet 
and dangerous neighbours. 

The first mention in Dandolo's chronicle of a renewal 
of trouble on the Venetian frontier is dated in the seven- 
teenth year of Pietro's Ziani's government, i.e. in 1222, 
two years after the Emperor Frederic had come to Italy 
to be crowned at Rome by Pope Honorius.^ I have 
already referred to the events in Padua and Treviso that 
occurred at this time. There had been much fighting in 
those parts ever since. I will first quote the incidental 
references to this in Dandolo's chronicle: "In the nine- 
teenth year of Doge Pietro Ziani {i.e. a.d. 1224), Azzo, 
Marquis of Este, with the Count of San Bonifacio and the 
Veronese and Mantuans, besiege Salinguerra in Ferrara, 
who persuaded the count to come in to the city and then 
detained him there. By this means the siege was raised, 
but the count remained in chains till peace was made."- 
In the next year (1225) "many nobles of the party of 
the Count of San Bonifacio are bribed by Salinguerra, 
and expel the count from Verona. Then Ezelin first 
began to be lord in Verona. The Mantuans received 
the count, and were at war with Ezelin till the Rectors 
of Lombardy mediated peace.'' ^ In the fourth year of 
Doge Giacomo Tiepolo (1233) "the Emperor Frederic 
comes to Venice : he reconciles the Patriarch of Aquileia 
with Ezelin and endeavours to obtain Treviso ; but Pietro 
Tiepolo, the doge's son, who was podesta there, opposing 
him, he is unable to prevail, and retreats by Friuli into 
Germany."* In 1237 "the Marquis of Este and the 
Paduans prepare an army, and Ezelin and the Veronese 
send for the Emperor, who was in Lombardy. He comes 
suddenly to their help and burns Vicenza on All Saints' 

1 Dand., x. iv. 36. * x. 4, 38 (Mur., R. I. S., xii, col. 343). 

' Id., X. 4. 41 (Mur., U.S., c. 344). 

* /k, X. 5, 7 (Mur., A'. I. S., xii. col. 347). 


Day." ^ In 1239 : " Frederic, coming to Padua, oppresses 
some partisans of the Church on the frontiers of the 
Venetians, who fortify and garrison wooden forts ^ in the 
lagoons. Vezelay da Camino and Alberic da Romano are 
persuaded by the Venetians to rout at Treviso Giacomo 
da Mora, who was for the Emperor and Ezelin. The 
Marquis of Este and his friends desert the Emperor, now 
that he is on EzeUn's side. The Emperor, having to hurry 
into ApuUa, leaves Tibaldo Francesco as Podesta of Padua 
and Vicar of the whole March, but under Ezelin's orders. 
The marquis recovered the Tower of Este and other 
places, and a dangerous war breaks out over all the 
March." 2 "In the twelfth year of Giacomo Tiepolo " 
(1240-41) "Gregory of Montelungo, the Pope's legate in 
Lombardy, with a great army, chiefly consisting of Venetians 
under Stefano Baduario, attacks Ferrara, which was held 
by Salinguerra for the Emperor. He had failed in frequent 
attacks, and welcomed help from the doge. They renew 
the war in alliance, and strike terror into the inhabitants 
of Ferrara. Salinguerra is induced by the treachery of 
Hugo de Rambertis to come to the camp, and the legate 
won Ferrara under colour of a disgraceful peace. The 
doge, returning to Venice, took with him the octogenarian 
Salinguerra. Stefano Baduario is made Podesta of Ferrara, 
and many immunities there granted to the Venetians. 
Salinguerra, exhausted by sorrow, soon died, and is buried 
at San Nicolo on the Lido."* 

The above passages give us a succinct account of much 
of the warfare that went on in the reign of Frederic II. 
in the Eastern Marches of Lombardy, and a list of the 
dramatis persofice. Those wars and those persons are the 

' Dand., x. 5, 15 (Mur., R. I. S., xii. col. 349). 

2 " Palatas," which Ducange explains as " /oci in cestuartis Veneds 
palis inclusi." 

* Dand., x. 5, 22 (Mur., R. I. S., xii. c. 351). 

* lb., X. 5, 25 (Mur,. R. I. S., xii. cc. 351, 352). 


subject of a work of genius of our own day, which may 
be said to illustrate, but certainly not to elucidate them — 
Browning's " Sordello." It may be worth while to spend 
a little space in such descriptions of the persons mentioned 
by Dandolo as will throw light on this confused period 
of history, and at the same time solve some of the riddles 
that most people find in the poem of " Sordello." 

Azzo VII., Marquis of Este, was the most considerable 
potentate in the north-east of Italy. His race boasted a 
legendary antiquity — " Atii at Rome, while free and con- 
sular ; Este at Padua, who repulsed the Hun." His ancestor, 
Alberto Azzo II., who died at the age of loi in 1097, had 
been instrumental, in conjunction with the great Countess 
Matilda, in bringing about a reconciliation between the 
Emperor Henry IV. and Pope Gregory VII. — that is, in 
inducing Henry to submit to the Pontiff. He is called 
Marquis of Italy, Marquis of Genoa, Marquis of Lombardy, 
and his lands were said to extend almost from the Tyr- 
rhenian Sea to the Adriatic.^ His family was of German 
origin, and he had married as his first wife Cunigunda, of 
the great family of Guelf, who inherited from her brother 
the patrimony of the Dukes of Carinthia. The Dukes of 
Carinthia had been also rulers of the March of Verona or 
Treviso, and so neighbours of the Estes. A son of Alberto 
Azzo, named Guelf, became Duke of Bavaria, and ancestor 
of the Guelfs of Brunswick and Great Britain ; and a 
grandson, also named Guelf, was married to the Countess 
Matilda. This marriage was soon dissolved; but though 
there was no issue from it, a clause in the marriage treaty 
caused some of the vast possessions of the lady eventually 
to pass to her husband's younger brother, Folco ; and thus 
Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio began their long connection 
with the house of Este. The inheritance of the Dukes of 
Carinthia probably gave them the wide domains on either 
bank of the Po, the centre of which was the Castle of 
^ Leibnitz, Script. Rerum Brunswic, vol. i., Intr., p. a. 2. 


Rocca d'Este, on the site of the fourteenth-century tower 
that now dominates the town of Este. A family nearly 
allied to the Guelfs of Germany, and so closely connected 
with the Countess Matilda, was naturally the head of the 
Guelf faction in the circle of Verona, when that and the 
rival faction began to divide the Lombard cities. It was 
said that in those parts it was the same thing to say the 
party of the Marquis or the Guelf faction.^ In 12 15 
Azzo VII., called Novello, i.e. the younger, succeeded his 
brother, Aldobrandino, as marquis. He was then quite a 
young man,2 and for nearly fifty years he played a great 
part in North Italy. 

The leader of the opposite faction in the March of 
Verona was not of so great a family as the Marquis of 
Este. He was one of the lesser feudatories whom Muratori 
calls " rural counts," who were often put in high office 
by the Emperors. His family derived their name from 
Romano,^ near Bassano, lying on the lowest slopes of the 
Trentine Alps, " in that part of the wicked Italian land 
that lies between Rialto and the springs of Brenta and of 
Piava." * There the founder of the greatness of the family, 
Ecelo, son of Arpo, a soldier who came from Germany in 
the army of Conrad the SaHan in 1036, established himself. 
His grandson,^ Ecelino, surnamed II Balbo, the Stammerer, 
married his son, Ecelino, to Agnes, sister of the then 
Marquis of Este, and his daughter, Cunizza, to a member 

^ Mur., Antichita Estensi, ii. p. i. Este held the March of Ancona 
by a grant from Pope Honorius III., and was thus Marquis of Este and 
Ancona, and also the leading Guelf in the March of Treviso or Verona. 

^ " Adhuc etate juvenis, set prudentia et probitate maturus " (Roland, 
Patav. ap. Pertz, SS., xix. p. 48). 

' Before the time of Ecelino II. (the Monk) they had taken their title 
from Onara or Honoria, a place in the Paduan territory, nine miles 
from Bassano. 

* Dante, Par ad., ix. 25-27. 

^ For the proofs of this see Verci {Storia degli Ecelini, i. 1 2, ed. 1841 ). 
The contemporary authority he follows is the history of Gerardus 
Maurisius, a judge of Vicenza, when under the rule of Ecelin II. and 
III., and a panegyrist of the family (Mur., R. I. S., viii. c. 9). 


of the important Paduan family of Campo Sampiero. 
Ecelino the younger, after Agnes' death, married three 
other wives, the last of whom was Aledeita or Adelaide, 
" the Tuscan," from Mangona near Prato, by whom he had 
two sons, Ecelino III. and Alberico, and several daughters, 
of whom much may be read in the lively pages of Rolan- 
dino, the " notary of the common seal " of Padua, and some- 
thing, not altogether authentic in its details, in " Sordello." 
Ecelino III. is the Eccelin, or Ezzelin, or Azzolino,^ whose 
reputation for cruelty is so terrible in Italian history, and 
whom Dandolo states to have become Lord of Verona in 
1225. His father, who had been almost as formidable in 
his time, " the grisliest nightmare of the Church's dreams," 
who had " filled with sadness the hamlets nestling on the 
Tyrol's brow, the Asolan and Euganean hills, the Rhaetian 
and the Julian," building castles on all their ridges, had 
now retired sick of the world, in which he had prospered 
so greatly, and was lifting " writhen hands to pray, lost in 
Oliero's convent," from henceforth to be known in history 
as " II Monaco." - Ecelino III. was about thirty years old 
in 1225. 

The leaders of the two factions had each a lieutenant in 

1 This is the form of the name in Dante {Inf., xii. no). It is a 
diminutive of Azzo, and seems to point to some old connection with 
the Estes, with whom Azzo was a family name, cherished as a sign 
that they claimed descent from the Roman gens Attia or Accia. I do 
not know that the form Azzolino occurs elsewhere. The modes of 
spelling proper names in the Middle Ages are capricious. Here we 
have Ecelino or Eccelino (the usual forms in Italian writers) ; Ezcelino 
on a fine medal given by Pompeo Litta (s.v. Ecelini, torn, ii.) ; Ezelin 
and Ezzelin (common in French and English writers). Byron has an 
Ezzelin in "Lara." I suspect that Count Hecilinus, who accompanied 
Otto III. to Italy in looi (see my " Early History of Venice," p. 187, 
n. 3), was a namesake. 

- See the eloquent passage in " Sordello," i. 239-91. Oliero is in the 
Val Sugana, on the carriage- road from Trent to Bassano. Ecelin 
the Monk was supposed to be a Paulician or Paterine, and Pope 
Gregory IX. is said to have suggested to his sons that they should 
deliver him over to the Inquisition. His monument at Solagna is 
described in " Sordello," vi. 688-90. 


the March of Treviso, whose names occur in the passages 
I have quoted from Dandolo, and over and over again in 
" Sordello." Este's lieutenant was Richard, Count of San 
Bonifacio. His castle was situated on the Alpone, a 
mountain stream which flows into the Adige not far to the 
east of Verona,^ and very near to Arcole, a village to be 
made famous five centuries later by a victory of Napoleon, 
and to hand on its name to a bridge in Paris. The Counts 
of St. Boniface had been leaders of the Guelfs in Verona, 
the Ghibellines there being led by the Monticuli or Mon- 
tecchi — whose ruined castles may still be seen as one 
travels by railway from Verona to Padua — the originals of 
the Montagues of " Romeo and Juliet." A life of Count 
Richard, to be found in the eighth volume of Muratori's 
Scriptores, is a record of successive expulsions, first of 
one, then of the other, faction from Verona. We read in 
Dandolo, and in the Chronicle of Rolandino, of the count 
being lured into Ferrara by Salinguerra and detained there,^ 
of his exile from Verona in 1225 through the treachery of 
some of his own party, which first made Ecelin Lord of 
Verona. Count Richard was the first husband of Cunizza, 
EceHn the Monk's daughter, who deserted him for Sordello, 
the Mantuan troubadour, and who is admitted by Dante, in 
an unusually indulgent mood, and with an apology to his 
readers, into the Heaven of Venus. ^ 

^ A recent English writer (Mr. Eugene Benson, " Sordello and 
Cunizza," Dent, 1903) wiio has visited San Bonifacio, says, "All 
vestiges of its ancient importance have been destroyed, and there is 
but the site upon which it stood to assure one of its place." 

^ " Richard, light-hearted as a plunging star, 
Agrees to enter for the kindest ends 
Ferrara, flanked with fifty chosen friends, 
No horse-boy more — 

So jogged they on, 
Nor laughed their host too openly : once gone 
Into the trap ! " 

— " Sordello," i. 174 sqq. 

* Dante, Parad., ix. 32 sqq. Cunizza is the prototype of Browning's 
Palma, her more innocent sister. Cesare de LoUis in his Vita e Poesie 


The Ghibelline lieutenant was Torello Salinguerra or 
Salinwerre, of whom also much may be read in " Sordello " ; 
he was an older man than the Marquis Azzo or Ecelino III., 
and in 1195, when the latter was one year old, was already 
Podesta of Ferrara ; he signs a document of that year " Ego 
Saliens in guerra, Potestas Ferrarrice." Though it was 
unusual for the office of podesta in an Italian town to be 
held by a citizen, there seems to be no doubt that the 
SaUnguerra family belonged to Ferrara.^ Torello's father 
was in 1 164 a vassal of the church of Ravenna, but he was 
himself also a vassal of Este.- In 12 13 an attempt was 
made to keep Ferrara at peace by installing the Marquis 
Aldobrandino and Salinguerra jointly in the office of 
podesta ; but such an experiment was not likely to succeed, 
and in 1222 the marquis had to leave, and had failed to 
recover his authority in 1224, when, as we have seen, Count 
Richard was taken prisoner. Torello meanwhile, " as in 
wane dwelt at Ferrara," ^ waiting the Kaiser's coming. 
Such a role did not suit his temper, which resembled that 
of his ancestor, who, from his dash in warlike enterprises, 
first earned the surname of '' Saliens in Guerra." Torello 
Salinguerra is the second hero of Browning's poem, the 
man of action in contrast with Sordello, the man of imagi- 
nation and brooding ambition, and is, next to his master, 

di Sordello di Go'ito (vol. xi. of Forster's Romanische Bibliothek, p. 13, 
n. 2) quotes from two Proven9al lives of Sordello "entendet se in 
madompne Conisse " and " s'enamoret de la moiller del Comte a forma 
de solatz," and adds " son Tuna e I'altra espressioni che nel linguaggio 
trovadorico escludono ogni principio di contravvenzione al piu innocente 
platonismo." Dante may have read these lives, and would certainly 
have understood the delicate shade of meaning conveyed. (See also 
an article by Fr. Torraca in Giornale Dantesco, 1896, iv. p. 10.) 

^ " As his, few names in Mantua half so old ; 
But at Ferrara, where his sires enrolled 
It latterly." 

— " Sordello," iv. 470-72. 

^ " Vir sapiens et astutus de numero vassallorum Azonis Novelli, 
Marchionis Estensis" (Roland. Patav.). 
* "Sordello," i. 127 sqq. 


the Emperor Frederic, the most interesting figure in the 
history of this stirring time. He was married late in life to 
another daughter of Ecelino the Monk, who had before 
been the wife of Henry Count of Egna or Neumarkt in the 
Trentino, a place well known to modern travellers in the 
Italian Tirol. In his youth he had been betrothed to 
Marchesella, a daughter of the Adelardi, the rival family to 
the Torelli in Ferrara, chief of the Guelfs there as the 
Torelli of the Ghibellines ; but in 1 184 the Lord of Ravenna, 
Traversari, had carried her off from the house of the Torelli 
and married her by force to Obizzo, the then Marquis of 
Este. In the feud that followed this the young Salinguerra 
had had to leave Ferrara, and had spent many years in the 
Emperor Henry VI. 's court at Palermo,^ and married there 
Retrude '* of Heinrich's very blood." 

The Emperor Frederic's arrival in Lombardy, for which 
Salinguerra waited, was long delayed. In 1228-29 he was 
engaged in his Crusade, and, for some time after his return 
to Europe, was occupied in putting down a revolt of his 
son Henry in Germany. At first all the nobles in North 
Italy, the Marquis of Este and the Count of St. Boniface, 
as much as the Romano family and Salinguerra, considered 
themselves his loyal subjects ; but the saying I have quoted 
from Dandolo, that the Marquis of Este and his friends 
deserted the Emperor, when they found that he was on 
Ecelino's side, is very significant : the local feuds were what 
really moved men's passions, which were but moderately 
excited by the questions at issue between Pope and Em- 
peror. And these feuds never ceased for long, though after 
Frederic's return from Palestine there was for three years 
(1230-33) peace between him and the Pope, and Rolandino 
of Padua in a remarkable passage - notices the unexampled 

1 There is a fine romantic account of all this in "Sordello," iv. 469 sqq. 
Browning invented, I think, the story that Sordello the troubadour was 
really a son of Salinguerra and Retrude (see "Sordello," vi. 673-81), 

* Apud Pertz SS., xix. p. 5 5, ^'^ Ntillafuit terrarum predacio, nulla 
hostium uiciirsio vet insziltus — set bonorum omiiiutn copia ; tanttitn 


tranquillity that prevailed in the March of Verona in 
1230. In 1233 a zealous effort to reconcile the factions 
was made by John of Vicenza, a Dominican friar, whose 
eloquence and reputation for sanctity gave him great influ- 
ence in the March. We have several accounts of a meet- 
ing he assembled at Paquara, in a meadow by the Adige a 
few miles below Verona, at which the biographer of Richard 
of St. Boniface ^ tells us that even Ecelino was moved to 
tears by the friar's exhortations. The Rectors of Lom- 
bardy, that is, the governing body of the Lombard League, 
had also tried to mediate, and had succeeded in 1231 in 
inducing Ecelino and Salinguerra; to release Richard of 
St. Boniface, 2 who had been taken prisoner more than a 
year before in a fight in the streets of Verona. 

The Emperor, as we learn from Dandolo ^ and from the 
monk of Padua, ^ came in 1232 to Venice, being driven in 
by adverse winds on a voyage from Apulia to Istria ; and 
at Venice brought about a treaty between Ecelino and the 
Patriarch of Aquileia, and endeavoured to gain over Treviso 
to the imperial cause, but was frustrated in this by Pietro 
Tiepolo, the doge's son, who was then podesta of that city. 
One important object for the Emperor was to keep open 
the communication between his German and Italian do- 
minions through the March of Friuli, and for this the 
neutrality of Venice and Aquileia was essential. He was, 
therefore, at this time bent on conciliating Venice. He 
granted privileges to Venetian settlers in Sicily and 

gaitdiitJii et Iceticia inter gentes, lit a pluribtis a-edere(tcr quod amodo 
nuUe sediciones esse debeant in Marchia, iiiiUe IVerreP 

' Muiatori, R. J. S., viii. col. 128. Rolandino, who was also present, 
describes the friar standing on a heap of timber 60 cubits high, 
preaching on the text, '■'■ Pacem meant do vobis, pacem relitiquo vobis" 
(Muratori, H. I. S., viii. c. 204). 

'^ Monachi Padicani Chron. in Mur., R. I. S., viii. c. 674. Count 
Richard was twice taken prisoner, once at Ferrara in 1224, as we have 
seen (aw/t?, pp. 70, 75), and again at Verona in 1230. (See Roland., 
Patav., aj) jt d VerXz SS., xix. p. 56.) 

* Mur., R. I. S., xii. c. 347. 

* /b., viii. c. 674. 


exemption from customs duties to Venetian traders both 
there and in Apulia. But we are told that Venice grew less 
friendly to the Emperor after his visit. She suspected that 
the favours he granted were intended to alienate her from 
the Lombard cities, and her statesmen saw clearly, as did 
the Pope, that, if those cities were crushed, neither the 
Island Republic nor the Church would be safe. So Venice 
began gradually to help the Lombard cities in any unosten- 
tatious way open to her. One of these ways was the send- 
ing of able Venetian statesmen as podest^s to Lombard 
cities. A podesta was properly a foreigner, and as such 
impartial between native factions. And no foreigner in 
Lombardy was so likely to be impartial as a citizen of the 
Republic that had always belonged to the Eastern more 
than to the Western world, in which feudalism had never 
taken root, and Guelf and Ghibelline were unfamiliar names, 
and men's minds were more fixed on sea-trade than on the 
relations of Church and Empire.^ Venice was also open 
as a place of refuge for subjects of Frederic who got into 
trouble with his government, and she readily undertook to 
make peace between Padua and Treviso in 1234.2 

When the Emperor next returned to Lombardy in 1236, 
Venice openly joined the League, and Venetian troops took 
part in an attack on Verona made by the Guelf cities. 
Frederic avenged this by falling on Vicenza and burning 
it, a punishment that roused rather than intimidated the 
neighbouring cities. Renier Zeno, a Venetian, afterwards 
doge, who was at this time Podestk of Piacenza, was 
zealous in extending the League. Yet Frederic, though in 
the winter of 1236-37 his power was steadily increasing, 
would not be provoked to break with Venice. The cities 
of the March of Verona were still allowed to trade with her, 
and her breaches of neutrality were overlooked. In July 
1237, when the Rectors of the League met Frederic's 

* Baer, Die Beziehnngen Venedigs zum Kaiserreiche, &c., pp. 86 ff. 
" lb., p. 96, n. 3. 


ambassadors at Fiorenzuola and were prepared to submit, as 
the Marquis of Este, and Padua and Treviso had done, the 
Doge of Venice interfered. Frederic had insisted on the 
removal of Renier Zeno from Piacenza, but Zeno, by the 
express order of the doge, hurried back and made the 
citizens swear not to receive the Emperor's podestk, and 
demanded that no terms of peace between the Emperor 
and Lombards should be agreed to, to which the Venetians 
were not parties. ^ 

There had been times in which a Roman Emperor, from 
his lofty position as God's vicegerent upon earth, could 
awe contending factions into peace; but the present was 
not such a time. Frederic was looked upon by both parties 
as merely a new partisan arrived to support Ecelin and the 
Ghibellines. The enmity of the Pope, who had invaded 
the lands of the Empire with fire and sword, the arms of 
this world, and had attacked the Emperor himself with the 
spiritual weapons of excommunication and interdict, had 
done much to soil the religious vesture in which the piety 
of ages had clothed the earthly head of the Holy Roman 
Empire. No Guelf city scrupled at resisting him. Even 
though, in 1237, Frederic returned across the Alps, and 
summoned to him from Apulia 10,000 Saracens to operate 
in Lombardy, by whose aid he defeated the Milanese in a 
great battle at Corte-nuova on the Oglio, the resistance 
continued. After Corte-nuova only four cities — Milan, 
Brescia, Piacenza, and Bologna — remained in the League. 
Brescia stood a long siege, which the Emperor was forced 
to raise in October 1238. And about the same time both 
Venice and the Pope declared openly for the Lombards. 
Venice was provoked beyond endurance by the treatment 
that Pietro Tiepolo, a son of the doge, who was Podest^ 
of Milan, received when taken prisoner at Corte-nuova. 
He was led in triumph on an elephant, bound to the 
captive Carroccio of Milan, and afterwards, it was said, put 

^ Ann. Placent. Ghib. in Pertz SS., xviii. p. 476. 


to death by the Emperor's orders.^ The Pope also again 
excommunicated Frederic, and this had the effect of finally 
detaching powerful Guelfs, like Este and St. Boniface, from 
the imperial cause. 

Pope Gregory died in 1241, but when in 1243 Innocent 
IV. was elected his successor, it was found that Frederic 
had a still more powerful enemy to contend with. Innocent 
belonged to the great Genoese family of Fieschi, and had 
powerful connexions on the northern side of the Apen- 
nines who could give the Emperor trouble in Lombardy. 
He also succeeded in assembling a council at Lyons under 
the protection of St. Louis, and obtaining from it a con- 
demnation of the Emperor and a solemn decree releasing 
his subjects from their allegiance, and ordering the electors 
to choose another Emperor. These measures had their 
effect in alienating more of the Emperor's adherents, while 
his own temper grew suspicious and cruel, and the terrible 
cruelties of Ecelino, who was now omnipotent in the 
Marches, made the cause he supported hateful throughout 
Lombardy. In 1247 Parma, where some of the friends of 
the Pope were powerful, revolted against the Emperor, who 
besieged it with the troops of the Lombard Ghibellines, 
with Saracens from Apulia, and with Paduans, Vicentines, 
and Veronese, forced to fight under Ecelino's banners. The 
militia of Milan and the Guelf cities, with the Guelf exiles 
from Ghibelline cities, flocked into Parma, and the siege 
lasted till February 1248, when the Emperor's camp was 
stormed in a sortie of the garrison, and he was forced to 
abandon his enterprise. This great Guelf success en- 
couraged the Pope's legate to call for a general muster of 
Guelf forces in Lombardy. Bologna, a rich and important 
city, became now the leader of the revolt ; and Hensius, 
King of Sardinia, a natural son of Frederic, whom he had 
left behind as Imperial Vicar in Lombardy when he himself 

* He was not hung till November 1240 at Trani, when Venice was 
openly at war with the Emperor (Baer, ti.s., p. 115). 



retired to Sicily, was defeated and taken prisoner in a great 
battle at Fossalta in May 1249. Frederic did not lose 
courage, but struggled hard to maintain his son Conrad 
against enemies stirred up by the Pope in Germany, and to 
aid St. Louis in his Crusade. He succeeded in winning 
the confidence and affection of the royal saint, but 
whether, with his countenance, he could have held his 
ground against the organised enmity of the Church was 
never proved, for before the end of 1250 he died, worn-out 
at the age of fifty-six by a life of strenuous bodily and 
mental energy, and by repeated and increasing disappoint- 

During the years between 1238 and 1245 the attitude of 
Venice towards the Emperor had gradually changed from 
benevolent neutrality to open hostility. The Pope had 
actively promoted this change. In the winter of 1238-39 
he induced the two maritime Republics, Genoa and Venice, 
to join in a defensive alliance. So friendly did they become 
that the ships of each Republic carried the flags of both, 
one on the starboard, the other on the port side. The 
treaty was signed in a room of the Pope's Lateran Palace,^ 
and Gregory was constant in his efforts to convert the 
defensive alliance into an offensive one, directed against 
Frederic's Sicilian and Apulian dominions. This he 
effected in September 1239, when Venice and Genoa 
promised each to fit out twenty-five galleys for an attack 
on Sicily, the Pope guaranteeing half the cost of the ex- 
pedition, and promising to the Venetians Barletta and 
Salpi in Apulia, to the Genoese Syracuse, in the event of 
a conquest. Venice entered into these engagements with 
manifest reluctance, and their execution was delayed.^ The 
Emperor showed his power to retaliate. He forbade his 
subjects to export their produce to Venice or receive 
imports from her ; he had all the roads watched that led 

* It is printed in Tafel and Thomas, ii. pp. 342 sqq. 

* Baer, «.j., pp. 106, 108. 


to Venice from the Marches of Treviso and Ancona; but 
he had to make exceptions in the case of the export — most 
important to Venice — of corn and cattle from South Italy. 
He ordered his admiral, Spinola, to stop the Moslem ruler 
of Tunis from admitting Venetian or Genoese merchants to 
his ports, and to cut off Venetian merchantmen coming 
home from the Levant.^ 

In the year 1240 a still more threatening attack on 
Venetian prosperity was made in the shape of an attempt 
to set up Ferrara as a commercial rival to her. The great 
fairs held on the banks of the Po under the walls of Ferrara 
at Easter and Martinmas had grown rapidly in importance, 
to the detriment of Venetian traders. When Venetian 
ships attempted to keep merchandise from coming to these 
fairs by blockading the mouths of the Po, Salinguerra, in 
the interests of the city he governed as well as in those of 
his kinsman, Ecelino, and the Emperor, drove them away. 
His power in the Marches was great; but the revulsion of 
feeling in North Italy that arose on the Pope's excom- 
munication of Frederic brought a host of enemies against 
him. Gregory of Montelungo, the Pope's legate, the cities 
of the League, Azzo of Este, Traversara of Ravenna, the 
Count of St. Boniface and Alberic da Romano, who had 
quarrelled with his brother Ecelino, were gathered together 
against Ferrara, and encamped under its walls in the 
meadow where the fairs were held and on the Po em- 
bankment. Salinguerra was able to lay the northern 
suburbs under water; but a Venetian fleet under Stefano 
Baduario, which the doge afterwards joined in person, 
sailed up the Po, and cut off the besieged city from the 
sea. For four months Salinguerra held out, but, in too 
great security or magnanimity, let the bishop, who was 
disaffected to him as the Pope's enemy, leave the city and 
join the besiegers. He was the means of establishing 

* Baer, ii.s., p. 109. In 1240 three richly laden Venetian ships from 
the East were taken. 


communications between the besiegers and the Pope's 
friends in the city, and one of the latter, Ugo di Ramperti, 
persuaded Salinguerra to enter into negotiations and visit 
the enemy's camp under a promise of safety. The safe 
conduct was not openly violated, and Salinguerra, after 
swearing allegiance to the legate — a proceeding which, in 
view of the legate's religious character, may have been 
held not inconsistent with allegiance to the Emperor — 
returned to Ferrara with the leaders of the allies, whom he 
entertained at a banquet in his palace. At the banquet, 
Traversara of Ravenna made a speech, bitterly attacking 
Salinguerra, who defended himself, but was not listened to, 
was seized, taken on board the doge's state ship, and 
carried to Venice.^ He was over eighty years old, but no 
way broken in mind or body, and he was treated with 
respect by his captors, who, when he died,- decreed him a 
public funeral, and erected, or allowed his friends to erect, 
a magnificent monument to him in San Niccolo on the 
Lido, of which some remains can still be seen.^ 

The Venetians imposed very severe terms on Ferrara ; a 
Ferrarese chronicler laments bitterly the cruelties inflicted 

1 See Browning's " Sordello," vi. 727-55, a highly picturesque 
passage. Romanin {ii. 232) says Salinguerra was lodged in the Casa 
Bosio at San Toma. I have followed the account given by Baer, I.e., 
p. 112, on the authority of Ricobaldus' Chronicle in Mur., R. I. S., 
ix. 130. Ricobaldus of Ferrara was a canon of Ravenna at the end of 
the thirteenth century ; therefore very nearly a contemporary. 

* Rolandino (Pertz, xix. p. /6) says, " Ubi post aliquot aimos debita 
natJircB persohit." He lived five years after his capture, '^'' airiali modo 
et digna reverentia cjistoditus." His son Jacobus or Giacomo was long 
in the court of Ecelino his uncle at Padua. He had a son, a second 
Salinguerra, whose descendants separated into several branches at 
Forli, Foligno, and other places. The Torelli family was not extinct 
when Pompeo Litta, in i?4a, published their genealogy in his Celebri 
Famiglie lialiane, tom. viii., but was represented by the Poniatowski 
and other Polish families. 

^ " Sordello and Cunizza,"' by Eugene Benson, p. 32. The inscrip- 
tion as it was in the time of Emanuele Ciccgna is given in his note 
to par. xcvi. of Martino da Canale's Cronaca Veiieta in A.St. ItaL, i. 8, 
p. 723- 


by the exiles who returned under the protection of Venice. '^ 
The Emperor was bent on recovering Ferrara, but had 
first to reduce Ravenna and Faenza ; the latter place, under 
a Venetian podestk, Michele Morosini, made a long and 
heroic defence. To help in this, Venice was at last in- 
duced to undertake the invasion of Apulia, for which the 
Pope was so anxious, and a fleet under Giovanni Tiepolo, 
a son of the doge, took Termoli and some other places. 
It was at this time that the doge's other son, Pietro, was 
executed," as we have seen, and the hostility between 
Venice and the Emperor was most embittered. But it 
diminished again as Frederic's fortunes sank. Ferrara was 
not reconquered by the imperialists, but passed into the 
hands of the Marquis of Este, who governed it in a manner 
friendly to Venice, granting her extensive trading privileges 
there. When the Council of Lyons met in 1245, and 
Innocent IV. induced it to depose the Emperor, Frederic 
again made advances to Venice, by obtaining the release 
of her ambassadors to the council, who had been taken 
prisoners by the Count of Savoy on their return. The 
Venetians, believing that Lombard independence was now 
secured, did not care to oppose the Emperor more, and 
made peace with him in August or September of that year. 
Till his death Venice took no active part in the war.^ Her 
statesmen had held, throughout Frederic's reign, that his 
ideas of increasing his imperial power were dangerous to 
her. So long as there was a chance of making these 
effective, she was against him, neutral only when he was 

^ The exiles who returned and enjoyed the possessions of their 
enemies ^^ plus carnem defectteram quaiii animam inordinate amantes, 
omnia libidini et siiperbicB Venetorum pcrmiserunt injusti" (Chron. 
Parv. Ferrar. in Mur., R. I. S., viii. c. 485). 

^ According to a passage in Collenuccio's Storia di Napoli quoted by 
Tommaso Gar in a note to Mart, da Canale [Arch. Star. Ital., i. 8, 
pp. 72T,, 724), he was hung on a tower of Trani over the seashore in 
sight of a Venetian fleet, in revenge for the capture by the Venetians of 
a large ship with a crew of 1000 men belonging to the Emperor 

^ Baer, u.s., pp. 114-18. 

86 VENICE IN THE 13th <i- 14th CENTURIES 

held in check without her. This was the policy of all the 
doges throughout the Hohenstaufen era. The Emperors 
never claimed that Venice was de jure subject to them, 
never appealed to Venetians disfideles. Venetian coins bear 
the image of no Hohenstaufen Emperor, but from the 
time of Pietro Polani (1128-48) only that of the doge. 
And her conduct through Frederic's long struggle with his 
Italian subjects shows her ^(^^/^^r/^? independent of theEmpire.^ 
When the Venetians in 1240 did not persevere in their 
invasion of Apulia, it was partly because their attention 
was diverted by troubles that the Emperor had helped 
to stir up in Istria and Dalmatia. Zara in 1242 expelled 
the Venetian Count, Giovanni Michiel, and asked the 
King of Hungary for protection. The city was soon retaken 
by a fleet under Renier Zeno, but the rebels who escaped 
fitted out ships to plunder Venetian commerce in the 
Adriatic, and the new Count, Michele Morosini, had to 
call upon the islands of the Quarnero, Arbe, Cherso, and 
Veglia, to help him to hold his ground. Venice also sent 
colonists to Zara, as she had previously done to Crete, to 
settle on the confiscated lands of the rebels. In 1244 she 
made a treaty with Hungary, by which the latter under- 
took not to aid Venetian rebels. Then Zara made over- 
tures for peace, and promised to submit to the count sent 
from Venice. To strengthen the position of the Republic 
in the Quarnero, two sons of the doge, Lorenzo and 
Giovanni, were sent as counts to Veglia and Ossero. 
Lorenzo was married to a niece of the Latin Emperor of 
Constantinople, John of Brienne, a connexion which added 
much to his prestige, though it probably could have given 
him little material help.- 

* Baer, u.s., pp. 119, 120. 

- See Romanin, ii. pp. 235, 236. Pompeo Litta (torn, viii., s.z>. 
Ticpolo) says that Lorenzo's wife was daughter of Bohemund de Brienne, 
King of Rascia, a Slavonic district in the south of Bosnia, and brother 
of the Emperor John de Brienne. The Fourth Crusade had sown all 
the Balkan Peninsula with petty Prankish princes. 



GiACOMO TiEPOLO was looked back upon in after years 
as one of the chief Venetian legislators. His Statuto or 
Code was issued in 1242, and was still in force, Andrea 
Dandolo tells us, in his time, a hundred years later. ^ It 
was prepared by a body of four commissioners, one of 
whom was the Stefano Baduario, whose name has met us 
already in the account of the Lombard wars. He was 
chosen, we are told, for his knowledge of the pratica del 
foro, the practice of the courts, his colleagues for their skill 
in canon law, public law, and jurisprudence respectively.^ 
They had a mass of material to work on, some of which 
has only lately come to light in a MS. discovered by Signor 
G. Geleich, that had once belonged to the library of the 
Counts Gozzi of Ragusa, and appears to have been a 
manual of law for the use of the Venetian governors of 
Dalmatia, prepared in the first half of the thirteenth cen- 
tury.^ The civil laws contained in this MS. have been 
printed in extenso in the Nuovo Archivio Veneio for 1901 
and 1902, with a learned preface on ancient Venetian legis- 
lation by Signor Enrico Besta, and another specially on the 
Statuti Marittifni of Venice by Signor Adolfo Sacerdoti. 
It is supposed by the editors of this collection of laws, that 
the oldest part dates in its present form from the end of 

^ Mur., R. I. S., xii. c. 353. 

* Valsecchi, Bibliogr. della legislazione del/a Rep. di V. in Archivio 
Veneto, ii. pp. 56, ;/. 

^ Signor Geleich 's paper is reviewed in Nuovo Arch. Vcn.. for 1892, 
torn. iv. pt. i. 



the twelfth century, when the great Enrico Dandolo was 
doge. It was not a code drawn up at one date in syste- 
matic order, but a collection of decrees or orders made at 
different times by one or other of the several bodies that 
had legislative power. These were the Greater Council, 
the Senate or Pregadi, and probably the Quarantia. In 
later times the Council of Ten also had this power. The 
technical word for resolutions adopted by any of these 
bodies was "Fairti" (partes).^ Enrico Dandolo seems to 
have collected these " Parti," and classified them under 
the heads of criminal, civil, nautical, &c. We hear of a 
criminal code or digest drawn up in the time of Aurio 
Malipiero or Mastropiero, doge from 1178 till 1193, the 
immediate predecessor of Dandolo, under the name of Pro- 
mtssione - del Maleficio. We are told that Enrico Dandolo 
remodelled this (refortnavit), and that his revision, with 
few additions or corrections, remained in force in the 
middle of the fourteenth century, when our informer 
Andrea Dandolo wrote. ^ 

The five books of the Statute of Giacomo Tiepolo relate 
only to civil matters, not to criminal. They begin with a 
definition of justice, taken from the first title of the "Insti- 
tutes " of Justinian, and there are traces in their arrangement 

^ '' Parti chiamavan^i le deliberazioni prese dai rari Consigli, come 
il Alaggiore, quello dei Pregadi, qtiello dei X, quello dei XL. Talvolta 
si diede qiiesto noine anche a determinazioni di alcuni inagistrati " 
(Valsecchi, u.s., p. 393 n.). 

^ This use of Promissione is, I think, strictly analogous to that of 
Promissione ducale. The latter was a legal document, borrowed from 
the proetor's edict in Roman law, by which the praetor entering on office 
published the rules which he promised to observe in administering 
justice during his year of office. Each praetor corrected, by his own 
authority, the rules of his predecessors ; at Venice public officers were 
appointed to revise the Promissione for each new doge (correttori). 
The doge's Promissione was a promise, to which he was sworn, to 
govern according to its tenor. The Promissione del Maleficio was a 
promise or intimation to all Venetians, that they would be punished, 
if they disregarded its rules. It is printed in the second part of 
Statutorum ac Venetarum Legtim Volumen, 1 729. 

^ Dandolo (rt/W Mur., K. I. S., xii. col. 317). 


and contents of the influence of that famous Code. Begin- 
ning with some provisions as to church property, the 
first book of the Statuto goes on to deal with the procedure 
of the courts, judgments and their execution, the dowries 
of wives and jointures of widows ; the second book deals 
with minors and lunatics, their guardians and curators, in 
this part keeping close to the "Institutes" ; the next book, 
the third, treats of contracts, partnerships, sale and letting 
of real property ; the fourth of wills, which might be either 
in writing, and subscribed by a notary, ox per breviario, i.e. 
given viva voce before witnesses, and afterwards certified by 
the Esauiinatore^ the magistrate whose duty it was to super- 
vise and register all transfers of property ; of intestacies, in 
which the Roman law was not followed in the case of 
landed property in the Dogado, which could not devolve 
on women, though personal property, and land outside the 
Dogado, might ; the fifth book dealt with succession to 
property outside the Dogado, the duties of the bailo in 
connexion therewith, and with mortgages and other securi- 
ties for debts. A curious provision, that savours of very 
early customs, prescribes that a debtor, who could not pay 
a judgment debt, should be confined for thirty days to the 
Corte (the " rules of the court "), which meant the terri- 
torio - of San Marco, and might not cross a bridge out of 
it on pain of imprisonment \ at the end of the thirty days, 
if still unable to pay, the debtor was to be committed for 
thirty days — if a man, to prison, if a woman, to the palace 

^ The office of " Examiner " was established by a decree of Rainiero 
Dandolo, acting as doge in the absence of his father Enrico at Constanti- 
nople. And. Dandolo (x. iii. 44; Mur., R. I. S., xii. col. 332) speaks of 
the " Examinatores " as a new class of judges appointed ''pro brevia- 
riorum examinatione." 

* It appears from the famous contemporary account of the election 
of Domenico Silvio as doge in 107 1 printed in Gallicciolli (vi. 124, 126, 
No. 193 1), that each church in Venice, whether a Parrockia or not, had 
a territorio or contrada attached to it. .San Marco, as the doge's chapel, 
and San Zaccaria and San Lorenzo, as monastic, would not be parish 
churches, but would have each a territorio. 


or to a cell in the monastery of San Zaccaria or San 
Lorenzo, to the precincts of which monasteries, instead of 
those of San Marco, she was confined during the first thirty 
days.^ At the end of the imprisonment the debtor had 
to declare on oath the amount of his property, which was 
confiscated to the creditor, and, if this was not sufficient to 
discharge the debt, to give a lien on a third part of his or 
her future earnings, till the whole should be paid. 

A great part of the Statuto of Giacomo Tiepolo is identical 
with what we find in that lately printed in the Nuovo 
Archivio Veneto, which probably, as we have seen, is to be 
ascribed to Enrico Dandolo ; other parts differ both in 
substance and in arrangement. A great part of the laws 
are concerned with technicalities of procedure, such as the 
service of the summons on the parties and on the witnesses, 
the places where a suit can be tried or a judgment given, 
the times and hours at which the judges have to attend,- 
for what functions the services of a notary are required, 
&c. We have fortunately an almost contemporary treatise 
on the customary law of Venice, Jacobus Bertaldus' Splendor 

^ ' ' Ipsa stabit in Territorio Sandi Zacharice vel Sancti Laurentii, 
ita 111 Pontem non transeat, et loco Carceris stabit in Camera dictorum 
Afoftasteriorum vel Falatii." Nov, Ven. Stat. (1729), lib. i. cap. 51, 
pp. 23, 24. 

^ Bertaldus {v. infra), pp. 117, 118, says of trials where the summons 
was hy bina contestatio: ^' Et nota termini harum binartim solebant 
antiqiiitiis prcFfigi ad mudttam, seuper mttduam pasce domini, sen aliam 
mudiiam ymberni. Mudua pasce tenebat a kallendis Marcii usque ad 
kallendas iullii, et mtidna ymberni a kallendis septembris usque ad 
kallendas ianuarii, ita quod iullius, augustus, ianuarius et februarius 
non erant in tnuduis, sed tantum reliqui octo menses.''^ Mudua, of 
which I can find no explanation in any book of reference, would appear 
from this passage to mean "term-time." Ymberni, I have no doubt, 
is hiberni. If this is so, the Venetian lawyers will have had nearly as 
long a vacation as ours. It seems probable that there is some con- 
nexion between mudua and mtida, which is not uncommonly used for 
" le spedizioni dellc flotie armate in mcrcanzia, unite in carovane 
{squadrc) di otto o died galee" (Molmenti, St. di Ven. nella vita 
privata, vol. i. p. 142). This muda may be the same word as niuta 
( — French meute), a pack or flock of beasts or birds. I discuss the 
meaning of this mysterious word in an Excursus, p. 580, post. 


Venetorum civitatis consiietudinum^ written in 1311-12, which 
gives us in a graphic and Uvely style a description of the 
several courts in their actual operation in the doge's 
palace.^ It deals principally with customs, which Bertaldus 
looks upon as the remnants of the customary law of the 
good old times of their forefathers, " who lived pure lives, 
full of charity and mutual affection," other parts of which 
had been enacted as statutes by the doge and his councils 
with the assent (laudatio) of the whole people. A custom 
could not prevail against a Statutum, nor against a resolu- 
tion {consilium captutn) of the Great Council ; but Bertaldus 
evidently in his heart loves the customs, whose " splendour " 
he celebrates, better than any more formal instrument.^ 

A court could be held anywhere to try a lawsuit {placitmn), 
but judgment could be given only in the doge's palace.^ If 
the suit required to be heard by an ordinary {in ordine) 
customary court,* the plaintiff and defendant must be 
present with one advocate at least, but not more than two, 
for each party ; there must be not fewer than two or more 
than three judges, and one or both of the sworn notaries of 
the court. For a placitum that did not require a court in 

^ It has been edited by Schupfer in a handsome folio form in vol. iii. 
of the Bihliotheca Juridica Medii Aivi, 1901. The author describes 
himself as having been formerly " Cancellarius ducalis Aula-," and since 
Bishop of Vegla (the island of Vei^lia in the Quarnero). He speaks of 
Marinus Georgio (Marin Zorzi) as reigning doge, which would make 
its date 131 1 or 13 12 and not 1245 as stated in the Prologue. We 
learn from Farlati {lUyricuin Sacrum, v. p. 303, I) that Jacobus Ber- 
taldus was Bishop of Veglia from 13 11 to 13 15, so that there must be 
some mistake in the date 1245. Bertaldus died at Venice, and is 
buried in San Pantaleone, where there is an inscription to him in 
very bad hexameters. 

* " Via iustitie habet in civitate tua Rivaltina diipliccni trauiiUin: 
tiniiin. per StatiUiun, quod est ius scriplu/ii, alteruiii per consuetudineiii, 
quod est ius non scriptuiii " (p. lOO in Schupfer'). 

' Bertaldus (ed. Schupfer) p. 107. The Curia de propria, with 
which Bertaldus' treatise is mainly concerned, was so called, because it 
had jurisdiction in all cases affecting real properly [propriuin or im- 
mobile), but it had also criminal Jurisdiction, and in the exercise of 
this was called lex (ib. p. 103). 

* " In orditu de consuetudine " {ib. p. 106). 


ordine, it was only necessary that the judges with one notary, 
or in some cases one chancellor, should be present. The 
judges were required to hear mass in St. Mark's at early 
morning {summo mane), and as soon as ever mass was 
over they were to go into court (no doubt usually in the 
palace), and take their seats on the lower bench, on which, 
so long as the " ofificer's bell " was ringing, they heard cer- 
tain specified cases, especially any questions relating to the 
summons of parties or witnesses. In most cases the sum- 
mons would have required these to be present " ante terciam 
Saficti Marci" at which time the court ordinarily adjourned 
for the day. I presume this means before nine o'clock 
struck by the bell of St. Mark's ; but for those who had to 
come from the more distant parts of the Dogado any later 
time up to vespers at St. Mark's could be fixed in the sum- 
mons. When the officer's bell ceased to ring,^ the judges 
moved up to the upper bench, where they heard all causes 
that required the presence of the doge. The doge had in 
all cases to be present when judgment was given, but did 
not give judgment himself, and after sentence had been 
passed in a criminal case, no further business could be taken 
that day. The record of any decision, whether in a civil 
or criminal case, appears to have been called hreviarium, 
and to have been made by the notary and confirmed by 
the oath of two witnesses, who heard the decision given. 

The summons to the parties, and to witnesses, in all 
cases where they resided in the city, or any of the islands 
from Grado to Cavarzere, had to be served by one of the 
inferior officers - of the doge in person. If the person to 

* In their oath on assuming office, the doge's counsellors promise 
not to fail to appear at the council room at the ringing of the bell of 
San Marco (Roman., ii. p. 218). 

^ The generic name of these officers seems to be ininisteriales. For 
the particular duty of serving summonses, their title was pracones, or 
perhaps riparii, when they executed their office elsewhere than in 
Rialto. The itrm gastaldi ox gastaldiones seems to have been usually 
restricted to the doge's representatives in the Communes of the Dogado. 
See Nidovo Arch. Ven. 1901, p. 32. 


be summoned was in prison, he was brought out by the 
gaoler and, after service of the summons, was sent back to 
prison : if he was sick, the officer must still serve the sum- 
mons upon him, but he could be exempted from appearing. 
The summoning officer was furnished by the doge with a 
baton thicker at one end than the other,^ like a policeman's 
truncheon, but must not serve the summons noisily or 
violently, but courteously, and, if the person to be sum- 
moned was found in company with others, he was to be 
taken aside, and the service effected privately.^ 

All cases concerning the guardianship of minors, or 
where any one applied to take the place of an executor 
refusing to act,^ were heard in the court of the procurators 
of St. Mark, who had a right to be summoned as if they 
had been parties. Most cases affecting the clergy were 
tried in the Church courts, but by a special privilege 
granted by the Church to Venice, the rights of churches or 
monasteries to real property on the islands, or those of any 
ecclesiastical person to his patrimony there, were tried by 
the secular courts, and this was believed to be founded 
on the consideration that the soil of the islands was no 
part of God's earth, but the creation of the original owner, 
who had built it up from under the water, and whose rights 
as creator had descended to his successors in title* Ber- 
taldus adds, that in these cases the secular courts were 
supposed to act as trustees for the interests of all parties. 

Where a party or a witness could not be found, or where, 
as in the case of the court dividing the property of an in- 
testate, it was uncertain what persons were interested, and 
more generally, after any alienation of property where it was 
necessary to warn any person, who might be interested, of 

1 " Grossiis ab tino capite et ab alio svbtilis." 

^ Bertaldus, u.s., p. io8. 

^ The person who then took the place of executor was calledyi/; «//o;-. 

* Bertaldus, u.s., p. 112. He refers to the Statuto of Tiepolo, i. 70, 
but neither there nor elsewhere in the Statuto can I find any provision 
as to jurisdiction over churchmen. 


what was being done, a public proclamation by the voice 
o( the J>rcPco or crier took the place of individual service of 
the summons. This proclamation was called stridor, and 
was made, according to circumstances, at the porphyry 
column {pietra del bando) in the south-west front of St. 
Mark's, at the landing-place on the Molo {ad scalas Sit. 
Marci, or Rivoalti), or at the parish church, or the house 
of the person to be affected with notice {stridandus).^ 

There is much also that is interesting in the Statuto of 
Giacomo Tiepolo, and in the treatise of Bertaldus, as 
throwing light on the daily life of the Venetians of the 
thirteenth century. But it hardly falls within the province 
of an historian of Venice to enter into the minutiae of the 
legal system prevailing there. - 

One point that cannot but strike us in the Venetian 
laws, whether civil or criminal, is the weight that is allowed 
to the oaths of interested parties, where other evidence 
cannot be got. In the thirteenth century, men really be- 
lieved that God intervened in the affairs of this world, and 
that the punishment of a perjurer could be left to Him. In 
the Fromissio?ie del Maleficio, provision is made for the 
punishment of a witness refusing to swear, and for a parti- 
cular case of perjury — that of selling a ship that the owner 

^ Bertaldus, u.s., pp. 1 12-15, for all senses of stridor. If a de- 
fendant did not appear in court on the day for which he was sum- 
moned, '■^ ante terciam Sti. Mar<!,^'' he was ^^ stridatiis publici" in 
court by an advocator qualified to plead before the court or by the 
plaintiff. For subjects of Venice living outside the Dogado, there was 
another mode of service provided c^WtA^'' per bi)tai)i contestationem." 
In this case, if I understand the matter rightly, the bailo or consul 
representing Venice in the place in question gave the person to be 
summoned a cedilla or statement of the claim made upon him and of 
the documents on which it rested. This in most places required to 
be sealed with the doge's '^ bulla pliimbea," but not in Padua, Ferrara, 
or Treviso. 

- The Statuto of Giacomo Tiepolo is printed with many later laws in 
Novissimum Statutoritrn Venetorum ac Venetartim Legum J^oltwien, 
printed at Venice in 1729. The Statuto is given in Latin and (slightly 
Venetian) Italian, and in both is very incorrectly printed. The sixth 
book of the Statuto belongs to Andrea Dandolo's time, a century later. 



had sworn that he would not sell — but there is no general 
provision for punishing perjury. ^ 

The government of Giacomo Tiepolo was illustrated by 
the foundation of a church and monastery for each of the 
two great orders that were started at the beginning of the 
century by St. Dominic and St. Francis. An old Domi- 
nican tradition related that in 1217 St. Dominic came 
from Toulouse to Venice, and was granted the Oratory of 
San Daniele, which was afterwards called that of San 
Domenico, and in 1567 had become the Chapel of the 
Rosary. This is probably not authentic, as Andrea Dan- 
dolo, who frequently mentions St. Dominic in his Chronicle, 
says nothing of a visit to Venice. In 1221 the saint died 
at the convent of St. Maria del Monte, outside Bologna, 
the city in which he is buried, in one of the most magni- 
ficent of Dominican churches, under a glorious shrine, the 
work of Niccolb da Pisa, over the altar of which is now 
a fresco of the glories of Paradise, one of the finest works 
of Guido Reni. There was a Prior of the Dominicans, 
or Friars Preachers, at Venice in 1226; and in 1234 
the doge granted to them a piece of marshy land - on the 
confines of the parishes of Sta. Maria Formosa and Sta. 
Martina, on which to build a church and convent. The 
Friars had already a small oratory on the site, and the 
present magnificent church was begun as soon as the land 
was granted them. The doge chose his place of burial 
there ; many in those days desired their bones to be laid 
in the churches of the Friars, from the same feelings by 
which those were actuated who, " dying, put on the weeds of 
Dominic, or in Franciscan think to pass disguis'd." The 
memorial to him now to be seen on the facjade of the 
church, between the school of St. Mark and the statue of 
Colleoni, was not put up till the church was finished, well 
on in the fourteenth century, and the inscription on it 

^ Promiss. de Male/., cc. xxi, and xxvi. 

2 '^ Amplnni terrcB spaciiiin aijud superlabente." 


commemorated not only the doge under whom the church 
was founded, but his son Lorenzo, who was elected doge in 
1268, and died in 1273, celebrating in rather lame hexa- 
meters ^ the donation of the site by the father, his fixing of 
the laws of the city, his conquest of Zara, his dyeing of the 
waves with blood of Greeks, and the son's acceptance of 
the Istrians' submission, and subjection of Bologna and 
Cervia. A carving on the sarcophagus of birds flying and 
angels swinging censers refers to the legend, not mentioned 
by Dandolo or any earlier authority, that the doge was 
led to grant the site by a vision, in which he saw the little 
oratory of San Daniele full of flowers, and white doves 
with golden crosses on their heads flying to it, while two 
angels with thuribles incensed the area, and a voice 
proclaimed, " Here is the place I have chosen for my 

The church was dedicated not to St. Dominic, but to 
John and Paul, two obscure Christian soldiers, said to 
have suffered martyrdom under Julian the Apostate. In a 
church dedicated to them at Rome the Dominicans who 
came to Venice had first been settled. They were to have 
brought with them from Rome some of the relics of the 
two martyrs, but it was apparently not till more than 400 
years later, in 1661, that the relics — the arm bones of the 
saints — were, through the friendship of the Venetian ambas- 
sador at Rome, with Cardinal Borromeo, titular of the 
church of SS. John and Paul, and the General of the 
Gesuati, to whom that church then belonged, brought to 
Venice, and enclosed in cases of crystal intersected with 
silver that two angels in Parian marble on either side of 
the altar held up.^ 

^ The version of these given in Sanudo's Vite de' Duchi (Mur. xxii. 
c. 554) is better than that of Flaminio Cornaro. 

* Flaminio Cornaro, Eccl. Fen. Dec, xi. pt. i. pp. 235 sqq. and 
263-66. There was another John the Martyr, who suffered in 
Diocletian's persecution at Csesarea, whose body, according to Dandolo 
(x. 4, 27 ; Mur., R. I. S., xiii. 339), was brought to Venice from 
Constantinople in 12 16 by Roaldus, Prior of San Daniele. 


The Franciscans, the other great order of Mendicant 
Friars, came to Venice soon after St. Francis' death in 
1226. St. Francis had probably himself been in the 
neighbourhood, for Dandolo ^ mentions the famous inci- 
dent of his preaching to the birds as having taken 
place in the Venetian marshes. His followers came to 
Venice, begging their bread from door to door, and 
preached in the lanes of the city, sleeping at night, some 
in the porch of the church of San Silvestro, some in that of 
San Lorenzo, others in the courts of the doge's palace. 
They were welcomed with enthusiasm, and in 1236 an old 
deserted abbey of St. Mary, on the confines of the parishes 
of San Toma and St. Stephen the Confessor, was given 
them as an habitation. Before the end of Giacomo 
Tiepolo's life the church of Santa Maria Gloriosa de' Frari 
was begun, and finished when Francesco Dandolo was 
doge (a.d. 1229-39). It is probably on the site of the 
old abbey, for the church of San Toma is not far from it. 
Like San Giovanni e Paolo, it became a favourite place of 
burial for distinguished persons, though not so much for 
doges as its great Dominican rival. The same reason — the 
desire men felt of laying their bones in the ground sancti- 
fied by the presence of such holy men as the Friars — made 
Santa Croce, the Franciscan church at Florence, and Santa 
Maria Novella, the Dominican, the favourite places of 
burial in that city.^ 

The site for the Church of the Frari may have been 
bought by the Franciscans themselves with the proceeds of 
their mendicity. But in 1235, when Giacomo Tiepolo 
was no longer doge, Marco Ziani, Count of Arbe, a son of 
the magnificent Doge Pietro Ziani, gave a part of a vineyard 
belonging to him in the parish of Sta. Giustina — where, as 
we have seen, the property of his family was situated — with 

^ X. 4, 38 ; Mur., R. I. S., xii. 343. 

^ It will he remembered that Dante's bones lie buried in the church 
of St. Francis at Ravenna, 



a church already standing on it, to be used as a dwelling- 
place for six brothers with two servitors of either the Friars 
Minor or the Friars Preachers or of the Order of Cistellum 
(? Citeaux). This was the origin of the second great Fran- 
ciscan church in Venice, San Francesco della Vigna. The 
old church standing in the vineyard of Ziani was tradition- 
ally held to have been built to commemorate the scene of St. 
Mark's landing when overtaken by a storm on his return from 
Aquileia, on which occasion he saw in a vision an angel, 
who greeted him with the words that were ever afterwards 
inscribed on the scroll held by the Lion of the Republic : 
" Pax tibi Marce Evangelista Meus." ^ This old church 
stood till i8io, side by side with a great church built for 
the Franciscans in the fourteenth century by the architect 
Marino da Pisa, which gave place in the sixteenth century 
to the Renaissance church, the work of Palladio, now on 
the site. 

The two great churches of the Friars, the Santi Giovanni 
e Paolo and the Santa Maria de' Frari, are cited in the 
" Stones of Venice " - as examples of a foreign style of archi- 
tecture, Lombardo-German, introduced by the aggressively 
Christian influence of the mendicant orders as more suitable 
for religious buildings than the Venetian-Arabic that had 
long prevailed in Venice for secular buildings, but had 
been generally avoided for churches. This Venetian- 
Gothic, which Ruskin considered the most characteristic 
architecture in Venice, is best seen, besides the two 
great churches I have mentioned, in San Stefano and the 
ducal palace. While most modern critics will value it less 
than the Gothic of France or England, or the Romanesque 
of North Italy, it is undoubtedly a beautiful and dignified 
style, worthy of the grandeur and wealth of the vast 
buildings in which it is embodied. 

' Hare's "Venice," p. ii6. See also Selvatico e Lazari Guida 
Arttstica, p. 131. 

2 Vol. i. pp. 21, 22 (ed. 1898). 


These two churches were founded early in Giacomo 
Tiepolo's government, about the same time as his earlier 
laws, some seven years before his Statute or Institutes came 
out. During the first half of his reign Venice was more or 
less actively engaged in the Lombard wars, but after the 
capture of Salinguerra at Ferrara, in 1240, her energies, if 
we may judge from the subjects most prominently men- 
tioned in Dandolo's annals, were more concentrated on the 
affairs of Dalmatia. 

In 1248, on the petition of exiles from Zara staying at 
Nona, the doge, "after the manner of a kind father,"^ 
recalled the Venetian colonists, and allowed the exiles to 
return. But he was careful to retain all the rights of 
sovereignty,- and made a Venetian, Stefano Giustiniani, 
Count of Zara, who destroyed the walls towards the sea, 
which had no doubt been intended to resist Venice, and 
established himself in a castle there.^ The establishment 
of Venetians as counts in foreign dependencies, as Giusti- 
niani in Zara and the doge's two sons in the Quarnero, led 
to a resolution of the Great Council prohibiting such counts 
from receiving unlimited leave of absence from their 
counties, so that they might not be able to combine these 
distant employments with membership of the council or 
any other of the great governing bodies at home. No 
doubt the same measure was dealt to those who were 
podestks in Lombard towns. 

Early in the next year, 1249, when Tiepolo had been 
doge for twenty years, and was an old and weary man, he 
resigned his office, retiring, not to a monastery, but to his 
house in Sant Agostino,^ where he died only four months 

* ' ' Mo7-e pa pa iris . ' ' 

^ " DominuiDi et /ncrum et mixitmi Impe7-itiin.^' 
^ Dand., ap^ldyl^xx., H. I. S., xii. col. 35!". 

* The Campo Sant Agostino is near the Frari. The church, originally 
founded in the tenth century and rebuilt in the sixteenth, is now 
suppressed but still in existence. 

loo VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

To avoid the chance of an equal division of votes, as 
there had been at the last doge's election, forty-one electors 
instead of forty were elected. We have the oath that 
each of them took, to choose without partiality, without 
regard to prayers, gifts, fear or favour, the citizen he 
thought best for the Republic. The oath also prescribed 
the order of proceeding, the exclusion of all the kindred of 
any candidate who was proposed, their re-admission after- 
wards to defend him from any accusations that had been 
made against him. Each man swore to disclose any 
attempt that had been made to corrupt him, and not to 
canvass any other elector for any candidate.^ On the 13th 
of June, twenty-four days after Tiepolo's death, a new 
doge was chosen, Marin Morosini, an old man of sixty- 

The family of Morosini or Mauroceni is one of those 
mentioned in the Altino Chronicle as coming to Rialto 
from Eraclea, and as having taken part in the foundation 
of the church of St. Maurus, the little church of St. Gabriel, 
the church of St. Augustine, and the Schola of St. Magnus. 
These churches were probably founded in very early times, 
before the city was settled at Rialto, and that of St. Maurus 
is stated to have been at Burano.^ In another passage, 
where the chronicler is speaking of the origin of the great 
Venetian families, he says that the Mauroceni came from 
Mantua.'* In later, but still early, times we have met with 
Giovanni Morosini, the son-in-law of the sainted Doge 
Orseolo I., who was his companion in his flight from 
Venice to his Catalonian or Aquitanian monastery, and 
who afterwards founded the great monastery of San 
Giorgio Maggiore. A few years after the Saint's flight, 

1 The substance of the oath is given by Roman, (ii. p. 249) from a 
MS. in St. Mark's Library. 

* Sanudo, Vite di Duchi (Mur., R. I. S., xxii. col. 554). 

* Book ii., p. 49. As to Maurus and his possible identity with 
Mauricins, Bishop of Torcello, see "Early History," p. 144, n. 3. 

•• Book iii., p. 84. 

MARIN MOROSINI DOGE (1249-52) loi 

when Tribune Memo was doge, the feuds of the Morosini, 
as heads of the Byzantine faction, with the Caloprini, whose 
faction leant upon the Emperor Otto, had caused blood- 
shed in the streets of Castello.^ In 1148 Domenico 
Morosini had succeeded Pietro Polani as doge, and had 
ruled the city for seven not inglorious years of war with 
Roger, the Norman King of Sicily, and Manuel Comnenus, 
and had sent envoys to Frederic Barbarossa's first Diet 
of Roncaglia in 1154. The last member of the family we 
have met with was Thomas Morosini, the sorely tried Latin 
Patriarch of Constantinople. The family palace, now 
known as Palazzo Sagredo, is on the Grand Canal, not 
far above the Rialto Bridge, next door to the beautiful 
Ca Doro. 

The new doge himself does not appear to have pre- 
viously held any conspicuous position, except when he had 
been, in 1245, one of the three envoys from the Republic 
to the Council of Lyons who had been taken prisoners by the 
Count of Savoy on their return. We do not hear of him 
as bailo at Constantinople or Candia, nor as podestk of 
a Lombard town, nor as commanding a fleet in the Gulf. 
Marino Sanudo the younger says that " he wished to abide 
in peace with all men." ^ The three years that he was 
doge (1249 to 1252) were not without great events of 
European history — St. Louis' disastrous Crusade to Egypt 
and captivity there, the death of the Emperor Frederic II., 
and the beginning of the troubles in South Italy caused 
by the claim of the House of Anjou to succeed him. We 
read, not in the Venetian chronicles, but in the English 
history of Matthew Paris, that the Count of Bar and the 

^ *' Early History of Venice," pp. 125, 126. 

^ Vlie de Diichi, Mur., R. I. S., xxii. col. 555. Martin da Canale 
says of him, " J^ii si graciens qiCil usa sa vie sans guerre- Nul ne Fosa 
assailir de guerre ; sa navie aloit dela la mer et en tos lens sans garde de 
galies ; il avoil pes a tos" {Cronaca Ven.,c. cxxvii. apud ^>yA. Slor. /tal., 
ser. i. torn. 8, p. 416). But Canale goes on to say that this peace could 
not have been obtained had it not been for the warlike prowess of the 
preceding Doge Tiepolo. 


Lord of Beaujeu were sent by St. Louis to Venice, and 
obtained from the liberality of the RepubUc six great ships 
laden with corn and wine and other provisions, a guard 
of soldiers, and many Crusaders.^ The Venetian writers 
confine themselves to relating acts that show the doge's 
moderation and his care for the morals and religion of his 
people. A clause in his Fromissione, doubtless originating 
rather with the dominant spirits in the Greater and Lesser 
Council than with himself, prohibited the appointment of 
sons of the doge to governments outside Venice, as the 
late doge's sons had been sent to govern Vegha and 
Ossero as counts : ^ he obtained the appointment of two 
police magistrates {Domini de Nocte), one for the Citra 
Canale, the other for the Ultra Canale, to reheve the 
Capi di Contrada from the duty of preserving order after 
dark in the calli and campi of the city. A more ominous 
part of his Promissione bound him to appoint good and 
wise and orthodox men to seek out heretics, and to cause 
all those who were declared such by the Patriarch of 
Grado, the Bishop of Castello, or any other bishop of 
the Dogado, to be burned by the judgment of the doge's 
counsellors, or a majority of them. The Albigensian 
heretics had not been effectually put down by the new 
tribunal set up by Innocent III. to suppress them, and the 
Church, in alarm, brought to bear on Venice the influence 
it could always exercise there, that it might be empowered 
to destroy, before it came to maturity, any seed of free 
thought that might find a favourable soil in the cosmo- 
politan society of a great commercial city. But the states- 
men of the Republic were careful, as they always were in 
their dealings with the Church, to keep in their own hands 
the appointment of the agents who were to bring heretics 
to trial, and the decision whether any person accused 
should be sent to the stake. The Pope was not pleased 

' .-//>«/«? Roman., ii. p. J50 n. 

- Dandolo, Mur., A'. /. S., xii. col. 359. 


at these reservations, and continually pressed for the estab- 
lishment of the Tribunal of the Holy Office in Venice. 

Of minor religious events of this reign we are told of 
the decoration with mosaics, at the doge's expense, of the 
vault of the church of San Salvatore (a church that was 
succeeded in the sixteenth century by the present Renais- 
sance church of Tullio Lombardo), of the privilege granted 
by the Pope to the Primicerio of St. Mark, at the doge's 
request, to wear on proper occasions the mitre and pastoral 
ring, and carry the pastoral staff, of a bishop.^ The city 
was also enriched by the acquisition of the bodies of 
St. Saba, a monk and hermit of Cappadocia of the sixth 
century, and of John, Patriarch of Alexandria, called 
Eleemosinarius or the Almoner, of the seventh century. ^ 

This gentle and pious doge died on New Year's Day, 
1253. His body, we are told, lay in state, with his sword 
and spurs over his ducal robes, in the palace in the hall 
of the Signori di JVotte, whom he had established, and was 
carried thence two days after, with a multitude of nobles 
and ladies following, and his shield carried before, to his 
grave in the atrium of St. Mark's, where he rests in an old 
Christian sarcophagus.^ 

The election of a successor to Morosini was not long 
delayed. On the 25th of January the forty-one electors 
appeared before the people assembled in San Marco, and 
announced, by the mouth of Pietro Foscarini, one of their 
number, that they had chosen Renier Zeno, Podesta of 
Fermo, in the March of Ancona. They had before this 
announcement required, by virtue of an ordinance in the 
new doge's Promisstone, the doge's gastaldo to swear in 

' This was the exploit commemorated in the breve or motto inscribed 
on the shield placed over Morosini's grave in San Marco, a> was the 
custom with the doges after his time, " Primiceriatuni Baculo Mithraque 
ornavi" (Sanudo, Vife de^ Duchi, in Mur., R. I. S., xxii. col. 557). 

^ Dand, (from the annotator in the margin of the Ambrosian MS.), 
Mur., R. I. S., xii. c. 360. 

' Perkins' " Italian Sculptors," quoted in Hare's "Venice," p. 27. 

I04 VENICE IN THE 13th c\: 14th CENTURIES 

the name of the people to recognise and obey as doge 
whoever should be chosen according to the rules legally 
ordered. On the i8th February the doge-elect arrived at 
Venice, and was met on the lagoon by a procession of boats, 
followed by a tournament in the Piazza of St. Mark,^ to see 
which ladies filled all the windows and balconies of the 
Procurazie — as we see them in Gentile Bellini's picture in 
the Accademia di Belle Arti — draped with silk or cloth, 
while the people crowded round the lists. Marco Ziani, 
the son of the former doge, Pietro, who had commanded 
the four galleys sent to fetch the doge-elect to Venice, 
distinguished himself much in the jousting, as did the 
knights of Istria on one side, and those of Friuli, Treviso, 
and Lombardy on the other.- 

1 ' ' La place de Monseipior Saint Marc, qui est orendroit la phis 
bele place qui soil en tot li tnonde ; que de vers li soleil levant est la plus 
bele yglise qui soil el inonde ; cest /' Yglise de Alonseignor Saint Marc. 
Et de les cele Yglise est li palais de Motiseignor li Dus grant et biaus 
a mei-voilles" (Da Canale, A. St. Ital., i. 8, p. 420). 

^ Roman, (ii. p. 256), quoting Canale, cxxxi., ^. 6"/. //a/., i. 8, p. 422. 
Marco Ziani died when still young, before attaining to knighthood ; he 
was married to a daughter of the Marquis of Este, but left no heir ; and 
part of the great wealth of his family appears to have gone " as Freres 
vienors et as Precheors et as autres religions, et as veves dames et as 
ojfenins ct as autres povres." 



The death of the Emperor Frederic II., followed in three 
years by that of his son, Conrad, who had been named as 
his successor in Naples and Sicily, left the rich and coveted 
inheritance of those kingdoms to a child, "little Conrad" 
{Corradino), who for the present was taken by his mother 
into Germany. The will of his father had placed the boy 
under the informal protection of the Pope. A situation 
was thus created something like that which existed when 
Frederic II. in his infancy had been committed to the 
care of Innocent III. Innocent IV., like his namesake, 
claimed to be lord paramount of the Kingdoms of Sicily 
and Apulia, and took active steps to maintain his claim. 
He crossed the Garigliano, entered Capua and Naples in 
triumph, and took advantage of the unpopularity of the 
Germans to set aside Berthold, Marquis of Homburg, the 
commander of the German troops, who was legally Regent. 
Manfred, the illegitimate son of Frederic by an Italian 
mother, who by his father's will was to succeed on the 
failure of legitimate heirs, was the foremost to welcome 
the Pope as the protector of the orphan Conradin and the 
assertor of Italian independence of the Germans. He 
met Innocent at the frontier, led his horse over the Garig- 
liano Bridge, and was for a time high in Papal favour. 
But Innocent was not likely to be sincerely friendly with 
any prince of the Suabian house ; and Manfred, having 
reason to fear treachery, left Naples^ with a few com- 
panions, threw himself into Lucera in Apulia, where there 

1 October 1254. 

io6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

was still a Saracen garrison, by whom and the Italian 
inhabitants he was received with joy as their Prince and 
the representative of his nephew, the rightful King. 

In less than two months from Manfred's flight, Innocent 
died at Naples.^ His successor, Alexander IV., a far less 
ambitious and formidable Pontiff, could not indeed aban- 
don the policy of his predecessor, and was pledged to 
substitute some other ruler than a Suabian in the Sicilies ; 
but he carried out his policy with less vigour, and Manfred 
gradually extended his power over all Apulia and Naples 
and Sicily, and was invited in 1258 to make himself King, 
and to make Conradino his heir. His great abilities as a 
soldier and a diplomatist caused the Ghibelline party to 
become predominant again over Italy. He was the ally of 
Ecelino in Lombardy, of the Ghibellines of Siena (who at 
this time crushed the Guelfs of Florence in the famous 
battle of Monte Aperto), of Venice and Genoa. His 
treaty with Venice bound him to allow, as had Frederic II. 
in 1232, the export of corn from South Italy to the lagoons : 
there was also a clause binding Manfred to exclude Genoese 
vessels from his ports. 

Ecelino was not long to enjoy this return of Ghibelline 
prosperity. While Manfred was still laying the foundations 
of his power, in 1256 the new Pope had proclaimed a 
Crusade against Ecelino and his brother Alberico, who 
was now jointly with him upholding the Ghibelline cause 
in the March of Treviso. The Cardinal Philip Fontana, 
Archbishop of Ravenna, came to Venice, sang mass in St. 
Mark's before the doge, the Patriarch of Aquileia — the 
same Gregorio di Montelungo who had commanded the 
army that besieged Salinguerra in Ferrara — and all the 
bishops of the Dogado, each with his silver cross carried 
before him, and a crowd of clergy. Friars Minor and Friars 
Preachers, and ladies. Then they came out of the church, 
and from scaffolds put up in front of it, the cardinal and 
^ 7th December 1254. 


the doge both spoke to the people, the former exhorting 
them to take the Cross and go out to Padua to fight 
against the enemy of Holy Church, the excommunicated 
Ecelino, of whom he said, with singular moderation, that 
he was not perfect in the law of God and the Church. ^ 
The doge did not himself take the Cross, as Enrico 
Dandolo had done fifty-two years before ; but he promised 
to give the Crusaders ships and arms and victuals, and 
a skilled captain to lead them ; he reminded them of the 
service they had lately done to Holy Church at Ferrara, 
and of their former crusading exploits at Tyre and at 

The Crusade was to assemble at the Torre delle Bebbe, 
that I have mentioned before,- in the low alluvial ground 
through which the Brenta and Bacchiglione flowed south- 
eastwards into the Lagoon. The common way of getting 
from Venice to Padua in those days was by water, not 
along the modern canal by which the steamer now takes 
passengers from Fusina by Dolo and Stra, but by a longer 
route starting from the Lagoon at a point farther south, 
and following apparently the line of the present Canale di 
Pontelungo. Ansedisio da Guidotti, Ecelino's nephew,^ 
who was in command at Padua, while Ecelino was wasting 
the lands of Mantua, had diverted the Brenta and Bacchi- 
glione, and the legate found the waters so low that his 
ships could not carry him farther than Correzzola, below 
Pontelungo. There he was joined by many refugees from 
Padua, who were placed under Marco Quirini, a Venetian 
who was to be Podesta of Padua, if it should be taken. 
Tommasino Giustiniani was in command of the Venetian 
contingent, but the cardinal legate himself directed the 
operations. The troops that Ansedisio led out to oppose 

1 " Qtte il nestoit parfis en la hi de Dame Dieii et de Salute 
Yglise" (Canale, ii.s., p. 434). 

2 Ante, p. 55. 

^ He was the son of Cecilia, Ecelino's eldest sister, who married 
Giacomo di Guidotti. 

io8 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

their landing took to flight at Pontelungo, and the Cru- 
saders, taking Buvolenta and Conselve, and from them 
making a feint at Padua, induced Ansedisio to abandon 
the post at Piove di Sacco, by which he cut off his enemy 
from the sea. The legate, occupying this post and rein- 
forced by troops that the Marquis of Este brought up from 
Ferrara and Rovigo, was able to seize upon the suburbs of 
Padua,^ and assault its gate of Altino, which accidentally 
caught fire. Ansedisio, who seems to have managed the 
affair badly — for which he was afterwards put to death by 
his uncle — was unnerved by this accident, and fled to 
Vicenza, and Padua was for eight days sacked by the 
Crusaders, who, though wearing the Cross and commanded 
by a prince of the Church, and having in their ranks, we 
are told, friars black, white, and grey, who advanced to 
the assault singing the hymn, "Vexilla Regis prodeunt," 
committed almost as savage atrocities as Ecelino himself.^ 

Civil war always makes men cruel, and no doubt cruel- 
ties were inflicted ruthlessly on both sides in these Lombard 
wars ; but Ecelino's cruelties seem to have impressed his 
contemporaries more than those of any other leader. It 
was not only putting prisoners to the sword, but starving 
them deliberately in his dungeons and torturing them, that 
have obtained for him a bad eminence in inhumanity. 
Whether this had any influence in causing the Pope to 
order a Crusade against him we may doubt. The first 
letter of Innocent IV. to the Bishop of Treviso relating to 
the excommunication and Crusade, which is dated the 5th 
of May 1251,^ alleges only the heresy of Ecelino and his 
father the Monk. Ecelino was a man of moral and ascetic 

^ Canale,it is interesting to note, measures the pace of the Crusaders' 
march by English leagues : ' ' // avoient li tor erre x Ugiies engloiches, 
amies de lor amies" {u.s., p. 42SJ. 

* There is an excellent account of this fighting in Rolandinus, on 
whose narrative that in Verci (Sloria degli Ecelini) is based. I am 
following here Verci. ii. pp. 2(>''i-3o8 (ed. 1841). 

^ It is one of the documents (No. 81) of the Codice Eceliniano in the 
third vol. of Verci (ed. 1841). 


life— and this even may have savoured of heresy — but he 
had no scruples in seizing and appropriating to secular uses 
the revenue of churches and convents. 

The legate left Giustiniani and his Venetians in Padua, 
where they managed to hold out and repulse Ecelino's 
attempt to reconquer it. They had with them the Marquis 
of Este and the warlike Patriarch of Aquileia. Dandolo 
notes this repulse of Ecelino as the deathblow to his hopes 
of restoring the imperial authority.^ His oppression of 
North Italy lasted for two years more. His executions and 
mutilations went on faster than ever in Verona : Dandolo 
says the greater part of i2,oco Paduan prisoners were put 
to death ; Canale puts the number at " six parts " of 1 1,000. 
He was rivalled in this work by his reconciled brother 
Alberico at Treviso, who having mutilated men and women 
and destroyed houses and towers there for seventeen years 
as a punishment for treason to the Church, now inflicted the 
same penalties for treason to the Empire. ^ Early in 1259 
Ecelino made an incursion into Lombardy, and near Brescia 
succeeded in taking the Pope's legate prisoner. 

The legate who succeeded him as leader of the Crusade, 
whom Da Canale calls Archbishop of Burgundy,^ came to 

1 '■^ Perit proinde desideri urn Imperii Ezdini, et vacuus rediit," x. 
vii. 7 (Mur., E. I. S., xii. col. 364). He may perhaps have dreamed of 
founding an empire of his own, becoming a second Julius Caesar or 
Charlemagne. He said in the last j-ear of his life that the conquest of 
Milan, which he nearly won, would have made him master of half 
Italy, and would have been the greatest enterprise since Charlemagne 
won the Empire (Verci, ii. p. 238). 

* Canale, ti.s., p. 434. Rolandinus, our best authority for this time, 
who is not implacably hostile to the Romano family, speaks of Alberico 
as having been mild and gentle so long as he was the Church's cham- 
pion (Verci, ii. p. 220). Canale's words are: " Avoit fait si fele7tesse 
justice en Tervise, com de /aire trenchier testes et pies et mains, et de 
trenchier mamelles et nes a femes. ^' 

* He was really Archbishop of Embrun in Dauphine on the Durance. 
Burgundy in old French writers is a term of very wide application, 
almost equivalent to the Kingdom of Aries. The archbishop was 
sovereign prince of a great part of Dauphine. For the use of Burgoigne 
by Villehardouin, c. xxx., see note 2 on p. 357 of my "Early History 
of Venice." 


Venice like his predecessor, and got similar encouragement 
from the doge, who inveighed against the Romano brothers 
as not men but enemies sent up from the bottomless pit, 
and as worse than Saracens. The legate at once started 
for Lombardy, which Ecelino was threatening, in conjunction 
with the Marquis Pallavicino of Cremona and Buoso, Lord 
of Dovara. This triumvirate had in April 1258 made 
themselves masters of Brescia, and in August or September 
of the same year had, as I have mentioned, taken prisoner 
the Pope's late legate. The legate was detained in Brescia, 
and courteously treated by Ecelino ; his successor at Milan 
endeavoured in vain to keep the nobles and the burgesses 
at peace, but could not prevent the nobles being banished 
and throwing themselves into Ecelino's arms. Ecelino had 
meanwhile broken with the two other triumvirs. His design 
was to seize Milan and from it control Lombardy, with the 
object of ultimately becoming supreme in Italy. Pallavi- 
cino and Dovara were not prepared for so great a scheme, 
and came to an agreement with the Marquis of Este on 
the basis of supporting Manfred and opposing the Romano 
brothers, whose wide-reaching schemes would certainly not 
have suited Manfred's views. The brothers, with Verona, 
Vicenza, and Treviso added to the Pedemontani, as their 
own people from the Bassano and Asolo region " at the 
foot of the mountains " were called, and the German mer- 
cenaries that still remained in their service from the time 
of Frederic II., appeared able to hold their own against the 
legate and Este reinforced by the two dissentient trium- 
virs. In the spring or summer of 1259 Ecelino broke up 
from Brescia and made a dash with his knights, taking no 
infantry with him, for Milan, where a party was prepared 
to admit him. But the Marquis of Este and the triumvirs, 
with Ferrarese, Cremonese, and Mantuans, got the start of 
him, and he had to fight in what is called the Terra degli 
Orci, an outlying part of the Brescian territory in the 
country south of Bergamo, where the Olio and Adda 


approach one another. Trying to escape towards the west, 
he made for the bridge of Cassano over the Adda, which 
he found occupied, and there he was wounded in the leg 
by a bolt from a crossbow\ However, he continued his 
flight in the direction of Brescia ; but was soon surrounded 
by enemies, wounded in the head, and taken prisoner. 
An astrologer had told him he should die at Bassano, the 
chief town of his native province, and he had been struck 
at once by the resemblance of the name Cassano. Car- 
ried to Este's castle of Soncino, he refused to listen to the 
Franciscans and Dominicans who were sent to hear his 
confession ; he said he repented of nothing but of his weak- 
ness in not taking vengeance on his enemies and in letting 
himself be out-generalled and taken. ^ 

Martino da Canale gives us a lively picture of the rejoic- 
ings in Venice when the news came of the death of the 
tyrant Ecelino : how the bells rang throughout the city as 
they were wont to ring on the feasts of the saints ; how the 
night after the clergy went up the Campanile and lighted 
there candles and torches, so that the noise and glare were 
a marvel to hear and to see ; how the joy of the clergy was 
justified, because ever since 1236 — for twenty years— he 
had kept back all the rents of the churches in Venice that 
came from lands in his government of Padua.- 

The other tyrant, Alberico, still survived, and Marco 
Badoario, who was now made commander of the Venetian 
troops, was sent to Treviso to drive him out and become 
himself podesta of that city. Alberico did not await his 
attack, but fled from Treviso, which surrendered to the 

* Da Canale is particular in his account of Ecelino's death. That 
given by Verci from Rolandinus and other contemporary writers is less 
charged with horror. He died excommunicate, and was buried in 
front of the Palazzo Publico of Soncino, in unconsecrated ground. 
But his wounds were properly tended by the best surgeons Este could 
find, and he did not die, as the common story goes, from tearing off his 
bandages in despair (Verci, ti.s., ii. pp. 239-40). 

^ Canale, it.s., pp. 442, 444. 

112 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Venetians, and shut himself up in the castle of San 
Zenone,^ taking with him his wife and children. The new 
podesta called on him to surrender, and on his refusal, 
blockaded the fort. The besieging force was increased 
by troops brought by the Marquis of Este, by Marco 
Quirino, Podesta of Padua, and by the Vicentines — and 
became so formidable that, after a siege of four months, 
the garrison surrendered on condition that all lives should 
be spared save those of Alberico, his wife and daughters, 
and his judge, Meta da Percilia. These were not left to be 
tried, but the soldiers, into whose hands they fell, tore to 
pieces with fiendish cruelty Alberico, his sons and his 
judge, and burned alive his wife and daughters. ^ So 
much, in those fierce struggles, was " pity chok'd with 
custom of fell deeds." 

The cruelty shown to Alberico and his family, for which 
one of the persons responsible was Azzo, Marquis of Este, 
whose character was high among his contemporaries, 
makes us able to realise in some degree the standard of 
morality in that respect of the thirteenth century. Public 
opinion was not universally callous to cruelty, as we see 
from the horror so generally expressed by the chroniclers 
at the barbarities of Ecelino. It was not only the whole- 
sale slaughter of prisoners after a victory, but their starva- 
tion in prison, their blinding, their mutilation, that moved 
men's minds. Da Canale says that the number of victims 
killed in battle, or after capture, or mutilated, or starved, 
amounted to 40,000 in the twenty years that the Ecelinian 
reign of terror prevailed in the March of Treviso and 
Verona, and modern commentators think this an under 
estimate. Rolandinus tells us that after Friola, a village 
near Padua, was retaken by Ecelino in 1259, the highways 
of Lombardy and the streets of her towns swarmed with 

1 The castle stood on a lofty hill a few miles from the mountains 
that lie between Bassano and Asolo, in the Romano country (Verci, 
St. della Marca Trivigiafia, &c., i. p. 73). 

» Dandolo (Mur., H. I. S., xii. col. 368). 


beggars deprived of their eyes or their right hands by his 
orders. The same punishment now inflicted on Alberico 
and his sons had been the fate of Federigo and Bonifacio 
della Scala, of that famous Verona family, when they 
conspired against Ecelino and fell into his hands. The 
loss of an eye or a hand was a common punishment for 
ordinary petty crimes at Venice : both were well-known 
penalties for political offences at Constantinople. The 
Lower Empire and the Christian powers that had arisen 
from its ruins had lost the tradition of the Virgilian boast, 
parcere subjecfis, and of the clemency of Julius Cgesar. 
The Albigensian Crusade at the opening of the century 
had not tended to soften men's minds ; death without 
torture had come to be looked upon as too light a punish- 
ment for those who contemned God and the Church. The 
accounts we have of the heresy of Ecelino the Monk are 
somewhat vague, but they indicate suspicion of his being 
a Paulician, a denomination often given to the Albigensian 
Reformers ; and we know that sects with similar opinions 
under the name of Waldensians, or Poor Men of Lyons, 
or Umiliati, remained for centuries afterwards in other 
valleys of the Alps, as they may well have remained in 
those about Bassano and Asolo.^ Pope Gregory IX. was 
said to have endeavoured to persuade the two brothers, 
Ecelino and Alberico, to inform against their father, with a 
view to his being brought before the Inquisition. They 
refused indignantly to incur the guilt of parricide, and this 
no doubt embittered them against the Churchy and at the 
same time made Churchmen suspect them of sympathising 
with their father's heresy. Ecelino in all his actions was 
guided much by the advice of astrologers ; and his belief 
in astrology, though too common in those times to be 
unhesitatingly condemned by the Church, and certainly 
recognised by so orthodox a spirit as Dante, may have 

' Peter Waldo, the founder of the Waldensians, lived at Lyons in the 
twelfth century. 


114 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

made men more ready to attribute other recondite doctrines 
to him. It need not surprise us that enmity, grounded 
on points of theological difference, should be characterised 
by exceptional ferocity. 

In spite of the cruelty of Ecelino, which, when all allow- 
ance has been made for prejudice in our authorities, most 
of them Churchmen or adherents of the Church, we must 
admit to have been terrible, I do not think we can alto- 
gether withhold our admiration from the stern warrior, 
austere in his life and conduct — unlike his brother Alberico 
in this — the man of high ambition, " the last infirmity of 
noble minds," the consummate general, never greater than 
in his final disastrous fight, outnumbered and wounded at 
the bridge of Cassano ; or avoid speculating with interest 
on what might have been, if he had been able to play 
the part of Julius C^sar or Charlemagne, and to restore 
the old Roman Empire, that might even, by the favour 
of later Popes and clergy, have resumed the title of 

The most important events of the government of 
Renier Zeno were those of his war with Genoa, which 
was so closely connected with the history of the Byzantine 
Empire and the Holy Land that it will be better to reserve 
my account of it till I return to the affairs of the Venetian 

We have met with Renier Zeno before as Podesta of 
Piacenza in 1237, when he was looked upon as so zealous 
a supporter of the Lombard League that the Emperor had 
insisted on his removal, but the doge had sent him express 
orders to return to Piacenza. ^ 

The chronicler, Martino da Canale, who is supposed not 
to have been a Venetian, but certainly lived there and began 
to write his chronicle there in the year 1267,- and was at 

^ See ante, p. 80. 

^ See the Preface to vol. viii. of series i. of Arch. Star. Ital., pp. xviii. 
sqq., and particularly the note of Enimanuele Cicogna, '■'■ Sulla Persona 


that time or later employed as a clerk or collector of dues 
under the Visdomini of the Tavola del Mare, a Board that 
was afterwards merged in the Dogana da Afar, seems to 
have felt a peculiar interest in this doge, under whom he 
had served so long, whom he calls Messire Renier Gen. 
He has told us at some length of the service of the future 
doge in putting down the revolt of the Zaratines in 1242, 
when he broke down the chain that the citizens had drawn 
across the harbour of Zara, and scaled the walls from his 
ships. ^ After this, in 1245, he had been, Uke his prede- 
cessor Morosini, one of the envoys sent by the Republic 
to the Council of Lyons. On their return, the envoys 
were taken prisoners by the Count of Savoy, but released 
at the request of the Emperor Frederic : they afterwards 
went to the Emperor's court, and we have two accounts of 
what passed there — a detailed and dramatic account, in 
the style of Herodotus, from Da Canale, with the speeches 
of the Emperor on one side and Renier Zeno, as spokes- 
man for Venice, on the other — and a short, business-like 
summary from Dandolo, agreeing very well in substance 
with the more elaborate account. Dandolo says- that the 
Emperor reproached the ambassadors for the ingratitude 
shown by Venice, in repaying the kindness he had always 
shown to her traders with hostility, when others with less 
claim upon them had requested their aid : " to which the 
envoys cleverly replied with fairly coloured but not just 
excuses." The Emperor listened to these, treated the 
envoys kindly, and sent them home with a warning not 
to make other people's wars their own in future. The 
long speech that Da Canale puts into Zeno's mouth enters 
into all the relations of the Republic with the Emperor 

e snip opera di Martino da Canale," pp. xxix. and xxx. of the same. 
The title Afaestro Martin de C. is said to show that he was not 
a Venetian noble, and so did not belong to the noble family of 

* Canale, 71. s., pp. 398, 400. 

^ Aptid Mur., R. I. S., xii. col. 356. 


from his childhood upwards, begging that any hostiHty 
they had shown might not be remembered, "as now we 
wish, if it pleases you, that there may be peace between 
you and us." To which the Emperor only replied, " Be 
it so in God's name." ^ The chronicler goes on to say, 
with some confusion of metaphor, that for the rest of the 
time of Doge Giacomo Tiepolo the war between Pope and 
Emperor was deeply rooted, and by this root the Venetians 
were so entirely enveloped that, however much they wished, 
they could not free themselves from it {tb., p. 410) : and 
this, we have seen, was the case. Venice could not help 
being generally in sympathy with the Pope rather than the 
Emperor, and the strife between these powers was never 
more bitter than in those last days of the dominion of the 
House of Suabia in Italy. 

Before returning to the affairs of the Eastern Empire and 
the wars between Venetians and Genoese, it will be well to 
record some of the minor events of the Doge Renier 
Zeno's time. Parenzo in Istria was annexed to the Vene- 
tian dominion, and a podesta, Giovanni Capello, sent there. 
The island of Curzola, or Black Corfu, was also annexed.^ 
Commercial treaties were concluded with Vicenza, Treviso, 
Fermo, Milan, and the Patriarch of Aquileia. That with 
Treviso is interesting, from its stipulation that no transit 
duties should be levied in the districts of Feltre or Belluno 
on merchandise passing through them on the way to or from 
France or Germany.^ 

In the domestic affairs of Venice during this reign, as we 
learn from Dandolo, a third procurator of San Marco was 
added to the other two, and the officers called Justitiarii were 
divided into two offices, known as the Old and the New 

^ Da Canale, ii.s., pp. 404-408. 

" '■'■ Marsilius Georgia Comes Ragitsii Cnrzolavos ahsq-iie regifuiiie 
Jltichiafttes sub sua proteclione siiscepit, non taiiieti sine Diicalis honoris 
dispcndio" (Dancl. in Mur., A'. /. S., xii. col. ^(•2). I do not think we 
know more of the circumstances of this dishonourable conquest. 

■* Verci, St. della Marca Trivig.. ii., Dociimenti, p. 93. 


Justiciars.^ As part of the process of diminishing the 
doge's independent power, a rule was made icaptum) that 
he should not send away any foreign envoys sent to treat 
with the Republic without first giving notice to the 
Quarantia, while, if he appointed two or more Venetians 
to treat with such envoys, one at least of these must be a 
member of the Quarantia. 

I have quoted above the description Canale gives us of 
the Piazza of St. Mark and the wonders of the Basilica. 
From the same passage we learn that the houses surround- 
ing the Piazza were occupied by the chaplains of the 
Basilica, and by the Procurators (these are still known as 
the Procuratie). These latter adjoined the hospital built 
by Zeno's wife, the Dogaressa Luigia or Loicia da Prata,^ 
under the shadow of the Campanile of St. Mark ; we learn 
also that mosaics representing the Translation of the 
Relics of St. Mark were already to be seen on the beautiful 
fa(^'ade of the church .-"^ Neither Dandolo nor Canale 
mention, what was the accepted tradition of later times, 
that the porphyry column at the south-west corner of St. 
Mark's towards the Molo, known from this time as the 
Pietra del Bando, because laws and other public matters 
were proclaimed from it,^ and the two square columns 
adorned with monograms that now stand in front of the 

' For the Procurators see Dand. (Mur., R. I. S., xii. col. 368, 369). 
They were a kind of official trustees. The first dealt with the pro- 
perty of the church of St. Mark: the second and third with trusts for 
all purposes, one dealing with property on one side, the other with 
property on the other side of the canal — Commissarie di qua e di la. 
See Amelot de la Houssaye, G. de K, p. 1S3 (ed. 1676). The same 
author tells us that Renier Zeno increased the number of Sigiiori di 
Notte from two to six, and here again three were for one side of the 
canal and three for the other. They were judges of first instance 
dealing with criminal matters i^ib. p. 226). As to the Justiciars, see 
post, p. 156, note 3. 

- She came from the March of Friuli ; there are some particulars 
about her and her hospital in Molmenti's Dogaressa, pp. 81, 82 of 
Eng. translation. 

^ Canale, u.s.. cc. cxxx. sqg., pp. 420, 422. 

* Cf. Berlaldus, Splendor i^enetorujii, &c., p. 112 (ed. Schupfer). 

ii8 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

bronze gates of the Baptistery, came from Acre, and were 
trophies of some of the victories won by this doge over 
Genoese or Greeks.^ The doge also built and endowed 
for the Templars the Church of Sta. Trinita, in Ossodoro.- 
On the 7th of July 1268 Renier Zeno died, and was buried 
the next day in the church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, where 
his tomb is still to be seen under a bas-relief representing 
Christ enthroned between two angels.^ 

Renier Zeno was the last doge who really exercised 
power in Romania. Venetian authority there ceased 
when the last bailo, Marco Gradenigo, left the city soon 
after the Emperor Baldwin II. and the Latin Patriarch, 
Pantaleone Giustiniani ; but the people still included in 
the style and title of their doge the proud boast of ruler 
over one quarter and a half of the Roman Empire. 

Marino Sanudo.' tells us that a doubling of the tax on 
grinding corn made necessary by the cost of the doge's 
wars caused a riot in the city, which the doge appeased by 
gentle methods, but having done this, caused some of the 
Capi di contrada, who had been ringleaders of the mob, to 
be executed at " the columns near the church of St. Mark," 
I presume those of the Piazzetta. But these martyrs for 
the good of the community were justified by the reduction 
of the oppressive tax after their death. Sanudo, among a 
number of minor events of this time which he chronicles, 
includes one that, as we shall see, led to serious conse- 
quences, a bitter feud between the Tiepoli and Dandoli, 
both families of former doges, in the course of which 

1 Perhaps of the fighting at St. Saba mentioned p. 122, fast. Murray's 
"North Italy," p. 288 (cd. 1891) ; Romanin, ii. p. 279. Sanudo ( FZ/g 
de' Duchi, Mur., A'. /. ^., xxii. col. 560) says these columns came 
from the Gates of Acre. There is an elaborate treatise on these 
columns and the monograms on them by J. D. Weber in Cicogna, /. F., 
i. 369 sqq. 

* Sanudo (Mur., K. /. S., xxii. col. 561). 

' Sanudo says he was buried " inolto positivaiiientc e settz'' ahitno 
epitafio" {11. s., col. 565). ^^ Positavainente^^ is explained by Rigutini 
as " moderatauiettte, senza f>o»iJ>a,^^ 


Lorenzo Tiepolo was wounded in the Piazza. In con- 
sequence of this the doge forbade, under heavy penalties, 
the bearing of arms by any of the retainers in a nobleman's 
house. An event to which we have met with many 
parallels under other doges, was the taking from the 
church of St. Sophia at Mesetria, in the Black Sea,i of 
the body of St. Theodore, an old patron of Venice, as we 
have seen, which was placed in the church of San Salvatore, 
and was still there when Sanudo wrote. Renier Zeno was 
the first doge that wore a fringe of gold on the ducal 
berretta. His breve — that is, the short verse on a scroll 
that he holds in his hand in his picture in the hall of the 
Great Council — was : " Ex Acri pulsos Januenses dat Mare 
victos." 2 

^ Sanudo ( Vite de' Ducki) says, " la CittJi di Mesetria in Mare di 
Ponto" [U.S., col. 564), but the place was no doubt Mistra or Misithra 
in Laconia, where there are still churches of St. Sophia and St. Theodore 
(see Murray's "Handbook to Greece," cols. 136, 137). Sanudo pro- 
bably confused it with Mesembria, on the Thracian coast of the Euxine. 
Dandolo calls the place Mesembria. 

^ Sanudo, V. D., u.s., col. 564, 565. In the case of Morosini the 
breve was under his shield in San Marco {ib., col. 557). 



I NOW return to the history of the Venetians in the Levant 
after the reconquest of Constantinople by Michael Paleo- 
logus in 1 26 1. That event reduced their power on the 
Bosporus in a manner indicated by the loss of dignity of 
their representative there, who became bailo and not 
podesta. They had also a bailo at Negropont and a duke 
in Crete, and their galleys or ships of war and their 
merchantmen were to be met with in every part of the 
Levant. We must remember that, all through the period 
of history we are now considering, crusading States were 
still in existence in Syria, and carrying on a busy trade with 
the Western world. Since the taking of Jerusalem by 
Saladin in 1187, Acre had been the first in importance of 
the Christian towns of Syria. There the King of Jerusalem 
or his viceroy generally resided, there the high court of 
justice sat, and there traders congregated, most of all those 
of Genoa and Pisa, but those of Venice not far short of 
them in numbers, and others from Ancona, Florence, 
Lucca, Piacenza in Italy, from Marseilles and Montpellier 
in Provence, even some from England.^ A convoy of 
merchant ships from Venice {carovana) sailed for Acre at 
regular intervals, escorted by galleys often to the number 
of thirty or forty, touching at Negropont by the way. 
Next in wealth and importance to Acre came Tyre, more 
favoured indeed by Venice than even Acre, and after Tyre 

^ Heyd (French trans.), i. pp. 318 scji/., and the authorities quoted in 
the notes. 


Beyrout. The Venetian community tliroughout Syria was 
under the government of a bailo, who lived at Acre, but 
had a house also at Tyre, and apparently had a viscount 
under him. We meet with one Pantaleone Barbo in the 
last year of the twelfth century as Venetian bailo, and 
Marsilio Giorgio or Zorzi in the middle of the thirteenth 

The Genoese were governed by two consuls — a title they 
always affected, and which no doubt carried prestige from 
its ancient usage at Rome — resident, like the Venetian 
bailo, at Acre. Tyre and Beyrout and other places had 
local officers subordinate to those at Acre.^ These baili or 
consuls were independent of the government of the King of 
Jerusalem, their position resembling in some respects that 
of ambassadors, and still more closely that of consuls in 
Turkey under the Capitulations, administering their own 
foreign law in their own courts. The merchants and other 
colonists from the several Western cities occupied different 
regions of Acre, and through the first half of the thirteenth 
century there were constant feuds between these colonies. 
The much-disputed Crusade of Frederic II. had brought 
into the Syrian towns Guelf and Ghibelline factions, and 
we read of fights in the streets of Acre between Pisans on 
the imperial side, and Genoese on the Guelf side, in 1249, 
and about the same time between the colonists of Mar- 
seilles and Montpellier.- Venetians here, as in Italy, were 
inclined to be anti-Ghibelline, and, so long as the Hohen- 
staufens had any footing in Palestine, they and the Genoese 
lived together in amity, the Pisans representing the opposite 
party. But in 1249 ^^ 1250 the murder of a Genoese by 
a Venetian in Acre led to an onslaught on the Venetian 
colony there by an angry Genoese mob.^ This was the 

^ Heyd, u.s., i. pp. 332 si^t/. 
2 Id., U.S., i. pp. 343. 344- 

^ /d., i. 344. This is the "outrage" refened to by Canale as 
having caused ominous grief to a " sa°^e home " of Genoa (see his Cron 
yen., U.S., p. 452). 


beginning of ill-feeling, which, after smouldering for four 
or five years, broke out into flame in 1255. For the 
Venetians, when they heard of this outrage, sent a fleet to 
Acre under Lorenzo Tiepolo (son of the former doge, 
Giacomo Tiepolo), whom the Chronicle of Da Canale lauds 
for his debonairetc and courtesy and many other fine 
qualities, and gave him instructions to take vengeance for 
the outrage. He first broke down the chain ^ stretched 
across the mouth of the harbour between two towers by 
the Genoese, then brought his ships into the harbour and 
burned the Genoese ships there, and, in conjunction with 
the Venetian bailo, Marco Giustiniani, occupied St. Saba, 
a convent or some other religious building that the 
Genoese had fortified on the hill of Montjoie, separating 
the Venetian from the Genoese quarter." After this the 
Genoese seem for a time to have withdrawn their ships to 
Tyre, and their flag was proscribed in Acre harbour. The 
Venetians held all the town from the sea and harbour on 
the south to Monmusato or Mont Musart, on the north 
slope of the rocky ridge on which the city stands. The 
next move made by the Venetians was to follow the 
Genoese ships to Tyre, where PhiHppe de Montfort, a 
Frenchman whom Da Canale calls " a rich official," ^ was 

^ It was common in the East thus to close a harbour. We have met 
with a chain across the mouth of the Golden Horn (" Early History 
of Venice," p. "iTi). Import and export duties were taken at an office 
adjoining the chain, whence we have the expressions "introitus catens," 
" drictum cathania.'" for the duty, "curia cathenii;" for the court that 
tried questions as to its payment. The name " catena" was extended 
to the street or district adjoining the chain: we have "in vico qui 
dicitur catena " in a deed quoted in note 3, p. 345, of vol. i. of Heyd. 

- " Amozoia" is the name given it on the plan at the end of the 
Secreta Fideliiim Crncis in Bongars, on which it is shown between 
Locus Venet07-iivi on east and Locus Jatnut on west. Dandolo (?<.5^., 
col. 367) calls it " Muzoja.'\ In both words we have the Venetian 2 for 
the^/ of" gioia." 

^ " Un riche Bailli." "Bailli" or "Bailif" is the title given by 
Canale to the bailo who represented Venice in her less important 
dependencies. It is, of course, derived from the Latin bajuliis ; but it 
is used in a general sense apparently for any feudal lord exercising 
authority over subjects or dependents. 


a staunch friend of Genoa. Within sight of Tyre a great 
sea fight took place, in which the Venetians took three 
Genoese galleys, and would have taken more if a storm 
had not driven them back to Acre. The Genoese, how- 
ever, still held a strong tower in Acre, with plenty of 
warlike engines, and the Syrians of the town and neigh- 
bourhood seem to have been better affected to them than 
to the Venetians. When the news of their defeat at Tyre 
reached Genoa there was a great outcry for vengeance upon 
Venice. Wives and maidens begged that their dowries 
might be taken to fit out another fleet for Syria. ^ So 
galleys and great ships were sent under Roberto or Rosso 
della Turca, but before they could reach Acre, two fleets 
had already been sent out from Venice, one under Andrea 
Zeno, the doge's nephew and best-loved kinsman, another 
under Paolo Faliero, and these had wrested from the 
Genoese Mont Musart and all they had held in the town, 
except their own Ruga or bazaar. But those in their 
strong tower still held out, and exulted at the expected 
arrival of " the flower of Christendom " to kill all the 
Venetians in Acre. They had a sad revulsion of feeling 
when Lorenzo Tiepolo and Andrea Zeno, leaving the bailo 
Giustiniani to guard Acre, sailed out, and, in sight of the 
town, engaged the fleet just arrived from Genoa, took 
twenty-five galleys, and slew or drowned 1000 men. Only 
a high wind springing up, that carried the rest of the 
Genoese ships towards Tyre, saved them from a ruinous 
defeat. While the fleets were in action, the Genoese gar- 
rison sallied out of their tower, and attacked the bailo with 
horse and foot, but seeing their fleet in evil plight, they 
lost heart, lowered the Genoese flag, which they had 
hoisted on their tower with those of their allied cities, and 
laid down their shields and their arms. Philippe de Mont- 
fort, who had advanced along the coast from Tyre to lend 

^ Canale, m.j., p. 462. 

124 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

aid to the Genoese, was disgusted at the sight of their 
drowning sailors, and gave up the enterprise, saying the 
Genoese were like fishing birds, who make a great clamour, 
but end by diving under the water. ^ 

The great tower, probably that of Montjoie, called 
" Amozoia " in Marin Sanudo's plan, was pulled down by the 
Venetians, and its site handed over to the Pisans, who were 
at that time in alliance with Venice. The ships taken 
from the Genoese were sent to Venice, full of prisoners 
taken in the two sea actions, fettered in great rings of iron, 
but were soon released at the intercession of the Pope, 
" the Apostle, who, as the father of all Christians, took 
pity on them." - His intervention was avowedly made in 
the interest of " the Holy Land beyond the sea." With 
the same object he had summoned to Rome, shortly before, 
envoys from the two Republics and Pisa, and had induced 
them to send commissioners to the seat of war to order 
hostilities to cease. This was before the Genoese defeat 
at Tyre, and the news of that catastrophe made Genoa 
repent of her consent to peace, and make overtures to 
Paleologus ^ for his alliance against the Venetians. Ac- 
cordingly, when the papal legate, Fra Tommaso, Bishop of 
Bethlehem, came to Acre to order all the fortresses in 
dispute to be placed in his hands, the Venetians and Pisans 
refused and the war went on. But, according to Canale, 
their countryman, the doge's counsellors were "piteous Hke 
gentlemen, and entreated the doge to release the prisoners, 
and so the doge gave them each a coat and shoes and 

^ "Zt'j Jaiocs ne sont pas homes se de bordc iioii, et resemblent 
osiaus que mauvient poison ; que il se ietent en nier, et se neient 
dedens" (Canale, u.s., p. 472). 

^ Canale, «..f., p. 474. Dandolo's account, less graphic, agrees in 
all essentials (Mur., R. I. S., xii. col. 366, 367), and the Genoese accounts 
in Sauli's Col. Gen. in Galata (i. pp. 52 sqq.) do not differ materially. 

2 Canale adds, "'que noveleinent avoit eue la signorie doii Natulij" 
i.e. of Anatolia. Canale gives no dates, but it appears that this happened 
just before Paleologus' recovery of Constantinople. (See Canale, ti.s., 
p. 480.) 


stockings, and set them free." ^ It is pleasing to find such 
an instance of generosity in a rough age, and the high 
appreciation of it by a contemporary writer, who has, how- 
ever, shortly afterwards, to lament the ingratitude of the 
recipients of these coats and shoes, when they prompted 
their ally, the Greek Emperor, to put out with hot irons the 
eyes of some Venetian prisoners taken at sea in a transport 
and brought to Constantinople.- 

We read in Canale's lively chronicle of fightings between 
Venetians and Genoese all over the Eastern Mediterranean, 
the recesses of which each party searched to find their 
enemies' ships, at Salonica, at Scopelo to the east of Euboea 
(an island owned by Lorenzo Tiepolo through his marriage 
with an heiress of the Ghisi family ^), in the Bay of Nauplia, 
at Malvasia in Laconia. Both republics had trade interests 
in Syria and Egypt, in Greece and the Euxine. Venetian 
fleets with soldiers or administrators were for ever passing 
to and fro between the Adriatic and Negropont or Crete ; 
and Genoese between the Gulf of the Lion and Galata. 
The Genoese colony at the latter place was established, 
as we have seen, immediately after the recovery of Con- 
stantinople by the Greeks. Up to that time it seems to 
have been a Venetian stronghold. The better fortune or 
better statecraft of the Genoese was shown in their courting 
the alliance of the restored Greek Government, and not 
pledging themselves, as the Venetians had done, to the 
support of an alien dynasty and an alien Church. The 
co-operation of Innocent III., unfriendly as it was, had 
done more harm to Venice in Romania than was done to 
Genoa by the excommunication and interdict which 
Urban IV., the Pope elected in 1261, who had been 
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and so was familiar with the 

^ " // fweiit pi tens iO/iie geuit's homes ; si lotrent a M. li Diis que il 
leiir donast conie. Mainteiiant lor dona AI. li Diis cote et chances et 
soliers, et lor dona conie " (Canale, ii.s., p. 474). 

2 /d., p. 4^'6. 

* Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, p. 262. 

126 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

affairs of the East, imposed upon Genoa for her alliance 
with the schismatic Paleologus against the fugitive Latin 

The Genoese had also a footing in Sicily, where they 
had had free rights of trading since 1156.- Sicily was a 
convenient half-way house between Genoa and the Levant, 
as the Venetian, Andrea Barozzi, found in 1264, when he 
was sent with fifty-five galleys to intercept a Genoese fleet 
under Simone Grilli on its way to Acre. The Genoese 
concealed themselves in a Sicilian harbour, and sent out 
one ship to meet Barozzi in the mouth of the Adriatic and 
inform him that the Genoese fleet had sailed for Syria. 
Barozzi pursued them at full speed, believing that the 
coast was clear for the convoy of merchantmen that was 
following him to proceed on its way. A few days after- 
wards the convoy appeared with Michele Dauro, who was 
going out as bailo to Acre, on board, and was attacked at 
the mouth of the Adriatic by Simone Grilli with an over- 
whelming force. A Trevisan named Nicola, employed as a 
notary of the doge's court, had been bribed by the Com- 
mune of Genoa to keep them informed of all movements 
ordered. Dauro was able to get the crews of his mer- 
chantmen and their valuable cargoes into one large ship,^ 
which he carried safely into Ragusa, leaving the Genoese 
only ten merchantmen, with nothing more valuable than 
oil and honey and other bulky goods left in them. The 
Venetian admiral, who had been deluded, found at Tyre 
only one Genoese merchantman laden with cotton, which 

^ See Sauli, Col. Gen. in Gal., i. pp. 64, 65. 

- The treaty is in Liber Jiirium, Reip. Gen., i. col. 190 (Pertz, Mon. 
Hist. Pair.). 

^ Canale calls the ship the Roquefort, i.e. Roccaforte. Our MSS. of 
Dandolo read Biiccafoiie. The account in Canale {its., pp. 504-508) 
is very spirited ; that of Dandolo (Mur., R. I. S., xii. c. 371) agrees 
with it substantially. The Genoese account is to be found in Book VI. 
of the Annales Gemiensium, written by Bartolommeo Scriba (Mur., 
R. I. S., vi. c. 532): this, naturally enough, does not mention the 
treachery of the Trevisan notary. 



he took to Acre and burned there. He was able to take 
home under his escort the convoy that was ready to start 
for Venice, and no doubt consoled himself with the re- 
flection that, if he had been frustrated in his plans, those 
of the Genoese had not been brilliantly successful. 

Canale boasts, and probably with truth, that the 
Venetians were always able to keep the seas open for their 
ships sailing to or from Crete, Acre, Romania or Alex- 
andria ; but it is certainly not equally true that the Genoese 
could only cross the sea by stealth like pirates.^ On the 
contrary, there is no doubt that at least in Romania and 
all the neighbourhood of Constantinople the Genoese held 
their heads higher than the Venetians. 

Michael Paleologus was indeed quite ready and anxious 
to live at peace with the Venetians, and released one Enrico 
Trevisano, whom he had in prison at Constantinople, to 
sound the doge as to his goodwill towards the restored 
Empire, and the doge sent one Benedetto Grillone to 
Constantinople. Grillone returned to Venice without 
effecting anything, and a Greek sent afterwards to Venice 
was no more successful. Canale apologises for the length 
at which he relates the several embassies that passed to and 
fro. At length Marco Bembo and Piero Zeno, in concert 
with a Greek archbishop, when it was found that Baldwin's 
attempt to enlist a Western power in his favour had failed, 
agreed to a five years' truce.- 

But Venice was at this time very sore at losing her pre- 
eminence in Romania, and still entertained hopes of 
making the proud title of ruler of five-eighths of the Roman . 
Empire a reality.^ Baldwin came to Venice first of all 

^ " En reposti io»i laron de ?>ier que von Jerobant et sa et la en 
larcin " (tt.s., p. 498). 

^ lb., pp. 582 sqq. He says: "^ Monsignor li Diis tie fii pas bely 
ne as Veneciens ne plot pas se que ses II. iiiesages firent.^^ No doubt 
so long as there was any hope of a restoration of the Latin Empire, it 
was the policy of Venice not to be too friendly with the Greek. 

^ In the draft treaty sent to Venice from Michael Paleologus in June 

128 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

places in Western Europe, and was received by the 
Venetians with as great honour as in their dependency of 
Negropont. The doge wrote letters on his behalf to the 
Pope, the King of France, and other kings of the West, 
probably among these to the Kings of Castile and England. 
From Venice Baldwin went to Manfred in Apulia, and 
thence to Rome, and afterwards into France. Manfred 
seemed a most hopeful ally, for' he bade Baldwin tell the 
Pope that he knew he was no friend of his, but if the Pope 
would give him his countenance, or even a temporary 
truce, he would undertake to cross to Romania, and put 
Baldwin in possession of Constantinople. If the Pope 
would go so far as to recognise him as King of Apulia, he 
would go on to the Holy Land and reconquer Jerusalem. 
The Pope promised Baldwin " the Cross," that is, to pro- 
claim a Crusade for his restoration, but said nothing as to 
Manfred's proposals. Envoys from the doge appeared with 
Baldwin before the Pope, and offered to furnish ships for 
the Crusade that was to restore the Latin Empire.^ Per- 
haps the Apostle may have remembered that a similar 
arrangement sixty years before had not been altogether 
satisfactory in its result to his great predecessor. At any 
rate, he was not prepared to offer the right hand of fellow- 
ship to the last illegitimate representative of the hated 
Hohenstaufens, whose retention of Saracen troops in his 
service was still a scandal to Christendom. 

The Pope had invited Charles of Anjou, the brother of 
St. Louis, and, by his marriage with the heiress of Pro- 
vence, already a powerful and wealthy prince, to come to 
Naples, and take possession of Manfred's dominions : he 
was obliged reluctantly to approve his election as senator 

1265, but not confirmed by Venice, the doge was styled ''Doge di 
Venezia, signore di Croazia. Dalmazia e degli altri paesi ed isole 
soggette al sito Domjnio" (Rom. ii. p. 275, n. 2), giving up, in favour 
of these vague, general terms, the claim to a definite fraction of the 
Eastern Empire. 

^ Canale, z/.j-. ,pp. 498-502. 


of Rome for five years. In 1264 a French army marched 
into Italy to secure the offered kingdom ; a great comet, 
the greatest seen in that age, blazed over their heads, and 
might naturally be held to portend the fire and bloodshed 
their invasion was to bring upon Italy. The contemporary 
and less reasonable opinion interpreted it as portending the 
Pope's death, which happened on the 2nd of October, the 
night on which it disappeared.^ The new Pope, Clement 
IV., who was elected in February 1265, came from Pro- 
vence, and was a still more zealous supporter of Charles 
than Urban had been. He proclaimed a Crusade against 
Manfred and his Saracen guards, and was lavish in supplying 
money for the enterprise. Charles came to Rome by sea 
from Marseilles, in spite of the fleet of Pisa, which was, as 
ever, on the Ghibelline side, was inaugurated as senator, 
and by the end of the year was joined in Rome by a 
magnificent feudal army from France, that had been wel- 
comed by the Guelfs of Lombardy. At the head of this 
he advanced at once towards Naples, forced the passage of 
the Garigliano, and at Benevento met and defeated Man- 
fred, who died in the battle. All hopes from him for the 
fugitive Baldwin came to a tragical end. 

The battle of Benevento, the death of Manfred, and the 
execution of Conradin after the battle of Tagliacozzo three 
years later in 1268, events full of the romance of history, 
and that find an echo in the Divina Conunedia, have no 
direct bearing on the history of Venice. But indirectly the 
extinction of the House of Suabia, and the arrival in Italy 
of Charles of Anjou, the brother of St. Louis, the champion 
of the Holy See and the Guelfs, just at the time when the 
fate of the Latin Empire of Constantinople was hanging in 
the balance, raised the hopes of Baldwin, and the many 
Latin princes and knights still scattered over the East. 
Here was a champion of the Latin Church, rich and fortu- 
nate; might he not be induced to continue the Crusade 
^ Dand. io Mur. , K. I. S., xii. c. 371, 372. 



that had crushed the excommunicated Manfred and Conra- 
din, and by French swords place again a Latin Emperor on 
the throne of Constantine, and a Latin patriarch in St. 
Sophia? Whatever hope there might be of restoring a 
Latin Empire of Romania was so much in favour of Vene- 
tian predominance over Genoa in the Levant. Genoa's 
fortunes were bound up with those of Paleologus. 

There is no doubt that Charles of Anjou had thoughts 
of a conquest of the Eastern Empire. By a treaty with 
Baldwin in 1267,^ Charles promised to supply him with 
2000 knights for a year's service against Paleologus, or to 
invade Romania himself, in return for which he was to 
have the sovereignty over Achaia (with the Prince Ville- 
hardouin as his vassal) for ever, and Epirus, and all the 
Greek islands except Lesbos, Samos, Chios and Cos, to- 
gether with a third of any other lands he might conquer, 
Baldwin receiving the other two-thirds, with Constantinople 
and the four islands for himself. Charles also found it 
worth while to enter into close relations with the Villehar- 
douins by the marriage of his son Philip to Isabella, the 
daughter and heiress of William, Prince of Achaia. And 
at this time Beatrice, Charles' infant daughter, was betrothed 
to another Philip, the son and heir of Baldwin, who in 
1273, when he had become titular Emperor by his father's 
death, was married to her. All these events were evidence 
of Charles' ambition to play a great part in the Levant. 
The Church of Rome, too, still had hopes of subjecting 
the new Rome to her spiritual dominion, and Charles was 
her champion, moved partly by zeal for religion, partly by 
the feeling that the support of the Pope was indispensable to 
the success of his plans : these, like those of Ecelino da 
Romano, whom he resembled in his stern and relentless 
austerity, were far-reaching, aiming at a restoration of the 
universal Empire of the Caesars. And in those days the 

^ This is printed in Del Giudice, Cod. Diplom. del Regno di Carlo I. 
e II. d'Angio, ii. pp. 30 stjq. 


conquest of the Holy Land, and recovery of the Sepulchre 
of Christ, was a vision that could not but float more or less 
vaguely before the eyes of any prince who wished, and felt he 
had the power, to play a great part in the Christian world. 

His brother, the saintly King of France, now near the end 
of his life, is said not to have encouraged this ambition. 
St. Louis was zealous for the recovery of Palestine and for 
the union of the Eastern and Western Churches. He had 
fought bravely but unsuccessfully for the former object ; 
but he was a gentle spirit and a lover of peace. When 
Michael Paleologus in 1264 entered into negotiations with 
the Pope, and in 1274, when he sent Germanus, the 
Patriarch of Constantinople, to the Council of Lyons,^ a 
peaceful reconciHation of the two Churches seemed possible. 
In 1265 Venice began to treat for a peace with Paleologus, 
promising explicitly not to help Charles of Anjou- in any 
enterprise against the Greeks, and to bind all pilgrims more 
in number than twenty, sailing to the Holy Land in any 
Venetian ship to keep the peace with the Greek Empire. 
These negotiations were, with the help of the Pope, brought 
to a successful termination in 1268,^ as we have seen, by 
the mission of Marco Bembo and Piero Zeno.^ Canale 
says that the five years' truce they made reinstated the 
Venetians in all the possessions they had formerly had in 
Romania, and there is not much exaggeration in this. 
They recovered their former possessions in the islands of 
the Archipelago and in Negropont : Modon, Coron, and 

^ Sauli, Col. Gen. di Galata, i. p. 79. But see Hopf in Ersch und 
Gruber, 85, p. 262. The letter from Michael to the Pope in Bussi, 
1st. della Citth di Viterbo, p. 409, is stated by Hopf to be a forgery. 
Milnian speaks of the "Latin patriarch" as having been present at 
the Council of Lyons ; but it is evident from his account that Germanus 
was the orthodox patriarch (" Hist, of Latin Christ.," v. pp. 90, 91). 

^ He is mentioned as Count Charles, own brother of the King of 
France. Manfred is called King of Sicily in the same sentence (Tafel 
und Thomas, iii. p. 67). 

^ Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, pp. 262, 263. 

* Stipra, p. 127. 

132 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Crete, which they had never lost, but had retained with 
great difficulty, were confirmed to them. In the first pre- 
liminaries, agreed to in June 1265, with Jacopo Dolfino 
and Jacopo Contarini, Michael had promised them special 
quarters in Thessalonica, Smyrna, and other cities, 
and in the Stenon,^ near Constantinople, in all of which 
their bailo should have supreme jurisdiction. If the 
Venetians continued to help the Emperor in his wars he 
had promised to repudiate the treaty of Nymphgeum and 
expel the Genoese from his dominions.- But these last 
two promises were withdrawn in the ratification of 1268. 
Venetians were not to be confined to certain localities, but 
to be allowed to live and trade and rent land or houses in any 
part of Byzantine territory, only the Genoese were to share 
these rights with them, the Venetians being bound not to 
attack the Genoese within the Hellespont or in the Black 
Sea ("ab introitu Avedi nee intra Avedum . . . nee in 
Mari Majore "), where Avedus is Abydos. The Emperor 
bound himself to redress any injury done by one party to 
the other within these limits. A Venetian bailo, as in the 
days before the conquest of 1204, was to reside at the 
Byzantine Court in place of the podesta who had repre- 
sented the Republic when mistress of three-eighths of the 
Roman Empire.^ The treaty was ratified at Venice on the 
30th of July 1268 by Lorenzo Tiepolo, who had just 
succeeded Renier Zeno as doge. Western Churches, such 
as that of San Giorgio Maggiore at Venice, resumed pos- 
session of their lands in Constantinople, Crete, or Negro- 
pont, and the Pope himself recognised the recovery of the 

1 i.e. the Bosporus. 

^ "iVa d7ro5ici|7? t) ^acriKfia /jlov (xtto ttjs xtopaj avrrjs Kai rovs exf^povi 
aiiTuv Tovs Yevoviras (Tafel and Thomas, iii. p. 71). 'H BacriXe/a /ion 
here does not mean " my Empire," but " my Imperial Majesty." 

^ Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, S5, pp. 262, 263. Besides the docu- 
ments in Tafel and Thomas, iii. 62-89 (the preliminaries of 1265), 
Miklosich and Ml'iUer, iii. 76-84, and Tafel and Thomas, iii. 92-100 
(the truce of 1268), Hopf has gathered much of great interest from the 
Angevine archives at Naples. 


Eastern Empire by a schismatic dynasty. This was a 
death-blow to the hopes Baldwin had entertained of a 
restoration, but he continued till his death in the autumn 
of 1273, ^"d ^^^^^ that his son PhiUp, who just before his 
father's death became Charles' son-in-law, to reside in a 
palace at Naples and receive a pension from Charles. He 
had a small court, and kept till his death the title of 
Emperor, but had not a foot of land in Romania. 

This truce was one of the last acts of Renier Zeno, who 
died, as we have seen, in June 1268. The war with 
Genoa was still going on. In 1265 Guilberto Dandolo, 
who was then Bailo of Negropont, with a squadron of 
galleys from Zara, Crete, and Negropont, fought with 
Genoese ships among the islands about Stromboli to the 
north of Sicily.^ He sailed thence to Tunis to dispose of 
a merchantman he had taken in the action, but was recalled 
to Ragusa by news of Genoese preparations to renew the 
war, as a result of which one Lanfranco Borborino was sent 
to Sicily with twenty-eight galleys. These were defeated 
off Trapani by Marco Gradenigo and Guilberto Dandolo, 
who succeeded in diverting a fire-ship that the Genoese sent 
against them. The Venetian accounts, with which those 
of the Genoese are not inconsistent,^ say that the Genoese 
ships took to flight without making a serious fight. The 
defeat, whether dishonourable or not, was felt as a crushing 
blow at Genoa ; according to Canale " men wept and beat 
the palms of their hands, matrons and maidens wept and 
took ofi" the fringes and buttons of gold and silver from 
their robes," ^ in order to contribute to the cost of sending 
another fleet to Sicilian waters. These, cruising about, fell 
in, off Modon in Messenia, with Marco Zeno, who was 
escorting the Venetian carovana or convoy to the East, but 

* " Inter Bidcaneui/i et Bukanetuni" (Dand., ti.s., col. 372). 

^ The continuators of Caffaro in Mur., R. I. S., vi. cc. 538, 539, 
speak with great severity of the Genoese admiral's misconduct. They 
do not mention the fire-ship. 

' Canale, u.s., p. 526. 

134 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

as soon as he saw the enemy, left the convoy, in which he 
and his captains had much property, " to the keeping of 
Jesus Christ and Monsignor St. Mark," and fell upon the 
enemy. When these took to flight, the Venetian admiral 
called his ships back from pursuit, having strict orders from 
the doge not to leave the convoy unprotected : but one of 
his captains, we are told, Marin Giustiniani, surnamed 
Orsatto, remonstrated, saying, " Assuredly I have in the 
convoy great part of my fortune, and here my body ; yet 
I wish to pursue the ships, for they cannot escape." ^ The 
Genoese, who had just before landed in Crete and plundered 
the town of Canea, only escaped now by throwing into the 
sea all they could spare of the rigging and decoration of 
their ships. The chronicler, Canale, seems to have thought 
Marco Zeno a little wanting in dash, as he kept close to his 
convoy, and so was not able to save a Venetian merchant- 
man, with a very rich cargo, which was taken by Paschetto 
Mallone, a Genoese gentleman who had fitted out, appar- 
ently on his own account, three galleys, and was cruising 
on the coasts of Syria and Romania, on the look-out for 
prizes. - 

It was an essential object of Venetian policy to keep the 
seas open for their carovane, which were constantly sailing 
to or from Acre or Negropont, and brought merchandise for 
" French, Germans, Lombards, Tuscans, and those of the 
Marches and Romagna." That was one of the principal 
trade-routes by which the products of the East were 
brought to Western Europe ; and French and Germans, 
and no doubt our ancestors in Britain, would have had to 

' Canale, ii.s., pp. 52S, 530. 

- Jb., U.S., p. 532. The Genoese ships were lurking in a port 
called "les Dragonaires." There is an island of Dragonera off the 
N.E. coast of Crete and a harbour of Dragonera in Cerigo. The latter 
is probably the place meant by Canale. Dandolo, in his account of 
this same incident {u.s., c. 374), says that Marco Zeno pursued the 
Genoese ships " (i 6a/Zi5«/?V!; usque ad Mot honmii," ythcrc Sapientia is 
the island of Sapienza off the harbour of Navarino. 


go without silk and sugar and pepper and many other 
luxuries, if these sea dogs of the Eastern Mediterranean, 
the Dandolos and Zenos and Morosinis, had not watched 
and fought to keep the sea from Acre to Venice open, in 
spite of Genoese and Greeks. In page after page of 
Dandolo's and Canale's chronicles we read of the efforts 
of Genoese to stop, and the efforts of Venetians to conduct 
in safety, these carovane. If the efforts of the latter 
saved the Venetian markets from loss and panic, they at 
the same time conferred inportant benefits on all the 
Western world. 

In 1266 the Pope, Clement IV., exerted himself to make 
peace between the two maritime Republics ; he sent first to 
Venice one of his chaplains with a message that the King 
of France had begged him to make this attempt at a recon- 
ciliation, with a view to his crossing the sea himself for a 
Crusade. The Pope said that his envoy was to go to 
Genoa also ; he ordered both Republics, as his own children, 
to make a peace or at least a truce, and threatened to ex- 
communicate whichever of the two would not listen to his 
prayer. The doge was entreated to send an embassy to 
Viterbo to hear from the Pope's mouth the terms of peace. 
At the same time the Marshal of France and the Arch- 
deacon of Paris appeared at Venice with a message from 
St. Louis, "the best King there is in the world," ^ begging 
them not to reject the Pope's prayer and so make them- 
selves the King's enemies. Their language threatened 
Venice with the wrath not only of their King, but of King 
Charles of Sicily, their King's brother {i.e. Charles of 
Anjou) ; and an envoy of Charles, who was in the company, 
also spoke to the same effect, urging them to comply with 
the Apostle's request. To all of these envoys the doge 
answered " vmlt sagement, ensi con il est acoustumes a 
fere." The King of France asked for ships to take him to 
Africa at the next midsummer, and the doge agreed to stop 
^ " Z? meudres Rots que soit an Sikle." 

136 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the usual convoy to the East,^ apparently in order that he 
might be able to supply enough ships for St. Louis' Crusade. 
The doge next sent three envoys to the Pope to discuss 
the question of a truce ; and the envoys of the two kings, 
and perhaps the Pope's legate with them, rode overland 
to Genoa. At Venice and in the places they passed on 
the way they had been treated with all the honour due to 
the high persons who had sent them ; but when they came 
to Chiavari on the Genoese frontier, they were not treated 
as ambassadors, but were imprisoned for a day and a half 
by the Genoese guard. They were not detained longer, 
and were given proper quarters in the city ; but when they 
were received by the podesta after waiting three days, he 
refused flatly to make peace with enemies who had so 
injured them both on sea and land as the Venetians had, 
until his countrymen had had their full measure of revenge. 
The ambassadors left Genoa, and we next hear of twenty- 
eight Genoese galleys putting to sea, to the great joy of 
Giacomo Dandolo and Marin Morosini, the Venetian admi- 
rals, who were at sea — we are not told where — on the 
look-out for enemies. The Genoese ships got past them and 
appeared before Acre, where Michele Dauro, the Venetian 
bailo, refused to admit them ; on which they blockaded the 
town in concert with the Sultan of Egypt,'- and forced all 
merchant ships arriving at Acre to carry their cargoes on to 
Tyre. There was much fleeing and pursuing at Acre and 
Tyre, and all along what our authorities call the Riviera of 
Syria from the Black Mountain or Tortosa to Jaffa. The 
Venetians were unable to catch the bulk of the Genoese 

^ " For cestui fait remest que Monsignor li Dus n'envoia sa carevane 
selonc sa costume" (Canale, tt.s., pp. 538, 540). 

^ The rivalry of Venetians and Genoese was regarded as an advan- 
tage by Sultan Bibars. suggesting his attack on Acre (Wilken, Gesch. 
der Kreuzz, vii. p. 464). This was probably the principal reason why 
St. Louis and Pope Clement IV. were anxious to reconcile the two 
Republics. It was, moreover, difficult to hire all the shipping required 
to take a Crusade over the sea so long as Venice and Genoa were at 
war (Wilken, ii.s., vii. p. 511). 


ships, but returned to Venice with 440 prisoners, the crews 
of the galleys and varchette they had taken. 

In the last days of the doge Renier Zeno, the Venetian 
admirals, Giovanni Storlato, Count of Ragusa, Eliodoro 
Vitale, and Tommaso Minotto, Count of Grado, are heard 
of at Ragusa, at Corfu, or on the coasts of Sicily, ever ready 
to fight. Minotto had been in the fights off Acre and Tyre 
that began the war, and again in the victory at Trapani. 
In 1268, the year of the doge's death, ten galleys were sent 
to sea in charge of the carovana under Piero Michele. At 
the same time Pope Clement had induced Venice and 
Genoa to send envoys to him at Viterbo, but was unable 
to bring them to terms, and in August had to adjourn the 
negotiations till St. Andrew's Day. Meantime Renier 
Zeno died, early in July. His successor during the first 
years of his power does not appear to have carried on active 
hostilities against Genoa. We read in Dandolo only of the 
safe passing of the carovane between Venice and Romania 
or Syria. The Republic suffered severely in these years 
from dearth, and her ships were fully employed in import- 
ing corn from foreign countries and keeping the Adriatic 
open and free from piracy, so that the corn-ships might 
pass safely.^ At length, in 1270 or 1271, peace with Genoa 
came — a truce for five years ; this was made at the instance 
of St. Louis, just before he started on the expedition to 
Tunis in which he lost his life. Venetian ambassadors 
were at Cremona settling the terms of the truce when, on 
the 25th of August, the royal saint died of dysentery in 
his camp near Tunis. The truce was no doubt agreed to 
reluctantly on both sides. Dandolo tells us that the 
prisoners were not exchanged, but remained in confine- 
ment.2 Partly because they were still suspicious of Genoese 
hostility, but more in consequence of the large stake in 
ships and merchandise they had in the port of Alexandria, 
the Venetians refused to let to Louis the ships he required 
^ DancL, «..r., c. 378. '^ lb.., u.s., c. 380. 

138 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

to take him across the sea, and his host was embarked on 
Genoese ships or ships of his own manned by Genoese 
sailors. Altogether more than 10,000 Genoese, we are 
told, took part in the Crusade,^ so large a proportion of the 
total population of the Republic that they elected two of 
their leaders in the French camp as consuls for the year. 

These Genoese Crusaders distinguished themselves in 
the taking of Carthage, the first and only success of St. 
Louis' unfortunate expedition. The colony of Genoese 
merchants resident in Tunis were imprisoned on the 
landing of their countrymen in St. Louis' army, but were 
kindly treated by the Moslems. The crusading zeal of the 
Genoese emphasised, as it perhaps helped to cause, the 
lukewarmness of the Venetians, which moved the wrath of 
Prince Edward of England, when, in May 1271, he arrived 
at Acre from Tunis, and found their merchants exporting 
arms and provisions to Alexandria. The Venetian bailo in 
Acre, Philip Beligno, was able to show that this trade was 
carried on under licence from the Kings of Jerusalem, and 
thereby silenced the English prince's remonstrance ; but, 
as we have seen on former occasions, this willingness to 
trade with unbelievers prevented the Venetians from en- 
joying the credit of being entirely orthodox Catholics.^ In 
the year 1275 the bailo, then Pietro Zeno, quarrelled with the 
authorities of Acre, because Jean de Montfort, the Lord of 
Tyre, who kept the Republic out of the rights to which she 
was entitled in that city, was admitted to Acre ; his com- 
plaint was so far justified that Montfort was required to 
return to Tyre.^ In 1277 these rights — the government of 
a third part of the town, and the possession of streets, 

^ Aitnal. Gen. in Mur., R. I. S., vi. p. 549 ; quoted in Wilken, vii. 
p. 541, n. 50. The presence of these Genoese sailors got the Crusade 
into trouble at Cagliari with the Pisans, who at that time were masters 
of Sardinia (Wilken, u.s., p. 544). 

* See Dand. apud Mur., u.s., c. 380, and cf. Wilken, vii. pp. 594, 


3 Wilken, vii. p. 015. 


churches, baths, and bakehouses — which had been taken 
from them at the instigation of Genoa, and given to the 
Montforts, were restored to Albertino Morosini, then the 
Venetian bailo, through the good offices of the Patriarch 
of Jerusalem and the Masters of the Templars and 

^ Dandolo, u.s., c. 393 ; Wilken, vii. p. 666. 



The election of Lorenzo Tiepolo, who succeeded on the 
death of Renier Zeno, was remarkable for the first introduc- 
tion of the elaborate and complicated combination of elec- 
tion by votes and election by lot that was maintained in the 
election of all doges down to the extinction of the Republic. 
The electoral law was submitted to the assembly of the 
people in San Marco on the 15th of July 1268, eight days 
after the death of Zeno, by the Signoria— that is, the six 
counsellors of the doge, known as the " Consiglio Minore," 
with the three " Capi de' Quaranta " — the body in which the 
government of the State, during the vacancy of the ducal 
throne, was vested. These elected as Vicar of the Dogado 
(or vice-doge) one of themselves, generally the eldest of the 
six counsellors. We do not know whether the Capitulars 
prescribing the mode of election had been long in pre- 
paration. The words of Dandolo, that the members of the 
Signoria " settled the form by very careful elaboration,"^ 
may refer only to the work of eight days, during which 
time must apparently be found for its having been laid 
before and confirmed by the greater and lesser councils. 
We may conclude it was approved by the acclamation of 
the assembly in St. Mark's on the same day on which it 
was laid before the councils. Eight days later, on the 23rd 
of July, the first of the chosen electors, Giacomo Baseggio, 

1 *' SiibtilJHS clintantes saiixerunt." It is not easy to brinfr out the 
full force of the adverb and participle (Dand. in Mur., E. I. S., xii. 

c. 37^)- 




The Doge surrounded by Ambassadors, and followed by the Signoria, and 
preceded by the Ballottino, the Great Chancellor and Captain-General, the 
Caledra or Chair of the Doge, and the Capella or Chaplains of the Church. 

p. 141 


announced to the people again assembled in San Marco 
that Lorenzo Tiepolo had been chosen. 

The form of election prescribed that the Great Council 
should be assembled, but that all members under -thirty 
years of age should be excluded from the proceedings. 
They were to meet first in San Marco, and there offer up 
their prayers ; the rest of the proceedings were to take place 
in the ducal palace, apres none, as Canale says. The 
members left after the exclusion of the juniors were to be 
counted, and an equal number of ballots of chalk or wax 
placed in a hat. These appear to have been hollow, for in 
thirty of them was inserted a cedilla, or ticket,^ with the word 
lector, "elector," inscribed. The members of the council 
were to be led, in an order determined by lot, up to the 
hat, and for each a ballot was to be drawn out of the hat by 
a boy eleven years old, who, according to some accounts, was 
selected from the Orphanage, according to others was the 
first boy whom the youngest member of the Signoria, sent 
out of the Basilica for the purpose, met. The thirty 
members who received inscribed ballots passed into 
another room. These thirty ballots were again placed in 
the hat, nine of them containing inscribed tickets, and the 
counsellors who received these remained in the room while 
the others passed out. The nine then proceeded to choose 
forty "discreet men," who were not necessarily members of 
the Great Council,- by the votes of at least seven of their 
number. The forty were reduced to twelve by the ballot, 
and these twelve by eight " concordant votes " chose 
twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by ballot to 
nine, who by seven votes chose forty-five. These, reduced 
to eleven by the ballot, selected the forty-one by whom the 
doge was finally elected. No more than one member of 

* Canale says : " Un petit de pnrchemin escrit en chasame, que djsoit 
Lector''^ (u.s., p. 58S). 

* Canale says they "orent poestes ^ eslire et don Consoil et fors don 
ConsoiP' (U.S., p. 590). 

142 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

any family could be among the forty-one electors, or indeed 
in any of the batches of electors, the thirty or the forty or 
the twenty-five or the forty-five, who gave a vote at any 
stage of the election. As soon as the name of any one 
who received an elector's ballot was called out by the 
notary who held the hat, all of the same name ^ rose and 
left the room, and a number of blank ballots equal to the 
number of the excluded counsellors was withdrawn from 
the hat.2 

An ancient account of the election of a doge printed by 
Tommaso Gar in a note to Canale's Chronicle, from a MS. 
in the Venetian dialect in the collection of the Marchese 
Gino Capponi, gives us some other interesting particulars 
as to the procedure followed. This account begins : " As 
soon as the doge has been buried, the bell called lo rengo 
is rung, and all the nobles that are then in Venice assemble ; 
the doors of the Great Council are locked, and at once the 
six counsellors and the three chiefs of the forty take their 
seats on the bench, and the Great Chancellor ascends the 
renghiera, or tribune,^ and begins to read a certain old 
decree {parte), and afterwards that recently passed for the 
choosing and making of a doge." The electors are first 
assembled in the Sala del Consiglio Maggiore, and there, 
after the exclusion of counsellors under thirty, the boy 
fetched from the church of St. Mark by the junior counsellor 

^ In some of the lists of electors given us by Dandolo or Sanudo, we 
meet with two of the name of Dandolo. It is supposed there were 
two families of that name, not recognised as kinsmen. 

^ See Arch. Star. Ital., ser. i. tom. 8, pp. 747, 748. 

' The tribiinale on which the seats of the doge and his coun- 
sellors were placed was a movable wooden enclosure placed, according 
to the time of the year, at the north-east or south-west end of the 
hall. It had three sides, along which the seats were ranged, and the 
other side opened towards the hall. There were seats at the end of 
each wing towards the hall : and there was a flat platform along the 
top of each wing — something like that above the stalls in the choir of 
St. Paul's in London — on one of which an orator is represented making 
a 7-enga in one of the contemporary engravings to Giannotti's treatise. 
This is probably the 7-enghiera. 


is brought. He appears to be the boy first found,^ 
and is called by our chronicler "ballottin de Misser lo 
Doxe." After the first ballot, the thirty who were selected 
passed into another room, which the chronicler calls the 
cancelleria. When the thirty were collected there, by 
what must have been a long process of selection from the 
whole number of perhaps 400 or 500 counsellors, they 
were called back one by one into the council hall, and 
in presence of the Signoria were sworn according to a 
form prescribed in what Canale calls the establissement 
for the election, that is, the regulations that the Great 
Chancellor had read out at the beginning of the proceed- 
ings. The same process of swearing individually was 
followed with each of the selected bodies that took part 
in the subsequent stages of the election. 

When each of the small electing bodies, the nine, twelve, 
nine or eleven had chosen the larger number they were 
required to choose, they handed the names of those they 
had chosen on a zetola {cedula) to the Signoria, by whom 
the bell of the rengo was again rung and the list of names 
read out : those of the chosen who were present passed 
into the cancelleria, those who were absent were sent for. 
When this had been done for the last list of elected, and 
the forty-one electors were assembled, the real business of 
the election began. They were strictly confined to the 
Sala, and no one from outside was allowed to speak to 

^ '''■ Uno piitto picholo de quelli che vien app7-exentadi." In the time 
of Donato Giannotti (the beginning of the sixteenth century) the boy was 
selected beforehand and placed in St. Mark's to be found by the coun- 
sellor (see Republica di Venetia Del Cardinal Contarini, Gia^inotti et 
A Itri Alitor i Venez., 1678, p. 279). The ballottiito, Giannotti tells us, 
was privileged to walk before the doge-elect in the procession after his 
election, and was always, when he reached a proper age, appointed by 
the doge one of the secretaries of the Republic. Romanin (ii. p. 289) 
quotes from the MS. of Muazzo's Governo della Reptiblica, the formal 
regulation: " Quod consiliarhis jtmior, anteqiiavi procedaltir ad elec- 
iionevi, ire debeat in ecclesiam S. Matxi et facta oratione, primus par- 
vitliis qui tunc obviaverit accipi debeat i>ro extrahendo ballottas, et sit 
Ballottinus futuri ducis.'" 

144 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

them. First, a mass of the Holy Ghost was said to them 
with the prayer of St. Mark ; then each had to swear on 
the body of Christ that he would elect the man who should 
appear to him "the most catholic and the best,"^ and that 
he would keep secret for five years all that passed among 
the electors. The forty-one were then locked up, so that 
they could see no one, and no one see them, or speak, or 
make signs to them. The members of the Signoria, the six 
counsellors, and the three chiefs of the forty, never left the 
palace during the deliberations of the forty-one ; and a 
body of Venetian sailors, that our chronicler calls " el forzo 
de' Marineri de Venexia," was on guard over them day and 
night. The electors chose three of their eldest members as 
" priors " and two of the youngest as " chancellors " or 
secretaries. The three priors took their seats at a large 
table placed before the Alajestade of the palace, that is, a 
tabernacolo or niche, such as one still sees in the streets of 
Venice, with an image of God the Father, or Christ, or the 
Madonna. On a white cloth on the table were placed two 
bossoli or ballot-boxes, one white with a figure of St. Mark, 
the other green, and forty-one scarlet balls with a gilt cross. 
The order of voting was then settled by forty-one zetole, or 
parchment tickets, with a number on each, folded up and 
well shuffled and handed by the two chancellors to the 
electors, beginning with the eldest, who sat down in order 
according to the number of the ticket each had received. 
When they were all seated the holder of the first ticket was 
called upon to nominate some one as doge, and stood up 
and said : " In the name of the Holy Trinity I wish and 
elect such an one the son of such an one to be doge." 
Then the holder of the second ticket made his nomination, 
and the rest of the forty-one in succession, and when all 
had nominated the chancellors read out a list of the names 
proposed and of the nominators of each. Generally a 

' *■' El piii caiholico, e il nu'or (he a lor parerd" (Canale, tt.s., p. 

Fhoto: AUnari 


P- 145 


number of the nominations coincided ; we are told there 
were seldom more than six or eight names voted on. The 
holder of the first ticket then rose and said, " I vote for 
such an one to be doge," on which, if the candidate voted 
for was one of the forty-one, he was turned out of the room 
and confined between two locked doors in the Quarantia. 
while any one of the electors who had any objection to 
make was invited to make it. When all who wished had 
stated their objections, these were taken down in writing by 
the chancellors (whose office must have been no sinecure), 
and read out to the candidate, who was released from con- 
finement for the purpose and allowed to make, if he chose, 
a renga or formal speech in reply to the objections. He 
was then again locked up, and any of his friends allowed to 
speak against the objections. Sometimes, it would appear, 
fresh objections might then be made, and fresh replies to 
them from the candidate and his friends called forth. At 
length the voting took place ; the proposer put his ball 
openly into the white ballot-box, which contained the votes 
for election ; the rest of the electors followed, but gave 
their votes secretly. When the forty-one had voted, the 
eldest of the priors counted the ballots in the white box 
and then those in the green, and if there were twenty-five 
or more in the former the candidate was elected. If there 
were not twenty-five the process of objection and replies 
was repeated for the second nominee, and so on, till one 
was found who had twenty-five votes. The senior prior 
thanked God and St. Mark, and then knocked at the door 
of the Hall of the Great Council and begged the Great 
Chancellor to come, whose duty it was to announce the 
result to the Signoria. If the election was settled at night 
further proceedings were put off till the next day ; but, if 
by day, the bell of San Marco, called the rengo, was again 
rung, and " all the people and gentlemen " went to the 
church, where the forty-one electors placed themselves 


146 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

" suso el capitello," ^ I presume in the gallery at a point 
over the pulpit, where the eldest of them made a ^^ bella 
renga " to the people, telling them whom they had chosen 
in place of the late doge of blessed memory, on which the 
people lifted up their voices to praise God and confirm the 
election. This was the last survival of the old tumultuary 
popular election. If the doge-elect was present — he will 
often have been in some high employment abroad — he was 
laid hold of and carried to the altar, and the oath adminis- 
tered to him by the senior counsellor,- who till then had 
acted as vice-doge. From the altar he was carried out of 
the basilica to the palace, scattering gold and silver coins 
all the way "in segno de 7nagnanimiiade." At the top of 
the staircase, at the second balcony looking towards the 
Zudegado del Propria, that is, the highest Court of Justice, 
he made a speech to the people, after which he was carried 
into the hall of the Signori di Noite, and seated on the 
doge's seat. In this hall, as a sign of his humility and 
clemency, the common people were allowed to tear off his 
hood and berretta and scramble for it,^ so that he was 

^ Canale says: " Monteyent de sor li percle de P I^lise." The perch 
is the perganntm or pulpit : it is said in the Italian accounts to be 
a sinistra of the altar, always an ambiguous term, unless it is stated 
which way the spectator is looking. Capitello suggests the smaller 
pulpit on the north side. In either case, I think, the forty-one electors 
must have been in the gallery above. Giannotti says that the confir- 
mation of the doge took place '■'' qiiando gli elettori salgono in sul 
Pergaftio di San Alarco, e pronunciano chi eglino habbiano eletto doge " 
{//.s., p. 291). 

^ Canale says the oath was " se/one le chapitre qtie dettotes li fii 
per li chapelains de Monsignor Saint Marc^ The chaplains and the 
vice-doge between them handed him the gonfalone or banner of 
St. Mark " trestot a or," which he carried up the staircase of the 
palace and held it in his hand while the chaplains sang the Laitdes in 
the time-honoured words : " Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus 
imperat. Domino nostro Laurentio Theupulo, inclito Duci Venetioe, 
Dalmatic atque Croatiiie, Dominatori quarts: partis et dimidioe totius 
Imperii Romani, salus honor vita et victoria. Sancte Marce tu adjuva." 

^ Canale says that all his robes were torn off him, " li fit straches 
tos les dras de dos," not in the palace, but in San Marco : and he says 
the same afterwards {ib., p. 698) in his account of the election of 
Giacomo Contarini, " Li furent debrisies li pans de dos." 

^ n 

/' Vrrncipr C/cia i^ns i' n^iuer faoc m^ n:c.-a ai S .M'',''nc.' Pcrgmc . crancnc aiPjp^n- 
•nrrj ir. „n /'au r,,-/tt- cjn , u^i J'i^rrn:i Ct , A '■mi'-a^.i.- a:uc rt^'i-ap Hi^Je- '-"fni-'ni ae., /\^,'eniiU (uil^ 

'- dr ^yt^nti utcrw mcdrcnat! 

•Ulnar Ulf7^I 


p. 146 


carried bareheaded through the Hall of the Great Council 
to his private oratory, where he finds his ofificial berretta 
as doge lying on the altar, and after he has knelt and 
prayed at the altar in the presence of the Signoria, the 
forty-one electors and other gentlemen, he has it solemnly 
placed on his head by the senior counsellor, and then the 
other counsellors and gentlemen make their reverences to 
him and depart. 

The Capponi manuscript, from which I have taken the 
above interesting account, ends by saying that this was the 
procedure followed at the election of Marin Morosini, and 
that it w^as so observed until the writer's own time. He is 
apparently wrong in the former statement, for Dandolo 
and Marino Sanudo the younger both agree that this com- 
plicated mode of election was first adopted at the election 
of Lorenzo Tiepolo, and with this the account of Canale, 
certainly a contemporary, is quite consistent. The election 
of Marin Morosini was the first that was in the hands 
of forty-one electors : and it is possible that, when the 
number was raised from forty to forty-one to avoid the 
danger of an equal division of votes, the special method 
of nominations I have just described may also have been 
introduced, in the place of the natural way of leaving it 
to the electors to discover by trial and error the strength 
of the supporters of the several candidates. The com- 
plexity of the later method of election was greatest in the 
proceedings by which the forty-one electors were chosen : 
the mode of election by the forty-one was comparatively 
simple. But it had the defect that it did not preclude the 
possibility of a candidate being elected over the head of 
another who had more supporters among the electors, for 
the first candidate submitted to ballot might have secured 
his election by the minimum of twenty-five votes, while 
another who had thirty supporters might never come to 
the ballot. The device of determining by lot the order 
in which the candidates were submitted to the ballot 

148 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

mitigated this evil, and there was no doubt some disposition 
to accept the result of the lot as the judgment of God. 
But the defect still remained ; and Giannotti tells us that 
at the election of the doge who was reigning at the time 
his " Dialogue " was written,^ the result was not proclaimed 
until all the candidates' names had been submitted to the 

The doge's palace stands on the site on which all its 
predecessors have stood : but the Hall of the Great 
Council, that we now know, was not begun till the year 
1342; its humbler predecessor, which was in the front 
facing the Rio del Palazzo, the small canal crossed by 
the Bridge of Sighs, was begun only in 1 301, so that in 
1268, the year in which the first election was held in the 
manner I have just described, the palace in use was the 
old Byzantine building dating from Angelo Participazio 
in the ninth century, which had been inhabited by Pietro 
Orseolo II., who entertained there the Emperor Otto III., 
and had been much enlarged in the twelfth century by 
Sebastiano Ziani. No representation of that palace is 
in existence, and no description of the place occupied 
in it by the Hall of the Council or the Cancellaria. A 
Chronicle coming down to the year 1422, quoted in 
Raskin's " Stones of Venice," ^ speaks of half of the palace 
finished by Ziani as remaining at the time it was written, 
and it is probably the old palace spoken of more than 
once in the anonymous Capponi Chronicle.^ The account 

^ Giannotti was born in 1494 and died in 1563 or 1572. His 
Dialogue is supposed to be held three years after the death of 
Lionardo Loredano. This occurred in 15-1, and in 1523 Andrea 
Gritti was elected. 

^ '■^ Non fu dichiarato doge, se prima tittti gli alt}-i tiominati non 
fiiro7io andati al partito" (p. 286 of the Italian ed. combined with 
Contarini's Rep. Ven., 1678). 

* ii. p. 290, ch. viii. § li. This chapter contains a very instructive 
discussion of the several ducal palaces and their dates. 

'• Canale, ii.s., p. 749. We have " / qitarantauno vien serradi in 
lo palazzo vecchio," '■'■ davanti la Majestade del palazzo vccchio,^' and 

7f p 

f rcnrf '^ A'lil^jvrm, at- h//u 

f rcn>f 
Giacatno^ ■p'ani'0,joyfna con Iriur/ent. 


via.,na jHd^,^ ..- r:}u!0!w I J.^kh c^j (j ci/ Jnnci'20 j.. 


p. 148 


of the election of a doge in the " Dialogue " of Donate 
Giannotti, the Florentine, to which I have so frequently 
referred, dates from the first half of the sixteenth century, 
and refers to the Sala del Consiglio Maggiore and the 
Sala ddlo Scrutinio, as we know them now. But it is so 
probable that their internal arrangements, when used for 
an election, were the same as had been those of the older 
palace, that it will not be amiss to give some account in 
this place of the procedure described by Giannotti. 

The length of the Sala del Consiglio was rather more 
than double its breadth : the tribunale of the doge and 
Signoria occupied sometimes one, sometimes the other 
of the shorter sides, filling the whole width except what 
was left for the passages to two doors. The tribunale was 
raised three steps above the body of the hall, and a row 
of seats raised to the same height ran along each of the 
larger sides of the hall. These seats were kept for some 
of the numerous officers of the Republic : ^ a row of seats 
ran at the foot of each of these, and parallel to them, and 
separated from them by gangways, were nine rows of 
double seats {hanche doppie), ranged back to back along the 
length of the hall, on each of which twenty members of the 
council sat. No member had a fixed seat : every time 
the council met for elections — and this was its principal 
business, occupying it every Sunday, and on some other 
days also in the months of August and September — the 
seats were balloted for, so that no faction might get 
identified with any part of the hall, as was the case with 
the Mountain and the Plain in a later republican assembly, 
and is so in a less degree in every chamber that has a 
Government and an Opposition side or a Right and a Left. 

just below '^ dall' altro cavo {capo) del conseio veahio.'" These expres- 
sions would seem to show that when the Chronicle was written some 
of the new rooms were built but some of the old rooms still in use. 

^ But apparently no one had any particular seat except those entitled 
to seats in the doge's tribunale. Giannotti's account is not clear as to 
this. Cavalieri and doctors also had a right to these high seats. 


The main object of all the regulations for the election 
was to prevent any concerted action. Except in the case 
of the nominator of each candidate, the voting was secret : 
those who sat together did not vote together ; the lot 
determined in what order the several benches {banchi^) 
voted, and whether in each bench the side towards San 
Giorgio or that towards San Marco was to vote first, and 
whether its members were to begin from the end {iesia) 
towards Broglio or that towards Castello. The urn was 
guarded by the junior of the doge's counsellors and the 
junior of the three heads of the Quarantia : but no one 
put his hand in it but the hallottino. In translating from 
the ancient accounts I have taken Capello to be literally 
a hat, because it is never spoken of as an urn or vase, 
and it was apparently not fixed in its position, but held 
by a " noder,'^ the Venetian word for noiaro, " a notary." ^ 
In the time of Giannotti it was an urn, still called Capello, 
of solid and handsome form, as represented in the con- 
temporary engravings reproduced in Grsevius, and so high 
as to make it impossible for any voter to see what was 
inside it ; and this, as we can gather from the engravings, 
must have made it difficult for the hallottino, of eleven 
years of age, to take a ballot out. In all the ballotings 
by which the numbers were reduced, this was done, in 
Giannotti's time, by means of plated or gilt balls,^ the 

^ It is necessary to distinguish between banche and banchi. The 
banche doppie, as explained above, were the rows of seats on which the 
members sat back to back ; the south side {verso San Giorgio) of one of 
these with the north side {verso San Marco) of that next to it on the south 
formed together one banco. For many elections the voting was by five 
banchi doppi, the two central banchi forming one double banco and so 
on, one to the south being always brigaded with the corresponding one 
to the north. But in the election of doge the voting was by ten single 
benches {banchi sccmpi), there being only one urn or capello from which 
the lots were drawn, while in other elections there were two or three 

^ The MS. account {u.s., p. 747) mentions another " «(?(^(?;'," who 
was " siiso la renga^'' and counted the kinsmen of the electors as they 
passed out. 

' Ivory plated or gilt according to Claar {Die Entwickhutg der 


person for whom a plated ball was drawn being at once 
turned out of the hall, while, if a gilt ball were drawn, the 
chancellor read out at once the name of the elector, who 
was led by two secretaries into another room, while all 
of his family and connexions were required to leave the 
hall as being henceforth not eligible, and counted, an 
equal number of plated balls being taken out of the 
Capello. In the contemporary account of the election 
of 1268 by Martino da Canale, the balls are all of wax, 
only distinguished by some having and some not having 
a strip of parchment with the word Lector inscribed. 
Cecchetti ^ tells us that the balls were first of all made of 
chalk, and in later times, before gold and silver were used, 
of " tela di Ortnesht" a light silk fabric from Ormuz in the 
Persian Gulf. 

The notion that party spirit can be excluded from elec- 
tions by complicating the process of election was in the air 
in the thirteenth century. Only seven years after the 
Venetian regulations of 1268, Pope Gregory X., at the 
Council of Lyons, established the rule by which Papal 
Conclaves have been governed ever since. In the case of 
these, the electors, the College of Cardinals, are a body 
known beforehand, not chosen ad hoc, as the forty-one at 
Venice were. But they are secluded from the outside 
world as strictly as the Venetian electors, and are restricted 
in their supplies of provisions and comforts - in a manner 
that does not seem to have been the rule at Venice. This 
restriction was not imposed on the Papal Conclave till 
they had been five days without coming to a decision. We 
are told ^ that the Venetian electors were never known to 

Venez. Verfassimg, pp. i8, 19). These were also in use at the date of 
the Capponi MS. above quoted. 

^ // Doge di Venezia, p. 89. 

^ See a quotation from a Bull of Clement VI. in 1351, just seventy- 
six years after the ordinance of Gregory X., which considerably relaxes 
the strict rules, in Cartwright " On Papal Conclaves," p. 105, note i. 

^ Giannotti, U.S., p. 2S9. 


take more than six to eight days in discussion, so that 
there was not so much need of starving the electors into 
unanimity as there was in the Conclave of Cardinals.^ At 
Venice, amongst the forty-one electors, all of high rank and 
many of great wealth and great age, the restriction to 
bread and wine would have been as effective as with the 
cardinals. The obligation of secrecy as to all that passes 
in the Conclave is another point of similarity with the 
election of a doge : it must have been more difficult to 
observe at Rome, where the number of functionaries 
admitted, maggior-domos, confessors, conclavists, barbers, 
carpenters, and sweepers,^ was very much more numerous, 
and the time of seclusion often much longer. The " cells " 
or booths put up in the Vatican for the cardinals were 
divided among them by lot, so that no members should 
be able to arrange to sit together, and the cardinals were 
kept to the first floor of the Vatican by four locked doors, 
the keys of which were in the keeping of the Papal Cham- 
berlain and Marshal and the Master of Ceremonies. 

If the regulations for Papal Conclaves resemble in many 
respects those by which the forty-one chosen electors at 
Venice chose the doge, the regulations for another great his- 
torical election, those adopted in 1787 (when, as Mr. Bryce 
remarks, doges were still elected at Venice) for the election 
of the first President of the United States, were similar in 
motive to the far more complicated mode of choosing the 
forty-one electors at Venice. If we are apt to think, at 
first sight, that the Venetian method was needlessly com- 
plicated, the manner in which the simpler American 

^ The election of Gregory X. had only been accomplished after an 
interregnum of two years and nine months. 

^ See Cartwright "On Papal Conclaves," pp. 66 sqq. In 1829 a 
conclavist, i.e. the private secretary of a cardinal, was expelled and 
imprisoned for breaking the rule of secrecy. The conclavists (two for 
each cardinal) had the right, as a perquisite of their office, to sack the 
cell of the newly-elected Pope, another point of resemblance to Venetian 
practices. But licence and plunder prevailed much more, during the 
Middle Ages, in Rome than in Venice. 


regulations have failed to answer their purpose, the exclusion 
of party spirit, may serve as a corrective. The results of 
party spirit that a Venetian of the thirteenth century saw all 
around him in the ItaUan cities, rent by the factions of 
Guelf and Ghibelline, may well have suggested to him the 
need of even abundans cautela. The framers of the Ameri- 
can constitution had no examples quite so alarming before 
them, though English politics in the days of Walpole and 
Newcastle and North no doubt illustrated the virulence of 
party spirit. They trusted, however, to the simple expe- 
dient of a double election as a means of getting at the real 
wishes of honest and independent citizens ; and the result 
has been that from the first contested election downwards, 
the electors chosen by the State have not been free to 
exercise their independent judgment, but strictly bound to 
vote for the candidate of their party, and almost as strictly 
bound in practice, if not in theory, to adopt as party 
candidate the person selected by the majority of the party 
delegates. The Venetian method succeeded in making it 
impossible to know beforehand who would be the electors, 
and so preventing them from being pledged to a particular 

The chronicle of Martino da Canale, always full and graphic 
in its accounts of ceremonial functions, tells us much that is 
interesting about the homage done by the Arti or trade guilds 
of the city, and other deputations from the city and its ad- 
jacent districts, first to the doge, Lorenzo Tiepolo, at his 
palace, and then to the dogaressa, the " Lady Marchioness " 
— who, as we have seen,^ was a daughter of the Prankish 
prince of Rascia in Bosnia, Bohemund de Brienne — in the 
palace of the Tiepolo family at Sant Agostino. This stood 
in the Sestiere San Polo, near the Frari, on a site that was 
long marked by a mural inscription to the effect that the land 
was once Bagiamonte Tiepolo's, but was now public pro- 
perty, that it might be a warning to every one for ever and 
^ Ante, p. 86. 

154 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

ever. " In 1310, in the middle of the month of the cherries, 
Bagiamonte passed over the bridge, and from that deed 
was the Council of Ten created."^ The first body to do 
homage was the navy, fifty in all, " galleys, ships, and 
tarides," under the command of Piero Michele the chief 
captain, which were just going to put to sea. These all 
passed before the palace, where their crews shouted out 
the Laudes to the new doge, and then made their way all 
through Venice to Sant Agostino, where the dogaressa 
received them as their lady with joyful countenance. ^ 
Next to them came the citizens of the contrade, or island 
communities of Torcello, Murano, and others, who were also 
on shipboard with their flags hoisted on their ships, those 
of Murano recognisable by the live cocks, which repre- 
sented the bearings on the shield of their island. The 
guilds followed on foot, led by the smiths, with garlands 
on their heads, their banner in front, their trumpets and 
other instruments of music behind, the skinners "of wild 
beasts," ^ both masters and apprentices in rich cloaks of 
vair and ermine. We have descriptions of ten master 
tailors in white with vermilion stars, escorted by their 
band and singing to it " chansonetes et cobles " ; * of the 
master cloth-workers carrying boughs of olive and with 

' " Del Mille Trecento e Diese 
A Mezo II Mese Delle Ceriese 
Bagiamonte Passo II Ponte, 
E Per Esso Fo Fatto II Consegio Di Diese." 
I take this from Splendor Alagnificentissiiiur Urbis Vcnetiarum in 
Gri^vius, Antiq. Ital., v. ii. p. 1J2. The conspiracy of Bajamonte 
Tiepolo broke out on the 14th of June 1310. I have not found any 
evidence of June being called at Venice the " month of cherries," but 
the name would not be inappropriate. For Ceriese see Boerio, Dizion, 
del Dial. Vevez., s.v. Zaresa. 

^ " Come dame les resiit a liee chiereP 

^ " De reiivre sauvage." Tlie other skinners Canale calls ''* peletiers 
des euvres veille,'' and describes as wearing rich robes of ^' samt't, 
sendals de scarlate,'' and other materials, lined with ^^vair et gris et 
autres penes sauvagesT The dealers in lambskins are also named as 
a separate "'Art" (Can., u.s., p. 606 sqq.). 

* " Cobbole " in Italian are any lyrical compositions. 


garlands of olive on their heads ; of the workers in cotton 
or quilted cloth, ^ wearing cloth of gold; of the sandal- 
makers and mercers ; and after them of the dealers in salt 
meat and cheese, in river-birds, and fish from sea or river, 
of whom the new doge had in past time bought sturgeons 
and trout and other great fish. The barbers came next, 
who, with the turn for burlesque appropriate to their pro- 
fession, brought with them two men on horseback in 
armour, personifying knights-errant, with four captive 
damsels, two on horseback and two on foot, clad in very 
foreign fashion. At the top of the stairs of the palace one 
of the knights dismounted, and challenged any knight of 
the doge's court to try their prowess and win the foreign 
ladies from them : to whom the doge replied by bidding 
them welcome to his court, where no one should dispute 
with them the enjoyment of their conquest. After them 
we have described the workers in glass — already an impor- 
tant industry in Venice — the comb-makers, who brought 
with them a lantern full of birds that they let loose in the 
doge's presence, to the great enjoyment of the crowd (it 
seems rather unkind that this exhibition and that of the 
knights and damsels errant were not reserved for the 
dogaressa and her ladies, whose life was less full oi joie 

^ *' Maistres que funt les centres et les jiipes.'' The Italian trans- 
lator has " le coltri e le giiibbe" The Latin in Monticolo's Capit, 
delie A>tt Veneziane, p. 23, renders giubbe by zupcc and coltri by 
coopertores. The latter are "quilts" for covering beds, the former the 
"quilted doublets or tunics" commonly worn by men. In the Habiti 
antichi e tnoderni of Cesare Vecellio (a cousin of Titian), ed. Sessa, 
1598, are many woodcuts of men wearing " gittbboiit" (then a more 
common word than giubbe), tunics reaching to the knees and fastened 
in front by a row of gold buttons. The illustration of the dress of 
" meretrici publiche" shows a coarse woman with a similar tunic, and 
the text explains that these ladies afifected masculine clothing, which 
no woman of character would wear. The makers of giubbe and coltri 
formed one guild, because both articles were of cloth or silk padded 
with cotton and quilted. It is probable that coltre, contre, is the origin 
of "counter" in our English word "counterpane," i.e. a quilted and 
padded cloth. See the article " Counterpoint (2) " in the great Oxford 

156 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

and feste than that of their lords and masters) ; and lastly 
the goldsmiths, with a list of whose precious stones the 
chronicler brings his catalogue to a close, not going on to 
describe the deputations of all the other trades, who were 
parading before the doge and dogaressa from the Monday 
to the following Sunday. His account, we must admit, is 
a little monotonous, but not more so than the catalogue of 
ships in the Iliad^ and is full of interesting pictures of the 
life of Venice in the thirteenth century. Many of the 
deputations carried with them the plate belonging to the 
guild, " silver cups and goblets full of wine " ; most of them 
had bands of music and a banner ; the glass-workers 
carried some of the products of their trade — all seem to 
have made a brave show of gold and silver and jewels on 
their dresses.^ 

The Arti of Venice had evidently at this time reached a 
recognised position, and a wealth and importance that 
entitled them to take a leading part in such a public cele- 
bration as that just described. They were guilds or cor- 
porations, organised bodies governed each by a code of 
bye-laws (a Capitolare or Mariegola -), sworn to by every 
member on his admission before the board of judges 
known as the Giustizia Vecchia.^ These Capitolari have 

^ The account in Canale occupies from p. 604 to p. 626 in vol. viii. 
ser. i. of Archivio Storico Italiaiio. 

* The Eletico of the Museo Civico at Venice (which contains many 
beautiful illuminated Mariegole) derives this interesting word from 
" Madre Regola," but I believe it is merely the equivalent in Venetian 
patois of matricula. How matricula and matrix came originally to 
. mean a catalogue or register is mysterious. The sense is found in 
Tertullian and in the Institutes. It may have been originally a military 
sense, but it became most frequent in the Middle Ages for the list of 
clergy and other ministers of a church, just as schola, with which it was 
always and is still closely connected, seems to have been originally a 
room attached to a church, in which the parish school was held (Monti- 
colo on Processio Scolanini in Rendiconti of Accad. de' Lituei for 1900). 

^ The Ginstizieri were a board first established early in the reign of 
Sebastiano Ziani, about a.d. 1175, to control the various tradesmen 
who sold provisions. Dandolo (col. -99) enumerates these, and says 
the new officers were created "to repress their wickedness." In 1261 


been published from a MS. in the Archivio di Stato by the 
learned antiquary, Signer Giovanni Monticolo, who has 
added long and interesting notes, but not more interesting 
than the contents of the bye-laws themselves. The earliest 
Capitolari that have come down to us are of 12 19, and 
many are much later. They are sometimes compiled by 
the members of the guild, sometimes by the Giustizieri, but 
generally at the request of the members rather \h.d.x\ proprio 
motu. Romanin ^ and other writers have inferred, from the 
mention of many kinds of employment in the most archaic 
portions of the Altino Chronicle or that of Marco, that 
there were organised trade guilds in the earliest times 
before the seat of government had been moved from Eraclea 
or Equilio to Rialto ; but the chief passage on which they 
rely,^ so far as it is intelligible, appears to be an attempt to 
derive the names of old Venetian families from the occupa- 
tions of a primitive society of herdsmen, hunters, falconers, 
and a few agriculturists, and contains no indication of any- 
thing of the nature of organisation, unless perhaps it may 
be of a division of employments by families or castes. 
There is a trace of primitive humour in the suggestion that 
the Ursi or Orsi came from a progenitor who enforced the 
payment of feudal services {angaridia) on reluctant tenants 
by the argu7iientum baculi.'^ 

their business had so much increased that the one board gave place to 
two, the Giiistizia Vecchia and Gittstizia Nuova. The former of these 
retained the supervision of the Arti, which comprised many other trades 
besides those of victuallers and vintners. The most complete account 
of these officers is that by Giov. Monticolo, JO Ufficio delta Giustizia 
Vecchia in Motiumenti Storici delta Depntazione Veneta di Storia 
Patria, ser. iv. vol. xii. 

^ i. p. 61. 

^ It is to be found in Pertz SS., xiv. p. 42 (the best text), and also in 
a fragment of Marco in Arch. St. Ital., ser. i., vol. viii. p. 779, which 
is substantially the same. An earlier passage in the Altino Chronicle 
{ti.s., pp. 30-32) mentions in the same connexion families that were 
artisans, merchants, architects, painters. 

^ " Ursi velud ursi fuerunt, domantes ad alapas et colaphis erunt 
cedentes pro quo angaridiis nolentes esse faciendos " (Pertz SS., xiv, 
P- 43)- 

158 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

There was a well-known case in the eleventh century, in 
which one Giovanni Sagornino, a blacksmith, contested the 
customary services that members of his trade were bound 
to render to the doge, and maintained his interpretation 
only by his oath, showing that there was then no written 
statement of the law or custom to which he could appeal.^ 

It appears from the CaPitolari that some of the guilds 
had Gastaldi, holding office for a year, who had a copy of 
the Capitolare handed to them by the Giustizieri, and were 
bound not to let any addition be made to this without the 
sanction of the latter. The Gastaldo could summon two 
meetings of the guild in his year of office, but for more 
than two he required authorisation from the Giustizieri, and 
at each of the two regular meetings it was his duty to read 
the Capitolare and any additions made to it by authority. 
He was elected by the members and confirmed by the 
doge and a majority of his counsellors. Other guilds were 
presided over by a committee of three soprastanti, and 
the same guild was at different times governed in both 
manners." The committee of three was elected, with the 
same preference for an indirect method that was shown in 
the election of all officers at Venice, by five electors chosen 
by the committee whose term was expiring. The soprasianti 
were the executive of the guild : they exacted the fines for 
contravention of the bye-laws, and were responsible for 
paying the proper proportion of these to the Giustizia. 
They had the power, but only up to a certain limit, to 
impose fines for offences, such as discourteous language ^ 

^ G. '^'io'oXxzoXo, Siitdi e Ricerche sulk Arti J'enezians in BiiHettino 
deW Istitiito Star. Ital., No. i ?, p. 9. The case of Sagornino, which is 
remarkable as having long caused the oldest Venetian chronicle, that 
of John the Deacon, to be known as Sagornino's, is given in Gfrorer, 
Byzatit. Gesch., i. pp. 474-79. See also my "Early History of 
Venice," p. 204 and Introd. p. vii. 

^ See Capitolare dei Sarti, cc. iv. and v. at p. 17 of Monticolo's 
A}-t7 Veneziane in Fonti per la Storia d" Italia, 1896, with the editor's 
note (2). 

* " Aliqttam riisticitatem illis tribiis siiprastantibtts aiit suo niintio" 


to themselves or their officers ; it was their duty to visit 
sick members of the guild and reHeve them from the funds 
of the guild.^ 

Great care is taken in the bye-laws to insist on fair deal- 
ing ; in those of the guild of Giubbeitieri, or makers of 
tunics or doublets, there are strict rules against using any 
kind of shoddy.- The physicians are bound, if they find 
any drugs sold by the apothecaries that are not made 
according to what '''' fisica and the atitidotarium " prescribe, 
to bring the fact to the notice of the Giustizieri.^ The 
physicians are also bidden to make no agreements with 
apothecaries for a share in their profits on the drugs pre- 
pared from their prescriptions. There are also rules against 
dismissing a workman or quitting a master's service without 
sufficient notice. In many Capitolari there is provision 
made for an annual banquet of the members. 

Many provisions relate to religious matters. The doublet- 
makers and the timber merchants kept up at the expense 
of the guild an oil-lamp burning day and night in the 
church of St. Mary of the Templars,^ where they had a 
burial-place ; they also were required to contribute small 
sums for the saying oi pater nosters for any deceased mem- 
bers, and at his funeral to attend his body from his house 
to his parish church and stand with lighted candles till the 
office was finished, under pain of a fine of five soldi. The 
first section of the Capitolare of the physicians orders 

(Monticolo, U.S., p. 39). Cf. paragraph xxv. of the Capiiolare de" 
Pescivendoli at p. 68 of Monticolo. 

i/^,p. 51. 

2 There is a rich vocabulary of terms for expressing various kinds of 
shoddy: garfatiiva, pellamen ox pelameii, cimadura, stnpa. These are 
explained in Monticolo, k.s., pp. 28, 20, n. 4. 

» lb., p. 14S. 

* This stood between the Piazza of St. Mark and the church of San 
Moise, and was in old times known as Sta. Maria in Broglio (from the 
old name of the Piazza). On the suppression of the Templars it was 
given to the Confraternity of the Ascension, by whom it was rebuilt in 
1598. It appears not to have been standing at the date of the maps in 
Grsevius, v. pt. ii. (1722), 

i6o VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

them to impress upon any patient, before undertaking his 
cure, the need of confession to a priest. Members were 
generally required to abstain from work on the four festi- 
vals of the Virgin Mary, on those of the Twelve Apostles, 
and on Good Friday, but not apparently on Sunday. The 
Rivenditori, however — i.e. the dealers in old clothes — by 
an order of the doge appended to their bye-laws, were pro- 
hibited from selling at any of the usual places ^ on Sunday 
or any principal feast observed by the Giustizia. The gold- 
smiths are prohibited also from working on Sundays as well 
as great holidays, and four festivals of St. Mark are men- 
tioned in their bye-laws." 

The Venetian Capitolari are full of the economic and 
financial heresies of the Middle Ages; they make the 
tradesmen swear not to buy in order to sell again, from a 
natural fear of seeing the supply of any article engrossed 
by monopolists ; in a few cases they fix prices, as for the 
tailors a maximum charge for making each kind of garment, 
plain or trimmed.^ The guild of the measurers of oil, 
honey, &c., are allowed to charge a maximum for measur- 
ing, which is greater for a foreigner than for a Venetian ; 
dealing in oil by foreigners seems to have been discouraged.* 
The guilds were of course close corporations, and members 
were bound to inform the Giustizieri of any interlopers. 
No one was to presume to cut cloth until he had entered 

^ These are enumerated : " ni in Rialto ni in San iMarco, ni su le 
banche, ni per le contrade ni in stazion ni sul ponte" (Monticolo, u.s., 

P- 137)- 

^ The four festivals were the passion of St. Mark (25th April), his 
translation from Alexandria to Venice (31st January), his apparition 
(25th June), the dedication of his church (8th October). See Monticolo, 
Capitolari, &c., p. 128. The "apparition" was the discovery of his 
body after it was lost, as described by me in " Early History of Venice," 
pp. 227, 228. 

^ " Cu}>i fri sat lira ; " if this was of fur, there was a further augmenta- 
tion of price (Monticolo, u.s., pp. 14, 15). The woman's dress might 
cost twice as much as the man's, and its fur trimming 20 per cent, 

* Monticolo, U.S., p. 77, note i. 


the scola or guild of the tailors, under a penalty of ten 
soldi. Some of the trades seem to have been confined to 
certain streets or quarters, and the fishermen who sold 
their fish about the contrade of the city were not allowed 
to poach on the lands of other dealers, i.e. those who habi- 
tually sold in the Rialto market might not take their goods 
to San Marco or vice versa ; but the Poveglia fishermen, 
who at this time appear to have been settled at Santa 
Marta, at the west end of Dorsoduro opposite Mestre, were 
affiliated to Rialto.^ The fishermen themselves who brought 
fish from Chioggia, PovegUa, or Mazzorbo, the chief sources 
of the Venetian supply, were not allowed to bring it farther 
than the Falo, a flagstaff or mast, at which the dazio or 
octroi was paid ; there they sold it to the cotnpravendi or 
retailers, who took it to the market of Rialto or San Marco, 
or sent it round the calli or canals by itinerant vendors. ^ 
Both the fishermen and the retailer were required to belong 
to the scola of fishmongers. 

The Capitolari of the Arts frequently mention the scola 
and arte together, and Monticolo considers that there was 
not held to be a scola unless there was a regular body of 
officials and meetings on stated occasions. The earliest 
mention he has found of scola is in a will of a.d. 12 13, by 
which legacies are left to the school of goldsmiths and the 
school of skinners. I have referred in my " Early History 
of Venice " ^ to a regulation for the Feast of the Marie or 
Brides of Venice, dating from a.d. 1142, in which mention 
is made of a Processio Scolarum as taking part in it ; but the 
better opinion is that the procession was not one of religious 

^ For the tailors' quarters at San Giacomo di Rialto, see passages 
quoted in note i at p. 19 of Monticolo, zi.s. For the provisions as to 
fishmongers, see pp. 62, 63 of the same book. The Poveglia fishermen 
were, we may presume, the descendants of the servants of the Doge 
Pietro Tradonico, who were banished to that little island after his 
murder (" Early History of Venice," p. 96). 

- Monticolo, 7(.s., pp. 70 sqq. The Palo appears to have been at 
Rialto, I presume near where the fish-market still is. 

3 P. 113. 


i62 VENICE IN THE 13th &: 14th CENTURIES 

or trade guilds, but of boats {scaulce), a word explained by 
Benvenuto of Imola (on Dante's Ptirgatorio, c. 31) as 
'■'■genus navigii longum et leve,'" and found frequently in 
old legal documents for the ships or barges used in the 
inland trade of the lagoons.^ Monticolo's belief is that 
schola (properly spelt with an }i) was originally a room under 
the roof of the parish church appropriated to the parish 
school for children, and that these scholce gradually came 
to be used for the teaching of apprentices to the various 
trades, so that these trades became identified with some 
saint, as (e.g.) the goldsmiths with San Salvatore or the 
skinners with Santa Maria Cruciferorum.^ 

^ There is a paper by Monticolo on the Processio Scolarjim in Rendi- 
coiiii di R. Accad. Lincei 1900, noticed in Niiovo Archivio Veneto for 
1899. I borrow the reference to Benvenuto from a very kind review 
of my former book in the Atheniium for 23rd August 1902. A paper 
of Cecchetti in Arch, l^en., xxx. I-19-52, says that in Venetian docu- 
ments of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries the words scaula and scola 
occur frequently of the traghetti on the Grand Canal, or of barges 
carrying goods ; e.g. Lib. Pleg., c. 42 A, '■'Joh. Caneo de Cliigia est in 
Padua cum duabus scolis cum /III vegetibus vim — et Andreas est ibi 
cum scola / salis." lb., c. 8 IB, '''■ Vidit in Padua in ripa Omniiitn 
Sanctorum Petrum Rubeum de Chigia majori cum una scauia magna 
caricata salis.'^ Cronaca of Trevisan, " // ditto mistro fese el pri))to 
^07ite de Rialto, che prima si passava con scolle," i.e. "in ferry boats." 

- Monticolo, Studi e Ricerche, p. 19. 



The new doge, Lorenzo Tiepolo, has often been mentioned 
before in this History. While his father, Giacomo Tiepolo, 
was doge (from 1229 till 1249) he had been made Count 
of the island of Veglia in the Quarnero, and had married a 
daughter of Bohemund de Brienne, King of Rascia, a niece 
of John de Brienne, Latin Emperor of Constantinople.^ 
At the beginning of the government of Renier Zeno, when 
the Genoese attack on the Venetians at Acre raised such a 
storm at Venice that the doge refused to see the envoys 
sent from Genoa to explain and apologise, Lorenzo Tiepolo 
was chosen to command the fleet that was sent to take 
vengeance for the outrage. Canale, who is loud in his 
praise (writing probably when he was doge), describes how 
he broke through the chain into the harbour of Acre and 
burnt the ships there, and then took the castle of St. Saba 
and all the town as far as the sea on the northern side.'^ 
Again, in the year 1268, when Zeno, pitying, as Canale says, 
the sad plight to which the Genoese had been reduced by 
the war, sent an embassy to Pope Clement to negotiate a 
truce in the Pope's presence with ambassadors from Genoa, 
Lorenzo Tiepolo was the first ambassador chosen, but 
refused to serve,^ perhaps because he did not share the 
doge's compassion for his country's enemies. At the end 
of the late doge's government, perhaps in connexion with 
a riot against the imposition of a machia, or tax on grinding 

^ See p. 86, ante. 

"^ Arch. Star. Ital., u.s., pp. 454-56. ^ lb., pp. 580-82. 


i64 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

corn, a family feud had sprung up between the Tiepoli and 
DandoU, and in a fray in the Piazza Lorenzo Tiepolo had 
been wounded. It will be remembered that when his 
father had been elected doge in 1229 the votes of the forty 
electors had been equally divided between him and Marin 
Dandolo, and Tiepolo had owed his election to the lot. 
Thus the two families were still rivals in 1268, and we 
shall see that this rivalry continued, and had important 

At the beginning of Lorenzo Tiepolo's government Venice 
suffered severely from famine. Marino Sanudo the younger, 
the biographer of the doges, attributes this to the Genoese 
fleets interrupting the supply of grain from Sicily and 
Apulia, but the accounts that have come down to us from 
contemporaries do not convey the impression that for any 
length of time the Genoese had the command of those 
seas. Anyhow, the Venetians did not attempt to supply 
themselves from these regions, but called upon their neigh- 
bours in Padua, Treviso, and Ferrara to let them buy corn 
in their markets. Martino da Canale is eloquent in his 
comments on the ingratitude of those cities, who forgot 
that Venice had saved Padua from the tyranny of Ecelino, 
and Treviso from the tyranny of Alberico, and refused 
to relieve her distress. Not only did they refuse to 
give Venetians special facilities for buying corn, but the 
Paduans stopped the corn-rents that were ordinarily paid to 
Venetian monasteries owning lands in Padua, and the 
Trevisans threatened to do the same.^ Da Canale re- 
proaches also the Marquis of Este for forgetting that his 
ancestor would never have seen Ferrara, if it had not been 
for his advantageous trade in supplying Venice with grain, 
and that the doge's father, Giacomo Tiepolo, had helped to 
deliver Ferrara from the Ghibelline Salinguerra, and hand 

1 >i p^^(}ii pir pattra de" Genovesi ninno voleva mandare ni andare 
in Sicilia a coricare frumento, ovvero in Piiglia" (Mur., R. I. S., xxii. 
col. 566). Dandolo describes the dearth as unforeseen (Mur. R. I. S., 
xii. c. 378). 


it over to the marquis. Tlie doge was obliged to take 
vigorous measures to save his people from starvation. His 
fleets sailed 1500 leagues to get corn from Tartars, 
Russians, Armenians, Turks, and Greeks : ^ and he was 
equally vigorous in punitive measures against his ill neigh- 
bours. Venetians were not allowed to frequent Paduan 
markets, the privilege the Paduans had enjoyed of dealing 
with Venetians without paying market-dues was withdrawn, 
and the dues were increased by 50 per cent., if they bought 
the provisions of which Venice now stood in need. They 
were not allowed to come by a short and convenient road 
with their goods to Venice, but this road was blocked by 
a chain and Venetian troops, and only a longer and rougher 
road left open. 

The doge took measures to distribute throughout his 
dominions the corn he got from distant lands, and from 
the ports of Friuli, which had never been closed, and 
which patriotic Venetians now secured as a permanent 
resource by buying up the harbours and harbour dues.^ 
The doge also took measures to control the corn trade 
of the Adriatic. It seemed an indignity that Venice 
should be suffering from dearth, while the Adriatic, of 
which she claimed to be queen, was crowded with ships 
carrying corn up the Po to the markets of Bologna and 
Ferrara. " The Adriatic Sea is part of the duchy of 
Venice,"^ was a maxim in all men's mouths at Venice. 
But it was not to be expected that the Bolognese should 
accept this claim. The Po in old times entered the sea 
not by its present mouth,* but by the two channels that 

^ He sent his ships '■'parini le inunde usque as Tatars" and in 
other places ''^ on civc co7-t" ("where water runs"), a phrase Da 
Canale loves to use of the ubiquity of Venetian trade. 

^ Arch. Star. Ital., u.s., pp. 650-56. 

' " Voirs est que la iner Arians est de le ducat de Venise^^ (Can., 
U.S., p. 660). 

* The present mouth is said to have been opened by the river in 
A.D. 1 152 : but a century later, at the time we have now reached, the old 
mouths of Volano and Primaro were still looked upon as the principal. 

i66 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

separate near Ferrara, the Po di Volano, flowing due east 
to the north of the Valli di Comacchio, and the Po di 
Primaro, that flows first south and then east and enters the 
sea to the south of the Valli. The Po di Primaro received 
the Reno and the other streams that water the plain of 
Bologna, and the Bolognese, who aspired to a predominant 
position in the Romagna and the March, ^ naturally re- 
sented the high-handed action of Venice, when her guard- 
ships, watching for pirates off the Cape of Ravenna, stopped 
grain-ships carrying the produce of Romagna or the March 
to Bologna, and forced them to take their cargoes into the 
lagoons to be sold in the Venetian markets. 

We cannot be quite certain as to the order of the events 
that followed, for Martino da Canale, our best contem- 
porary authority, seldom gives dates, and does not adhere 
to the order of time, but displays much anxiety not to 
weary his readers with too much of any subject, trans- 
porting them, at short intervals, from Genoa or Rome to 
Constantinople or Syria, and then back to Venice or 
Bologna. He does, however, give us a date, when he tells 
us that in August 1270, Bolognese envoys came to Venice, 
asking the doge for his "counsel and aid" in establishing 
a fort and a bridge on the Primaro channel.- The doge 
would not give them an answer at once, and when his 
council assembled to consider the proposal, great objection 
was taken to it, as not being to the advantage of Venice or 

' The fourteen marches into which Italy was divided were 
the creation of Otto the Great. The two with which the history 
of Venice is most concerned are the March of Treviso to the north 
of the Romagna and the March of Ancona to the south. I am 
not clear whether Da Canale uses the term " the march " of the former 
or latter, or whether the territory of the Marquis of Este was a march. 
When Da Canale speaks of the " Contat " (ic.s., p. 634) he may mean 
the Este territory or the "Contat de Rudic" (Rovigo, n.s., p. 644). 
In Spruner's Atlas the delta between the present main stream (Po di 
Goro) and the Po di Volano is called the county of Ficarole. Canale 
tells us (U.S., p. 632) that at this time the Bolognese had the lordship 
of Ravenna. 

- Canale, u.s., p. 630. 


her friends. The bridge, which the Bolognese had not 
specially asked for, but which was assumed to be their 
principal object, would make it easy for them to advance 
to Ferrara and the cities of the March and Treviso, or 
even as far as the frontiers of Hungary, and extend over all 
that territory the control they already exercised over the 
Romagna. The suspicion of Bologna's intentions was so 
great that the council decided to send at once ships and 
engines of war to the Primaro, and to call out the militia of 
two sestieri, Santa Croce and Dorsoduro, for an expedition 
to the same quarter under Marco Badoer. They had a 
fort near the Primaro mouth called Sant' Alberto di Mar- 
camo. Besides the men of the two sestieri, a body of 
200 Chioggiotes were sent, who distinguished themselves 
much. They found there, ready to oppose them, a large 
force of Bolognese and their allies, from all the cities of 
the Romagna except Rimini, and some mercenaries from 
Lombardy, the whole amounting to 40,000 men. The 
Venetian land force was probably much smaller, but as 
long as their galleys remained in the river, the engines 
on board of them kept the Bolognese in check. When 
bad weather drove the ships out of the river, the enemy 
were able to divert the course of the stream, and by this 
means to keep a tower they were building out of the reach 
of Marco Badoer's missiles. For some time the fighting 
went on, the Bolognese operations being carried on from 
their new tower, the Venetian from their fort of St. Alberto. 
The Venetian troops were relieved, those from the sestiere 
of San Marco taking the place of those of Santa Croce and 
Dorsoduro. Giacomo Dandolo, and after him, Ermolao 
Giusto, took the place of Badoer as commander, and a 
Genoese named Lanfranco Maluccelli became Podesta of 
Bologna. Both sides seem to have become exasperated, 
and we read of the Venetians causing spies whom they 
caught to be shot from their manguaniaus into the Bolog- 
nese tower. Canale shows a ferocity quite unusual in him, 

i68 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

in describing how these unfortunate men were in this way 
" taught to fly." The rapid succession of Venetian com- 
manders — for Giusto was soon replaced by Giacomo 
Tiepolo — and Canale's statement that one of them was not 
used to war, and that the few Venetians and more foreigners 
with him on the Primaro were suffering from sickness, 
prepare us for the result of the fighting, viz., that they had 
to withdraw their ships to the more northern channel of 
Volano, leaving the Bolognese in their new tower masters 
of the Primaro channel. Canale comments on the strange- 
ness that the bandegies, which we may translate " trained 
bands," of Bologna, got the better of the sodoiers^ the 
professional soldiers of Venice. Some of the latter seem 
to have been mercenaries from Lombardy, condottieri. 
But others were poor Venetians, who, for a money pay- 
ment, took the place of the nobles or richer citizens of 
the sestieri, whose affairs made it inconvenient for them 
to serve abroad — an early instance of the remplacement 
that has been a conspicuous feature in many systems of 
compulsory service.^ 

The Venetians did not, however, altogether withdraw 
from the Primaro, and in 1272, when Andrea da Canale 
was captain there, they succeeded in erecting a stone tower 
on the wooden fort, which was all that had been left to 
them when they retreated, the year before, to the Volano. 
This enabled them to recover some of their prestige, and 
in the same year a mission of certain knights from Friuli, 
that had been the faithful ally of Venice through her 
troubles, led to jousting and other festivities in the Piazza 
of St. Mark, which afford a congenial subject for Canale's 

^ The passage in Canale is worth quoting : " Si envoia la nieiiue 
gent, et lor dona la sodee, selo7ic la costume des Venesiens ; et ciaus 
qui ne vorent aler, envoieretit autres homes por iaus ; et tes i furent 
que doHiiereiit de lor avoir; et autretel firent li gent is homes, que il 
donerent de lor mehailles as homes : si les aivoierent el Pan por iaus " 
{u.s., p. 636). Mehaille (for medaille), which is commonly used for 
money by Canale, is apparently peculiar to Italian French : it is de- 
rived from metalleus, "metallic." 


pen. In the next year the Franciscans of Venice, who still 
looked upon the promotion of peace in Christendom as 
part of their mission in the world, after much difficulty from 
the pride and obstinacy of both parties, got envoys from 
Venice and Bologna to meet at Rome and elsewhere, by 
whom in August 1273 terms of peace were arranged ; the 
Bolognese were to destroy the fort they had built near the 
Primaro, while the Venetians retained their stone tower at 
Sant' Alberto ; ^ in return for these concessions, and a pro- 
mise sworn on relics never to fight with Venice for them- 
selves or their allies, the Bolognese were to be allowed the 
privilege of importing by sea salt from Cervia,- and grain 
from the March, without being obliged to carry it to the 
Venetian custom-house, but the export of grain was only 
allowed, if its price at the place of purchase was under a 
certain maximum. Export was forbidden when famine 
prices prevailed. 

The mediation of the Friars in making this peace, and 
at the same time in effecting an exchange of Venetian 
and Genoese prisoners, is the occasion of what Canale 
calls, "an unusual preaching on his part."^ "For such 
works," he says, "all the world should praise them, and 
hold them dear. Such works all ought to perform who 
have cure of souls ; for when one neighbour is angry with 
another, the prelates of Holy Church ought to procure 
peace. For you know for certain that the prelates of Holy 
Church have to render account to our Lord Jesus Christ 
of the souls they have in keeping, and if by their defect, 
any fall into sin, our Lord will punish the prelates. The 
tithe, and the first-fruits, which belong to Holy Church, is 

' Canale, u.s., p. 662. 

- Cervia, between Rimini and Ravenna, still has large salt-works. 
It seems to have been at this time subject to Bologna, like the rest of 
the Romagna : soon after this it was taken by Venice, the first place 
on the Terra Firma (according to Daru, i. 328) to submit to her. See 
also Da Canale, c. 327, p. 684. 

* " Tant de preechiej', que ic t^en stii pas acosfiimes" (u.s., p. 664). 
The exchange of prisoners had l)een long delayed (see ante, p. 137). 


a very large payment {mult grant sodee) given them for 
this keeping of souls." 

The war with Bologna, as a beginning of the Venetian 
conquest of the Terra Ferma, is the most important event 
of the short reign of Lorenzo Tiepolo. He had also 
troubles in Crete, where a deadly feud between two Greeks, 
one of them named Giorgio Curtacio, a mountain chief- 
tain in the interior of the island, led to a punitive expedi- 
tion under the Duke Marin Zeno, a kinsman of the late 
Doge Renier Zeno, which advancing too far into the 
mountains after a defeat of Curtacio, was surprised, and the 
duke killed. The first expedition sent to avenge the duke's 
death was also unsuccessful, so that the Venetians in grief 
and mortification sent two galleys and a fleet of smaller 
ships under Marin Morosini with reinforcements. The 
business was not completed when the doge died. 

The last year of the doge's life — he died on the i6th of 
August 1275 — was the year of the Council of Lyons. 
Pope Gregory X., who had been Patriarch of Jerusalem, 
had summoned the council chiefly for the purpose of re- 
viving the crusading spirit, and the Venetian envoys whom 
the doge sent to it were instructed to plead for the restora- 
tion of the Latin Empire of Romania, and to re-assert 
their claim to three-eighths of it. Very little came of this 
movement : the crusading spirit was nearly extinct, and the 
Christian settlements in the Holy Land were not to last 
much longer. More important for Venice was the result of 
a complaint made to the council by envoys from Ancona, 
that Venice robbed their merchants by exacting dues at the 
mouths of the rivers of Lombardy. Canale tells us that 
the Pope, being new to his office, and ignorant of the Vene- 
tian privileges, ordered them to let the Anconitans pass up 
the rivers wherever they pleased. When the Venetians 
disregarded this, the Anconitans renewed their complaint, 
but as the Venetian envoys had then left the council, the 
Pope ordered the Abbot of Nervesia in the Treviso country 


to inquire into the rights of the two parties. The abbot 
heard the arguments on both sides as to right and privi- 
lege {de droiture et de brivelige), and decided that the An- 
conitans had no right to navigate any of the rivers that 
descend into the Adriatic without the leave of the Vene- 
tians, "as it is the sea of Venice, and the mouths of the 
rivers are hers." The letters sent to the Anconitans from 
the Pope on their ex-parte complaint were therefore de- 
clared of no avail. ^ This Papal recognition of her rule 
over the Adriatic was a valuable confirmation of the in- 
vestiture granted to Venice by Alexander III., in com- 
memoration of which the espousal of the sea had been 
celebrated every Ascension Day since the year 1177.^ 

In the last years of the Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo, Bologna 
had made vigorous attempts to establish her authority over 
Romagna and the March of Ancona, and attacked without 
any lasting success Forli and Faenza. In connexion with this 
fighting we first meet with the names famous in subsequent 
Italian history, and mentioned in the " Divine Comedy," 
Malatesta of Rimini — whom Canale calls Mauvaise Teste 
— elected as a sort of podestk by the Bolognese, and Monte- 
feltro of Urbino.^ Venice does not seem to have been 
directly concerned in this affair; but her acquisition of 
Cervia was an incident connected with it. 

The truce with Genoa for five years was to expire in 
1275, but the efforts of the Friars Minors and Friars 

^ Anoientrees. The judgment was : " Que Amojietans rHalasent par 
nul des Jliiins gite deseiit el iiier Ariens, sans le congie des Veneciens ; 
que il est li vier de Venise et les entrees de flams " (Can., n.s., p. 682). 
Dand. in Mur., /v". /. S., xii. c. 389, says that the abbot found there was 
no evidence against " longavain possessionem Venetorwn in ciistodia 
Ripericp," i.e. of the Riviera or coast of the Adriatic. 

^ See "Early History of Venice," pp. 327, 328. Romanin, ii. p. 
313, n. I, insists strongly that this right of dominion in the Adriatic 
was de facto, but did not rest on any treaty. It was ^' esereitato, non 

' Canale, who shows great animus against Bologna, is enthusiastic 
in his praises of the Count of Montefeltro, '■^ Li faucons qui abat li 
orgueil," u.s., p. 698. 

172 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Preachers succeeded with difficulty in obtaining an exten- 
sion for two years. Just after this, on the i6th August, the 
morrow of the Assumption, the doge died. We have a 
full account of the election of his successor from Canale, 
who tells us that one of the Visdomini, his chiefs at the 
" Table of the Sea," brought him a parchment containing the 
establisemetit or programme of the election, as soon as it was 
made, and that he was pleased, and put it in his book. It 
differs little from that I have fully described on the occasion 
of Lorenzo Tiepolo's election. Instead of the wax ballots 
then used, we now find gilt and plated to distinguish the 
selected from the rejected, as I have already mentioned was 
the case in the time of Giannotti.^ It is mentioned in the 
account of this election that, when the forty-one electors 
were locked up in the palace, the Bishop of Venice {i.e. of 
Castello) assembled all the clergy of the city with the friars 
and monks, the primicerio and chaplains of San Marco, to 
walk in procession with silver crosses before them to the 
Basilica, and there with the people to pray to our Lord, 
our Lady, and the precious Evangelist, whose body rests in 
the church, to grant the city a good doge, the Arch-priest 
of Castello singing the mass of St. Mark. The election 
began three days before the end of August, and on the 6th 
of September at tierce the forty-one electors agreed by 
twenty-five votes to choose Giacomo Contarini, the bells 
rang a peal, and the electors soon appeared in the 
gallery over the pulpit and announced whom they had 

The late doge was buried by the side of his father, the 
Doge Giacomo Tiepolo, and his brother Giovanni, who 

* V. ante, p. 150. Dandolo {it.s., col. 390) quotes the decree of the 
" Consiliarii et Rectores Ducatus " {i.e. the Signoiia holding authority 
during the vacancy), sanctioned by the Great Council and by public 
acclamation, which allowed ballots of brass {de ramo) instead of wax 
to be used. Claar, Die Entwickhmg der Venez. Ver^'assiing, p. 18, 
says the ballots were of ivory. 

- Canale, u.s., pp. 694-98. 


had been Count of Cherso, in the Dominican church of 
Sti. Giovanni e Paolo. 

At the election of Giacomo Contarini we lose the guid- 
ance of Martino da Canale, the chronicler who has been 
our chief contemporary authority since the days of Enrico 
Dandolo. He is not a man of the calibre of Andrea 
Dandolo, the doge of seventy years later, nor does he give 
us the impression of so much statesmanlike perception as 
we find in Rolandino, the town clerk of Padua. He tells 
us candidly what his position was, a clerk at the Board of 
the Sea, over which three Venetian Visdomini presided, 
which had the duty of receiving and accounting for the 
duties on all merchandise that came into Venice from the 
sea. He was thus in a position to see and hear what was 
going on, though not to exercise important influence upon 
affairs, and his tastes evidently lay more in the direction of 
the pomp and circumstance of war and peace than in that 
of serious politics. His chronicle leaves off abruptly, as if 
he had kept it on from day to day till death or illness cut his 
task short. His last entry refers to an incident in the long 
war between Venice and Genoa. Though it is doubtful 
whether he was a Venetian by birth, his sympathies are, 
in all that he relates, strong on the Venetian side. Indeed, 
it would not be too much to say that for him the 
Venetians could do no wrong and their enemies no 

The new doge was an old man of eighty, a lineal de- 
scendant of the Domenico Contarini who had been doge in 
the middle of the eleventh century, and had then founded 
the office of Procurator of St. Mark, and whose warlike 
exploits are commemorated on the fagade of St. Nicholas 
on the Lido.^ He was himself at the time of his election 
one of the procurators, who were at this time four in number. 
In later times, when the number of procurators had grown 
to nine, they were divided into three Ridotti or chambers, 
^ See " Early History of Venice," p. 209, n. 2. 


called di supra, di citra, and di ultra ; and perhaps Dan- 
dolo's description of Contarini as Procurator super com- 
missariam may imply that he belonged to the first chamber, 
di supra. The third and fourth procurators had been 
created only in 1259 and 1261, and we may perhaps 
conjecture that these were the public trustees citra and 
ultra, while the earlier two had joint charge of the Basilica, 
with its large treasure, and of the charitable and trust 
estates belonging to the part of the city immediately 
surrounding the Basilica and its Piazza.^ 

The Correttori of the doge's Promissione, a board of 
five members of the Great Council that had been 
elected at the time of the election of each doge since 
the middle of the eleventh century, made, on this occa- 
sion, some important alterations in the Promise to which 
the doge had to swear. It had been thought that the 
late doge's marriage with a princess of Rascia, and that 
of his son with another Slavonic princess, had brought to 
the Republic some risk of being involved in foreign wars 
or sharing in foreign ambitions. The new doge was there- 
fore made to promise that he would not contract, nor 
allow to be contracted, without the consent of a majority 
of the Great Council, any such marriage, and also that 
neither he nor his sons would accept any feudal holding, 
but would renounce within a year any which they, or he, 
held at the time of election ; nor might they buy land 
outside the duchy, nor take shares in Government loans. 
He was also to promise to adhere to no party contending 
in the State, nor to let his sons hold any government or have 
any employment under the State, except that of ambassador 

^ Dand., apiid Mur., R. I. S., xii. col. 391. We have abundance of 
lucid accounts of the procurators in Card. Contarini, de//a Rep. di 
Venetia, lib. 4, itib fine ; Amelot de la Houssaye, pp. I'izsqq.; Yriarte, 
Vie d'mi Patricien, pp. 189, 190; Howell "On the Republic and 
Signorie of Venice," p. 20. But all of these treat of the time when 
there were nine (or more) procurators. Commissaria is the regular 
word in Venetian law for a trust. 


or captain of a ship. The comprehensiveness of a doge's 
Promissione is illustrated by the insertion, by the side of 
all these provisions aimed at reducing the power of his 
office, of a clause promising that all prisoners confined in 
the palace should be brought to trial within a month— an 
anticipation, in the interests of humanity and freedom, of 
our Habeas Corpus Act. 

The contest with the Anconitans about the Venetian 
right to patrol the Adriatic and the mouths of the Lombard 
rivers went on, notwithstanding the Papal decision in 
favour of Venice, and led, in 1277, to war. Twenty-six 
galleys were sent to the coast near Ancona, half under 
Giovanni Tiepolo, half under Marco Michiel, and a Giunta 
or committee of the Great Council, consisting of six Savii, 
was elected to supervise the supply of machines and 
munitions of war. But at the end of June the fleet was 
dispersed by a violent storm, just as it was beginning an 
assault on Ancona, and such of the ships as were not 
wrecked on the harbourless coast about Sinigaglia had to 
take refuge in the ports of Dalmatia, across the Adriatic.^ 
A further reinforcement from Venice, that started before 
news of the storm had come, was deceived by some ships 
of Ancona hoisting the Venetian flag, and lost two more 
galleys. Such a series of disasters made men's tempers at 
Venice severe, and a decree was passed branding the com- 
manders of the fleets with ignominy, and imposing on 
them a heavy fine. 

In the year after this naval disaster at Ancona (a.d. 1278), 
Rudolph of Habsburg, an Emperor who took little interest 
in his Italian possessions, and feared that the Pope, 
Nicholas III., whose ambition in Italy was far-reaching, 
might throw his influence into the scale of Charles of Anjou, 
Rudolph's most formidable rival for the Empire, endeavoured 
to propitiate Nicholas by ceding to him the Romagna, which 
comprised the old Exarchate of Ravenna, with Bologna, 

^ Dand., apiid Mur., tt.s., col. 392, 393. 

176 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the Pentapolis, the Duchy of Spoleto, and the lands of the 
Countess Matilda. The Papal legates were instructed at 
once to enforce his claims ; they appeared at the gates of 
the cities in the ceded territory and demanded their sur- 
render. The Venetians, never disposed to give way to 
Papal aggressions, sent ambassadors to the Pope to com- 
pliment him on his election, who were instructed to 
maintain their claims to Ancona, and in consequence 
had a very cold reception. Encouraged by this rebuff to 
their enemies, the Anconitans held out, and were able to 
maintain their ground during all the time that Contarini 
was doge. His government was in other respects troubled. 
Capo d'lstria, followed by other towns on the coast, 
rebelled and placed themselves under the Patriarch of 
Aquileia, and the Count of Pisino endeavoured to take 
Montona, an inland town of Istria ; but Capo d'lstria 
had, after holding out some time, to surrender to a 
besieging force, and the other places followed. Montona 
held out under a Venetian podesta. Fara, an island 
on the Dalmatian coast that had long been disaffected, 
submitted at the same time with Capo d'lstria. The 
insurrection in Crete was more obstinate. Giorgio 
Curtacio held out till the year 1278, when he was 
banished from the island, and after him one Alessio 
Calergi, who seems to have been a capable partisan 
chief, kept up an insurrection in the mountains from 
1283 till 1305. 

It fell to the lot of Contarini to send the customary 
embassy to Rudolf of Habsburg, who had become Em- 
peror in 1273, to congratulate him on his elevation and 
pray that the usual privileges might be granted to the 
Republic. The Emperor's answer enlarged on his esteem 
for the doge and his fellow-citizens, for their civil govern- 
ment, the justice and uprightness of their life and manners, 
their zeal for peace and their patriotism, the benefit that 
all loyal subjects of the Roman Church and Empire derived 


from their laborious industry, and the lustre shed upon the 
doge's government by the loyal submission to him of so 
discreet and reverent a people. The Emperor's words do 
not seem a mere matter of course, and we have seen 
enough of the policy of the great men who had governed 
Venice during this thirteenth century, to judge that they 
were not undeserved.^ 

In March 1280 the doge, worn out by age and infirmity, 
resigned his office, and was granted a pension of 1500 
piccoli, equal to 500 ducats, for his life.'- He had been 
incapable of active exercise of his functions for some time 
before his resignation, and his place had been taken by 
Niccolo Navigaioso, the senior member of the Lesser 
Council, whom Dandolo calls " Major Consiliarius," by 
whose orders a treaty for five years was made with the 
Syndics of Pisa, and a fleet was sent to Romania and 
another to Sicily to fight against the Anconitans. When 
the doge resigned he went to live in a magnificent house, 
which Dandolo calls " Domus Bocasia," ^ situated in the 
parish of San Luca "by the side of the Canal near the 
Ferry on the left of those coming down from the Boats." 
The Domus Bocasia afterwards belonged to the family of 
Giovanna or Joanna. He was buried in the cloisters of 
the Friars Minor, i.e. I suppose in the Frari, in a tomb 
of gilt marble — which does not appear now to exist.* His 

1 The letter is quoted in Roman., ii. p. 310. 

^ He was provided '•'' decenti salario et familial i.e. a pension and 
a staff of servants on a scale befitting a retired doge. Dand. in Murat., 
ii.s., col. 398. An addition in the margin of the Ambrosian MS. says 
that the doge was compelled to resign. 

^ Dandolo in Murat., R. I. S., xii. c. 394, mentions one Bocasius 
Aurio as commanding a fleet sent against Ancona in 1277, where 
Bocasius (there is a v. 1. Locasius) would appear to be a Christian 

* Dand., in Mur., J?. I. S., xii. c. 398 (note f., one of the additions 
from the margin of the Ambrosian MS.). In the absence of an anno- 
tated edition of Dandolo (a work to be much desired) it is difficult to 
identify the places in the city to which he constantly refers. The 
boats here are, I think, those of the " Trajectus oiiimum ferine qui in 
iirbe sunt freqiientissiiints'''' mentioned in col. 18 D. of Sabellicus, 


178 VENICE IN THE 13th &: 14th CENTURIES 

place of burial was no doubt chosen from the preference 
so common in those days of a grave among Franciscans 
or Dominicans, but it was not far from where his home 
must have been. 

On the 31st of March 1280, Giovanni Dandolo was 
elected doge in the same manner as his predecessor. We 
know little or nothing of his previous history. Sanudo 
tells us that at the time of his election he was serving 
abroad, but does not know whether it was as an ambassa- 
dor or as Count of Ossero. According to a genealogical 
tree of the Dandoli, which Simonsfeld found in the Museo 
Civico at Venice,^ he was grandson of the eldest son of the 
great doge who conquered Constantinople, that Renier 
who was killed fighting in Crete a few years after his 
father's death. But Andrea Dandolo, the chronicler, 
speaking of one Domenico Dandolo who was commander 
of a ship when Otto Orseoli was doge, says incidentally 
that he was the ancestor of two doges — the great Enrico 
and himself — but does not mention either our Giovanni or 
Francesco Dandolo, who was doge from 1329 to 1339, 
and who, according to Simonsfeld's tree, was great-grandson 
of Andrea, the great Enrico's brother.- The Dandolo 
family is not one of those dealt with in Pompeo Litta's 
great work, Celebri Famiglie Italiane. Daru says ^ that 
the election of Giovanni Dandolo was a triumph for the 
party opposed to aristocracy, but this does not altogether 
agree with what we know of party politics at Venice : for 
the contested election of doge in 1229, as we have seen, 
ended in an equality of votes for Marino Dandolo and 

'■'■ de Venetcs Urbis sitji" in Grsevius, Antiq. Ital. v. pt. I, which was 
near San Samuele and San Luca, and probably not far from the present 
Iron Bridge. 

1 Simonsfeld's Andrea Dandolo und seine Geschichtswerke, MUn- 
chen, 1876, p. 24. 

- Murat., R. I. S-, xii. col. 237 b. Andrea the Chionicler was a more 
distant relative of Enrico. He mentions that Francesco Dandolo the 
doge bore different arms from his own. 

^ i. p. 329, ed. Paris, 1826. 


Giacomo Tiepolo ; and the Tiepolo family at this time 
certainly had popular or democratic sympathies. We are 
approaching the great constitutional change, known as the 
Serraia del Consiglio, and populace and aristocracy were 
marshalling their forces for a struggle, a sign of which 
was the attempt made at the funeral of Giovanni Dandolo 
to place Giacomo Tiepolo, son of the Doge Lorenzo, on 
the ducal throne by popular acclamation. The elaborate 
regulations for electing a doge, that had been in force 
since 1268, were no doubt an advance towards a less 
democratic government. 

Giovanni Dandolo was doge for nine years : he made 
peace with Ancona on terms that did not include a 
recognition of Venetian dominion over the Adriatic, but 
tacitly acquiesced in it. The war with Capo d'lstria and 
Trieste still went on, the Patriarch of Aquileia and the 
Count of Gorizia aiding the rebellious cities. These two 
potentates, with troops from Germany, obliged the Vene- 
tian, Marin Morosini, to raise the siege of Trieste, on 
which the Triestines were encouraged to send a piratical 
expedition to sea, which took prisoner the Podesta of 
Caorle and burnt his palace, and went on to waste the 
lands of Malamocco. This was bringing the horrors of 
war very near the Venetians' homes ; and the Government 
felt that such an outrage could not be passed over. The 
Avogadori, or public prosecutors, were ordered to make 
an example of Morosini for his retreat from Trieste, and 
a proclamation was made for a gradual levee en viasse, 
according as circumstances required. A new fleet soon 
forced Trieste to surrender, the other Istrian places 
followed its example, and after some delay, the patriarch 
and the count signed a treaty, by which they undertook 
to restore all they had taken from Venice, compensate the 
Venetian subjects who had suffered from their raids, and 
leave their roads free in future for Venetian traders. The 
Triestines had to send some of their citizens, selected by 

i8o VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the doge, to Venice, who were to bring with them their 
Venetian prisoners and to take an oath of allegiance to 
the Republic on behalf of their fellow-citizens, and to give 
up all the warlike instruments they had collected, of which 
a bonfire was made in the Piazza of St. Mark.^ 

An attempt was made to reconcile the claims of Venice 
and the Patriarch of Aquileia to the government of Istria 
by arbitration, but without success ; and war in Istria went 
on all the time that Dandolo was doge (1280 to 1289), and 
for many years after, till in 1304 the Republic bought the 
patriarch's rights for a rent of 450 marks the year. 

During the nine years of Dandolo's government im- 
portant events were going on in Italy. In 1282 the 
Sicilian Vespers put an end to the undisputed 'domination 
of Charles of Anjou in Sicily, and began a long period of 
war, in which that island gradually passed from the control 
of France to that of Aragon. With the fall of the House of 
Anjou fell the last hopes of the restoration of the Latin 
Empire of Constantinople, in the person of the titular 
Emperor, Philip, son of Baldwin, who was betrothed to 
a daughter of Charles of Anjou. I shall have to return to 
these events in a later chapter. In July 1281, the year 
before the Vespers, Venice had made a treaty with Charles, 
binding herself to send a fleet of forty galleys, under the 
doge's command, to aid the great expedition Charles was 
meditating for the recovery of Constantinople, which was 
to sail from Brindisi in the spring of 1283. Before that 
time the Vespers had come, and Charles was too deeply 
involved in troubles at home to think of any distant 
enterprise, and the Venetians, to whom it was essential to 
be friendly with the de facto rulers of Constantinople, 
whether Latin or Greek, were negotiating for a truce 
with Andronicus Paleologus, who had succeeded his father, 
Michael, in 1282. So the Patriarch of Grado and the 
Bishop of Castello were ordered not to commit themselves 
^ Romanin, ii. 314, 315. 


on the side of Charles by preaching in their dioceses the 
Crusade that Pope Martin IV., a vehement partisan of 
the House of Anjou, had proclaimed against the King 
of Aragon. For this the Pope ordered the Cardinal of 
Bologna to lay Venice under an interdict. It was the first 
time in her history that Venice had suffered this infliction, 
which to any mediaeval people, especially to one so 
religious in many ways as was the Venetian, was a very 
serious one. The interdict was in 1284, and in the next 
year, 1285, came a bad earthquake and flood: the latter 
caused by a violent scirocco which, blowing up the 
Adriatic, carried away in many places the breakwaters of 
earth, wood, or stone, that protected the low-lying parts of 
the city. To relieve the distress caused by earthquake and 
flood, the Great Council sanctioned the purchase of 10,000 
bushels of corn to sell at a low price to the poor, and 
a loan was raised on the security of the Commune for the 
relief of those monasteries that had suffered severely from 
their outlay in charity during the distress. 

At the end of 1285 a new Pope, Honorius IV., was 
on the throne of St. Peter, who received favourably an 
embassy from Venice^ that prayed him to remove the 
interdict, and granted their request on condition that their 
countrymen would not take any action in Sicily contrary to 
the interests of the Church or of the heirs of the House 
of Anjou. 

Giovanni Dandolo was the first doge to coin the gold 
ducat or zecchino, which became famous throughout Europe, 
and especially throughout the Levant. The decree for 
issuing this coin is dated the 31st of October 1284, and 

^ The ambassadors sent were Franciscan and Dominican Friars. 
They were to explain that the decree of the Great Council, which had 
brought on them the interdict (I presume the refusal to allow a crusade 
against Aragon to be preached in Venice) "was not intended to injure 
the Roman Church, but to preserve the peaceful state of their com- 
munities and avoid war and scandal." See the document quoted in 
Roman., ii. p. 319, n. 3. 

i82 VENICE IN THE 13th c^- 14th CENTURIES 

prescribes that the coin shall be " of the greatest fineness, 
like to, and better than, the florin," which had been first 
coined at Florence thirty-two years before. The coin can 
be seen in the Museo Civico, and is a beautiful one, having 
on the obverse the doge kneeling before St. Mark and 
receiving from him a banner : over St. Mark is inscribed 
along the edge of the coin, " S. M. Veneti " for " Sanctus 
Marcus Veneti^e," over the doge along the edge, " lo. 
Dandul." with " Dux " over the centre of the coin. On the 
reverse is the figure of the Saviour in an oval, between two 
semi-circular lines, similar to those on Byzantine coins of 
the same date, and round the edge is written in abbreviated 
form the rhyming Latin verse, " Sit tibi, Christe, datus 
quem tu regis iste ducatus," "To Thee, O Christ, be 
devoted this duchy (or ducat) which Thou dost govern." 

Till this date the chief coin current in Venice, and 
spread throughout the world by Venetian traders, was the 
"grosso," which was afterwards called "ducato." It had 
been first coined by Enrico Dandolo in 1203, at the time 
the Fourth Crusade was starting.^ The Venetians were 
proud of it ; their chronicler, Martino da Canale, speaks of 
the "noble silver medals that are called ducats, and are 
current throughout the world for their goodness." - It was 
imitated by the Kings of Rascia (Servia) and Hungary, by 
Princes of Montferrat and Bishops of Mantua. Gold coins 
had also been in use, but of foreign origin, Byzantine 
Romanati, and Iperperi, and Manuelati ; ^ and a " grosso " 
or "matapane" of gold of the Doge Jacopo Tiepolo, 
A.D. 1229, exists in a single specimen in the Marciana at 

* Dand. in Mur., /?. I. S., xii. col. 316. 

- Arch. Stor. Ital., U.S., p. 320. The early Venetian coinage is 
admirably described in Count Corner's Venezia e le Sue Lagune, vol. i. 
pt. ii. pp. I sqg. For the gold ducat see p. 24. 

* Another foreign gold coin was the redonda (a corruption of 
rotonda): the Osela or gold coin given by the doge (after 1521) in 
December to each patrician in lieu of an ancient gift of two water-fowl 
from Marano, was equal to a mesza redonda, or 3 lire 18 soldi (Boerio, 
Dizion. del dialetto l^'e/t., s.v. Ke.ionda. 


Venice. 1 It is probable that, when the Florentines began 
to coin gold florins in 1252, these were commonly seen in 
circulation in Venice ; and it may have been a consequence 
of this, that in 1275 ^ ^^^^ ^^^ passed at Venice prohibiting 
the gilding of the silver grosso or matapane. 

The gold ducat, as soon as it was issued, became 
popular, and it never lost its popularity. The financial 
honesty of the Government of Venice, during the five 
centuries that remained of her independence, kept the 
ducat, which after 1561 was called zecchino or sequin, 
"almost absolutely of the same weight, appearance, and 
composition." ^ The names of the doges, and from time 
to time the insignia of their office, were all that was 
changed ; the doge continued to kneel before St. Mark, 
and the Saviour in glory to extend His hands in blessing, 
as long as the Republic lasted. 

The word zecchino is derived from zecca^ the name of 
Arabic origin given to the mint at Venice and other 
Italian towns. The coining of money being a prerogative 
of the doge, the mint had always been m close proximity 
to his palace, and from the date we have now reached, 
seems to have been on the site where the present building 
for it was erected by Sansovino in 1545-'* The immediate 
managers of it were called Massari della Moneta or Massari 
alF oro e all' argento,^ who were elected by the Great 
Council, but acted at first under the Quarantia, and in 

^ I find this stated by A. Zon in Correr's Venezia e le Sue Lagune, 
vol. i. pt. ii. p. 21 ; but it is not mentioned by Romanin, nor in Papa- 
dopoli's tract, Sul Valore della Moneta Veneziana, and was not known 
to Muratori at the time of his twenty-seventh Dissertation in Aiituj. 
Medii ^-Evi, cols. 643-54. I can throw no light on the origin of the 
word matapane ; it appears to be Venetian and not Greek ; whether 
connected in any way with Cape JMatapan I cannot say. 

^ N. Papadopoli, Sul Valore della Moneta Feneziana, p. y. 

' In Venezia e le Sue Lagune, vol. i. pt. ii. p. 24, two sixteenth- 
century documents are quoted in which ducato cecchino, as it were 
" fresh from the mint," is opposed to vecchio. 

* Romanin, ii. p. 322. 

-' Massa}-o or Massaio is equivalent to cnstodc. 

1 84 VENICE IN THE 13th 8z 14th CENTURIES 

the times we have now reached under the Pregadi or 

The Government of Giovanni Dandolo is said to have 
undertaken a systematic revision and digestion of the laws 
that had been made since the Statute of Giacomo Tiepolo 
(a.d. 1242), omitting laws that had become obsolete, and 
re-arranging those that were maintained in force. They 
were not made into a regular code, but retained the form 
oi partly or decrees, carried in some council. The revision 
is contained in two volumes, now in the Archives at the 
Frari, with the titles Cotnune I. and Comutie II. These 
are the only volumes as old as the time of Giovanni 
Dandolo, except one called Fractus, which contains laws 
dating from 1240 till 1282, many of them cancelled by the 
doge or other magistrates, and is thought to be possibly an 
older compilation, from which the revisers made their 
altered copies.^ Connected with this revision are this 
doge's reforms in the province of the Archives. It appears 
that to him we owe the volumes of Patti, containing the 
treaties with other States, and of Commejuoriali, contain- 
ing all kinds of public documents bearing on the relations 
of the State with its subjects, or of the subjects among 
themselves. A decree of 1291, two years after this doge's 
death, established the rule on this subject by making it 
part of the Capitolare or bye-laws of the Signoria, that 
they should keep a book, in which all treaties and privileges 
and other legal decisions should be copied out.- 

This doge was also responsible for some reforms in the 
administration of justice. At Venice, as elsewhere, an 
accused person denying a charge made against him by the 
local authority {Capo di conirada), or a private complainant, 
was, as a matter of course, put to the torture. It seems to 
have appeared to jurists of primitive times that the most 

^ See // Regio Archivio Geiierak di Venezia (1875), P- 1 1- 
^ See the Pars quoted in Predelli's Preface to I Libri Comniemoriali 
Regcsti (1876), p. vi. 


obvious way of extracting the truth from any one whose 
sense of religion was not acute enough to make his oath 
credible was to see if he persisted in his story under severe 
pain. The Greeks and Romans, of an age when society 
was far more advanced and enlightened than in the thir- 
teenth century, always put slaves to the torture, and nothing 
is more striking to us than the manner in which their orators 
appeal to the testimony of slaves obtained by torture, as the 
most conclusive of all evidence. Christianity in the Middle 
Ages did not exercise a very powerful influence on the side 
of humanity, but it no doubt had some influence in lessen- 
ing the reliance on torture, and making it appear a shocking 
thing to inflict it unnecessarily or with excessive cruelty. 
This seems to have been the motive of a Venetian law of 
1286, which required two members of the doge's lesser 
council, and one of the chiefs of the Quarantia, three of 
the Signori di Notte or police magistrates, and one of the 
Avogadori del Comune, who were the official guardians of 
the law, to be present whenever a prisoner was tortured.^ 
A law somewhat earlier in date had given an accused person 
the right to be defended by an advocate, who was sworn on 
the gospels not to use any deceit or fraud in his defence, 
and whose fees were strictly limited by law. The relations 
and friends of the accused were allowed to give their 
evidence in his favour. 

Giovanni Dandolo was also the creator of the Cattaveri^- 
or auditors of public accounts, a body of three nobles, who 
watched over the receipts and expenditure of the Commune. 
Boerio, in his " Dictionary of the Venetian Dialect," men- 
tions particularly their duties with regard to treasure trove, 
to inheritances lapsing to the State, and to regulations 

^ See Romanin, ii. p. 358, n. i. 

^ Cattaveri is probably derived from cattare (=:Lat, capture), "to 
seize," and averi, the plural of avere ( = property generally). Their 
name implied that they were the graspers of any property that might 
be claimed as belonging to the State. (See Note added to the Errata 
at p. 462 of Romanin, vol. ii.) 

i86 VENICE IN THE 13th c^- 14th CENTURIES 

affecting Jews. Another law laid upon the local autho- 
rity ( Capo di contradd) the task of investigating the title of 
monasteries to money and lands left to them, of seeing 
that the rights of the Commune had not been infringed by 
such legacies, and that the monasteries bore their fair share 
of the burdens imposed on property. 

In 1289 Venice was busy in preparing a great expedition 
to be sent in conjunction with troops of Pope Nicolas IV. 
against the Sultan of Cairo, who had attacked Tripoli in 
Syria and destroyed it with many Venetian subjects who 
were settled there. While the expedition was preparing 
the doge died. He was buried in the cloister of Santi 
Giovanni e Paolo in a porphyry sarcophagus near the 
door of the church. His epitaph descanted in very 
tolerable Latin on his noble birth, his probity, his wisdom 
in council, his eloquence, and above all his love of his 
country. The breve or short inscription over his tomb 
spoke of his conquest of Pirano and Isola in Istria, and 
his coining of golden ducats.^ 

^ Sanudo, Vite de Duchi, in INIurat., R. 1. S., xxii. cols. 576, 577. 
The breve should read, " Insula, Piraniis siibdiintur. Ciido Ducatos" 



I HAVE already referred to the scene at the funeral of 
Giovanni Dandolo, when the mob raised tumultuous cries 
for the election of Giacomo Tiepolo as his successor. 
Giacomo was the son (or perhaps the nephew) of Lorenzo 
Tiepolo, the doge who had preceded Dandolo, and in 
either case the grandson of the Giacomo Tiepolo who 
had been doge from 1229 till 1249, the great legislator 
of Venice. He was of mature age, had distinguished 
himself in Syria twenty-one years before, and had since 
done good service against Ancona. The family, we have 
seen, had the reputation of being popular in its sympathies, 
and this no doubt contributed to the demand for his 
election by acclamation. If this had ever been the rule 
in ancient elections of doges, the share of the people in 
elections had long been limited to a shout of recognition 
after the election was settled. The successors of the 
statesmen who had guided the Republic so successfully 
through the troubled history of the last two centuries in 
Italy, could not be expected to give up the elaborate 
system that their fathers had devised for securing im- 
partiality in the election of their chief magistrate, and 
commit the fortunes of their city to the arbitrament of 
a casually collected assembly, that might invidiously be 
called a mob. And their reluctance could only have been 
increased, when they observed that the favour of the 
multitude settled upon one whose father and grandfather 
had been doges, whose election would have been an 

i88 VENICE IN THE 13th <5t 14th CENTURIES 

approximation towards hereditary monarchy, a develop- 
ment that traditional prejudice, derived from a long series 
of ancestors, taught them to dread as one of the worst 
of evils. They very likely may not have been familiar 
with the old Greek and Roman histories : but without 
a knowledge of these, their shrewdness could divine, that 
the affectation of democratic zeal, and courting the favour 
of the multitude, could easily be a first step to what the 
Greeks called Tyranny, the usurpation of supreme power 
by an adventurer. We do not know how hot party feeling 
was at the time, nor how great the danger that the aristo- 
cratic constitution incurred. Things did not come to a 
crisis : for Tiepolo, with rare disinterestedness, would not 
let himself be made a cause of dissension, and withdrew 
from the city to his villa at Marocco on the Dese not far 
from Mestre.^ In his absence the electors met and went 
through all the regular process of election, and after waiting 
ten days to see how popular feeling would turn, chose 
Pietro or Pierazzo Gradenigo, who appears to have be- 
longed to the party opposed to the increase of popular 

He was thirty-eight years of age, had had much ex- 
perience in public affairs, and was at this time Podesta 
at Capo d'lstria. A squadron of five galleys and one 
lignum was sent to fetch him to Venice with twelve 
solemn envoys,- among whom we notice a representative 
of the Tiepolo family. These announced to him his elec- 
tion on the 25th of November, the feast of St. Catherine, 
a saint to whom, both before and after his election, he 
showed special devotion. The voyage from Capo d'lstria 
to the Lagoon was not a long one, and on the 3rd of 
December he was able to enter on the government of the 

^ Sanudo in Mur., R. I. S., xxii. col. 577, says "in Messina" ; but 
this must be a mistake for " Mestrina." 

- "Solennes nuntios" (Dand. in Mur., /?. I. S.^ xii. col. 401). 


The continuation of the elaborate form of election 
after a short delay and full deliberation shows that con- 
stitutional questions were already exercising men's minds. 
One hundred and seventeen years before, in 11 72, when 
a doge, unsuccessful in war against Byzantium, had been 
murdered by a popular uprising, men's minds had been 
turned to the contradiction that existed between the 
theory and the practice of the constitution. In theory 
the government had been in the hands of the doge, and 
the election of the doge in the hands of the Concio or 
Arrengo of all privileged citizens, a numerous body, though 
very likely much less than the whole adult male population. 
In practice the doge had governed in concert with a varying 
body of his friends and supporters, whose signatures, in 
which they describe themselves as judices or nobiks, are 
still to be read appended to charters or orders or judicial 
sentences : some of the closer friends and partisans of the 
doge we may suppose to have been specially summoned 
on occasions, particularly in reference to treaties or other 
dealings with foreign powers, and hence to have been called 
Rogati in Latin, Pregadi in Venetian, the name that clung 
to the Senators long after the simple times in which it 
originated. I shall have to return later to the Senate : 
my present concern is with the nobiles, proceres or 
optimates, who were the ordinary counsellors of the Doge. 
We have no contemporary account of what measures were 
taken in consequence of the disturbances of 1172: and 
a recent German writer^ has maintained that that year 
ought not to be considered as an epoch. But the re- 
ceived opinion, founded on sixteenth-century manuscript 
chronicles," which are reputed to have followed good 
earlier authorities, is that the formal organisation, if not 

* Lend, Die Entstehung der Vorherrschaft l^enedtgs, pp. 1^0 sqq. 

^ The chronicles of Savina, Caroldo, and Giovanni Bembo are 
reckoned by Sandi, Foscarini (a very high authority), and Lebret as 
trustworthy, Savina's especially for constitutional questions. 


the first establishment of the Great Council {Maggior 
Consiglio or Cofisejo) dates from that year. This was 
from the first a body elected annually, and the traditional 
account of its election is that twelve electors, two for each 
of the six sestieri, were empowered to choose a body of 
from 450 to 500 counsellors. How this body was chosen 
we are not told : we may assume that they were all 
required to belong to the class of tioinles, in which those 
known as antiqui popiilares had by this time merged, and 
we are told expressly that no one of the twelve electors 
could choose more than four members of his own family. 
Who chose the original twelve electors it is impossible 
to say ; after the first year, there is no doubt that they 
were chosen by the Great Council, which throughout its 
history was specially concerned with elections.^ The whole 
body was renewed annually, but from the first the re- 
election of retiring members was allowed.^ In 1230 a 
complication was introduced into the process of renewal. 
Two elections took place, one on St. Michael's Day (29th 
of September), the other on the 29th of March. Seven 
were elected on the former day to be electors for the year, 
three on the latter day as electors for the half-year, ^ making 
ten in all instead of twelve : and the number of electors 
seems to have been on many occasions varied after the 
year 1230. 

The process of election, though not so complicated as 

1 These were its main business. Legislation on constitutional ques- 
tions, which was also in the province of the Great Council, seldom 
occurred, except when the office of doge was vacant and the Promissio 
of the new doge was being prepared. (See Contarini, lib. i. p. 35, 
ed. 1678.) 

^ This was expressed in technical language at Venice by saying 
there was no contttmacia for the office of member of the Great Council. 
Contumacia was the interval fixed by law between a magistrate's going 
out of any office and his being qualified to reassume it. (See Boerio, 
Diz. del Dial. Fen., and Ferro, £)tz. del Di>-itto Coviune e Veneto, s.v.) 

3 " 1230, 6 Aug. Capta fiiit pars {in Majori Cottsilio) ijitod elig- 
antnr septein electores ad inntm an 11 11 in, ei tre^ ad »iediu?n, qui reno- 
vent consilium " {Liber Fractus of Avogaria di Comune). 


that for electing the doge, was formal and precise, and 
must have taken a long time, when so many as 450 or 470 
members had to be chosen. We know that a great number 
of days were spent by the Great Council in elections,^ for 
it seems, from its first origin, to have taken from the doge 
the right of electing to all important offices as well as that 
of filling up its own numbers. The change of 1230 looks 
as if its object was to lighten the burden of one great 
election at Michaelmas by fixing another at the end of 
March. Whether the same object had anything to do with 
the important constitutional change, to which we are now 
coming, can only be matter of conjecture ; we have no 
contemporary writings except the texts of the various /ar/^j' 
or decrees which were proposed for effecting it, and either 
approved or rejected, and these texts are brief and business- 
like, without preamble explaining the objects of their pro- 
moters.- The change was not carried when first proposed 
or in the form first suggested. In the year 1286, when 
Giovanni Dandolo was still doge, the three chiefs of the 
Quarantia, who with the doge and his six counsellors formed 
the Signoria, proposed in the Great Council that no one 
should be allowed to sit on any council, though elected to 
it, if he or his father or his paternal ancestors had not been 
members of any council, unless his election was carried by 
a majority first of the doge and his counsellors, and secondly 
of the Great Council. The doge did not agree to this, and 
proposed that no change should be made ; and for this 

^ In the time of Limojon de St. Didier (1672-74) it met every 
Sunday and Feast Day, except days sacred to the Virgin Mary or 
St. Mark, and its regular task was to get through nine elections in a 
day. He is speaking of the elections of officers of the executive. For 
elections of its own members, or those of the Senate or Quarantia, its 
pace must have been quickened, or it would never have got through its 
work. (See his Ville et Rep. de Venise, pp. 214 sqq., 3rd ed. Elzevir.) 

- The Continuation of Dandolo's Chronicle (Murat.. A'. /. .S'., xii. col. 
409), which is about a century later than the Serrata, has only the 
following reference to it : " Hie Dux aiiii sin's consiliis ordinatis 
aliqitos fopulares de niajori co7isilio esse decretnt" as if the admission 
of novi homines was the principal feature of the change. 

192 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

eighty-two voted, forty-two voices only supporting the chiefs 
of the Quarantia, and ten being doubtful {non sincere)} 

This rejected proposal aimed undisguisedly at a restric- 
tion of the governing class to certain families, and this has 
been generally held to have been the object of the Serrata 
del Consiglio, the narrowing of the oligarchy. Only a fort- 
night later another proposal was made, that the Great 
Council should nominate before the next ist of April a 
list of candidates to be approved, one by one, by a majority 
of the doge, his counsellors, and the Quarantia ; that on 
the ist of April again three electors should be named to 
submit a similar list before Michaelmas. But this proposal 
was also rejected, and the advocates of change waited 
nearly ten years, till March 1296, before making another 
move. This time they had the doge on their side, zealous 
for the desired change ; but the proposal was again lost. 
However, at the Michaelmas following, the doge and his 
party were able to carry a proposal to nominate in the 
usual manner four electors, but only provisionally, who 
were to elect 150 members, to be increased — I presume by 
co-option — to 210, a number apparently thought just suffi- 
cient to secure the regular quorum of 200,'^ and to be 
superseded at the end of February by a body chosen by a 
reformed method. The decrees carried on the last day of 
February 1297 — which at Venice was reckoned as still 1296 
— provided an elaborate scheme for the eighteen months 
till Michaelmas 1298. The names of all the present mem- 
bers of the Great Council, and all who had been members 
in the preceding four years, were to be submitted to the 

^ The words of the proposal are given by Romanin, ii. p. 342, n. 3. 
The reference to more than one council, de aliquo Consilio, de Consiliis 
Vejuiiaium, contemplates, we may presume, the doge's council, the 
Pregadi, and (perhaps) the Quarantia. 

* This was the quorum in 131 1 [see parte quoted in Claar, Entwick- 
lung der venezianische7i Verfassung, p. 36, n. 5). I take the figures — 
150 elected, 60 co-opted — from Romanin. But Claar {ti.s., p. 38, n. 5) 
gives them, apparently more exactly, as lOO elected, and afterwards, on 
three occasions, 60, 68, and 41 co-opted, making 269 altogether. 


Quarantia one by one, and everyone who received as many 
as twelve of the gilded ballots that signified election was to 
be on the council for the eighteen months. Any one who 
lost his seat by going abroad in the service of the State 
might on his return require the three chiefs of the Quarantia 
to submit a proposal to that body for his restoration to his 
seat, and if this proposal obtained twelve gilded ballots, he 
at once resumed his place on the Great Council. The 
decrees went on to provide for the choice of three electors, 
who, when instructed by the doge and his counsellors, were 
to draw up a list of others who had not been on the council 
during the last five years, and submit their names one by 
one to the Quarantia, to be elected if they received twelve 
gilded ballots, or rejected if they received less. The three 
electors were to hold office only till next Michaelmas, and 
till then were to be members of the council ; after that 
three others were to be chosen, who were similarly to be 
members till the following Michaelmas. The decrees pro- 
vided further, that they were not to be rescinded during 
the eighteen months, except by a concurrent vote of five 
of the doge's counsellors, twenty-five of the Quarantia, and 
two-thirds of the members of the Great Council. Fifteen 
days before the end of the year the Great Council was 
bound to decide whether the reformed procedure was 
to continue or not. A clause was to be added to the 
Capitolare or bye-laws of the doge's counsellors, who 
were the official presidents of the Great Council, obliging 
them to submit such a proposal under pain of a fine 
which the Avogadori were to exact. The Quarantia 
could not perform any of the functions assigned to it by 
these decrees unless at least thirty of its forty members 
were present. A somewhat obscure clause provided that 
no members should be admitted to the Great Council under 
the decrees who were " excluded by the ordinary councils." 1 

^ " Qui sunt prohibiti pe?- Consilia ordinataP The decrees are 
given in the original Latin, and their substance in Italian in Romanin, 


194 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

The decrees of the last day of February 1297 were acted 
upon when Michaelmas came : three electors were ap- 
pointed, by whom all members of the Great Council of the 
last five years were submitted to the Quarantia and balloted 
for, and new members, on a list prepared under the direc- 
tion of the doge and his counsellors, were also balloted 
for. At the next Michaelmas Day, that of 1298, the 
ordinance was again proposed in the Great Council, and 
was continued, and the same process took place in 1299. 
From that time it became established law in Venice. The 
decrees by which it was introduced have always been looked 
upon as an epoch in the history of the Republic, and from 
an early date have been known under the title of Serrata 
or Serrar del Consiglio. The name gave rise to a legend 
that the locking of the doors of the palace when proposals 
were being debated in the council originated at the same 
time : but Romanin has shown that this custom existed 
some years earlier, when Giovanni Dandolo was still doge. 
The word " Serrata," which is used in the Italian version of 
Donato Giannotti's Dialogue, to which I have so often 
referred, where the Latin has "Comitia interclusa," does 
not seem correctly to describe the design and immediate 
effect of the decrees. Giannotti, writing in the middle of 
the sixteenth century,^ says that the authors of the Serrata, 
" seeing that every day a vast number of foreigners were 
flocking into the city for the purposes of trade, entertained 
the design of establishing an elective body, in which all the 
flower of the city should be collected, lest the race of 

ii. pp. 343-45- The " Consilia ordinata" would, I presume, be used 
in the same sense as in the passage from the continuator of Dan- 
dolo quoted at p. 191 n. Ordinata was a word much used in technical 
legal phraseology, and it is possible that the clause only excludes 
those who were under some judicial censure. But consilia frequently 
mean decrees, and our clause may possibly mean that no one should 
come on to the council who was specially kept ofit" it by a decree voted 
in due form. 

1 He was born in 1496 and died in 1 559- There is a mistake of a 
hundred years in the figures given in Groevius. 


Venetians should be mixed up with alien races and its 
nobility contaminated."^ This may correctly enough 
describe the ultimate result, but a part at least of the 
original design was to get rid of the inconvenience of an 
annual renewal of so large a body. The decrees expressly 
contemplated the election every year of some who had not 
been members during the five qualifying years, and we are 
not told that this soon became obsolete, as Giannotti tells 
us was the fate of the provisions for balloting members of 
the quaUfied families in the Quarantia.- It seems, in fact, 
that a few novi homines were admitted every year. 

The holders of many offices became entitled to seats on 
the ' council after the expiration of their term of office, the 
qualifying offices including those of counts, castellani, 
rettori and visdomini, some of which, it would appear, must 
have been held by foreigners ; and Cardinal Contarini says 
that " some foreigners were admitted into the number of 
citizens either for eminent nobility or for their services to 
the State, or some illustrious action for its honour." ^ This 
constant accretion of new members was one of the causes 
why the numbers of the Great Council went on steadily 
increasing after the Serrata. But a more potent cause was 
the custom, established by a decree of 1315, of inscribing 
in a book the names of all members of families repre- 
sented in the Great Council, as soon as they passed their 
eighteenth year, with a view to their being balloted for in 

^ See col. 57 in the Latin edition in Grsevius, Thes. Antiq. Ital., v. 
pt. i., or pp. 225, 226, of the Italian version, printed in the same 
volume with Cardinal Contarini's Kep. di Venetia at Venice in 1678. 

2 '■' Ftebat autem tit nullus nnquani a Comitiis excluderetur, et ii qui 
semel delecti fjiera^it semper approbarentur: qua re cottstteUido snjffra- 
giortim tandem obsolevit" (Grsevius, ii.s., and p. 227 of the Italian 
version). He is referring, I think, to the admission without a fortu- 
nate ballot of all candidates who had reached the age of twenty-five. 

^ Delia Rep. e Alagistrati di Vetiezia, Book i. p. 31, of Italian trans- 
lation, ed. 1678. Contarini calls the right of eligibility to the Great 
Council "la ragion di Cittadino" (p. 33). There are frequent records 
in the Commemoriali of the grant of citiadinanza for twenty-five, or 
some other term of years, by the Proveditori di Comune. 

196 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the Quarantia, and one-fifth elected in each year. There 
was so much competition among families to get their 
members elected at these ballots that in 131 7 a heavy 
fine was imposed as a penalty for the inscription of an un- 
qualified candidate, and in 1319, after an inquiry by the 
Avogadori into the validity of inscriptions, a procedure 
similar to that we have seen adopted in the election of doge 
was prescribed, the order of submitting the inscriptions to 
the Quarantia being determined by the method of one 
gilded ballot in every five, drawn from a box by a child. ^ 
The minimum age for a seat on the Great Council was 
twenty-five, so that candidates had seven years in which their 
names might come up for ballot: but late in 1319 a 
decree was passed that any qualified candidate who had 
been inscribed for two years, but had not been fortunate at 
a ballot, should, if over twenty-five, become a member of 
the Council without further delay. This important change 
lessened the advantage derived from success in the ballot, 
and is said to have been one of the causes that brought 
to an end the system of balloting before the Quarantia. 

It would thus appear that, in twenty years after the 
Serrata, the members of certain families became entitled 
to seats on the Great Council without election. The 
privileged families were not few, and their privilege did not 
exclude members of other families, who could be elected 
as a matter of favour, either for services done to the State 
or for other reasons. But the privilege granted to the 
families who had been represented on the council during 
the five years, 1293 to 1297, though it did not make the 
Republic a narrow oligarchy, established a legal distinction 
between classes, and gave a definite sense to the word 
Nobili (or Gentiluojuini), as distinguished from Cittadini, 
which had till then, as in most countries in Europe, been 
vague. From this time at Venice noble families were 
those whose members had an hereditary right to seats in 

^ Roman in, ii. p. 348. 


the Great Council ; but this right belonged only to members 
born in lawful wedlock,^ and of a mother belonging to a 
noble family and of good character. And thus it became 
the custom that marriages and births in these families were 
carefully registered at the office of the Avogaria, and from 
the registers there the famous Libra d^Oro of the Venetian 
nobility was, in later times, compiled. 

A regulation that dated back to the time of the Serrata 
allowed members of noble families, on attaining the age of 
twenty — that is, five years before the legal age for becoming 
members of the Great Council — to attend the proceedings of 
the council without the right of speaking or voting. On 
St. Barbara's Day, the 4th of December, all the young 
nobles who had completed their twentieth year since that 
day in the previous year were assembled before the 
Avogadori in the Sacristy of San Marco, and the thirty in 
whose name gilded ballots were drawn by a child, obtained 
this privilege.- For the five years of their political nonage 
these Barbarini^ as they were called, sat in the council, but 
their voices were not heard. 

It appears that each member retained at the Serrata or 
in any subsequent year had the privilege of nominating not 
more than four members of his family to seats on the 
council. Giannotti expresses, but doubtfully, the opinion 
that these aggtunii were reckoned members of the council, 
arguing that if they had not been, there must have been 
more families than there were divided into Gentiluomini diwd 

^ The article on the Serrata del Consiglio in Venezia e le Sue Lagune, 
i. 60 sqq., attributed to Agostino Sagredo, quotes Muazzo as an incon- 
testable authority for his statement that the prime motive for the reform 
was "r//e nelle elezioni del Maggior Consiglio vi si introdiissero nomi 
spregievoli per illegitimita di Nata/i." This was probably enough the 
reason for the scrutiny by the Quarantia of the qualifications of members 
elected in the last four years, but it can hardly have been the cause of 
the whole chnnge. Giannotti, writing 150 years before Muazzo, says, 
*' /i3 non /id letto mai, ne iiiteso die cagionc e die occasione facesse il 
Consiglio scrrare" (p. 225 of Italian version). 

^ Yriarte, Vie d'un Patricien de Venise, p. 20. See also pp. 21:9, 
230, of the Italian version of Giannotti's Dialogue. 

198 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Cittadini. He reckons that, assuming 450 to have been the 
number of members elected in each of the five qualifying 
years, and three-fifths of the whole contingent of any year 
to have previously served in one or other of the years, 
there would be 900 persons privileged each to nominate, 
say, four kinsmen, making up a total of 4500 members of the 
council, and attributed the decrease of its numbers to less 
than 3000 in his own time solely to the gradual dying out 
of noble families.^ A century later Limojon de St. Didier 
estimated the total number of members of the Great 
Council at 1200.- The nobles whose names were in the 
Libro d'Oro were all of equal rank politically, but notes in 
that book were afifixed to the names of those families, 
members of which had taken part in the election of the 
first doge. These families were Badoeri (who had been 
originally Partecipazii), Barozzi, Baseggio, Contarini, 
Dandolo, Gradenigo, Memmo, Michiel, Morosini, Polani, 
Sanudo, Tiepolo. A distinguishing mark was also added to 
those families from which doges had come, the mark being 
a number of ducal berrettas equal to the number of doges. 
The Florentine stranger, to whom his two Venetian 
friends explain the constitution and government of Venice 
in Giannotti's Dialogue, asks the very pertinent question 
how those citizens who had before been eligible for the 
council, and thenceforward remained excluded from it, 
and also (as Giannotti thought probable) from most of the 
great public employments, civil and military, were induced 
to submit quietly to the revolution, and his Venetian inter- 
locutor points to the conspiracy of Marin Bocconio, that 
followed close upon the Serrata, as evidence that there 
were malcontents. But if we reflect that the large body of 

^ Giannotti, n.s., pp. 227, 228. See also p. 220, from which it 
appears that these aggiicnti were an ancient part of the constitution 
existing before the Serrata. Aggiunti and Giiinta are words one 
meets with elsewhere in Venetian constitutional history, e.g. in the 
Senate and the Council of Ten. 

- Ville et R^p, de Venise, p. 2l6 (3rd ed.). 


past and present members of the Great Council whose 
families became ennobled must have included the great 
majority of statesmen and soldiers who had any experience 
of affairs or authority among their fellow-citizens, we shall 
not wonder that the resistance to the change was not 

We have also to remember that the last decade of the 
thirteenth century, in which the Serrata del Consiglio fell, 
was a time of great distress and anxiety for Christianity in 
general and for Venice in particular. Men's hearts were 
failing them for fear and for looking for those things that 
were coming on the earth, when in 1291 Acre, the last 
stronghold of the Crusaders in Palestine, fell into the hands 
of the infidel, and the one hundred and ninety years of 
Latin rule in Syria came to an end. I shall return to this 
subject in the next chapter. I need only observe now that 
the depression caused through Western Europe by the fall 
of Acre, and certain disasters suffered by Venice in the war 
with Genoa, may have inclined those classes of Venetians 
who were excluded from political power to acquiesce in 
their exclusion. A political career lost, for a Venetian, the 
attraction of possibly leading to a principality in Syria, and 
his chance of conquering and holding against Genoese 
rivals an island or promontory in the Levant was lessened. 
But commerce, which had always been the chief interest 
of Venetians and the main source of their wealth, was open 
to those who had no share in the government. And some 
very important offices — those of Chancellor and Secretary, 
for example — were never held by nobles, and these will have 
always been the principal objects of the ambition of 
notaries and other legal practitioners, whose special know- 
ledge and practical experience in the work of government 
would have naturally led them to resent a total exclusion 
from political power. All men who had lately had seats in 
the Great Council were retained there, and those excluded 
members of the community, some of whom may have been 

200 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

influential from their wealth,^ were without the organisa- 
tion required for enforcing political claims. At any rate, 
the conspiracy of Marin Bocconio, which was the only 
immediate attempt at resistance, seems to have been an 
unimportant affair. We know little of it ; we are told that 
Bocconio was rich and popular, and that he plotted treason 
with certain adherents whose names are given, and that the 
murder of the doge was part of their design. The plot 
was betrayed to the doge, who had Bocconio and ten others 
arrested and " hung between the two marble columns which 
are near the great gate of the doge's palace," the usual 
place of public executions. ^ This was in the year 1300. 
It either had been preceded, or was immediately followed, 
by a decree of the Great Council, adding to the Cafitolare 
or bye-laws of the doge's counsellors a clause prohibiting 
the admission of novi homines to the Great Council, unless 
with the consent of a majority of the Quarantia, given at a 
meeting at which not less than twenty were present. This 
was the beginning of a process that went on for some years, 
by which the willingness to admit new members shown in 
the original decrees of 1297 was gradually checked, a reso- 
lution of 1307 making the approval of five out of the six 
counsellors and of twenty-five out of the forty members of 
the Quarantia a condition of any new man's admission ; while 
another resolution of 13 16 raised the necessary number of 

^ One of Giannotti's Venetian interlocutors tells his Florentine friend 
(p. 343 of Italian version) that so many rich traders were without beni 
stabili {i.e., I presume, immobili or real property), that the tansa or 
assessed tax levied from them was " simile a quello che voi"(2.f. in 
Florence) " chiamate arbitrio," calculated on an assessment that was 
practically guesswork. Many of the richest merchants were, however, 
no doubt nobles, a class which by this change became co-extensive 
with that of members of the Great Council. But some were excluded, 
and Cardinal Contarini is emphatic in preferring birth to wealth as 
the foundation of political privilege, which should come " dalla nobilta 
pill tosto che dal numero delle facoltk" {Rep. di Fen., p. 29, ed. 

^ See the passage quoted from Caresini in Romanin, iii. 5, n. 2. 
The two columns are, of course, those of the Piazzetta. 


members of the Quarantia to thirty, and required in addi- 
tion the consent of a majority of the Great Council. In the 
early years following the Serrata the custom grew up, which 
is said to have been recognised by law in 1322,^ that the 
new men admitted must belong to families that had been 
represented in the Great Council at some time since 11 72, 
which was assumed to be the year of its first creation. ^ 
This, in combination with the law of 131 5, establishing a 
register of all male members of these families of the age of 
eighteen or over, and another law of 13 19 (referred to 
above), prescribing a method of lot by which the selection 
should be made, and adding that any one on the register 
who had jeached the age of twenty-five without the lot 
being favourable to him should forthwith become a mem- 
ber, had the effect of establishing a large and powerful 
aristocracy, the most powerful, perhaps, and the least 
invidious that the world has ever seen. Cardinal Contarini ^ 
is emphatic in claiming that it could not be called an 

^ Rom., ii. pp. 346, 347, note 5, who quotes a MS. work of Giov. 
Ant. Muazzo (d. 1702), Stoi-ia del Governo della Rep. di V. 

^ Le Bret, whose Venezianische Staatsgeschichte (l theil, pp.' 665, 
666) has given us one of the best and clearest accounts of the Serrata, 
written in 1769, when the Venetian aristocracy was still in existence, 
says that at Christmas 1298 a new decree was passed, impressing upon 
the Quarantia the necessity of being careful not to approve any candi- 
date whose father or more remote paternal ancestor had not been a 
member of the Great Council : he thinks that, as long as the Doge 
Gradenigo lived, the three electors were careful to choose no members 
of a new family, but that afterwards they became less strict, and "new 
nobles" were chosen, and their names submitted to the Quarantia, but 
only to be rejected by " that lofty court, in which, then, as now, nobles 
of the oldest families had their seat and vote." He quotes as his 
authority Liber Pilosus in Avog. ad Ann., 1298. 

^ Kep. di Fen., lib. i. p. 48, ed. 167S. The passage is well worth 
reading. Both Contarini and Giannotti use language such as has been 
often used by English writers of the English constitution, ascribing to 
it a combination of the virtues of monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. 
The Great Council they treat as representing democracy. Contarini 
generally confined the term cittadini (ewes) to the nobles, but Gian- 
notti gives the title to those who were not nobles, but also not 
plebeians (popiilares), and appears to assume an original difference of 
race, such as distinguished patricians and plebeians at Rome. 

202 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

oligarchy, because the government was in the hands of a 
large number of families, the members of which were all 
equal among themselves, and had an equal right to be 
elected by their fellows to offices of State. 

In fact, as Romanin has shown, the effect of the Serrata 
was rather to increase than to diminish the numbers of the 
Great Council. It had originally consisted of 450 to 470 
members, but in 131 1 had over 1000, and increased 
steadily till in 15 10 it had 1671.^ We have seen that the 
inclusion of the contingents of five years ^ would have at 
least doubled the aggregate number. This would account 
for the rise from 450 to 1000 in twelve or fourteen years. 
Both these numbers are certainly taken to be exclusive of 
the aggiunti. The admission of all members of the privi- 
leged families at twenty-five without election would have 
helped to raise the number. It is obvious that this decision 
made the electors almost useless, and other evidence 
points to their being regarded with suspicion. Le Bret 
explains the institution of a register of candidates qualified 
for election, as intended to guide and limit the electors in 
their choice, and connects with the same design of limiting 
the numbers admitted by the electors, the severe penalties 
imposed by laws of 13 16 and 13 19 on any one getting his 
name registered without the legal qualification. When the 
register could be accepted as satisfactory evidence of age 
and other qualifications, there was no need of either elec- 
tion by any special body or ballot in the Quarantia, except 
in the rare cases of admitting members of families not yet 

It is well worthy of remark that Caroldo, a diplomatist 

^ Limojon dc St. Didier, who was in Venice from 1672 to 1674, 
tells us that seldom more than 600 members were present at a meeting 
of the Great Council, but he thought an equal number might often be 
absent from Venice on foreign service or on trading business («.j., 
p. 216). 

^ Giannotti speaks of these as " cinque mute," mute being the word 
for relays of horses or packs of hounds (Fr. nieute). 


and Secretary to the Council of Ten in the early part of the 
sixteenth century, in a chronicle that has not yet been 
printed, alleges as one of the causes of the discontent that 
led to the conspiracy of Querini and Tiepolo, the feeling 
that Gradenigo wished to admit to the Great Council " a 
greater number of families than had been recognised as noble 
and equal to the others," and did not think it right "that 
a few families should be the principal and most respected 
of the city." ^ This view is, it will be seen, consistent with 
that of the continuator of Dandolo, who looked upon the 
Serrata as mainly the admission of a democratic element 
into the Great Council, and with that of Cardinal Con- 
tarini, that the aristocratic constitution of 1297 could not 
be called an oligarchy, because it placed the power in the 
hands of a large number of families all equal among them- 

The view that modern writers cannot altogether shake 
off, that the Serrata del Consiglio was an invasion of 
popular rights by an ambitious "party of nobles,"^ is, 
I think, nowhere found in old Venetian writers : it origi- 
nated, I am disposed to believe, with French writers. 
Count Uaru, a child of the French Revolution, nourished 
on the doctrines of Rousseau, and who, in writing his 
history, held a brief to justify the destruction of the vener- 
able Republic by his master. Napoleon, has been taken as 
a guide by his fellow-countrymen. With him, the object 
of Gradenigo was " to concentrate and perpetuate the 

^ The passage is quoted by Romanin (iii. p. 29, n. l). 

* I have quoted the passage of the Dandolo Chronicle at p. 191, 
n. 2. 

* " Adelsparlei " in the German of Max Claar's Die Entwicklung 
der Venez. Ver/assung. The view of this learned writer, set forth in 
his seventh chapter (pp. 129-32), seems to me to be very nearly the 
opposite of the true view. Romanin's intimate acquaintance with the 
records in the Venetian archives saved him from errors of this kind. 
Le Bret, though fully sensible of the weak points of the Abbe Laugier 
(a ]esni\. fhilosophe, afterwards unfrocked), whose history gave occasion 
to his own, and of French writers on Venice generally, is disposed to 
agree with the common view of a party of nobles strangling liberty. 

204 VENICE IN THE 13th cS: 14th CENTURIES 

government in the hands of the principal families," ^ the 
direct opposite of what Caroldo believed it to have been. 
In the account given by the chronicler, Marco Barbaro, of 
the discussions among the conspirators before the outbreak 
of the Querini-Tiepolo plot, all the speakers agree that the 
reform of Gradenigo had been fairly carried in the Great 
Council, because its members were generally sensible of 
the intrigues, the canvassing, the corruption, the man- 
oeuvres of all kinds, that had been due to the contests 
for places in the council, which the new system had effectu- 
ally ended.- It is no doubt possible for us to argue that 
a democratic form of representative government, based on 
universal suffrage, would have better accorded with political 
justice than the aristocracy on a broad foundation estab- 
lished by Gradenigo ; but such a kind of government was 
not dreamed of at Venice in the thirteenth and fourteenth 
centuries, and bore little resemblance to the system super- 
seded by the Serrata. 

' Liv. vi. c. xi., vol. ii. p. 37 of edition of 1826. In 1797 the 
democratic municijiality set up by the French in place of the Great 
Council decreed " funebri pompe e lagrime ufficiali " to Bajamonte 
Tieoolo, as a champion of liberty (Nuovo Archivio Veneto, No. 43, 


^ Romanin, iii. p. 3 i. 



Andrea Dandolo, or the chronicler who continued his 
work after the year 1280, whom Muratori supposed to be 
Raphayn or Raphael Caresini, Great Chancellor of Venice, 
relates the history of the two doges, Giovanni Dandolo and 
Pietro Gradenigo, in a form quite different from that adopted 
in the Chronicle, both before and after. It is more hurried, 
it contains no Ust of the electors of either doges which it 
was Dandolo's custom to give ; and it is suspiciously reti- 
cent as to the most important events, the Serrata del Con- 
siglio, the conspiracies of Bocconio and Bajamonte Tiepolo, 
and the war of Ferrara, leading to the excommunication 
and interdict imposed on the Republic by Clement V. The 
marginal additions of the Ambrosian MS. are numerous 
here, chiefly relating to the war with Genoa between 1291 
and 1299 ; they also supplement the meagre notice in the 
received text, that the doge " accepted the lordship of the 
city of Ferrara, on account of which Pope Clement excom- 
municated the doge himself and the Venetians, which city 
the said doge at length released and placed under the 
lordship of the Church." 

At the beginning of the fourteenth century, Ferrara was 
governed by Azzo d'Este, known to history as Azzo VIII., 
a great-grandson of the Azzo Novello who had become 
ruler of Ferrara, and a great power in North Italy, as we 
have seen, on the fall of the Ghibelline Salinguerra Torelli. 

Azzo VIII. was son-in-law of Charles II. (" the Lame "), the 


2o6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Angevin King of Naples, and in virtue of this alliance, as 
well as of the hereditary policy of his House, a strong Guelf 
partisan. Venice had generally been friendly to the House 
of Este, and, though careful not to be an open partisan of 
either Guelfs or Ghibellines, had always treated the Holy 
See with respect. Ever since the bequest of the great 
Countess Matilda, the Popes had nourished a theoretical 
claim to be over-lords of Ferrara, but had not cared to 
press this claim against actual rulers so friendly to the 
cause of the Church as the Este princes.^ But Azzo's 
marriage in 1305 to the daughter of Charles of Naples had 
displeased his own subjects, and caused the rise of a Ghibel- 
line party in the Este territory, supported by the Ghibellines 
of several neighbouring cities, and by discontented members 
of the Este family. Venice was friendly at this time with 
the King of Naples, and had been induced by him to lend 
material aid to his son-in-law, Azzo, against his enemies 
from Bologna, Verona, and Mantua. When Azzo died in 
January 1308, and civil war broke out between Fresco, his 
natural son, and his brothers, Aldobrandino and Francesco, 
who had left the city in wrath at his Neapolitan marriage, 
Venice supported Fresco, while Clement V., taking the side 
of Aldobrandino and Francesco, asserted the dormant 
claims of the Holy See to suzerainty : Francesco, who 
acted for both brothers in this business, offered to hold 
Ferrara as a fief of the Church. Thus circumstances drove 
the Venetians reluctantly into hostility with the Pope ; 
they had large interests in Ferrara, and the ambassadors 
who had been sent from Venice to condole with the late 
marquis on his illness, received instructions to inquire into 

^ Pope Clement's letter of remonstrance to the people of Ferrara, 
written in April 1308, admits that the Ferrarese had long been sepa- 
rated from their mother's embrace, " sub diversorum eos subjugantium 
potentia." This would refer to Salinguerra as well as to the Estes. 
The people " matris et dominoe ecclesise — id faciente malitia temporis, 
dulcedinem non gustarunt " (see the letter in Raynaldus, torn, xxiii. 
p. 444). 


the state of affairs, and the disposition of men's minds at 
Ferrara, and to report whether they were inclined to accept 
any other government.^ Now, five months after Azzo's death, 
on the 8th of July, the Great Council decreed the despatch 
of troops to Ferrara, and on their arrival Fresco put them 
in possession of Castel Tedaldo, the stronghold in the 
south-west corner of the city that commanded the bridge 
over the Po, and finding himself very unpopular with his 
people, withdrew to Venice. His uncle, Francesco, en- 
tered Ferrara with Papal troops, and a legate. Cardinal 
Pelagrua, who sent an embassy to Venice, demanding the 
restitution of Castel Tedaldo, and the recall of the Vene- 
tian troops. 

The answer to be given to the ambassadors was referred 
to a large commission of forty-five,^ appointed by the Great 
Council, and these argued that since the expulsion of 
SaUnguerra the Marquises of Este had governed Ferrara, 
and that Fresco, their lawful successor, had ceded his rights 
to Venice. This was, of course, no answer to the Pope, 
who claimed a right superior to that of his vassal, the mar- 
quis, which the latter had no power to cede. But the 
legate was willing to temporise, and offered, if the Venetians 
would give up the city to the Holy See, to grant it back to 
them as a fief held under the Pope, for a rent of 20,000 
ducats. The RepubUc would not hear of fief or rent, and 
the Pope's envoys, when they left Venice without attaining 
their object, were insulted by the populace in the streets. 

* Rom. (iii. p. 12), who quotes Co7n?nentoriali, i. 31. 

* A Giunta or "addition" of twenty-five members was made to the 
twenty Savii elected in July for conducting the Ferrara war. Savii 
("Sages") was the generic name for members of commissions for 
special purposes, appointed generally by the Senate. The Savii del 
Collegia, permanent officers who exercised great authority, were shortly 
after this time (in 1340) divided into three classes ; S. grandi, S. di 
Terra Fertna, and S. di Mare or Agli Ordini. They were sixteen in 
number, and with the doge, his six counsellors, and the three chiefs of 
the Quarantia made up the Collegio, of which we shall hear much in 
the future. 

2o8 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

They returned to Ferrara, and there, on the 25th of October 
1308, issued a Bull ^ imposing the penalty of excommunica- 
tion and interdict on the city of Venice, its doge, coun- 
sellors, and captains, and in particular on Giovanni Soranzo 
and Vitale Michiel, who had fought against Papal troops, 
and on the Podesta of Chioggia, whose boats had operated 
against those of the Church on the Po. The Bull made 
null and void all treaties or agreements made by other 
Governments with the Venetians, prohibited the import of 
provisions ^ to Venice or Chioggia, and revoked all privileges 
conceded in times past by Popes to the Republic. 

This open breach with the Pope was not a thing to be 
treated lightly by any Government, least of all by one which 
had always been so careful as the Venetian to treat the 
Papal authority with deference. The Great Council was 
assembled, and the situation was very seriously discussed. 
Many voices were in favour of submission and departure 
from Ferrara. Jacopo Querini came forward as representa- 
tive of the Guelf view, that reverence towards the clergy, 
and most of all towards the Vicar of Christ, was the first 
duty of secular Governments, and that the present time, 
when the Republic was exhausted by the long wars with 
Genoa, only lately ended, was most unsuitable for entering 
on an enterprise that was probably impious and certainly 
dangerous. But the Doge Gradenigo opposed this view as 
childish and cowardly, urging that their dominions needed 
expanding, and that so good an opportunity as now pre- 
sented itself of getting command of the Po and its trade 

^ The Bull is printed as Dociinieuto DI in the fifth volume of 
Verci's Storia delta Marca Ti'ivigiana. The date is that given in my 
text, not the i6th of October, as Romanin says. It mentions particu- 
larly the insults the Pope's envoys had recently suffered. 

- In a Papal Bull of 24th August 1 309 (in Verci, ii.s., torn. v. doc. 
DVil. p. 117), Clement thanks his beloved sons, the podesth, and other 
officers of Padua, for sending 200 knights and 1000 foot soldiers to 
Ferrara to aid him against "the detestable barbarity" {savitia) of the 
Venetians, and in particular for preventing provisions passing from their 
territory into Venice. 


was not to be neglected by far-seeing statesmen ; that the 
Pope, when he had fully considered the matter, would 
surely not interfere in a purely temporal dispute against 
such faithful sons of the Church as the Venetians had ever 
been.i The doge's opinion was supported by all Ghibelline 
partisans, and probably by the majority of the mercantile 
interest, and it prevailed. " The part was taken," in 
Venetian phrase, to hold Ferrara, but not until much 
violent language had been used and some blows struck in 
the calli and piazze of the city. 

Meanwhile, in November 1308, opinion in Ferrara had 
become favourable to an agreement with Venice, whose 
garrison in Castel Tedaldo had been seriously annoying 
the city. An arrangement was proposed by which, without 
prejudice to the rights of the Roman Church, a Venetian 
podesta should be admitted, who should hold Castel 
Tedaldo and the suburb across the Po, and the banishment 
of Fresco and his adherents should be repealed, in return 
for which the Venetians were to grant to citizens of Ferrara 
rights of citizenship in Venice, and to remit a debt of 
100,000 lire owing by the Government of Ferrara. This 
arrangement was approved in the Great Council in Decem- 
ber, and Giovanni Soranzo was appointed podesta and 
Vitale Michiel captain of the Venetian troops in Ferrara ; 
both of them were already serving in Ferrara, but appar- 
ently in no formally recognised position. Fresco was not 
recalled, but he was promised a grant of lands in Venice of 
the value of 200 lire dei grossi as an equivalent for Castel 
Tedaldo.- The doge and the party in power seem to have 
made up their minds to adopt a forward policy on the Terra 

^ The arguments are given by Romanin (iii. 15-17) from the MS. 
chronicle of Marco Barbaro in the Hbrary of St. Mark. Barbaro is a 
sixteenth-century writer, well informed and of special authority in 
matters of genealogy, but he probably composed his speeches, after the 
manner of Thucydides, from his own idea of the arguments available. 

- In April 13 10 the Great Council granted to Folco, the son of 
Fresco (who seems to have been then dead), property of this value in 
houses belonging to the Commune (see Romanin, iii. p. 18, n. 2). 



Ferma. But the Ferrarese hung back ; they did not recall 
Fresco's adherents, nor repay to Venice the costs incurred 
in garrisoning Castel Tedaldo, nor supply a guard to the 
Venetian podesta, and rumours reached Venice that the 
Pope was much angered, and about to launch a more for- 
midable Bull against her. The Signoria, reinforced by a 
Giimta of thirty-five appointed specially to deal with the 
affairs of Ferrara, decided to send an embassy of three 
nobles to the Pope at Avignon, to explain the rights that 
the Republic claimed in Ferrara. The envoys had hardly 
started when on March 27, 1309,^ the Bull was issued at 
Avignon. It excommunicated the doge, the members of 
the Signoria, and all the citizens of Venice, and all who 
should aid or abet them, confiscated all the property of 
Venetians in Ferrara or elsewhere, annulled all treaties or 
contracts with Venetians, forbade the supply of provisions 
or merchandise to them, absolved the doge's subjects from 
their oath of fidelity, allowed any one to deprive Venetians 
of their liberty, made them incapable of giving evidence or 
making a will, or succeeding to any ecclesiastical benefice. 

1 The Bull is printed in Liinig (Codex Dip!., iv. p. 1590), where, 
apparently by a misprint, it is assigned to 1307. The Bull itself gives 
its date "die Csense Domini Pcntificatus anno quarto." Clement 
became Pope on the Vigil of Pentecost (5th of June) 1305. It is 
explained in the Bull (Liinig, u.s., p. 1600) that the day was chosen as 
the usual one for solemn Papal proclamations. Perhaps Lord Beacons- 
field, who was always much interested in the solemnities of the Roman 
Church, may have had this fact in his mind when he dated an important 
political manifesto on "Maundy Thursday." The issue of a second 
Bull after the first issued by the legates, who had full power to bind 
and loose, is a little puzzling. The later Bull refers to the former, 
but asserts that the Pope was ignorant of its publication, when he again 
issued a monition, the non-compliance with which was the cause of 
the final excommunication (Liinig, u.s., col. 1593). The Avignon Bull 
is a far more rhetorical and elegant composition, full of the scriptural 
allusions that generally figure in Papal documents. The chronology is 
not quite clear. The Pope says (col. 1591) that the Venetian aggres- 
sion in Ferrara began in the beginning of April, " ab octo mensibus," 
which must apparently mean eight months before. But the 27th of 
March, when the Bull issued, was just twelve months after the beginning 
of April. The Bull may have been kept back for some months in hopes 
of a submission. 


Finally, it ordered all prelates and clerks to depart from 
Venetian territory within ten days from the expiration of 
the month allowed the Government as a locus poenitentice. 
The Bull was by no means a bruUim fulmen. The Republic 
had many foreign enemies and Venetians many debtors 
in foreign countries far and near, much money deposited in 
foreign banks, many ships in foreign ports. The many 
persons who were interested in acting upon the Papal Bull 
lost no time in confiscating and plundering Venetian ships, 
merchandise, and banks in France, Apulia, and the March 
of Ancona, and even in distant England and Asia. For 
their escape from a total destruction of their commerce the 
Venetians had to thank their long-standing liberal policy of 
trading with Saracens, who cared nothing for the threats or 
promises of the Pope. 

The doge and Signoria did not bend before the storm. 
On the day the news came of the Papal excommunication 
they wrote to Ferrara to Vitale Michiel, who had succeeded 
Soranzo as podesta, bidding him retire into Castel Tedaldo 
and there continue his service. And a few days afterwards 
they charged the commander of their troops to make a 
survey of his resources and let them know what he required, 
" for," they added, " we are firm in the will to do all we 
can, manfully and forcibly, to preserve our rights and our 
honour." ^ And the Pope was equally firm. The Bull of 
excommunication was in July followed by the proclamation 
by Cardinal Pelagrua of a Crusade against Venice. And 
there were zealous enemies of Venice, only too ready to 
take the field against her, from Florence, Lucca, and the 
towns of Lombardy and Romagna. From the first things 
went ill with her. A pestilence broke out amongst her 
troops, of which Michiel the Podesta died. Marco Querini 
della Ca Grande and Giovanni Soranzo, who came out with 
reinforcements, the latter breaking through a chain the 

^ The letter, dated 9th April, is quoted from Barbaro's Ccnealogie in 
Rom., iii. p. 21. 


Ferrarese had drawn across the Po, could effect h'ttle 
against the besiegers, who kept them shut up in the castle> 
in which the pestilence raged unchecked ; and at length 
on St. Augustine's Day, August 28, T309, the castle was 
stormed and the bulk of its garrison put to the sword. 
Marco Querini was one of the few that escaped to Venice. 
Some were taken prisoners and blinded, according to the 
bad precedents of the days of the Romano brothers. ^ 

The defeat suffered in this enterprise was a great blow 
to the Venetians, but it did not at once bring them to 
submission. All through 13 10 the war went on, without 
any decisive action : the Pope and Francesco d'Este did 
not work well together. But at length, apparently in the 
spring of 131 1, the Signoria decided to send a fresh em- 
bassy to Avignon. This embassy of Carlo Querini and 
Francesco Dandolo, surnamed Cane, " the Dog," is the 
occasion of a story, told in the Dandolo Chronicle, how 
Francesco appeared before the Pope with a chain round 
his neck, and thence obtained the nickname of the Dog. 
But that nickname was, we know, borne by his father and 
by other persons — for example, the great Can Grande della 
Scala of Verona ; and may reasonably be derived either 
from some heraldic bearing or from a fancied resemblance 
of face or character. But whether the Venetian envoy 
wore the dog-collar or not, the Republic had to humble 
itself to the payment of 90,000 Florentine gold florins to 
the Pope, which the Great Council raised by a forced loan 
of 3 per cent, on incomes ; and had to use both patience 
and threats to induce the Florentine bankers in Venice 

^ I am not sure that the account I have given has correctly explained 
the rather confused chronology of these Ferrara events. But it agrees 
in the main with the account in the Chro?iicon de Rebus Venetis of 
Laurentius de Monacis, a contemporary writer of good authority (but 
for a strong prejudice on the Venetian side), and certainly not led 
astray by any graces of style. His chronicle is to be found in the 
Appendix to vol. viii. of Muratori's Scripto7-es, a separate volume 
published in 1758. The Ferrara troubles are described in lib. xiv., 
pp. 266 sqq. 


to change into florins the money produced by the loan.^ 
The money was not forthcoming till September 131 2. 

The unsuccessful war with Ferrara, and the consequent 
upstirring of that rivalry of Church and State that made 
the conflicts of Guelf and Ghibelline so bitter, produced 
in Venice a formidable conspiracy, that nearly succeeded 
in wresting the government out of the hands of the Doge 
Gradenigo. This did not arise from the disappointed 
ambition of politicians excluded from influence on the 
government by the closing of the Great Council. Its 
chief leaders belonged to the great famihes of Tiepolo, 
Querini, and Badoer,^ which were certainly not shut out 
from the council. The accounts of its origin that have 
come down to us, speak of petty personal grievances of 
members of those families ; the small occasions, which 
Aristotle contrasts with the great deep-seated causes, of 
revolutions. Jacopo Querini had been aggrieved at the 
election of Doimo, Count of the island of Veglia in the 
Quamero, to the ofiice of Counsellor of the Doge. 
Querini's contention that this violated a law, allowing 
Dalmatian counts to become members of the Great 
Council or the Pregadi, but not to hold an executive 
office, had been overruled by a majority; but not till 
injurious words and even blows had been exchanged in 
the Great Council and in the Piazza. In the latter place 
one of the Tiepoli, surnamed Scopulo, from the island 
of that name in the archipelago of which he was lord,^ 
was wounded by a Dandolo. After this the government 
ordered the Signori di Notte (chief police officers) to 
allow no one to carry arms in the city ; and in the execu- 
tion of this order one of those officers, Marco Morosini, 

' Donate dei Peruzzi was the banker who found 20,000 of the florins 
(Rom., iii. p. 23, n. 4). 

^ All three families had ancestors among the twelve electors of the 
first doge. The Querini were in old times called Galbaii, the Badoeri 
Partecipazii ; the former claimed the Emperor Galba as an ancestor. 

^ See ante, p. 46. 

214 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

essaying to search Pietro Querini delia Casa Grande, was 
knocked down. A riot in Rialto followed, and in the end 
the Quarantia took the matter up, and Querini was con- 
demned and fined for the assault. Another Querini had 
been fined by Marco Dandolo, Avogador di Comun, for 
having, when Bailo of Negropont, left his son Niccolo un- 
punished for an assault on a Jew. Bajamonte or Boemondo^ 
Tiepolo, son of that Giacomo or Jacopo Tiepolo who 
might have been chosen doge by acclamation on the late 
doge's death had he not withdrawn from the city, and 
so grandson of Lorenzo Tiepolo the doge, and who was 
also son-in-law of Marco Querini, a respected member of 
that great family, had been condemned as long ago as 
the year 1300, to restore a sum of money he had extorted 
over and above his proper salary from the inhabitants of 
Modone and Corone. Two years later, before this sum 
had been repaid, he had been elected on the Quarantia, 
but had retired in dudgeon to his villa at Marocco, and 
taken no part in public affairs. He was still there in 
1310. His father-in-law, Marco Querini, had also his 
grievances : he had been censured for abandoning Castel 
Tedaldo in the war with Ferrara,- and surviving when 
most of the garrison under him were slain, and he took 
this to be a reflection on his loyalty or his courage, for 
which he held the doge responsible. He used to talk 
among his kinsmen and friends against the doge, on the 
ground of his innovations on the constitution, his attack 
on Ferrara, his provocation of the Pope, and all the 
troubles and disorders to which this had led. He found 
his son-in-law ready enough to return to Venice for any 

1 His grandfather, the Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo, had married a 
daughter of Bohemund de Brienne, Prince of Rascia in Bosnia (v. ante, 
pp. 86, 153). Hence, no doubt, his Christian name, which was softened 
in the Venetian dialect to Bajamonte or Bagiamonte. The name Bohe- 
mund is first met with, I think, in the son of Robert Guiscard the 
Norman. Miss Yonge (" Hist, of Christian Names," ii. 442) thought 
the name was Slavonic and equivalent to Theophilus. 

- See ante, p. 212. 


enterprise that might give him his revenge against the 
doge. Bajamonte was a popular person in Venice, com- 
monly known as // Gran Cavaliere, a man evidently of 
vaulting ambition, of the same type as Matteo Visconti 
or Ecelino da Romano, or the founders of the families of 
Carrara or Delia Scala. The ambition to become despots 
on the ruins of republican freedom was a marked feature 
in the character of the Italian noblemen of these centuries, 
when the imperial power had ceased to be formidable. 
It was mainly against the effects of this ambition, I think, 
that Gradenigo had devised his reform of the Venetian 
constitution, and for this reason men like Bajamonte 
Tiepolo resented his action. The uncertainty of the old 
regulations for the elections both of doge and of Great 
Council had made a coup d'etat always possible, such 
as had nearly placed on the ducal throne Bajamonte's 
father, Jacopo. There were special reasons why the 
ambition to make himself a despot should possess the 
mind of a Venetian nobleman. Nowhere was so much 
wealth accumulated in the great families, many of whom 
had, since the conquest of Constantinople, been princes, 
all but independent, in the Levant. A Venetian Sanudo 
had, we have seen, been Prince of Naxos and the Twelve 
Islands ; a Tiepolo was Prince of Scopulo ; and nearer 
home, in the wild country of Dalmatia, Croatia, or Hun- 
gary, Venetian nobles had become allied to royal or 
princely families. Andrew III., who was King of Hungary 
from 1290 till 1301, was son of a Venetian mother, Toma- 
sina Morosini, with whom his father Stephen had fallen 
in love when an exile staying in the house of her brother 
Albertino. When Andrew was recalled to Hungary to 
succeed to the throne of his uncle Ladislaus, his mother 
and her brother went with him, and Albertino Morosini 
was made by his grateful nephew Duke of Slavonia ^ and 

* The continuator of Dandolo (cols. 402, 403 of Murat., R. I. S. xii.) 
says that Morosini was made Ban, as well as Duke, of Slavonia, and 


Count of Possega, and was a powerful person in Hungary 
till his nephew died. He then returned to Venice, and 
lived in a house near the church of San Giuliano, in a 
place still called Corte della Regina, in memory of his 
sister Tomasina, who there ended her days. Michele 
Morosini, Albertino's son, had a daughter Costanza, who 
married Wladislas, King of Servia ; thus bringing a second 
royal alliance to the Morosini family. 

When Bajamonte Tiepolo returned to Venice, a meeting 
of the disaffected was held in the Casa Querini near the 
Rialto Bridge,^ on the side of the Grand Canal, opposite to 
San Marco, known sometimes as the Rialto, sometimes 
simply as di la., as opposed to di qua dal Canale. The 
Tiepoli were neighbours of the Querini, their head- 
quarters being in the Campo Sant' Agostino near the 
Frari. Marco Querini opened the meeting by an invective 
against the doge, on the ground of his exclusion of good 
citizens from the government, and of his quarrel with the 
Pope, and Bajamonte enlarged on the resources of the con- 
spiracy, and the certainty of success, if their secret was kept. 
But another member of the Querini family, Jacopo, who 
was about to start for Constantinople on a mission, an old 
man of great authority, spoke against the two former 
speakers, and against the feeling of the meeting, which 
evidently went with them. He did not attempt to justify 
the doge's policy, but pointed out that his reform had been 
legally carried in the Great Council, which had also ap- 
proved the war with Ferrara, and he entreated them not to 

hat he added the insignia of the Banate to his arms. These were a 
cross argent over a ring of the same. As these hid the family Ircssa 
azziirra, his descendants changed the tressa into the sharra {Libra de' 
Nobili Vcneti (Firenze, 1866), s.v. Moresini). Tressa appears to be 
the Venetian equivalent for the fascia or horizontal band. Sbarra is 
the bend running obliquely from the chief sinister to the base dexter. 

1 The Palazzo Querini in the parish of Sta. Maria Formosa is still 
standing. The best-known branch of the family, called Q. Stampalia 
from the island of Stampalia near Rhodes, which was bought by Zuane 
Q., when exiled after the conspiracy of B. Tiepolo (Tassini, Ciiriosita 
Venez., p. 597), became extinct in 1S86. 


stir up civil war, relying on the unstable populace, who had 
let Marin Bocconio perish. The old man's speech made 
an impression, but this only lasted till after his departure 
on his mission. Then a rising was fixed for the 15th of 
June, St. Vitus' Day. The conspirators were to assemble 
the night before in the Casa Querini, and at daybreak to 
cross the Rialto Bridge, and make a rush on the Piazza 
of St. Mark in two bodies — one, led by Marco Querini and 
his two sons, by the way of the Calle de' Fabbri, the other, 
led by Bajamonte, by the way of the Merceria. Badoero 
Badoer, who had much influence on the Terra Ferma, was 
to assemble his people in and about Padua, and come to 
Peraga, that had long been a possession of his family, on 
the night of the 14th, and from thence force his way into 
the city at daybreak on the 15th. 

The conspirators were not favoured by fortune ; in the 
first place they found the doge prepared. One Marco 
Donato of the contrada of the Magdalene, who had been 
at first in the conspiracy but had withdrawn from it, gave 
the doge information. The Signoria was assembled in the 
night at the ducal palace, with the Sigfiori di Hoife, and 
the Avogadori, the doge's legal advisers. All these digni- 
taries had armed their servants, and pressing messages had 
been sent to the Podestas of Chioggia, Torcello, and Murano 
to come with their guards. The workmen of the arsenal, 
whose duty it was to act as the doge's bodyguard when 
necessary, were standing ready. Marco Giustinian of San 
Moise, and the Dandolo family, always the enemies of 
the Tiepoli, had mustered their followers in the Piazza, 
when at the first dawn of the 15 th the insurgents, led by 
Marco Querini and his son Benedetto, broke into it from 
the Calle de' Fabbri and the Ponte de" Dai. The fight here 
was sharp and short ; the Querini were put to flight and 
Marco and his son killed. The other body of insur- 
gents, led by Bajamonte Tiepolo, on its way to the Mer- 
ceria arrived at the church of San Giuliano. A violent 

2i8 VENICE IN THE 13th c^- 14th CENTURIES 

thunderstorm had been raging in the night, with torrents of 
rain and a gale of wind, and this seems to have brought 
Tiepolo to a stand before he entered the Piazza from 
either the Merceria or the street of San Basso. Near the 
church of San GiuUano his standard-bearer, carrying a 
flag with Liberia inscribed on it, was struck down by a 
stone mortar thrown by a woman from a window; this, 
which is mentioned in all our accounts, seems to have 
discouraged Tiepolo, who fled across the wooden bridge 
at the Rialto and barricaded himself with his followers 
in that neighbourhood. There they were among friends, 
whereas the popular feeling had been against them across 
the canal, as it was against a few remains of the force of 
Marco Querini, which collected in the Campo di San Luca 
and were dispersed by members of the Guild of Painters and 
of the Scuola of the Carita. Those who were with Tiepolo 
prepared to hold out till Badoer brought up his reinforce- 
ments from Peraga. But Badoer had been seriously de- 
layed by the storm, and Ugolino Giustinian, the Podesta 
of Chioggia, whom the doge sent to stop him, found him 
still on the other side of the lagoon, and there attacked 
and routed his band and took him and them prisoners. 
The disaster of Badoer took away the last serious chance 
of success from the conspirators, but Tiepolo was still 
strongly posted in his own quarter of the city, and men's 
minds were in so much agitation that the doge was anxious 
to induce him to surrender on conditions. His haughty 
spirit, however, refused to accept pardon or amnesty, and 
rejected the mediation of some Milanese merchants, and 
of Giovanni Soranzo and Matteo Manolesso, whom the 
doge deputed to treat with him. It was not till Filippo 
Belegno, one of the doge's counsellors, an old man of 
venerable age and persuasive eloquence, approached him, 
that he consented to go into exile with his followers for 
four years into the parts of Slavonia beyond Zara. In those 
parts he was told he might move about freely, but not 


enter any part of Venetian territory or any place at war 
with Venice. So many of his followers as were members, 
or qualified to be members, of the Great Council were to 
be restricted to places assigned to them by the doge, but 
the cities of Padua, Treviso, or Vicenza and their territories 
were too near at hand to be safely left open to enemies 
of the Government, so that the doge could not make any 
of these their place of exile. The humbler conspirators 
were only required to make good any property they had 
plundered during the troubles. 

The Great Council was nearly unanimous in agreeing to 
these merciful terms. Badoero Badoer met with severer 
treatment. He had been taken with arms in his hand, 
fighting against the Government of his country, and could 
expect no mercy. He was put to the torture till he con- 
fessed what of course he could not deny, his own high 
treason ; but the council did not put him to further torture 
for the purpose of inculpating others, and on the 17th of 
June he was beheaded between the two columns on the 

The Signoria probably often regretted they had not been 
equally severe with Bajamonte Tiepolo. For many years 
after his exile he was a thorn in their side. He had many 
kinsmen and friends in Dalmatia and Slavonia; besides 
his grandmother's kindred, who were Voivodes of Rascia, in 
the neighbourhood of Novi Bazar, Mladino, a Ban of Croatia, 
was related to him, and the Lords of Brebir, who called 
themselves Counts of the Maritime Cities of Dalmatia, were 
his good friends. Before his rebellion he had been Podestk 
of Sebenico, and in that ofifice had acquired influence 
in Slavonia. He had also as long ago as in 1300 been 
podesta at Ferrara,^ a post which would have brought him 
into communication with the Papal Government. He and 
his friends had opposed the war with Ferrara and come 
into collision with their Government over this. We are 
^ Comniemortali, libro i. No. 35 (ed. Predelli). 

220 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

not surprised to find among liis adherents the priests of 
nine of the city parishes. We are told that his name was 
known and honoured in Guelf circles throughout Italy. 
He had property not only in Dalmatia, but in the March 
of Treviso about his villa at Marocco that we have already 
mentioned, and his influence with the rulers of Treviso was 
sufificient to make them break the promises they made to 
the doge to banish him and his followers from their terri- 
tory ; for early in 13 ii we find that he and his principal 
adherents had left the places of exile assigned to them 
when their lives were spared, and had assembled near 
Marocco, on the very borders of the Venetian dominions. 
Here they were an ever-present danger, and the Govern- 
ment could not tell what support they had in the city. 
Spies were set to watch the movements of the exiles and 
of their friends in the city ; and within a month of the out- 
break the wives of the conspirators were sent after them 
into exile, and all communication with the exiles was 
forbidden under severe penalties. 

The Government next proceeded to offer rewards or 
thanks to all who, in heaven or on earth, had signally 
helped it in its danger : first to San Vito, on whose day 
the conspiracy had been crushed. On that day the doge 
and other magistrates were every year to walk in procession 
to the Saint's church, as they did to San Marco on his day, 
and a dinner was to be given by the doge.^ Then Marco 
Donato (or Dona in Venetian), the doge's informer, was 
rewarded by admission of himself and all his descendants 
to the Great Council. The woman who had thrown the 
stone mortar that broke the standard-bearer's head, 
Giustina or Lucia Rossi, was rewarded, at her own 
request, by permission to fly the banner of St. Mark 
from her window on San Vito's Day and other great 
festivals, and by a promise that the Procurators of St. 

* " Et prandium per Dominum Ducem." See Pfesbiter, 25th June, 
1 3 10, quoted in Roman., iii. 2i7i "• '• 


Mark, who were her landlords, should never raise the 
rent paid by herself or her successors. A descendant, 
Nicolo Rosso, maintained his right to this beneficial rent 
against the Procurators in 1468, and the house and shop 
" della grazia del morter " in the Merceria at the corner of 
the Calk del Cappello is still known. The Scuola of the 
Carita and the Painters' Guild were granted the right to 
hoist theiribanners on a mast set up in the Campo of St. 
Luke in memory of the fight there with Querini's band. 

At the same time confiscation or destruction of the chief 
conspirators' property went on ; severe measures were 
threatened against all who sheltered them, even in monas- 
teries, which were generally licensed to protect the un- 
fortunate. Bajamonte's house at St. Agostino was pulled 
down, and many years after, in 1364, stone pillars were 
erected at the boundaries of its site, with an inscription 
carved on them to the effect that the ground was now the 
property of the Commune, and had once been that of 
Bajamonte Tiepolo the traitor.^ The pilasters at its 
great gate were bestowed on the church of San Vito.^ 
The Palazzo Querini seems, at the time of the conspiracy, 
to have belonged to three brothers, one of whom had not 
joined Marco and Pietro in the conspiracy ; so with strict 
and formal justice one-third part was ordered to be left 
standing, while the rest was destroyed ; but as difificulties 
not unnaturally arose in determining the exact limits of the 
part to be spared, the Commune bought the share of the 

' I have given the interesting words of this inscription, from Grxvius 
(Antiq. Jtal , torn. v. pt. ii. p. 172), in note i to p. 154, ante. In 
Cicogna's Iscrizioni, iii. 36, 37, the words I have quoted are qualified 
as " una giunta capricciosa di qualche scherzevol poeta." The "column 
of infamy" on which the inscription was carved was removed by its 
last owner, the nephew and heir of Duke Melzi, to his villa garden on 
the Lake of Como, where it is still to be seen (Tassini, Curios. Venez., 
p. 608). 

^ Not the present church of S- Vito e Modesto in the Giudecca, but a 
small building near the Academia (see Graevius, Antiq, Ital., torn. v. 
pt. ii. p. 208). It is in the Campo San Vio (Venetian for Vito) that 
the English church is situated. 

222 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

innocent brother and converted the whole into public 
shambles. The arms of the Querini and Tiepolo families 
were also altered ; the quarterly or and gules of Querini 
and the two-towered castle argent on azure field of 
Tiepolo were to disappear throughout the city, even from 
the portraits of the Doges Giacomo and Lorenzo Tiepolo 
in the Hall of the Great Council, and from the tombs of the 
same doges in the vestibule of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.^ 

Such measures as these might relieve the high-strung 
sentiment of indignation that prevailed in the city : the 
question what measures should be taken to prevent the 
success of any similar attempt was one that demanded and 
received more mature consideration. The proposal first 
made was not accepted. A commission or Giunta of 
fifteen was in existence, that had been elected, as other 
and larger bodies had previously been, to manage the war 
with Ferrara. It was proposed in July, the month after 
the outbreak, to entrust this Giunta, with the addition of 
the three heads of the Quarantia or Supreme Criminal 
Court, with the power of spending money and making any 
provisions or orders they thought necessary in respect of 
the recent disturbances,- and that their orders should have 
the same validity as decrees of the Great Council. This 

^ The Querini family in modern times have resumed the two-towered 
castle, which appears in Tettoni e Saladini Teatro Araldico (vol. ii. 
s.v.), surmounted by a doge's cap proper [cortio ducale), which was 
gradually substituted for the buffalo's horn {corno di btifalo) given them 
after the conspiracy. In Le Arnie oi'ero Insegne di tiitti HNobili, &c., 
Venezia, 1619, the castle has disappeared, and we have a horn argent 
on azure field, which might serve either for a buffalo's horn or a doge's 
cap. In the same book we have three shields for Querini, all bearing 
three golden stars on azure, but variously arranged, and one with a B 
in the lower field to show that the branch that bore these had been 
Buoni, i.e. loyal, at the time of the conspiracy. See Libra dei Ncbili 
V^eneti, Firenze, 1866, pp. 71, 72, and 82, the author of which, writing 
in 1704, says that the buffalo's horn had by that time been '■^ quasi 
ridotto i?i una coda di liimaca," a cochleare or spiral. 

^ "Omnia negotia istarum novitatum" (Rom., iii. p. 40, n. i). 
" Novitates " are apparently analogous to the Greek vewrepifffibs for 
" revolutionary movements." 


was not approved ; a body of eighteen was thought too 
large, and it was thought better to appoint a new body ad- 
hoc. Of two other proposals that were next made, the one 
that was carried provided that two Hsts of ten should be 
nominated, one list by one '■^mano" or division of the 
Great Council, the other by the Signoria, that each nominee 
should be separately submitted to the Great Council and 
ten selected by it, not more than one of any family to be 
included in the ten, nor any Procurator of St. Mark, but 
the holder of any other office to be eligible as one of the 
ten without resigning such office. The ten when elected 
were to have the same full powers in reference to recent 
events as were proposed to be given by the proposal before 
rejected, and to hold office till Michaelmas, that is, for less 
than three months.^ 

This decree, carried in the Great Council on the 12th of 
July 1 310, created, as an exceptional and temporary body, 
the famous tribunal that was to last as long as the Republic, 
and to be looked on in future ages as the most characteristic 
institution of the Venetian aristocracy. The Council of 
Ten at once began to act : the decrees for demolishing the 
houses of Tiepoli and Querini, both passed before the 

^ In 1868 Bartolommeo Cecchetti, then Keeper of the Archives, 
published a memoir he had read in 1865 to the Ateneo \'eneto, "SuU' 
Istituzione dei Magistrati della Repubblica Veneta fine al Secolo XIII.," 
in which he quoted from documents of 1288 and 1291 twenty mentions 
of a Council of Ten, as an existing body with its Capitolare, and having 
special knowledge of ^'' negoda giierra." It is, however, clear from 
the words of the decrees of 1310 quoted in Venezia e le Stie Lagujie 
(i. pp. 131 sqq.), " Che si eleggano X savi sopra questi negozi di queste 
novita," ike, that the council was a new body created for the purpose 
of dealing with the conspiracy. The most recent authority on the 
question, Signer Enrico Besta (// Senate I'eneziano, 1899, p. 39, n. 5) 
has shown that Cecchetti was mistaken, and that the Council of Ten, 
which was found mentioned before the end of the thirteenth century, 
was one of the temporary commissions that it was customary at Venice 
to appoint, e.g. the commission of fifteen mentioned in the text for the 
conduct of the war at Ferrara. Signer Besta mentions many other 
cases. I have not seen Cecchetti's Memoir, but there are extracts from 
it in A. Baschet, Les Archives de Venise, p. 515, note 2. 

224 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

end of July, were its work. A series of measures carried 
in the same month show us the state of panic in which the 
city was plunged. The members of the Great Council 
were permitted to attend its meetings in arms, the doors 
of its hall were to be kept open during its meetings, loo 
armed men in boats were to patrol the lagoons and canals, 
200 selected by the caposesiieri were to guard the Piazza, and 
thirty to be always on guard in the doge's palace. Every 
night at least ten men were to watch over each contrada,^ 
and without their leave no one after the third bell had rung 
was to pass from one contrada to another. At the same 
time the caposesiieri were ordered to levy 1500 good men 
and true to be ready to hasten to the side of the doge at 
the first alarm, each with his cuirass and other arms. As 
soon as the tocsin was rung from the campanile of San 
Marco all these were to assemble at their gathering-places 
and march half to the Piazza, half to guard their own 

The public alarm had not subsided when Michaelmas 
arrived, the date at which the powers of the Council of 
Ten must end, if not prolonged, and the doge came before 
the Great Council and demanded a prolongation for two 
months more of these powers. His picture of the state of 
affairs was so alarming that his demand was readily com- 
plied with. Similar prolongations for two months at a time 
were sanctioned till July 131 1,'- when the council was pro- 
longed, apparently, till 131 5, after which two decennial 
prolongations carried it on to the 20th of July 1335, when 
it was made a permanent body, the members of which 
were elected annually in August or September, a few at 

^ The contrada at \'enice was generally equivalent to the par- 

- Lebret says that in January T312 it was prolonged for five years, 
which would have carried it on till 1317. This he makes to agree with 
the statement that decennial extensions ended in 1335, by supposing 
the extensions to have been made in each case in the year before the 
term expired, i.e. in 1316 and 1325 (i. pp. 698, 699). 


a time, and by two divisions ^ of the Great Council, no one 
being re-eligible.- 

When the Council of Ten set to work, and the reports of 
the spies employed by it came in, it was evident that the 
alarm had not been unreasonable. On the 16th April 
131 1, a spy reported from Padua that on the day before, 
which was Good Friday, Bajamonte, who was staying in 
the house of Tiso da Camposampiero, had gone to a 
meeting convened 'at the house of Albertino da Carrara, 
which was numerously attended by nobles from Padua and 
the Marches, some exiles from Venice — two of the Querini, 
one a priest, are mentioned — and envoys from Rizzardo da 
Camino, the Vicar of the Emperor Henry VII. at Treviso. 
The lords of Camposampiero, a little town on the road 
from Padua to Bassano, had been long leading Guelf par- 
tisans in those parts — "Tiso Sampler" we meet with in 
"Sordello" as a power at Verona in the days of the Romanos 
and the Lombard League — and the bouse of Carrara was 
one of the chief Guelf families, shortly to rise to the lord- 
ship of Padua, and to figure much in Venetian history. At 
the Good Friday meeting Bajamonte explained his wrongs, 
and prayed the assembled nobles to aid him in getting his 
revenge, and the envoys of the Imperial Vicar supported 
his appeal. Enrico Scrovegno, a Paduan, promised for 
the Guelfs of his city to arm their followers in aid of 
Bajamonte's enterprise, and Filippo da Peraga, a kinsman of 
the Badoeri, testified that on the shores of the lagoon, at 
Marghera and San Giuliano, men's minds were in expecta- 
tion of Bajamonte making an attempt, which he himself 
would support with 800 armed men. But the general feeling 

^ " Per due mani" i.e. two of the " Hands," which were somewhat 
analogous to the Bureaux of a continental Chamber, chose each a 
candidate, and the council decided between these two. In 1356 the 
law was altered and the election made "/er tre mani,^^ and finally it 
was made '■''per quattro mani." A mano consisted of nine members. 

"^ That is, "immediately re-eligible." A year must elapse before he 
could be again elected. This compulsory interval was known in 
Venetian constitutional law as coniumacia, as I have mentioned above. 


226 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

of those assembled was less enthusiastic : it 'seemed an 
inopportune moment to strike a blow against the doge, 
when the Guelfs, the ruling party for fifty years past, had 
been weakened by the defection of the house of Este and 
the descent of the Emperor into Italy. ^ 

The meeting separated without coming to any conclu- 
sion to support Bajamonte; but the efforts of Venice to 
get him and his adherents expelled from the Trevisan 
territory, in which, as we have seen, he had his villa of 
Marocco and other property, did not succeed for seven 
years. On the i8th April 13 18, he and some others were 
banished from Trevisan territory ; but he only removed to 
Dalmatia, where, as well as in the Trevisan, we have seen 
that he had much property and powerful family connexions. 
For the next seven years, till 1325, we find mention of him in 
different parts of Slavonia, active and apparently respected, 
appointed more than once, to the disgust of the Venetian 
Government, arbitrator in local disputes between Dalmatian 
cities or Slavonian tribes. In 1325 the Bolognese, wishing 
to elect a foreigner as their war captain {capitano di guerta), 
selected Bajamonte Tiepolo for the post. Bologna was 
a Guelf city, and he was everywhere known as a Guelf 
partisan of wealth and ability ; and Venice, not wishing to 
be unfriendly to Bologna or to commit herself to the 
Ghibelline side, did not remonstrate with the Bolognese 
on account of what might pass as a natural choice ; but 
the Council of Ten sent orders to the Counts 2 of Trau, 

^ The abstract given by Predelli {Co?unie»toriali, lib. i., No 4/6) runs : 
" che ora per la defezione di casa d'Este e la discesa dell' imperatore 
trovavasi indebolito." The Emperor Henry of Luxemburg was at the 
date of this meeting in Milan on his way to be crowned at Rome. He 
had come to Italy avowedly as a friend of the Pope, then at Avignon, 
but no doubt the Guelfs looked upon him with suspicion, even if the 
Pope did not. The fifty years would date from the fall of the Romano 

^ The Venetian governors of cities or districts in Dalmatia were 
styled conti (Ant. Battistella in Niiovo Arch. Fen., No. 43, p. 17, 
n. I). 


Sebenico, Curzola, and Ragusa to watch the roads by 
which Bajamonte might endeavour to get out of their 
country, and seize him, if possible. He was, in all pro- 
bability, somewhere near Zara at this time ; but the 
messengers from Bologna, sent across the Adriatic from 
Ancona or Rimini to Spalato, to offer him the appointment, 
could not find him, nor could messengers whom they hired 
to follow him into " Possenia " (probably Bosnia) find him 
there. When he was found in the neighbourhood of Zara, 
just escaped from imprisonment in a Dalmatian castle, he 
was unwilling to attempt the perilous journey to Bologna, 
and declined the post offered him. He was no longer 
a young man, and after this his attempts to get back to 
Venice seem to have ceased; but till 1329 his name con- 
tinues to appear as that of a dangerous enemy in the 
Venetian records. After that year he is no more heard of. 
Romanin suggests,^ but has no evidence to produce in 
support of his suggestion, that he was put out of the way by 
some secret assassin in the employment of the Government. 
Romanin's appreciation of his character and of the object 
of his conspiracy seem to me undeniably correct. His 
attempt and its result impressed the Venetian imagination : 
the terror and indignation it inspired are seen in the lan- 
guage of the records, which seldom mention his name 
without the addition of // traditore or pessimo traditore. 

Another traitor whom the Council of Ten, when it was 
still a temporary body, punished was Francesco Fante of 
San Simone, who was reported by a spy to have said that 
with 200 men he could win the Piazza ; that a cause was 
seldom successful the first time ; the second time they 
would have better luck ; but anyhow it was better to die 
than to live as they must now live. He was watched, and 

^ iii. p. 49. He quotes many interesting passages from MS. chronicles 
or public documents as to the conspiracy and the subsequent fortunes 
of the conspirators. I have derived also much of the information in 
the text from a paper of Ant. Battistella in Nttovo Archivio Veneto, 
No. 43, pp. 5-24- 

228 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

was observed to go about the city at night, from house to 
house, and to ask men whether they were Guelfs or 
Ghibellines. He was seized, summarily judged, blinded, 
and exiled. Other nobles, a Barozzi, and a Querini who 
had escaped condemnation with the rest of his family, 
and some citizens of Chioggia, were detected in corre- 
spondence with the conspirators, and fled to join the exiles. 
These were ordered to return, and on their refusal sentenced 
to perpetual exile. ^ 

This would seem to be the most suitable place to give 
a full account of the constitution and functions of the 
Council of Ten, though much that we know of it comes to 
us from much later times, and probably does not represent 
its original state. Venetian writers were fond of comparing 
it to the Roman dictatorship. As when a dictator was 
elected, or when the consuls were ordered " to see that the 
Republic suffered no injury," the ordinary magistrates and 
assemblies found their action suspended, the Council of 
Ten could give orders as to matters within its cognisance 
that were of the same force as decrees of the Great Council, 
and had power " revocare consilia non ligata." ^ They 
were primarily an executive body, and their judicial powers, 
which fill the largest space in the conceptions generally 
formed of them, were, like those of the Star Chamber in 
our own country, only incidental to their executive powers. 
The elected ten did not act alone in any matters, but in con- 
junction with the doge and his councillors, making a body 
of seventeen. One of the Avogadori del Coftiufie also 
had to be present as legal adviser, with power to stop 
any illegal proceeding and to call any member to order, 
but with no vote on the causes coming before them for 
judgment. The seventeen, who were called Consiglio de' 
Died semplice, were alone competent to act as judges : 

> Lebret, i. p. 697. 

^ See Lebret, i. p. 697. Consilia, as I have remarked in a former 
note, is often used as equivalent to decrees, partes. " Consilia non 
ligata " would be decrees not confirmed by the Great Council. 


twelve, with the doge, were a quorum in some urgent admini- 
strative matters,^ but for sentencing an accused person it 
seems that the seventeen had all to be present, and to give 
their votes. For other matters than the actual trial of 
accused persons, an Aggiunta {Zonta in Venetian dialect) 
or " addition " of eminent citizens, varying in number,^ 
took part in the business of the council. 

The Council of Ten met every day of the week except 
Wednesday at the early hour usual in Venice, on Wednes- 
day in the afternoon. ^ Its meetings, we are told, were 
often long. They were held in the ducal palace, and in 
after times a large and splendid room there, which we can 
still see, with its walls and ceiling painted by Paul Veronese * 
and some of the later Venetian masters, was appropriated to 
them. At the first meeting of the newly elected members 
the Capitolare or code of bye-laws was read, and the mem- 
bers sworn to faithful service of Venice and the Doge, to 
secrecy as to the proceedings of the Council, to diligent 
attendance and observance of the rules laid down in their 
Capitolare^ and to scrupulous fidelity in the management of 
the public funds entrusted to them. The members were 
unpaid, and it was made a capital offence for any of them 
to accept any payment or gratification. 

It is unsafe to make too sharp a distinction in these 
remote times between judicial and executive functions. 

' Roman., iii. p. 57, note 4. 

'^ In 1 315 a Zonta of seventeen was appointed ; in 1355, after the con- 
spiracy of Marin Falier, a Zonta of twenty. From some accounts it 
would appear that in later times, besides a standing Zonta of fifteen, nine 
of the Procuratori of St. Mark, the six Savii Grandi, and five Savii di 
Terma Ferma sometimes took part in the proceedings of the co\jnciI ; 
but that only the Ten themselves, the doge and his six councillors, had 
the right to vote in the trial of a prisoner. 

3 See the order of 30 Dec. 1312 (quoted in note 3 to Romanin, iii. 
p. 56). In the time of Giannotti {Dial, de Rep. Vett., pp. 303, 304, Ital. 
trans.), it met only once in eight days as a rule. 

* An oval on the ceiling painted by Paul Veronese represents Jupiter 
banishing the Vices, with an angel at his side holding a book in which 
the decree instituting the council is written (A. Baschet, Lcs Archives 
de Venise, p. 527). 


The Council of Ten was formed to investigate the cir- 
cumstances of the Querini-Tiepolo conspiracy and to 
punish the conspirators ; when this work was finished, it 
was continued in existence with power to try and punish 
persons charged with " violating the majesty of the State," 
that is, with high treason, but only, it would appear, when 
the persons accused were nobles. They had also a cri- 
minal jurisdiction against a few special crimes, such as 
forging of the currency, the employment of bravi or hired 
ruffians, and offences against nature. As an executive or 
legislative body, they were called into action where secrecy 
or despatch was necessary. A case in point is cited in 
Giannotti's Dialogue. When the war between Venice and 
Florence about the Casentino was drawing to an end, and 
Florentine ambassadors were already in Venice to treat for 
peace, news came to the doge that a Turkish armada was 
preparing to set sail, and the Government, for fear that 
this should make Florence unwilling to come to terms, had 
the matter discussed in secret by the Ten and the treaty 
signed by their authority, without having come before the 
Pregadi.^ In the selection of " Criminal Laws of the 
Venetian Dominion," published in 1751 by order of the 
Superintendents of the Compilation of Laws, laws enacted 
by the Council of Ten first appear in the latter half of the 
fifteenth century. The advantages of a secret procedure 
and a system of espionage caused the extension of their 
jurisdiction to other matters than those originally referred 
to them, including a great part of the ordinary police of the 
city, a general supervision of theatres, masquerades, and 
other matters affecting public morals, and the supervision 
of a very miscellaneous collection of subjects, such as 
the great Scuole or religious confraternities, the Secret 
Service funds of the Republic, the Doge's Chancery, the 
woods and mines of the State, and the glass-works of 

^ Giannotti's Dialogue, 11. s., p. 300 of Ital. trans. 


Murano.^ The decisions of the Council of Ten on cases 
brought before them under any of these heads might be 
recorded as a rule to be followed in similar cases, just as 
judicial decisions in our English law. At Venice the rule 
was laid down in the same form — " Vadit pars " or 
" L'anderk Parte " — as a decree passed by the Great 
Council or the Pregadi." 

Like the Quarantia, the older and more august criminal 
court, the Council of Ten committed a great part of its 
power to three of its members, who held office as chiefs 
{capi), for each month in rotation. The rota was settled, 
at the beginning of the year of office of the Ten, by lot. 
Each of the three chiefs for the month acted as preposto 
for a week, by virtue of which he occupied the seat im- 
mediately opposite to the doge at meetings of the Great 
Council. The chiefs arranged the proceedings before the 
Ten, decided when it should be called, and all three, 
or at least two of them, had to propose any motion or 
parte in the council. They had to keep the council 
informed of the names of all prisoners detained by its 
orders, and of the progress of the proceedings against 
them. They received reports from the caposestieri, the 
district officers of police, signed all orders made by the 
council, and on three days in the week were to be found 
in their hall in the doge's palace to give audience to any 
one who called on public business. We are not surprised 

' The list is given fully in Roman., iii. pp. 65, 66. The decree of 
1468 settling the functions of the council is given there, and (partly) in 
Baschet, Lcs Archives de Venise, pp. 553, 554, note. " Tractatus 
terrarum et locorum subditorum " seem to mean negotiations for acquir- 
ing or giving up territory, There was frequent strife between the Ten 
and the -Senate on account of alleged encroachments by the former ; 
such a dispute was the occasion of this decree of 1468 and many others. 
It should be noted that in the decree of 1468 "dominium nostrum" 
means not " our dominions," but " our Signoria." 

* In 1424 the council made an order " che siano raccolte in un libro 
tutte le Parti spettanti ad esso Consiglio " (// R. Archo. Genie, di 
Vencsia, p. 56). 

232 VENICE IN THE 13th c^' 14th CENTURIES 

to learn that they were overworked.^ A few galleys in the 
arsenal that were at the disposal of the Council of Ten 
were marked with CX, standing for Capi di Died. 

The three chiefs played a most important part in the 
trials for political offences that came before the Council of 
Ten. These trials, as we have seen, wese the most impor- 
tant business of the council, and the detection of political 
crime was one of the gravest of their functions. For this 
purpose they employed secret agents {confidenti) in the 
city, especially in the inns where strangers lodged, in the 
islands of the Lagoons or the Adriatic, in Dalmatia and the 
Terra Ferma ; - and for this purpose also the famous Bocche 
del Leone, one of which is still to be seen by the entrance 
to the Sala delta Bussola, and one or two others in 
different parts of the city ^ — holes in the wall into which 
accusations, signed or unsigned, might be dropped — were 
intended. But we must not conclude from the existence 
of a very efificient detective machinery that the Govern- 
ment of Venice was careless of the liberty of its subjects 
or ready to punish them on suspicion. Whether the 
accusation {denitfizia) found in the Lion's Mouth was 
signed or unsigned, the greatest care was taken before 
arresting the accused person or even considering the 
accusation. When the council met next after the accusa- 
tion had been found, the secretary read it aloud to the 
seventeen members and the avogador ; if it was signed the 
members at once voted by ballot whether it should be 

' A document in the Fihe parti secrete quoted by Baschet {Les 
Archiv.de V., p. 530) complains "che il Tribunal dei Capi di esse 
Consiglio e giornalmente fastidito da infinite dimande de particolari 
indegne veramente della grandezza del detto Magistrate," where 
dimande, I think, are "matters delegated" to them by the council or 
other bodies. 

^ The correspondence with these confidenti {nella citta di J'., nelle 
■provi^icie, or alT estero) forms one or two sections of the documents of 
the Council of Ten in the Archives. See // R. Archivio Generate di 
v., p. 60. 

* There is one in the fa9ade of the church of St. Martin near the 
arsenal, another near San Trovaso. 


received. If four-fifths of the members did not vote for its 
reception in any one of five ballots that were taken, it was 
dropped or the matter referred to another magistrate. An 
unsigned accusation was not read unless all the doge's 
counsellors and the three chiefs of the council decided 
that it concerned public matters of grave importance and 
five-sixths of the whole seventeen agreed with them. Even 
then it was not taken into consideration unless a further 
ballot showed four-fifths of the votes to be for accepting it. 
If it passed this ordeal the secretary entered it in a Register 
of Complaints, but it was not further|proceeded with unless 
the council was of opinion that it touched the safety of the 
State or the citizens ; if not, the accusation was burnt. If, 
on the other hand, the council decided to proceed, one of 
the Avogadori explained the legal aspect of the case and 
read the order for arrest, or, if the accused was absent from 
Venice, the proclamation that it was proposed to issue 
requiring him to appear. The members then all voted — 
openly, it would appear — on the question of issuing such 
order or proclamation, the votes of the Avogadori being 
taken first, that the others might have the advantage of 
their legal advice, those of the Ten and the doge last. If 
all the votes agreed, there were still the usual five secret 
ballots before action was taken ; if they differed, the doge's 
opinion was put to the council as a parte or proposal, and 
balloted ; then the other opinions were put as amendments 
{scontri) and balloted. If neither parte nor scontro got 
more than half the votes after several ballots, the accusa- 
tion was dropped, and this, we are told, frequently happened. 
But if it was decided to proceed with the case, the accused 
was arrested, and his prosecution delegated to a committee 
or Collegia Crhninale, composed of the avogador engaged 
in the case, one of the doge's counsellors, and two of the 
Ten, who were instructed to bring the case before the 
council within fifteen days. The Collegio had to examine 
the accused and the witnesses. The examination of the 


accused was ordinarily conducted in the dark, but five- 
sixths of the council could allow it to be done in daylight, 
and sometimes allowed it, if the accused pleaded that the 
darkness confused him. There can be no doubt that this 
examination in darkness was a powerful means of inspiring 
the awe with which the tribunal was regarded. Witnesses 
could be cited both by the prosecutors and by the accused, 
but were never confronted with the accused ; they were 
sworn to tell the truth and to keep their evidence secret. 
Their evidence was read to the accused, and his answers, 
given viva voce, were taken down, but he was not allowed 
to give his answers in writing. In later times official advo- 
cates for prisoners were instituted, and from the first one of 
the chiefs of the Ten had charge of the defence before the 

When the Collegio had finished their examination the 
Council of Ten was assembled, and a secretary read to 
them all the documents in the case, the accusation, the 
evidence, and the verbal replies of the accused. If these 
filled more than 150 sheets, all had to be read over again 
on a second day, that it might be fresh in the judges' 
memory when they came to give sentence. The defence 
had to be read all on one day. When the reading of 
everything was finished the avogador asked each of the 
members whether he thought the accused should be con- 
victed, and if a majority were in favour of conviction it 
was open to each one to submit a motion {metier parte") 
proposing a penalty. The avogador first proposed a penalty, 
then the capi, next the other members of the council, and 
last the doge. If the penalties proposed were different, 
each was voted on by a separate ballot, and the proposal 
that had the largest number of votes was balloted for four 
times more, and if it did not get a majority of the whole 
council on the last ballot no penalty was inflicted. If 
sentence was passed, there was no appeal to a higher court ; 
but a proposal for a revision of the sentence could be made 


and granted even after years had passed, but in the latter 
case only if a certain number of the judges voted for it. 
This was called realdizione, or re-hearing. 

When the punishment to be inflicted was settled the 
avogador who had conducted the case, and who had exa- 
mined the accused in darkness, had the duty of showing 
himself to him in daylight to inform him of the sentence. 
The tribunal had the power of life and death, and could 
inflict death either in public or in secret ; if banishment 
was imposed, this carried with it the liability to death if 
the criminal returned. It could also punish with imprison- 
ment, the galleys, or mutilation. The prisons under its 
control were in the ducal palace itself, and were not sub- 
terranean dungeons. We have a decree of 1321 providing 
that part of two 'houses under the palace should be made 
into a prison and the remainder let; and another of 1326 
authorising the enlargement of the prisons for the relief of 
the prisoners {pro elevaiwne carceratoriim) by throwing into 
them the houses of the doge's gastaldi, and the compensa- 
tion of the latter for the loss of their quarters. There were 
some upper prisons in a part of the palace called the Torre- 
sella, which were removed to make room for the new Hall of 
the Great Council in the middle of the fourteenth century. 
These had been intended for prisoners of distinction, and 
an inscription on a window-sill, still to be seen in this part 
of the palace, commemorates the imprisonment here of a 
Count of Vegia Senia and Madrusa and his wife. A new 
prison was provided in 1441 for such prisoners, who seem 
to have been detained in them almost on parole.^ At a 
later time a room in the roof over the chamber of the Capi 
of the Council of Ten was made into prisons chiefly, it 
would appear, for prisoners awaiting their trial ; and these 
prisons were the original Piombi (or " leads "), of which so 

1 Roman., iii. p. 76, n. 5. Prisoners both in these and the lower 
prisons were let out at times, when the officers of the Ten were inspect - 
ing them, to walk in the corridors. They were not generally chained. 


many horrors have been told. They were small, low rooms, 
but not too low to stand upright in, and a wooden ceiling 
under the roof protected them from extremes of heat and 
cold; there was in each room a window that admitted 
light, and a ventilator in the door. The lower rooms, the 
so-called Pozzi (or wells) were also lighted, and were well 
above the level of the water; they were, no doubt, not 
comfortable places to live in. One of the houses originally 
appropriated in 13 15, called Mosina from the name of its 
former occupier, was in bad condition, and all were over- 
crowded at the date of the building of the new hall for the 
Great Council, and the decree for enlarging the prisons 
mentions as one of the reasons for this that those going up 
the stairs to the hall suffered much from the stench of the 
prisons.^ But Brother Felix Faber or Schmidt, head 
preacher of the Dominican convent at Ulm, who made 
pilgrimages to the Holy Land in 1480 and again in 1483-84, 
both times passing through Venice, of which he has left us 
a most interesting account, was much struck by the huma- 
nity of the Venetian Government towards prisoners com- 
pared with the treatment accorded them in Germany. He 
describes the prisons "under the gallery of the doge's 
palace, looking out upon the public Piazza, bright with open 
windows, through the iron gratings of which the prisoners 
could look out, stretch out their hands, chat with their 
friends outside, and, if poor, ask alms of passers-by. He 
saw in some rooms mechanics sitting at work at their 
trades and earning money ; in others, rich merchants play- 
ing at dice or chess, while their wives with servants and 
handmaids stood talking to them." These were probably 
debtors ; but " those who were condemned to death for 
heinous crimes were kept in a confinement that was more 
rigorous, but yet not intolerable," very different from the 
cruelty of German prisons, " inhuman, terrible, dark, in 
the dungeons of towers, damp, cold, sometimes swarming 
' Roman., iii. 74, n. 2. 


with serpents and toads, far removed from men, approached 
by no one but cruel torturers to terrify, threaten, and tor- 
ture them." Whereas at Venice pains were taken to shorten 
the pains of death, the executioiler not leaving them to die 
slowly by strangulation, but letting himself down by a rope 
on their necks and tightening the noose with his feet.^ 

A common punishment at Venice was forced labour in 
rowing the galleys or ships of war of the Republic, which 
were constantly on active service all about the Mediter- 
ranean. The loss of a hand or a foot or an eye had been 
from old times a penalty frequently inflicted by the ordinary 
criminal law, and continued under the extraordinary juris- 
diction of the Council of Ten. 

Public executions were either by beheading or by hanging; 
the criminal was sometimes hung from the windows of the 
palace, more often on a gallows between the two columns 
of the Piazzetta. In some cases of crimes of great atrocity 
we hear of the criminal being taken along the canal in a 
boat, stripped on the way, and finally broken on the wheel, 
just as criminals in England were whipped at the cart's tail 
to Tyburn and there hung. There seems no doubt that 
death was often inflicted in secret ; Romanin thinks that 
this was always a concession intended to spare the feelings of 
the survivors, where the criminal belonged to a distinguished 
family. In such cases death was by drowning in some 
desolate part of the lagoon, not, as mysterious legends 
have told, by means of a trap-door in the floor of the prison, 
which was, in fact, never situated directly over the water. 
The words of the sentence : " This night, let the condemned, 
N. N., be conducted to the Orfano Canal,^ where, his hands 
bound and his body loaded with a weight, he shall be 

^ Fratris Felicis Fabri, Evagatoriutn ift T.S. Arabia et Egypti 
peregrinatio7iem , ed. Hassler (Stuttgard, 1843), iii. pp. 409- 410 (or 
2143 of original paging). Part of the passage I have quoted is to be 
found in Roman., iii. 75, note 4. 

^ So called, it was said, from a great slaughter there of Pepin's 
Franks, which made many orphans in France (Roman., i. 143). 

238 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

thrown in by an officer of justice. And let him die there," 
were known and were such as to inspire terror. All such 
deaths were entered in the registers of San Marco, those by 
drowning being more numerous in disturbed times, but 
never exceeding an average of ten in a year.^ 

The institution of the Council of Ten put the coping 
stone to the aristocratic regime established by the Serrata 
del Consiglio. The main object of that constitutional 
change was to diminish the influence of broglio or 
turbulent party spirit, and avert its probable result, the 
usurpation of some ambitious party leader. From this 
evil Venice, almost alone of Italian States, throughout the 
Middle Ages never suffered. The aristocracy that governed 
her was large in numbers. Old Venetian writers regard 
the Great Council as introducing an element of democracy 
into the Constitution, Giannotti contending with undoubted 
justice that a governing body of some thousands could not 
be called an oligarchy. The ancient world of Greece and 
Rome, with which those writers were familiar, had produced 
one great democracy at Athens, but a democracy resting on 
a vast body of slaves, who did most of the mechanical 
work that the unprivileged classes in Venice performed. 
Unmitigated democracy, government by, and in the ex- 
clusive interest of, the multitude of mechanical labourers, 
had not been seen in Greece or Rome, or in any of the 
contemporary Italian Republics. 

The governing nobles of Venice at this time were not in 
the least an effete class, corrupted by many generations of 
wealth and luxury, but numbered among them many men of 
affairs who had managed great commercial undertakings, 
who had travelled in civilised and uncivilised lands ; many 
sailors who had commanded ships of war and fought the 
Genoese in the Western or Eastern Mediterranean ; many 
who had been on embassies to Constantinople or Rome, to 
Persia or Tartary. Such men had an acquired talent for 

^ Roman., iii. 78, 79 ; Baschet, Les Archives de V'enise, p. 535. 


the government of their fellow-men, whether at home or 
abroad. They must have given a statesmanlike tone to 
the discussions in the Great Council, where, however, more 
time was taken up in elections than in debate, and in the 
Pregadi or Senate, which has not up to this time taken 
a prominent part in our history, but which in the fourteenth 
century began to be a great administrative power, a large 
Privy Council with especial control over foreign affairs. 
The executive body proper was the Signoria, the doge with 
the six members of his lesser council, and the three chiefs 
of the Supreme Criminal Court or Quarantia ; and this was 
immensely strengthened by the creation of the Council of 
Ten, with its unlimited powers, its freedom from forms, its 
rapidity of action, the secrecy of its meetings whenever this 
was necessary, its secret agents all over the world, observing 
and reporting. The four secretaries of this Council, who 
were permanent officials, formed with the secretaries of 
other bodies the higher civil service of the Republic, a 
body of men of high education, many of them with long 
experience of public life, and highly paid, from whom the 
great chancellor, the highest person after the doge and 
the procurators of St. Mark, and holding his office, like 
them, for life, was selected.' The Venetian Government 
at this time was probably the most efficient the world had 
yet seen, or in its then state could have furnished. A 
government chosen by the people and representing them 
was not then in any man's mind ; but a government that 
its subjects could see to be honest and efficient, and that 
succeeded, was trusted and respected by them. 

In 131 1, just a year after the conspiracy of Bajamonte 
had broken out, the Doge Gradenigo died. As we have 
seen, he is one of the most notable figures in early 

* The importance of these permanent officials is much insisted on in 
Howell's "Venice Looking-Glass," 1618, p. 15, the work of a very 
shrewd and well-informed English writer, who had " swum in a. 
gondola," the author of the Epistohe Hoeliame. 


Venetian history, more than any one else the creator of 
the Venetian aristocracy, the most famous the world has 
yet seen. In two great events of his time — the closing of 
the Great Council, and the defiance of the Pope in the 
matter of Ferrara — he took himself the leading part, was 
firm in his resolve and uncompromising. His countrymen 
supported him against the Tiepolo-Querini conspirators, 
but they do not seem to have loved him. He was buried, 
not in San Marco, nor in either of the great Churches of 
the Mendicant Orders, but in the Monastery of St. Cyprian 
in Murano. Marino Sanudo the younger, in his " Lives of 
the Doges," remarks that no sarcophagus in the church and 
no epitaph kept his memory fresh, only a gravestone without 
letters,^ and there is an accent of scorn in his words that he 
died after having been doge twenty-two years and nine 
months " /;/ gran fas tidio e i?i poca pace." His breve says 
nothing about the Serrata del Cofisiglio or the creation of 
the Council of Ten, mentioning only the great conspiracy 
and a war with Padua about some salt-works. 

^ " Uti avdlo senza kttere" (Murat., R. I. i"., xxii. col. 588). 



I RETURN in this chapter to the affairs of the Levant, in 
which Venice continued to be so largely interested. The 
Latin Empire set up eighty years before on the Bosporus 
had fallen, and the Greek Michael Paleologus had the 
prestige of twenty years' undisturbed possession of a throne, 
which at his death in 1282 passed peaceably to his son 
Andronicus. The hopes of a Latin restoration had, it is 
true, not been renounced, and, in the year of Andronicus' 
succession, a great part of Western Europe was on the tip- 
toe of expectation to see what would come of the great 
expedition that Charles of Anjou, the King of Naples, was 
fitting out to reconquer Constantinople, an expedition on 
a vaster scale than that of the Fourth Crusade, having at 
its back, besides the sea power of Venice, the land army 
of Charles, the most powerful of Italian princes, and the 
zealous support of the Papacy. That enterprise was 
stopped by the outbreak of the revolution known as the 
Sicilian Vespers, which deprived Charles of Sicily, and 
involved him in a war of twenty years for his kingdom of 

Charles of Anjou did not claim the Empire of Romania 
for himself, but by the treaty of Viterbo in 1267 had 
undertaken to reconquer it for Baldwin, the dispossessed 
Emperor and his heirs. In 1274 Baldwin died; his son 
Philip, who inherited his titular Empire, had married, the 

242 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

year before, Charles' daughter Beatrice. He had not a 
foot of land in Romania, and lived at Naples in depend- 
ence on his father-in-law. But it was agreed in the treaty 
of Orvieto, which Charles and Philip made with Venice in 
1 281, that Philip, as Emperor, should command the great 
expedition against Constantinople. When Philip died — 
which was probably in 1285 — the claim to the Latin Em- 
pire devolved on his daughter Catherine de Courtenay, who 
was Charles of Anjou's grand-daughter, and lived, like her 
father, at the Court of Naples. It was therefore natural 
that the restoration of the Latin Empire should form part 
of the mission of the house of Anjou. And this was not 
the only bond between Anjou and Romania. By the 
treaty of Viterbo, Charles had reserved for himself, when 
promising to reconquer the Empire for Baldwin, the feudal 
superiority over the Principality of Achaia,i which, unlike 
the Latin Empire, was an existing government, enjoying a 
certain vitality under the Villehardouin family. William de 
Villehardouin shortly after this came to Naples to do homage 
to Charles, and there a marriage was arranged between Philip, 
Charles' son, and Isabella ^'illehardouin. Thus Charles 
had a daughter married to the Latin Emperor of Romania, 
and a son married to the heiress, or one of the co-heiresses, 
of the Principality of Achaia. Philip of Anjou (who must 
not be confused with his brother-in-law, Philip of Courtenay 
or Flanders, and titular Emperor of Romania) died in 
1277, leaving Isabella, his widow, under the protection of 
Charles of Anjou. Both the Empire and the Principality 

' This included no part of Greece north of the isthmus, and only 
the western and central parts of the Peloponnesus. Of its three pro- 
vinces, Kalamata was the ancient Messenia, in which the Venetian 
fortified posts of Modone and Corone formed enclaves ; Skorta was 
Arcadia ; while the Morea was properly the name of Elis and Achaia 
only, in which Andravida, the seat of government, and Clarentza, the 
chief port, were situated. The eastern side, with the busy port of Monem- 
vasia or Malvoisie, and the stronghold of Misithra, in the Eurotas 
Valley, belonged to the Greeks (see Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, 
pp. 268 sqi].). 











had fallen to the spindle side, and Charles could offer the 
hand of the titular Empress Catherine de Courtenay to any 
knight of adventurous spirit who might be tempted to win 
an empire by his good sword, and the hand of the widowed 
Princess of Achaia, his vassal, to any one who was bold 
enough to assume the rule over a number of independent 
Prankish barons scattered over the valleys and hill-sides 
of the Peloponnesus, mingled with many wild chieftains 
of barely civilised Albanian or Slavonic clans, and some 
Turkish or Bulgarian mercenaries rewarded with grants of 
land.^ For the rest of his life, after his son's death, 
Charles kept the Principality in his own hands, appointing 
baillis or viceroys, the most important of whom were 
William de la Roche, Duke of Athens, and Nicolas de St. 
Omer, who had married a princess of Antioch, and built 
himself a magnificent palace in the Cadmeia, the old 
citadel of Thebes; but in 1289 Charles the Lame, the 
second Angevin King of Naples, found a husband for 
Isabella in the person of Florence of Hainault, a descendant 
of Baldwin of Flanders, the first Latin Emperor of Romania, 
a brave and capable knight from the north of France, who 
had come to Italy in search of adventure and been made 
Constable of Sicily, and was now sent to Greece with his 
wife as Prince and Princess of Achaia, still under the 
suzerainty of Naples. 

Besides their close connexion with the Empire and the 
Principality, the house of Anjou were in possession of 
Corfu, and of that considerable part of Epirus which had 
come to Manfred by his marriage with a princess of the 
Comneni, and was held to have passed to Charles by right 
of conquest. They were also recognised as having a kind 

^ The state of the Principality of Achaia at this time is vividly de- 
scribed by Karl Hopf in the 85th vol. of Ersch iind Gruber's Encyclo- 
pedia : see, e.^g^., his account of the siege of the castle of St. George in 
Arachova at p. 346. Hopf had devoted prodigious industry to the 
study of the Angevin records at Naples : see what he says at p. 204, 
and his footnotes fasszm. 


of feudal superiority over the wild clans of the Albanian 
coast. When the great expedition against Constantinople 
was being prepared by Charles, Epirus had been occupied 
by troops from Apulia, and the barons of Achaia and chief- 
tains of Albania had been summoned to perform their feudal 
service in the war. 

With all these pretensions to empires, kingdoms, and 
principalities in the Levant, it is no wonder that the 
Angevin princes appeared formidable to the Paleologi at 
Constantinople. Michael, the re-conqueror of the Empire, 
was at times disposed to temporise, and hold out hopes of 
adopting the dogmas of the double procession and Papal 
supremacy in order to propitiate the Popes, who were 
generally his rival's strongest supporters. Andronicus, his 
successor, was more entirely devoted to the orthodox 
Greek clergy, and did not talk of submission to Rome. 
But both sovereigns were drawn, by their suspicions of the 
Angevins, to ally themselves with Peter, King of Aragon, 
who had married Constance, the heiress of Manfred, and 
thus represented, in the eyes of the Pope and the Guelfs of 
Anjou, the hated house of Suabia. Peter had been at 
once called in by the revolutionists of Palermo to help 
drive out the Angevins from Sicily. It was suspected that 
his ally Michael Paleologus had been deeply involved in 
the conspiracy that had prepared, or perhaps been fore- 
stalled by, the Vespers. 

Thus the plans for reinstating a Latin Empire at Con- 
stantinople became entangled with the rivalry of Anjou and 
Aragon, that caused civil war in Sicily, and threatened 
trouble in other kingdoms of the West. It was an exten- 
sion over a wider area of the strife of Guelf and Ghibelline 
in Italy, which was never more bitter than at this time, 
when Dante denounced Charles the Lame (really a harm- 
less person enough) as " the cripple of Jerusalem signed 
with one virtue and a thousand vices," who bargained for 
the sale of his young daughter to old Azzo of Este, "as 


corsairs do for their female captives." ^ Martin IV., Pope 
from 1281 till 1285, was a Frenchman, who sympathised 
with the Angevins as a French party, while as a Guelf he 
detested Peter of Aragon as the son-in-law of Manfred 
and heir of the Suabian traditions. He was ready to ex- 
communicate Peter and all his allies and supporters, and 
to preach a Crusade in favour of Charles of Anjou. But 
his spiritual weapons seemed to have no effect in Sicily, 
where, in the two years that followed the Vespers, the 
Aragonese had the upper hand, and not only drove the 
French out of the island, but followed them into Calabria, 
while Roger Loria, the admiral of Sicily, the greatest sea- 
man of his age, carried his fleet into the Bay of Naples, and 
there in a great engagement defeated and took prisoner 
the Prince of Salerno, who afterwards, as king, was Charles 
the Lame, the same whom we have seen lashed by the great 
Ghibelline poet. 

The Crusade preached by the Pope in favour of the Anjou 
princes, and the invasion of Aragon by Philip the Bold, 
King of France, in pursuance of it, brought a new actor on 
the scene, Charles of Valois, Philip's younger son. His 
father, with the sanction of the Pope and of the Parliament 
of his kingdom, claimed for him the kingdoms of Aragon 
and Valencia, and a great French army crossed the 
Pyrenees and invaded Catalonia (the county of Barcelona) 

^ Purgatorio, xx. 79-81: — 

" L'altro che gia usci, preso di nave 
Veggio vender sua figlia, e patteggiarne, 
Come fan li corsar dell' altre schiave." 

The whole passage from v. 67 to v. 81 is instructive as to the several 
Charles's of Anjou and Naples. The other passage I have quoted is in 
Faradiso, xix. 127-29: — 

" Vedrassi al Ciotto di Gerusalemme 
Segnata con un I la sua bontade 
Quando '1 contrario segnera un Emme " (M.). 

I shall have to refer later to the more famous invective against the 
third Charles. 

246 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

in 1284, but was foiled by the difficulties of the country, 
the undaunted courage of Peter and his subjects, and the 
skill of Roger Loria and his Sicilian sailors, who won 
a great victory over the invaders' fleet in the Gulf of 

Charles of Valois was left a king without a kingdom, as 
other crusading kings before him had been left. The 
Pope's Legate, before the French expedition started, had 
at Paris solemnly invested Charles with the kingdoms, and 
in token thereof placed a hat on his head. This was 
now the only royalty he possessed, and his enemies in 
mockery called him in Catalonian dialect Rey del Xapeu} 
" King of the Hat," as the Italians called him Carlo senza 
Terra, or "Charles Lackland." He is the third Charles 
of the prophecy Dante puts into the mouth of Hugh Capet, 
" who came out from France without arms save the lance of 
treachery with which Judas jousted, and who was to win, 
not land, but sin and shame from his enterprise." - 

It was necessary to do something for Charles of Valois, 
an instrument of the Pope and the French party, left on 
their hands as an unsuccessful pretender. At first a 
daughter of Charles II. of Naples, with the county of 
Anjou, the original patrimony of her family, as her dower, 
was given him, and for some years he governed this and 

^ Muntaner, c. ciii- Buchon, in his French translation of Muntaner's 
Chronicle, implies that the Legate used his own Cardinal's hat for the 
coronation of Charles. In the same chapter Muntaner speaks of 
Charles inheriting the wind. 
^ Purgatorio, xx. JO: — 

"Tempo vegg' io, non molto dopo ancoi, 
Che tragge un' altro Carlo fuor di Francia, 
Per far conoscer meglio e se e i suoi. 
Senz' arme n' esce, e solo con la lancia, 
Con la qual giostro Giuda : e quella ponta 
Si ch' a Fiorenza fa scoppiar la pancia. 
Quindi non terra, ma peccato ed onta 

Charles came to the south in 1302, and on his way to Naples 
expelled the White faction, and Dante amongst them, from Florence. 
Hence the bitter scorn of the reference to his action at Florence. 


did good service to the King of France, so that when his 
Angevin wife died in 1299 he was looked upon by Pope 
Boniface and the King of Naples as likely to be useful in 
the enterprise that was very near their hearts of recovering 
Sicily from the house of Aragon. If he would undertake 
this, he was offered the hand of Catherine de Courtenay, 
with the Empire of Romania, if he could recover it from 
the Greeks, and possibly, in the future, the Empire of the 
West also, which the Italians were unwilling to regard as 
permanently vested in a Transalpine prince. The titular 
Empress Catherine had been kept in reserve in the hands 
of the King of Naples, who had trafficked with her as 
Dante accused him of trafficking with his own daughter, 
*' in the way corsairs treated captive women." Her hand 
had been offered to two princes of Aragon, and once at 
least to a son of the Emperor Andronicus. The marriage 
to Charles of Valois actually took place early in 1301, 
before his descent on Florence and Naples. His brother, 
Philip the Fair, who needed his services in France, made 
him promise to return there from Naples, and not go on to 
the East without his special leave, but at the same time 
gave him 40,000 livres of Tours for the expenses of his 
expedition. This was postponed till Sicily had been recon- 
quered from the Aragonese, which, it was hoped, might be 
effected in the summer of 1302. Before Charles entered 
upon this task, the King of Naples confirmed in his favour 
all promises of aid in the recovery of Romania made to 
Baldwin and Philip. The campaign in Sicily was not 
successful, and Charles patched up hastily a peace with 
Frederic of Aragon, who had succeeded to the kingdom of 
Sicily when his elder brother James had become King of 
Aragon. Frederic promised a small contingent of ships 
and troops for the Romanian expedition should it come 
off.^ But it was now practically certain that the expedition 

^ Ducange, Hist, de f Empire de Constantinople, ii. p. 45 (ed. 

248 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

would not come off. When Charles, in November 1302, 
returned to France, he made up his mind not to push any 
more his wife's claims to her inheritance. When he was 
in Flanders fighting for his brother, the empress, his wife, 
gave birth to a daughter, by whom the claim to Romania 
was passed on to Philip, Prince of Tarentum, Charles the 
Lame's younger son, and in due course to other princes 
of Tarentum, in whom also the Principality of Achaia, the 
chief fief of the Empire, became vested. The last of these 
princes who assumed the title of emperor seems to have 
been Jacques des Baux, who succeeded his uncles Robert 
and Philip, the sons of Charles of Valois' daughter. It 
would be interesting to investigate the question who, at the 
present day, is entitled by descent to claim this visionary 

Ten years before Charles' return to France the Crusading 
spirit, which had been the original root of all these schemes 
for a conquest of the East by the West, had been almost 
quenched by the fall of Acre, to which, as seriously 
affecting the position of Venice and Genoa in the Levant, I 
must now for a time return. 

Acre was a large and populous city, enriched by the 
trade that brought the products of Europe to the isolated 
European communities in Syria, and also the treasures of 
the Eastern world to the rich and luxurious communities 
springing up in the West.^ But it was not, like Jerusalem 
of the Psalmist's days, " built as a city that is at unity in 

^ The most lively description of the wealth and splendour of Acre 
is given us in the Chronicle of Herman Corner, who is particularly 
impressed by the glass windows and the silken awnings that shielded 
the streets from the fierce sun of Syria (Eccard., Corpus Hist. Medii 
^'Evi, torn. ii. col. 942). The King of Jerusalem, the Princes of Galilee 
and Antioch,and many of the Latin Barons, who had been dispossessed 
of their estates in Palestine since Saladin's conquest, had their palaces 
or fortified houses in Acre, and, according to Corner, were to be seen 
in their crowns of gold walking in the streets. But hyperbole prevails 
in the chroniclers' descriptions of Acre (see Wilken, vii. 737 sqq.)- A 
German chronicler compares its aspect to that of " Colen of den J\yn." 


itself." It had its separate quarters for Genoese, Pisans, 
Venetians, Amalfitans, and its streets were constantly dis- 
turbed by conflicts between Venetians and Genoese, 
Guelfs and Ghibellines. When in the spring of 1291 the 
enemy appeared before the walls, the Templars and 
Hospitallers exerted themselves to persuade the various 
hostile elements to unite in defending the walls, and an 
heroic defence was made ; but on the i8th of May a 
vigorous assault of the Moslems succeeded in forcing an 
entry through a breach near the " Accursed Tower " ^ 
while a great storm was raging, and the inhabitants who 
escaped the sword had no resource but to take refuge on 
board the ships that might convey them to Cyprus or other 
parts of the Christian world.- 

The best authorities we have for the history of these 
events agree with the opinion of the Military Orders that, 
if an armistice could have been obtained when the Soldan 
was advancing against the city, and time given for reinforce- 
ments to come from the West, the Latin kingdom might 
have been saved. The Master of the Temple, who was a 
persona grata with the Sultan Malek-al-Aschraf, went to the 
Saracen camp and ascertained that a truce could be 
obtained by the payment of a Venetian denarius for each 
Christian in the town. But when he reported this he was 
cried down by the citizens, and the Patriarch Nicolas, 
full of the high-strung enthusiasm of a Crusader, made a 
spirit-stirring speech, appealing to the feudal instincts of 
knights and Serjeants not to desert Christ their Lord. 

' This part of the walls was guarded by Henry, King of Cyprus and 
Jerusalem, who despaired of the cause and went home to Cyprus in the 
night after the 15th of May. His conduct is painted in dark colours 
by some contemporary writers {e.g. Anon, de Excidio Acconis in Martene 
and Durand's Colleclio Aniplissiyna, torn. v. col. 770). There is an 
interesting old plan of Acre to illustrate the Secreta Fidelium Cruets in 
Bongars' Gesta Dei per Francos. It is reproduced in Spruner's great 
atlas, and in many histories of the Crusades, e.g. Archer and Kingsford's 
volume in the " Story of the Nations," p. 415. 

- Dandolo (or his conlinuator) in Murat., R. I. .S., xii. col. 403. 


The patriarch fought bravely to the end, and when forced 
by his friends to go on board ship to escape, insisted on 
staying to take on board other fugitives, till the crowd that 
flowed in sank the ship and all on board. But the citizens, 
who joined him in advocating resistance to the last, are 
accused by the chronicler of the Teutonic order of having 
shown cowardice in the defence. The Venetians and 
Pisans in the city refused to obey the orders of the 
Templars and Hospitallers, and these, though they fought 
at the breach and in the streets till only ten Templars and 
seven Hospitallers survived, were in discord with one 
another, and in the general opinion deeply tainted with the 
luxury and vice that were believed to have called down the 
vengeance of Heaven on the city.^ 

The garrison of Tyre surrendered on the same day that 
Acre was stormed, and though the few surviving Templars 
offered to defend Sidon, they found the task hopeless, and 
retired to Tortosa and thence to Cyprus. The Soldan's 
victorious army returned to Damascus and Cairo in 
triumph : none of his predecessors had achieved so signal a 
victory over the forces of Christendom. 

When the news of this crushing blow reached Western 
Christendom, there seems to have been a general desire to 
blame King Philip of France, Edward I. of England, who 
had a second time taken the Cross, but delayed his start, 
the Venetians and Genoese, but, most of all, the Pope and 

' The strongest testimony is that of the Greek monk Arsenius in his 
speech to Pope Nicolas IV., given in the one hundred and twentieth 
chapter of Earth, de Neocastro's Historia Simla (Murat., R. I. S., xiii. 
cols. 1182-84). He says: " Jam oriuntur in Urbe dissidia ; Pisanus 
quidem popiilns,etadstantes Veneti Religiosoriitn non patiebanturimperia. 
Crucesignati tui, dum c7-ederemus pro victoria Critcis animas tradere, 
Baccho vacabant ; et cum tuba ad anna popiduin excitaret, illi circa 
inollia dediii, Marte postposito, ab amplexibus Veneris pectus et brachia 
non solvebant. Et quod deterius fuit, Fratres Hospitalis Sti. Joannis, 
ac Domoruin Milititc Tcmpli dedignabantur alter alterius uti consiliis 
et sustinere vices ac pondcra prxliorum. He excepts from his censure 
Henry, King of Cyprus ; but other authorities are severe on his premature 
desertion (see ante, p. 249, n. l). 


the clergy. Arsenius, the Greek monk, who had been on a 
pilgrimage in Syria, and had apparently been an eye-witness 
of the horrors of the siege of Acre, appeared before the 
Pope and openly reproached him for caring more for the 
strife of factions in Sicily than for the recovery of the 
Sepulchre of Christ.^ The reproaches to Nicolas IV. were 
indeed undeserved. His zeal for the Holy Land was un- 
flagging. He now wrote urgent letters to Philip the Fair, 
to the Prelates of France — who sent an answer that what 
had lost the Holy Land was the discord of Greeks and 
Latins, and the civil war of Angevins and Aragonese in 
Sicily, and that if the Pope could put an end to this, there 
might be some hope of success for the preaching of a 
Crusade ; — to the Genoese and Venetians, urging them to 
send fleets at once to the East, and, as a first step towards 
that, to negotiate for a peace, or at least a truce, and 
pointing out that they were incurring grievous guilt by 
supplying the Saracen enemy, in the ordinary course of 
trade, with iron for arms and timber for shipbuilding, an 
old-standing scandal to Christendom that had lately been 
condemned under heavy penalties by the Council of Lyons 
of 1274.2 The Pope even wrote to the Khan of the 
Tartars, who had made some overtures to him and to 
Edward, King of England, with a view to common action 
against the Soldan of Egypt, urging him to be baptized ^ 
as a preliminary to vigorous action in Syria ; — and to the 
Kings of Armenia, Georgia, and Iberia, and the schismatic 

^ '^ Mentem tua/n," he said, "■ adeo ciira Sicilia: t07-puit, circa cujus 
recuperatione?n tola cordis affectu anhelabas quod licet hcec sciveris, circa 
miindi totius discriniiua singula dormitabas " (Murat,, A'. /. S., xiii. col. 
1183, quoted in Wilken, vii. p. 776). 

^ The letter to Philip is to be found in Raynaldus, ann. 1291, §§ 20- 
22, those to the Genoese and Venetians, id., §§ 23-29. The reply of 
the French clergy is in the Chronicle of William de Nangis(D'Achery, 
Spicilegium, torn. iii. p. 49). 

^ The Khan does not appear to have been himself baptized ; but his 
son, by the influence of a pious mother, had already received baptism, 
and exchanged his barbarous name of Carbagunda for the Pope's name 
of Nicolas (Raynaldus, ri.s., § '^'S). 

252 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Andronicus Paleologus at Constantinople. He had, more- 
over, sent twenty galleys to the Levant, which, in conjunc- 
tion with fifteen of the King of Cyprus, effected landings 
at Candelor ^ in Asia Minor and near Alexandria, but 
produced no permanent effect. Though, after the Coun- 
cil of Vienne in 13 12, the Emperor Henry of Luxemburg, 
PhiUp the Fair, and Edward II. of England all took 
the Cross ; though about the beginning of the fourteenth 
century some noble Genoese ladies sold their jewels and 
fine clothes to fit out a fleet which Benedetto Zacharias, a 
famous Genoese corsair, was to have taken to the coast of 
Syria if an opportunity had offered; though in 1308 a 
horde of poor enthusiasts from France and the Nether- 
lands marched down to Avignon begging or robbing, de- 
manding of the Pope ships to take them over the sea ; 
though, as I have before mentioned, the Venetian Marino 
Sanudo, in 132 1, submitted to the Pope a most interesting 
and serious proposal for recovering the Holy Land by an 
attack on Egypt, and the encouragement of trade with the 
subjects of the Soldan ; and though, in the middle of the 
fourteenth century, Petrarch expressed his joyful hope that 
the land where the Redeemer was crucified would be re- 
stored to Christendom,- no great or combined effort to 
effect this was made after that which came to an end in 
The fervour of Christian zeal for the recovery of the 

' Candelor or Anaia is on modern maps Scala Nova, on the coast 
south of Smyrna (Heyd, French trans., i. p. 537). 

- " Ma quel benigno Re che '1 ciel governa, 
Al sacro loco ove fu posto in Croce, 
Gli occhi per grazia gira ; 
Onde nel petto al novo Carlo spira 
La vendetta ch' a noi tardata noce, 
Si che molt' anni Europa ne sospira." 

— Rime, pte. i,a. canzone i. 5, vv. 22-7. 

The new Charles is supposed to be the Emperor Charles IV., the 
older Charles with whom he is compared not, I think, any of the three 
whom Dante scorned, but Charles the Great. 


Holy Sepulchre had in fact died out, and the commercial 
and colonising enterprise which Marino Sanudo hoped to 
see reinforcing it was found by Venetian and Genoese 
merchants to be equally attainable without the accom- 
paniment of war. The Saracen princes, enlightened and 
tolerant, were ready to grant privileges and immunities to 
Western traders, which were more attractive than the 
Papal indulgences, the value of which could not be felt till 
after death. In 1297, Naser Mohammed, the Soldan who 
succeeded Malek-al-Aschraf, made a treaty with Venice, 
which, in addition to the usual promises of protection to 
their traders, and permission to them to visit the Holy 
Sepulchre under escort, contained a remarkable provision 
that Venetians bringing to Egypt " objects prohibited by 
the Christians," that is to say, slaves and arms or munitions 
of war, should be exempt from duty on the products they 
took in exchange.' In 1304 Pope Benedict XI. renewed 
the prohibition of this class of exports ; but the Venetians 
were of old skilled in the art of evading the orders of 
Popes, while treating their persons with the highest re- 

In the year 1291 the peace between Venice and Genoa, 
which had lasted, with some intervals, for twenty-one years, 
by means of truces several times renewed, came to an end. 
Both Republics resumed the war with alacrity. The 
Genoese, favoured, as we have seen, by the Paleologi, were 
established firmly at Galata, and had lately founded a new 
colony at Caffa in the Crimea. The destruction of the 
Christian stronghold at Acre, and the disturbance of the 
old channels of trade through Syria, increased greatly the 
importance of the Black Sea ports in connexion with 
Eastern commerce. The Genoese aimed at monopolising 
the trade of Constantinople, of Trebizond, and of Tana, the 
modern Azof, a great entrepot for the merchandise that 
came down the Don to the Palus Maeotis. To resist this 
^ Romanin, ii. p. 329. 

254 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

attempt Venice entered into alliance with Pisa, with the 
object of wresting Galata and Caffa from the Genoese. 
Great preparations for war were made. The capi di con- 
trada drew up a schedule of all the arms owned by citizens 
of their districts, and a register of all the residents between 
seventeen and sixty, from which the authorities could call out, 
at a moment's notice, the crews of any galleys that might be 
required to put to sea. This was in the summer of 1294. 
On the 13th of July a decree called upon some of the 
richest families of the city to provide crews and armaments 
for one, two, or three galleys. ^ By the 7th of October 
sixty-eight sopracotniti were appointed, and the fleet sailed.'^ 
At Lajazzo (the modern Alaia), on the south coast of Asia 
Minor, it met and engaged the Genoese fleet. The latter 
was not strong either in numbers or in quality of ships, 
but Nicolo Spinola, their commander, occupied the harbour 
of Lajazzo before the Venetians arrived, and lashed a 
number of his ships together so as to make a great 
floating fortress. The wiser Venetians proposed to send 
fire-ships against this fortress ; but this seemed an ignoble 
proceeding to the majority of their officers, and, having the 
wind in their favour, they entered the harbour, and bore 
down on the enemy. They were defeated, and lost twenty- 
five ships and a number of their men, including Marco 
Basegio, their commander. 

The war which was thus begun lasted till 1299, and 
ranged over the whole of the Eastern Mediterranean. The 
Venetians at first got the worst in the fighting. The flower 
of their seamen were taken prisoners at Lajazzo, and when 
they fitted out sixty more galleys under Nicolo Querino, 
these were sent to Sicily on a false report spread by the 
Genoese, whose fleet meanwhile made a descent on Crete, 

^ The richest families called on to equip three galleys each were but 
four in number — Querini, Morosini, Contarini, Dandolo. 

^ The decree ordering them to sail ran " vadant in nomine Dei ad 
sanctum Nicolaum," i.e. to San Nicola di Lido (Roman., ii. },12, n. 3). 


and took and burnt Canea. The Venetians continued to 
send their annual carovana, with an escort of ships of war, 
to the Levant ; but the Syrian ports were no longer open, 
and the Black Sea was difficult of access for them with the 
Genoese established at Galata and Caffa. So in 1294 they 
seem to have landed their merchandise somewhere on the 
coast of Lesser Armenia (the ancient CiHcia), and in 1295 
Andrea Dandolo, in command of the escort, had got no 
farther than Modone, when he was beguiled into leaving 
the carovana and going in pursuit of a Genoese fleet, which 
eluded him and, returning, surprised and totally destroyed 
the carovana in the harbour of Modone. The Genoese 
made so great an effort in this year, putting 200 galleys to 
sea, that the Venetians had to order all their governors in 
Mediterranean ports to act strictly on the defensive. The 
Greek Emperor Andronicus was the bitter enemy of Venice, 
and was easily persuaded by the Genoese in 1296 to seize and 
imprison Marco Bembo, the newly appointed bailo at Con- 
stantinople, with all the Venetian residents. These were 
subsequently handed over to the Genoese, who put them to 

At length the fortune of the war changed. There were 
only twenty Venetian ships of war in the waters of 
Romania when the bailo was seized ; but when the news 
reached Venice, forty more ships were sent out in all haste 
under Rogerio Morosini, known by the significant surname 
of Malabranca,^ a commander of great vigour. He col- 
lected the scattered Venetian ships in the Eastern Medi- 
terranean, and leaving twenty under Marco Michaeli, his 
predecessor in command, to guard the ^gean Sea from 
Negropont, sailed with forty that remained to him to the 
Bosporus, where he burned Genoese and Greek ships, 
destroyed the town of Pera, and anchoring in the Golden 

' " Malebraiiche," it will be remembered by readers of the " Divine 
Comedy," is the name of a tribe of devils, whose business it is to punish 
barattieri or traffickers in public offices {Inf., xxi. 37). 

256 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Horn under the Palace of Blachernse, cut out and burnt 
a large ship, laid up on the shore, under the eyes of the 
Emperor. He then sailed to Foglie Vecchie (the ancient 
Phocaea), near Smyrna, where the Genoese family of 
Zaccaria had great alum works, took possession of these, 
and returned triumphantly to Venice. In the same year 
Giovanni Soranzo took twenty-five Venetian galleys into 
the Euxine and conquered Caffa, the Genoese stronghold 
in the Crimea, burning the Genoese ships he found there. ^ 
I have taken this account from the continuator of Dandolo, 
whose narrative has an air of truthfulness, as concealing 
none of the Venetian disasters. We have little said of 
these events in Genoese chronicles ; but Pachymeres and 
Nicephorus Gregoras, the Byzantine historians, dwell much 
on the ravages and cruelties of Morosini of the Cruel Claw, 
and attribute to the indignation roused by these in the 
breasts of Greeks and Genoese the massacre of Bembo and 
his companions, which, from our Venetian authorities, we 
should have supposed to have come before the arrival of 
Malabranca in the Levant. 

In 1297 there was desultory fighting on the coasts of 
Sicily and Cyprus, and in 1298 both Republics made a great 
effort to send a large fleet to sea. Genoa at this time had 
for its archbishop Jacopo de Voragine, who, by the influence 
that his saintly life gave him, was enabled to appease for 
a time the feuds of Guelfs and Ghibellines, who in Genoa 
went by the names of Ratnpini and Mascherati, and 
induce them to unite in sending out a fleet of sixty galleys 
under Lambo Doria. This fleet, in the archipelago off the 
coast of Dalmatia, near Curzola or Black Corcyra, came 
upon the Venetian fleet under Andrea Dandolo, surnamed 
Collonato, which was much superior in numbers, amount- 
ing to more than a hundred ships. Doria was a brave and 
skilful sailor, and seems to have out-manoeuvred his oppo- 
nent, and the wind also favoured him : when the fleets 
1 Dandolo, contin. apiid Murat., A'. /. ^S"., xii. cols. 403-7. 


were engaged, he detached fifteen ships under the eyes of 
the Venetians, who thought they were taking to flight, with 
orders to put to sea far enough to catch the wind, and then 
bear down upon the flank of the Venetians. This stratagem 
was successful ; the Venetians were thrown into confusion, 
and some of their'ships driven on shore ; and sixty-five ships 
were lost or taken with 5000 prisoners, among them Marco 
Polo, the travelling merchant, to whose long confinement 
in a Genoese prison we owe the record of his travels in the 
East, dictated in the old French, which, as we have seen in 
the case of Da Canale, was the current language of educated 
society in North Italy, to a fellow-prisoner, Rustichelli of 
Pisa, who, having been taken at the battle of Meloria, had 
already spent thirteen years in prison.^ The Venetian 
commander, Andrea Dandolo, not able to bear the disgrace 
of so ruinous a defeat, inflicted by an inferior force, is said 
to have thrown himself into the sea from his mast-head and 

Venice was not crushed by this great defeat. In the 
next year she fitted out a fleet of 100 ships, and to 
man them engaged cross-bowmen from Catalonia, a pro- 
vince that at this time began to take a part in naval 
enterprise and mercenary service on the Mediterranean 
coasts. This large fleet seems not to have put to sea, for 
by May 1299 a treaty between the two republics had 
been agreed upon by the mediation of Matteo Visconti, 
Captain-General of Milan, who had assumed the title of 
Vicar of the Roman Empire,^ reviving the old Ghibelline 
party that had been so long depressed in Lombardy, and 

^ The decisive battle of Meloria, fought in August 1284 between 
Genoese and Pisans, was a blow to the power of Pisa in the Mediter- 
ranean from which she never recovered. 

^ This Andrea Dandolo was not father or grandfather of the doge 
and annalist, his namesake, as appears from the genealogy printed in 
Simonsfeld's And}-eas Dandolo tind seine Gesckuhtswerke, p. 24. 

* He was nephew to Otho, the archbishop of Milan, who by a large 
payment, it is said, obtained for him the title " Dei gratia Sacri 
Imperii Vicarius in Lombardia" 


258 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

had taken upon him the Imperial duty of establishing the 
Pax Romafia. But before this was accomplished, a small 
squadron under Dominico Schiavo had boldly entered the 
harbour of Genoa, and, to commemorate the humiliation 
of his enemies, had caused Venetian money to be coined 
there. At the same time a Genoese squadron had made 
a descent on Malamocco. 

The terms of the treaty, signed on the 25 th of May 
1299, are given by Romanin from the Facta: they are 
curious as showing the irregular kind of warfare they were 
intended to end. Every captain of a Venetian ship, before 
leaving Venice, was to swear not to attack the Genoese ; 
every captain of a Genoese ship was to swear not to attack 
the Venetians. But if the Venetians occupied any part of 
the Greek Empire, it was to be no breach of the treaty for 
the Genoese to go to the defence of the territory attacked. 
It was provided that, if Genoa and Pisa were at war, Vene- 
tian vessels were not to sail to any place between Nice 
and Civita Vecchia, except to Genoa, nor to Corsica or 
Sardinia ; and if war of any kind arose in the Adriatic, 
Genoese vessels were to sail to no place in the Adriatic 
except Venice — no doubt, in both cases, a salutary pre- 
caution against the temptation to some covert aggression. 
The treaty was to be ratified not only by the communes 
of Venice and Genoa, but by those of Padua and Verona 
on the part of Venice, and by those of Asti and Tortona 
on the part of Genoa ; and these communes were to 
guarantee the observance of the treaty by the principals, 
and, if they evaded giving the guarantee, might be forced 
by the Imperial Vicar to give it. Any Genoese or Vene- 
tian subject having any claim arising out of the war was 
required to establish it within forty days. It will be seen 
from this account that the treaty established little more 
than a truce : it gave no decisive advantage to either side.* 

1 Romanin, ii. 337, 338. 


Three years later, in October 1302, a truce for ten 
years was agreed to between Venice and the Emperor 
Andronicus, who at this time was suffering much op- 
pression from a power from which he had hoped for 



In the early years of the fourteenth century the overthrow 
of the Greek Empire re-estabUshed at Constantinople was 
nearly accomplished, not by a great international Crusade, 
such as Charles of Anjou had contemplated, but by a 
band of freebooters from the Pyrenees, the famous Cata- 
lonian Company.^ The use of hired foreigners {condottieri), 
soldiers by profession, serving either on foot or on horse- 
back, had become common in Italy through a great part 
of the thirteenth century ; because, while the introduction 
of more scientific modes of warfare had made campaigns 

^ I hope I shall not be held to have travelled out of my province by 
dwelling at some length on the exploits of the Catalonian Company. 
I hold that these were a part of the consequences of the Fourth 
Crusade, and so not alien from the history of Venice. Our sources of 
information on the subject of this famous expedition are unusually full 
and authentic, beginning with the Chronicle of Ramon Muntaner, one 
of the leaders of the Company, a writer whose picturesque naivete often 
reminds us of Geoffrey de Villehardouin. His Chronicle, written in 
the old Catalonian dialect, has been long well known in Spain from a 
famous Castilian classic, Francisco de Moncada's Expedicion de los 
Catalanes y Ara^oneses conlra Turcos y G)-iegos, published in 1 62 3, 
and has been translated into modern French — a labour hardly necessarj', 
for the Old Catalonian is not difficult to any one who can read Old 
French — by J. A. Buchon {Pantheori Lith-aire Chron. Etr., Paris, 
1840), who also edited Ducange's Hist, de Constantinople sous les 
Frani^ais, a book containing a full account of the same expedition. Of 
more modern authorities I may mention C. Hopfs Gesch. Griechen- 
latids vom Regimi des Mittelalters, &c., in vol. 85, pp. 380 sqq. of 
Ersch und Gruber's Encyclopedic, which gives a full bibliography ; 
Finlay's "Byzantine and Greek Empires," vol. ii. pp. 482 sqq., and 
the recent learned and elegant French work of M. Gustave Schlum- 
berger. Expedition des " Almugavares" on Routiers Catalans en Orient, 
Paris, 1902. 



longer and more costly, the citizens of rich and free cities, 
who had formed the armies that resisted Frederic Bar- 
barossa in the twelfth century, had been unable to spare 
from their trades or businesses the time and training 
required for such campaigns. A few years later than the 
time at which we have now arrived, Germans {Oltra- 
montani) became the chief of these condottieri : the most 
famous perhaps of all of them was an Englishman, Sir 
John Hawkwood.^ The particular band with which we 
have to deal came, as I have said, from the mountains 
of Catalonia, and were subjects of the King of Aragon. 
The conquest of Spain by the Saracens in the eighth 
century, and the long process by which the petty Christian 
princes of Castille, Leon, Aragon, and Navarre gradually 
drove back the invaders to the south, gave Spanish history 
its most distinctive colour. It may have been one of the 
results of this long warfare that at the end of the thirteenth 
century an almost inexhaustible supply of excellent soldiers 
was to be found in Northern Spain. These were called 
by an Arabic name, Almugavares, which appears to mean 
"Westerns; "2 a word that constantly occurs in contem- 
porary accounts of the wars between Anjou and Aragon 
that followed the Sicilian Vespers. The name may have 
been given originally to Saracens of Morocco before they 
crossed into Spain, and was probably not at first, if ever, 
limited to Catalonian mountaineers ; but it was as applied 
to these that it first became a household word in Italy. 

^ See Hallam's "Middle Ages," i. pp. 4.90 sqq. (ed. 1819). 

^ This is Buchon's interpretation. My friend Mr. Harold A. Perry, 
who, as a judge in the Court of Appeal at Cairo, has a practical acquaint- 
ance with Arabic and is also a Spanish scholar, writes to me : " The 
word comes from Maghrib, the 'West.' You will remember Hayraddin 
Maugrabin in Walter Scott, and Maghrib el Aksa — or ' the Extreme 
West ' — is the Arabic name for Morocco. My dictionary gives two 
forms, alinogdfabe and almo'^avar, differentiated by metathesis only, for 
Arabic has no v, which is replaced by h, just as in Spanish also b and 
V are interchangeable. Without the vowels, ' ingrb ' and ' ;/i£vr ' are 
literally the Arabic '■ mghrb.^ The gh is the peculiar letter ^^aw, a 
ghost of the letter ^'•." 

262 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

When the kings of Aragon undertook to conquer Sicily 
from Charles of Anjou, they flooded the island with these 
light-armed foot-soldiers, who had also formed the bulk 
of the militia with which Peter had repelled the French 
invasion of Aragon. They were probably equally ready 
to fight on land or on ship-board. Muntaner* speaks of 
Roger de Loria's fleets as manned by " Cathalans " ; and 
it seems to have been in service at sea that they first met 
with their great leader, Roger de Flor. He was not a 
Spaniard, but the son of a German father and an Italian 
mother. His father, Richard Blum — de Flor was taken 
by the son as an Italian translation of his patronymic — 
had come to South Italy as a falconer in the service of 
the Emperor Frederic II., who had given him as wife the 
daughter of a rich citizen of Brindisi. When Roger, who 
was the younger of his two sons, was but a year old, his 
father, who had taken up arms for his old master's family, 
lost his life at the battle of Tagliacozzo, where the young 
Conradino was taken. 

The confiscations that followed Conradino's discomfiture 
reduced his mother to poverty, and the boy Roger grew 
up playing on the quays of Brindisi, then one of the busiest 
scenes of maritime life in Europe, where ships of Crusaders 
or merchants were ever coming from the East or returning 
thither, or were docked for repairs." His aptitude in 
climbing masts or navigating boats attracted the notice of 

^ See Cronica de Ramon Muntatter, cc. Ixxxiii.-iv. The most con- 
venient edition of the original Catalan text is that edited by Dr. Karl 
Lanz in 1 84.4 for the Bibliothek des Literarischen Vereins in Stuttgart. 

^ Muntaner, c. cxciv. : " Les naus de les Matzones(Messinese)feyen 
cap a Brandis, e aqui venien a exivernar aquelles de Pola-* qui voUen 
trer del regne (Regno di Puglia) pelegrins ne viandes : e axi les naus 
qui exivernaven a la primavera comen^auen de carregar per anar en 
Acra, e carregauen de pelegrins 6 doli o de vi o de tota graxa o de 
forment. E segurament que es lo pus aparellat lloch per lo passatge 
doltra mar, que negu que chrestians hajen, e en pus abundosa terra de 
totes grades, e es assats prop de Roma ; e bay lo millor port del men, 
que les cases son entro dius la mar." 

^ Pola here is not the port in Istria, but Puglia. 


one Vassayll, a serving brother {/rare sargatii) of the 
Temple, who commanded a ship belonging to his order, 
and took Roger, when only eight years old, into the ser- 
vice of the Temple. By the time he was twenty he was 
a skilled mariner, and so useful that the master of the 
Temple "gave him the cloak" of a serving brother and 
put him in charge of a ship bought from the Genoese, the 
largest the Templars had, called the Falcon. The young 
man had genius for earning and spending money, and made 
himself very popular by his lavish gifts to the servants of 
the Temple and the knights themselves. He was in the 
harbour of Acre when the town was taken by the Saracens 
in 1291, and made great sums of money ^ by saving Chris- 
tian ladies and Christian treasure from the conquerors and 
carrying them to Monte Pellegrino. He was accused, 
however, before the authorities of his order, with the cog- 
nisance of the Pope, apparently of having plundered on his 
own account, and did not face their inquiry into his con- 
duct, but brought his ship home to Marseilles, paid it off, 
and withdrew to Genoa, where he had friends who lent 
him money to buy a ship of his own, called the Olivette. 
With this he sailed first to Catania in Sicily, and offered 
his ship and service to Robert, Duke of Calabria, son of 
Charles II. of Naples, and on his refusal made the same 
offer to Frederic (Fadrique), King of Sicily, who was then 
at Messina, and gladly accepted his service. He thus 
became enlisted on the Aragonese side in the war that was 
raging in Sicily and beyond it, and became, in the words of 
Pachymeres, the Byzantine historian — who is not disposed 
to judge him indulgently — a most audacious pirate,'^ robbing 

^ "Guanya en aquell viatge sens fi" are the words of Miinlaner, 
I.e. Muntaner, as loyal a comrade as ever was, is unwilling to speak 
evil of Roger ; but we cannot doubt that in this transaction, as in many 
others, Roger let no scruples interfere with the advancement of his own 

* Tretparrjs /StatoTaros, Pachym., Andron., v. 12, part xiii. (2) of Bonn 
ed., p. 394. 

264 VENICE IN THE 13th <5v: 14th CENTURIES 

both Saracens and Christians, and ranging over all the 
coasts of the Western Mediterranean, from the Principato 
of Naples to Gibraltar and Barbary. His ships, his Catalan 
sailors, and, above all, the money he seized rapaciously and 
expended royally, made him a valuable partisan. King 
Fadrique made him vice-admiral of Sicily under Roger de 
Loria, gave him two castles and the revenues of Malta, and 
he was at the head of a band of some thousand seasoned 
warriors, when the war in Sicily was ended by the peace of 
Caltabellotta in 1302. Such a band was not likely to be 
long in finding a new employer, and Roger at once offered 
it to the Emperor of Constantinople, Andronicus Paleologus, 
whose Asiatic provinces were overrun by Turks, both 
Seljukians, who had been long settled at Iconium, and 
Ottomans,^ who had lately become formidable in Bithynia, 
within easy striking distance of the Sea of Marmora and the 
capital. It had an inconsistent appearance in the King of 
Sicily to let these formidable troops go to Constantinople 
at the very time that he was binding himself by treaty - to 
aid Charles of Valois in establishing his claim to the Latin 
Empire of Romania ; but it was essential to him and to his 
Sicilian subjects to be rid of the hordes of mercenaries who 
were eating up the island like locusts, and it was, moreover, 
doubtful if he had the power to induce Roger de Flor to 
stay in a country where he could never feel himself safe 
from his old enemies, the Templars and the Pope. On 
the Bosporus, in the service of Andronicus, who neither 
loved nor feared the Pope, Roger could feel secure, and the 
terms the Byzantine Court were ready to grant him, when 
he asked for them, were such as might have dazzled any 
adventurer, even after the examples of RoUo and Robert 

^ For an account of Othman, the original founder of the Ottoman 
Empire, who received the government of a province in Asia Minor in 
1289, see Finlay's "Byzantine and Greek Empires," ii. p. 480; Von 
Hammer, Hist, de P Empire Ottoman, i. pp. 55-108 (Fr. translation). 

- See Ducange, Empire de Constantinople^ ed. Buchon, ii. p. 335, 
Recueil des Chartes, xv. 


Guiscard, or the chiefs of the First and Fourth Crusades. The 
two Spanish knights, who appeared at Constantinople in the 
summer of 1302 as Roger's ambassadors, asked for him the 
hand of a Byzantine princess, the title of Megadiix or Grand 
Duke, and pay at a high rate for four months in advance 
for every horse or foot soldier he should bring with him, 
the money to be ready for him at Monemvasie or Malvoisie, 
on the east coast of the Peloponnesus. The terms were 
granted without question. Roger de Flor was not unknown 
at Constantinople, where he had been often seen when 
commanding the Falcon, and we are told that he spoke 
Greek fluently.^ Pachymeres, who regretted his admission, 
and represents the Conservative party, who probably op- 
posed it at first, speaks of his flashing eye and his noble 
temper full of martial spirit.'- Whatever was the magic 
that he used, he won without resistance the hand of the 
Princess Maria, daughter of Azan, King of Bulgaria (which 
Muntaner calls Lantzaura), and Irene, the Emperor 
Andronicus' sister. We are reminded how a Moorish 
adventurer, starting with more disadvantages than the 
cabin-boy of Brindisi, won the hand of a gentle lady of 
Cyprus, or how a Corsican adventurer, five centuries after- 
wards, won the hand of an Austrian archduchess. 

The elevation of Roger to the office of Megadux, the 
fourth in rank of all the great Court dignities ^ at Con- 
stantinople, was granted as easily as his marriage. It 
carried with it the command of the fleet. The promises 
of pay were no doubt more difficult to fulfil ; for though 
the gold coinage of Constantinople was current over a great 
part of Europe and created a general belief in the wealth 
of the Empire, the Government was in fact short of money. 

^ " E sabia de gregesch assats cominalement." — Muntaner, c. cxcix. 
p. 358 (Lanz) ; Schlumberger, p. 24. 

2 'y6/)7a>Tro5— X^jLta ^x'^^ yivuaLOV Kal TrXecoj 'ApeiKou (ppovrj/xaTOi. — 
Pachym., Andr., v. 12, pp. 393, 395 (Bonn). 

* Muntaner arranges them (after the Hasileus) 1. Sebastocrator ; 
2. Caesar; 3. Protovestiarius; 4. Megadux. 

266 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

But no trouble on this head arose as yet. Two matters 
only disturbed the relations between Andronicus and his 
guests: first, the Emperor's son Michael, who had been 
made Emperor jointly with his father, and was in com- 
mand of an army of several thousand Alan mercenaries in 
Asia Minor, was jealous of the newly arrived troops so 
favoured by his father ; he was a capable general, but a 
gloomy zealot for the Orthodox Church, and was soon able 
to prejudice his father against the Western schismatics ; 
and secondly, the Genoese, who had, since the restoration 
of the Greek Empire, been so powerful in their stronghold 
of Galata, were jealous of the newcomers, who were their 
debtors for money advanced to Roger before he left the 
West on the security of the Byzantine Emperor — an obli- 
gation that the Emperor was very unwilling to meet. He 
was also alarmed at the numbers of his formidable allies — 
thirty-six shiploads, of six or eight thousand fighting men 
in all, with a host of wives and children and followers. He 
reflected that they had come to drive the Turks out of 
Asia Minor, and would be better employed in this work 
across the Straits rather than in ruffling about the streets 
of the capital. The Genoese trouble was the first to come 
to a head. On the day of the Grand Duke's marriage 
bands of Genoese in the streets derided the outlandish 
garb of Pyrenean mountaineers in which the Alraugavares 
appeared, and fighting began in the narrow alleys of Galata. 
The Catalans, from their quarters in the monastery of St. 
Cosmas, near the palace of Blachern^e, sallied out upon 
a procession of Genoese with a banner, who came to show 
themselves before the palace, apparently with the object of 
reminding the Emperor and the Grand Duke of their debt. 
The drungarius or vice-admiral of the fleet, endeavouring 
to quell the tumult, was cut to pieces in the streets, and 
the banner of the Genoese was trampled under foot by men 
fighting under the pennon of Aragon. The strangers got 
the better of their enemies, and left more than 3000 


dead bodies encumbering the streets. It was with great 
difficulty that the Grand Duke stopped his men from sack- 
ing the banks and counting-houses of Galata and Pera. 

The Grand Duke was now prepared to agree with the 
Emperor that the sooner his troops quitted the city the 
better. The peninsula of Cyzicus, or Artaki, on the south 
coast of the Sea of Marmora, with a strong wall across the 
isthmus protecting it from the Turks, who held the main- 
land up to the sea-coast, was assigned to them as a fortified 
outpost against the Turks. As soon as they had landed 
there they were attacked by the Turks, but repulsed them 
with the greatest vigour and at terrible cost to the assail- 
ants, so that the Emperor and the inhabitants of the capital 
were relieved from the most pressing danger that had 
threatened them. The peninsula of Artaki was fertile and 
populous, with 20,000 families scattered about its farms or 
country houses ; here the Catalans lived through their first 
winter practically at free quarters, laying up a store of 
hostility from the inhabitants by extortion and violence.^ 

The next spring, in April 1303, there was a serious fight 
in the streets of Cyzicus between the Catalans and the Alan 
mercenaries, which added further to the stores of enmity 
against the former. But in the following month they 
started on a more important enterprise, the relief of Phila- 
delphia in the centre of Asia Minor, one of the Seven 
Churches of the Apocalypse, " a noble city, and one of the 
great ones of the world," which Ali Shir, one of the Turkish 
Emirs, with an army of 20,000 men, was pressing hard. 
The Grand Duke, with 6000 Catalans and 1000 Alans, 

^ A graphic passage of Muntaner (c. cciv.) tells us of the system of 
tallies, by which the value of the provisions allowed to the Catalans day 
by day was recorded, to be deducted from their pay when they next 
received it ; how the Grand Duke, on his return from a visit to Constanti- 
nople, found that the debts of nearly all largely exceeded the pay due 
to them ; and how, to relieve them from such a burden, he burned all 
the tallies, and took the whole debt upon the treasury of the Company, 
for which he was himself responsible. 

268 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

and a small force of Greeks, met and routed this great 
army, and entered Philadelphia, which however his troops 
plundered as cruelly as the Turks could have done. The 
stories of plunder and atrocities told of Roger and his 
troops are never referred to by Muntaner, but rest on the 
testimony of the Byzantine historians, and we have seen 
reason to beUeve, in Anna Comnena's accounts of the First 
Crusade, and in Nicetas' accounts of the Fourth, that Grcecia 
mendax had not become an altogether inapplicable expres- 
sion since the days of Juvenal. But the stories are not 
improbable in themselves, and are confirmed by the evi- 
dence which can be derived from Muntaner, of the state of 
desolation in which the rich lands of Asia Minor were left 
after the Catalans had occupied them. The land was like 
the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a deso- 
late wilderness. After the relief of Philadelphia the Grand 
Duke could not pursue the Saracens far eastward, but had 
to march down the Hermus valley to the rich and as yet 
unwasted lands on the coast, belonging to Nymphgeum, 
Magnesia, Ephesus, and Ansa.^ Magnesia he contemplated 
making the capital of the kingdom that we cannot doubt he 
thought of establishing for himself in Asia. Thither he 
now sent all the rich plunder he appropriated from his 
conquests. We shall see that soon an even more brilliant 
prospect, farther to the east, opened before his eyes. The 
Byzantine governor of Magnesia, one Attaliotes, professed 
devotion to Roger, and was left in charge of the city, when 
the Grand Duke, reinforced by some new bands, who joined 
him at Anaea, made a march to the eastward as far as the 
pass of Mount Taurus, known as the Iron Gates of Cilicia. 

^ Nymphreum, one of the chief residences of the Byzantine Emperors, 
is called by Muntaner "jV?/," Magnesia '■'Alagnexia,'" Ansea "Daner," 
Ephesus '■^ Altolloch." Alto Luogo, the common Italian name of 
Ephesus, was really a corruption of the Turkish Ayasolouk, itself a 
corruption ofAytos Qib\oyo% ; the " Holy Divine" of the Apocalypse 
having by this time driven out the memory of the great goddess Diana 
(see an instructive passage in Heyd, i. p. 540, 541, Fr. trans.). 


There they again defeated the Turks, with greater slaughter 
than ever before, in August 1303, and for a time they 
dreamed of pressing on to the Euphrates and Tigris. But 
the wasted condition of the land, as we have seen, caused 
them to return to the more fertile districts on the coasts 
of Ionia, where a great disappointment awaited them. 
Attaliotes had played them false, kept Magnesia and its 
treasure in his hands, and would not admit Roger and his 
Catalans into the town. The Alan mercenaries had joined 
Attaliotes, and more than one attempt of the Catalans to 
retake Magnesia failed. 

While threatened with this great reverse, the Grand Duke 
received peremptory orders from Andronicus to return to 
Europe, where a revolt of Bulgarians had forced the young 
Emperor Michael to retire from Adrianople, and was 
threatening the capital itself. He slowly and reluctantly 
obeyed the orders, bringing back all his troops, and taking 
them across the Hellespont to the Chersonese once ruled 
by Miltiades, a larger and richer peninsula than that of 
Cyzicus, with the strong fortress of Gallipoli commanding 
the Hellespont, and able to stop any ships coming from 
the Mediterranean to Constantinople. Leaving his troops 
there, Roger rode with 100 horsemen to the capital, was 
entertained royally at the Blachernse Palace, and learned 
that the Bulgarians at the mere news of his approach had 
hastened to make peace. Then a question arose about 
the pay due to the Catalans, and Muntaner accuses the 
Emperor of trying to palm off on Roger coins called Vin- 
cilions, specially made to resemble Venetian ducats, that 
were equivalent to eight deniers of Barcelona, though the 
Vincilions themselves were worth but three. ^ This could 
not have tended to cordial relations, but no open breach 
came yet, and at Christmas 1304, which the Grand Duke 

' Muntaner, c. ccx. p. 376 (Lanz). Schlumberger (p. 124, note i) 
gives the inconsistent accounts of this transaction found in Muntaner 
and Pachymeres. 

2 70 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

spent at court with his wife, he received his greatest honour, 
being raised to the office of Caesar, the second after that 
of Emperor,^ generally confined to members of the imperial 
family, and that no one had held for the last four hundred 
years. This elevation was connected with the arrival at 
GallipoH of a reinforcement of more than looo Almuga- 
vares, led by Berengar d'Entenga, not an adventurer like 
Roger, but a Spanish nobleman of high rank, who, at 
Roger's suggestion, was made Megadux in his place. 

It was a great elevation for the boy who, less than thirty 
years before, had been taken on board the Templars' ship 
as a cabin boy, to be the third person in what was still 
called the Roman Empire. He had been reckless, as we 
have seen, in making enemies, and now these were gathering 
against him. The Genoese were pressing the Emperor to 
get rid of the Caesar and his brigands, and offered their 
fleet and their wealth to aid in their expulsion. The 
Emperor Michael, his most resolute enemy, held himself 
aloof at Adrianople, and there surrounded himself with 
Greek and Alan troops, who also hated the Catalans. The 
elder Emperor, though irresolute and unwilling to break 
with the Caesar, was uneasy at his ever-increasing demands 
for money and anxious to get him across the Straits with 
some sort of principality in Anatolia, and his Catalan 
army divided. This the other Spanish officers would not 
consent to, and it was settled that all should cross the 
Straits and unite their fortunes with those of their great 
leader. But before they abandoned their quarters in 
Gallipoli, Roger, whether from bravado or from a loyalty 
that suspected no evil, or, as seems more probable, from 
a desire to crush his chief enemy before he left Europe for 

^ The passage in Muntaner is interesting : " E Cesar es aytal offici, 
que seu en una cadira qui es prop daquella del Emperador, que no es 
mas mig palm pus baixa. E lemperador porta capell vermeil e totes 
ses robes vermelles, e el cesar porta capell blau e totes ses robes blaues 
ab fres dor estret" (c. ccxii. p. 377, Lanz). The whole passage is worth 


good, left Gallipoli with 300 horse and 1000 foot. He had 
often defeated great hosts with far inferior numbers, but 
this time he miscalculated the strength and cunning of his 
enemies. At Constantinople he was received with great 
honour by the Emperor Michael and his Armenian wife, 
and feasted sumptuously in the palace. Meanwhile troops 
of all kinds, 9000 in number, Greeks, Alans, Turkopules 
{i.e. Turkish prisoners trained to service in the Byzantine 
army), were ominously drawn in from the Bulgarian 
frontiers. Roger, from the fearlessness of a loyal heart, as 
Muntaner says, or from the reckless security of a spoiled 
child of fortune, went on the day these troops arrived, the 
28th of March 1305, to a banquet that Michael gave to 
him and his officers in the palace. During the feast the 
Alan mercenaries rushed in in hundreds, and George, their 
commander, who was a mortal enemy of the Caesar, ran 
him through with his sword. All the Catalan officers 
present were also killed, and the Alans and Turcopules 
then sallied out into the streets and despatched all the 
Almugavares they could find, so that only three escaped 
with their lives of the 1300 Roger had brought with him. 

With the assassination of Roger de Flor, at the age of 
thirty-seven — surely one of the most wonderful of the men 
of genius who have died about that age — the strangest 
part of the adventures of the Catalonian Company came to 
an end ; but its romance did not end. For several years 
after this the Company played a great part in the history of 
Romania. Its history has been called an Odyssey and an 
Anabasis, and its comparison to that of the retreat of the 
famous Ten Thousand is singularly appropriate. If Roger 
de Flor is a more heroic Cyrus, Ramon Muntaner, its 
trustiest leader and faithful and charming chronicler, is 
quite worthy to be called its Xenophon. He had been left 
in command at Gallipoli when the Caesar left on his ill- 
fated journey to Adrianople, and circumstances obliged 
him to take the lead, for at the same time that Roger was 

272 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

killed, Berengar d'Enten^a, the noble Spaniard who had 
just succeeded Roger as Grand Duke, was away on a cruise 
at the mouth of the Black Sea, on his return from which he 
fell in with a Genoese fleet under Eduardo Doria, was 
taken prisoner and sent first to Trebizond and then to 
Genoa. Berengar de Rocafort, the other chief of the 
Catalans, who was superior in rank to Muntaner, and who 
had but recently arrived in Asia Minor with a large rein- 
forcement, was also absent from Gallipoli. So Muntaner 
had to take upon himself the defence of the fertile penin- 
sula now occupied by the Company, which was immediately 
attacked by troops sent by Michael from Adrianople. The 
position of the Catalans did not appear to themselves quite 
clear : they had come over from the West to engage in 
the service of the Greek Emperor, had received his pay, 
and owed homage to him. He had treacherously put to 
death their leader, and was threatening to drive them out 
of his dominions. But in the eyes of men so deeply 
imbued with the principles of feudal law as were the 
Crusaders, who had settled in Syria after the First Crusade ' 
or in Greece after the Fourth, the disloyalty of the lord did 
not relieve the vassals from their duties so that they might 
take up arms for resistance, until they had formally, accord- 
ing to feudal law, renounced their allegiance and " defied " 
their lord. So an embassy of six, one knight, one adalil 
or guide (which was the name given to the leaders chosen 
by the Almugavares from among themselves), with two 
Almugavares from the ranks and two comites or petty officers 
of the ships, were sent with a small escort in a boat 
of twenty oars to Constantinople, and in the presence of 
the Venetian community there, as impartial witnesses,- 

^ Guizol says {Civilisation en In'ance, iii. pp. 9, 10) : " Les Assises 
du royaume franc de Jerusalem, redigees par ordre di Godefroy de 
Bouillon, . . . reproduisent, plus completement et plus fidelement que 
tout autre document, I'image de la sociele feodale." 

* Lebeau {Bas Empire, ed. St. Martin, xix. p. 100) says that the 
podesia of Genoa and the consuls of Ancona and Pisa were also present. 


defied the Emperor in the name of the Grand Duke 
Entenga and all the Company of the Franks, accused him 
of breach of faith in killing the Caesar and attacking the 
Company without warning, and declared their readiness 
to prove this in combat, ten against ten, or a hundred 
against a hundred ; of all which they had drawn up a 
statement in letters patent, and left an authentic copy with 
the Venetian Commune. This enabled them with a safe 
conscience to detach themselves from the Emperor's service 
and fight against him.i 

The scrupulous observance of these formalities gave some 
advantage to the enemy. Not only were the six envoys, 
spite of a safe-conduct given them, massacred at Rodosto, as 
well as all the Catalans that could be found at Constantinople; 
but Greek troops swooped down upon Gallipoli and carried 
off all the horses of the Company that were at pasture 
there. But as soon as their feudal conscience was at rest, 
the Company showed no lack of vigour. Gallipoli was 
eminently defensible, and the work of fortifying and 
entrenching it was carried on with promptitude. All the 
Greek inhabitants, as possible enemies, were killed or 
removed. Entenga, in the short interval before his 
capture, formed the design of conquering from Gallipoli 
the kingdom of Anatolia, which had been offered to Roger 
just before his murder. In a letter to the Venetian Re- 
public he called himself, "by Grace of God, Grand Duke 
of the Empire of Romania, Lord of Natolia and the Isles." - 

He explains the words of Muntaner, " cartes publiques particles per 
A. B.C.," as a primitive kind of indenture. The original which the 
envoys kept and the duplicate they left with the Venetian bailo had the 
letters A. B.C. written across the line of division between them, so that 
it could be seen on placing them side by side, whether the duplicate was 
that made at the same time as the original or one substituted for it. 
We have also in c. cciv. of the tallies or accounts (ante, p. 267). dos 
alharmis fartits per A, B, C, e qiien tengties la hti lost, e Valtre lo 

' Schlumberger, pp. 164, 165, from Muntaner, c. ccxvi. (p. 383, Lanz). 

* The document is printed (or an abstract of it) in I Libri Conime' 
moriali, tomo i., Venezia, 1876, p. 51. It is dated icth May 13CJS, 


But he effected no more than some forays in the neigh- 
bourhood of the capital, and when he was taken prisoner 
and the Genoese would not be bribed to release him, for a 
time the courage of the Company flagged, and they talked 
of sailing away to Lesbos and trusting to being helped by 
Turks or Aragonese. But these counsels of dishonour 
were rejected.^ They dismantled their ships and made it a 
capital offence to propose surrender. Rocafort, now made 
their chief, had a great seal with an image of St. George 
made for the army of the Franks who reign over the king- 
dom of Macedonia.- The Company were not inclined to 
lower their claims, and talked of kingdoms and empires as 
baubles at their own disposal. They had four banners 
made, each with a figure of a saint ; the banner of St. Peter 
to show their loyalty to the Pope, another of St. George, 
the patron saint of the crusading kingdoms, and other two 
for the kingdoms of Aragon and Sicily. 

They had some hopes of support from the house of 
Aragon, but Don Sancho, a half-brother of King Fadrique 
of Sicily, who appeared at this time with ten galleys in 
the Archipelago, disappointed them, and sailed back to 
the West. Some time later Ferrand, or Fernan, the 
youngest son of the King of Majorca,^ and cousin of 

and relates to a corn ship of Angelo Pesaro, which Entenca had taken 
" nel porto de le Quayle in Romania" ns a forced loan, that he was not 
yet able to discharge, being engaged in war with the Emperor (see ib., 
p. 42). 

* " L'altre consell era aquest que gran vergonya seria nostra, que 
haguessem perduts dos senyors — et que nols venjatsem o murissem ab 
ells ; que no havia gent el mon que nons degues alapidar, e majormen 
qtte fossem gents de aytal fama com erem, et qtiel diet fos de la fiostra 
■^aft." — Munt., c. ccxix. (p. 386, Lanz). 

'^ " Sagell de la host dels Franchs que regnen lo regne de Mace- 
donia " (Munt., c. ccxxv. p. 397, Lanz). Macedonia was, 1 presume, a 
recollection of Alexander the Great. 

^ Majorca and the other Balearic Isles were taken from the Moors 
in 1228 by James or Jacme the Conqueror, King of Aragon. Of his 
sons, Peter III. was King of Aragon, Valencia, and Murcia ; James II. 
of Roussillon, Cerdagne, Montpellier, and the Balearic Isles, with 
Perpignan for his capital, and his title King of Majorca. James the 


Fadrique of Sicily, came out to take the command of 
the Company and maintain the interests of Aragon against 
those of Anjou in the Eastern Empire. His coming had 
an important influence on events, though he did not 
succeed in founding a Latin kingdom or Empire in the 

Before he arrived the Catalans, though victorious in 
almost all their engagements, had made the Thracian 
coast untenable by themselves or their enemies. They 
were in some senses the most barbarous of conquerors. 
It was not in their nature to settle on the conquered lands, 
make their homesteads there, and surround them with 
sown fields or pasturing herds. The wealth and abundance 
they found in the country round Constantinople seemed 
to them inexhaustible ; all they had to do was to seize and 
enjoy and waste. Their bands of spoilers, Catalans rein- 
forced by Turkopule condottieri, 3000 of whom they 
engaged, slaughtered the men and drove in the women 
and children to Gallipoli, which became a great reservoir 
of human flesh and blood, supplying the harems and slave 
markets of the Mussulman world. This merciless policy, 
carried on for some years, ^ had reduced the country within 
ten days' journey of their camp to a desert ; - the population 

Conqueror's ancestors hud been since the ninth century Counts of 
Barcelona, and had gradually accumulated lands on either side of 
the Pyrenees, Provence and Montpellier amongst them. A later Pedro 
of Aragon, in the middle of the fourteenth century, reunited to Aragon 
Majorca and all its dependencies on the French side of the mountains, 
except Montpellier, which was sold to the King of France. 

1 Muntaner (c. ccxxxi.) says seven, but precision in chronology is 
not one of his virtues, and he wrote his Chronicle twenty-five years after 
the events. It is fairly certain that Roger de Flor was murdered in 
April 1305 or (as P'inlay thinks) 1 306, and that the Company left 
Gallipoli in 1308. The battle of Lake Copais (see post, p. 284) was 
fought in March 1311. So two or three years would be the length of 
the Company's stay at Gallipoli. 

^ Muntaner's words are expressive: "ITaviem desabitada tota aquella 
encontrada a X jornades de totes parts" (c. ccxxxi. p. 411, Lanz). Not 
only was the land wasted, but the air was polluted by the multitude of 
dead bodies lying unburied. 


had been consumed, and nothing was gathered. Famine 
threatened the spoilers themselves, and it was imperative 
they should leave Gallipoli, and seek for less exhausted 
lands in Macedonia or Greece. 

The discipline that had been firmly kept up under the 
Caesar had been much relaxed since his death ; the two 
Spanish nobles, d'Entenca, released from his Genoese 
prison, and Ximenes were in almost open hostility with the 
plebeian Rocafort, with whom they shared the chief 
command. Muntaner had endeavoured to act as mode- 
rator, and had kept his three colleagues in cantonments 
many miles from one another, and he now, with the im- 
portant support given him by the Infante Fernan, who 
brought the prestige of royal birth to aid the counsels of 
prudence and necessity, had to arrange for their march 
along the Thracian coast to Macedonia in bodies as 
widely separated from one another as was safe. Muntaner 
took the ships with the women and children on board, the 
rest marched along the shore. It was the autumn of the 
year 1308. For some days they kept a safe distance, but 
on the day they reached Christopolis (the Neapolis of the 
Acts of the Apostles), the troop of Rocafort, which led the 
way, was overtaken by that of d'Entenga, with which the 
Infante was marching, and a fight at once began, in which 
d'Entenga, striving, without his armour, to separate the 
combatants, was killed. After this, Rocafort, who seems 
to have aimed at establishing himself as a king at Salonica, 
and who, though a subject of Aragon, owed no allegiance to 
King Fadrique of Sicily, cast off all respect for the Infante, 
and induced the Company to refuse to recognise his 
authority as representative of the King of Sicily. On this 
the Infante, who was loyal to his cousin of Sicily and to the 
designs of his father's house against their rivals of Anjou 
in the East, but scorned to become the leader of a band of 
freebooters, quitted the Com] any and sailed to the island 
of Thasos, lying a few miles off the coast, and at this time 


held by one of the great Genoese mercantile family of 
Zaccaria. There he was joined by Muntaner, and thus 
we lose the guidance of the latter as to the subsequent 
fortunes of the Company. We know that at this time 
Ximenes made his peace with the Emperor Andronicus and 
took service under the Greek Government. Rocafort was 
thus, when Muntaner had joined the Infante at Thasos, 
the only leader left with the Company. He continued to 
lead it along the coast lands to the west and south, with 
the avowed intention of eating up the country round 
Salonica, as the Company had already eaten up that 
round the Sea of Marmora. 

The Infante had a warm welcome in Thasos, especially 
after the arrival of Muntaner, who during his long stay at 
Gallipoli had found occasion to send a detachment of 
Almugavares to help Benedetto Zaccaria conquer Phocsa 
on the coast of Asia Minor. The alum mines of that 
region had given the Zaccaria family fabulous wealth ; 
Benedetto had also acquired the isle of Chios, the only 
place where mastic was produced, another product highly 
valued in those days. He was at this time an old man, and 
his nephew, Tedisio or Ticino, whom Muntaner found 
governing Thasos, was the acting head of the family. 
He had a strong fortress, and could offer the travellers a 
tempting prospect of adventure and booty. They were not 
caught by this, but pressed on to the Thessalian coast to 
attack Almyros or Armiro, and after that Skopelos and 

Skopelos and Negropont were both Venetian possessions, 
and Venice was at this time closely allied with Charles of 
Valois, the Angevin pretender to the throne of Romania, 
so that the Aragonese prince was not unwilling to injure 
her territory. Pietro Querini, the Venetian podesta at 
Negropont, was at this time receiving Thibaut de Chepoy, 
a nobleman of Picardy, who had held high military rank ^ 
^ He was " maitrc arbaletrier." 


under Philip the Fair, and had now come to the East in 
the service of Valois, apparently for the express purpose of 
engaging for Valois the Catalonian Company, the fame of 
whose exploits had reached France. The Infante felt he 
had fallen amongst enemies, but, determined to face the 
danger, accepted a safe-conduct from the captains of the 
Venetian ships lent to Chepoy and from the Terzieri of 
Negropont, that he might be entertained at a banquet in 
the castle of Egripos on the Euripus,^ the narrow strait 
separating the island from the mainland. At the banquet 
he was seized by Chepoy's sailors, who also fell upon and 
plundered the Catalonian ships ; the Infante was handed 
over in chains to Guy de la Roche, the Duke (or Megaskyr) 
of Athens, whose palace at Thebes was hard by, and 
imprisoned by him till the pleasure of Charles of Valois 
should be known. Muntaner was separated from the 
Infante, to whom he had been so faithful a servant, and 
put in the hands of his old colleague Rocafort, supposed 
to be his enemy, and of the Company, for whose treasure, 
taken from him by Chepoy, he might be called to 

But if Chepoy and the Venetians hoped that the Com- 
pany would revenge themselves on Muntaner, they were 
disappointed : when he came to them at Cassandria, in the 
westernmost of the three arms of the peninsula of Chalci- 
dice, near the site of PotidcTsa, he was warmly received : the 
Turks and Turcopules, allies it was impossible to ignore, 
looked upon him as their friend. He might, if he had 
stayed, have been able to assert himself against Rocafort, 
a man of selfish and vulgar ambition, who was tempted 
by the idea of making himself King of Salonica. But 
Muntaner was devoted to the Infante, and insisted on 
going back to him in his prison. Chepoy now set to work 
in earnest on enlisting the Company in the service of 

^ Egripos is a broken-down form of Euripus, and Negroponte a 
further corruption of Egripos into a significant Italian form. 


Charles of Valois ; but Rocafort, agreeing to this, took no 
steps to make the arrangement effective, wishing to keep 
the Company at his own disposition, ready to support his 
views of conquest in any direction he might choose. The 
direction they next took was that of a marriage with 
Jeannette de Brienne, half-sister ^ of Guy de la Roche, Duke 
of Athens, a noble and chivalrous prince, but now dying ; 
and Rocafort hoped that the marriage might lead to his 
inheriting the duchy. But he had other schemes, one of 
which proved his ruin. He cast his eyes upon Negropont, 
the government of which was inconveniently divided be- 
tween the Venetian bailo and the Terzieri, feudal nobles of 
French or Italian blood. Discord between them might at 
any time open the way for a bold interloper. The possession 
of Negropont might be a help to him in acquiring a duchy 
of Athens or a kingdom of Salonica. Venice was warned 
of his designs, and was ably effectually to stop his marriage 
with Jeannette, who became in the end the wife of Nicolas 
Sanudo, Duke of Naxos. Venice also willingly listened to an 
appeal from Chepoy and the Council of Twelve Chiefs that 
now commanded the Company, whom Rocafort had alien- 
ated by his arrogance, calling upon her to send out to the 
East a force sufficient to control the Company. When 
this arrived, Rocafort and his brother were arrested, 
put on their trial for the murder of Berengar d'Enten^a, 
found guilty, and sent to Robert, King of Naples, by 
whom they were starved to death in the castle of Aversa. 
This was the tragic fate of the last survivor and ablest 
of the lieutenants who came to the East under Roger 
de Flor. 

The Company had more history yet to make. In 1309 
we find it scattered about among the high valleys round 
Olympus and Pelion, hard pressed there by Chandrenos, 

^ The mother of both was Helena Angela Comnena, a daughter of 
the Sebastocrator of Great Wallachia, John I., a natural son of the 
Despot of Epirus. 

28o VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

an able general in the service of the Greek Emperor. It 
had, as at Gallipoli, eaten up the Macedonian coast-lands, 
and it was a necessity for it to pass on to a new country. 
Chepoy, a gentleman and a scholar, a friend of Marco 
Polo the traveHer,^ was, as we have seen, out of his ele- 
ment as leader of a band of brigands. In the spring 
of 1 310, when the Company were encamped in Thes- 
saly, he suddenly quitted them and returned to France. 
The Company, furious at this desertion, fell upon and 
massacred all their own officers who had acted with him, 
and elected by universal suffrage, as they had done 
at the time of Roger de Flor's death, two knights, 
an Adalil or guide and an Almugavare to govern 
them. Under these new commanders they entered 
upon the last, and not least surprising, stage of their 

They were now in contact, no longer with the Byzantine 
Empire, but with three potentates, the Despot of Epirus, 
and Sebastocrator of Great Wallachia,^ Greeks belonging 
to a collateral branch of the Comneni, and the Latin 
Duke of Athens. The Despot or rather Despoina of 
Epirus — for the throne was at this time occupied by a 
lady, dwelling at Arta — was an ally of the Byzantine 
Emperor, and inclined to persecute the Sebastocrator, a 
young man in weak health, who had been the ward 
of his cousin, Guy de la Roche, the Duke of Athens, 
and was left helpless at his guardian's death. Guy's 
inheritance had fallen to his half-brother, Gautier or 
Walter de Brienne, whose ancestor had been one of those 

^ See Yule's " Marco Polo," i. p. 67. 

- We must not confuse this prince with the Sebastocrator at Con- 
stantinople, who, as we have seen {ante, p. 265, note 3) was next in 
rank at that court to the Emperor. The court office, as we learn from 
Anna Comnena, was a creation of her father, Alexius Comnenus. But 
there was a local Sebastocrator in Thessaly or Vlachia, as far back as 
the time of Constantine the Great. See Codinns de officiis Pal. Const. ^ 
p. 7 (Bonn), and the commentators on that passage. 


originally concerned in the Fourth Crusade,^ whose kins- 
man, John de Brienne, had, as we have seen, been King of 
Jerusalem and Emperor of Romania. No Frank family had 
been more distinguished in the wars that had resulted from 
the Fourth Crusade. The new Duke of Athens had been 
as a child detained as a hostage in the castle of Agosta, in 
Sicily ; there he had seen much of the Catalonian soldiery 
and had learned to speak their language. When the Com- 
pany was, after Chepoy's departure, advancing southward 
from Thessaly into Bceotia, Walter, who had the same 
enemies as they, was able without difficulty to engage them 
in his service. By this engagement, it may be worth re- 
marking, they quitted the alliance of Aragon, to which 
they had till now been steadily faithful, and became 
connected with the Angevins of Naples, Walter's chief 

The Dukes of Athens of the family of De la Roche, 
to which Walter of Brienne was allied on his mother's side, 
had been the most successful and brilliant of all the Frank 
conquerors of the Eastern Empire. They had been settled 
in continuous possession of Athens and almost continuous 
possession of Thebes ever since their first ancestor, Otto, 
had followed Boniface of Montferrat in his march to the 
south from Salonica. They had at first borne the title of 
Megaskyr {Grand Sire in French), but St. Louis had 
conferred on Guy, the nephew and successor of Otto, that 
of Duke. Guy's quarrels with William of Villehardouin, 
Prince of Achaia, I have referred to in a former chapter.^ 
The second Guy, the immediate predecessor of Walter de 

' See my " Early History of Venice," pp. 356, 368. He had proved 
something of a broken reed. Another of the family had, in still earlier 
times, been Constable of Apulia, and had fought under Boheniund the 
Norman in Robert Guiscard's invasion of Romania, A.D. 1084 (Finlay, 
" Byz. and Greek Emp ," ii. p. 99). 

^ Hugues de Brienne, the father of Duke Walter, was Count of 
Lecce in the kingdom of Naples, an Angevin subject. 

' See ante, p. 42. 

282 VENICE IN THE 13th e^ 14th CENTURIES 

Brienne, was a grandson of the first Guy. He had been a 
leading personage amongst the Frank Barons of Greece, 
and his duchy, which comprised Attica and Boeotia, was at 
that time fertile and rich, populous and well-governed. 
Muntaner says that the Duke of Athens was " one of the 
noble men that are in the Empire of Romania after the 
king and of the most rich," ^ and gives us a description of 
the splendours of his court on the occasion when Duke 
Walter received knighthood from Boniface of Verona, one 
of the Terzieri of Negropont. The same chronicler tells us 
that " it was commonly said that the most gentle chivalry 
in the world was that of the Morea, and they spoke as good 
French as those in Paris."- Finlay says, "The city (of 
Athens) was large and wealthy, the country thickly covered 
with villages, of which the ruins may still be traced in 
spots affording no indication of Hellenic sites. Aqueducts 
and cisterns then gave fertility to lands now unproductive ; 
olive, almond, and fig trees were intermingled with vine- 
yards, and orchards covered grounds now reduced, by the 
want of irrigation, to yield only scanty pasturage to the 
flocks of nomad shepherds. The valonia, the cotton, the 
silk, and the leather of Attica then supplied native manu- 
factories, and the surplus commanded a high price in the 
European markets. The trade of Athens was con- 
siderable, and the luxury of the Athenian ducal court 
was celebrated in all the regions of the West where 
chivalry flourished." ^ 

The government of the Frank dukes had not been 
harsh or unjust to the Greeks, who lived in peace and 

1 " Veritat es, quel duch de Tenes era hu dels nobles homens qui 
sien en limperi de Romania apres rey, e dels pus richs" (c. ccxliv. p. 
435 Lanz). Duke of Athens is in Muntaner's words, "duch de Tenes," 
and the Archbishop is " larquebisbe Destines," i.e. de Setines, which, 
according to Gregorovius, was the Bulgarian name for Athens. 

^ lb., c cclxi. pp. 468, 469 (Lanz). 

' Finlay, "Medieval Greece and Trebizond," p. 167. Gregorovius 
(Gesc/i. der Stadt Athen tin Miltelalter., ii. pp. 37-49) is inclined to 
doubt the flourishing state of Attica under its Frank dukes. 


comfort, and prospered. The Parthenon, then ahnost in 
its original perfection, had long been a Christian Church, 
the Panaghia, dedicated to another Virgin divinity. The 
chief grief that the Frank conquest caused to the conquered 
race was that felt by the priests of the Orthodox Greek 
Church, who saw the Latin rites celebrated in this august 

All this prosperity and civilisation was destined to come 
to an end, swallowed up by the barbarism that had 
wasted Thrace and Macedonia and Thessaly, and every 
other land over which the Company had passed. The first 
fruits of their engagement with Walter of Brienne were 
his complete defeat of the Epirot and Vlachian troops 
in the campaign of 13 10. The Catalonians who had 
won his battles were a body of 8000 men in all, half 
cavalry and half infantry, the latter the Almugavares proper, 
light-armed and active mountaineers, the best infantry in 
the world, as the Spaniards for long after this time con- 
tinued to be. Such troops, in short coats, gaiters, and 
hempen sandals, with no baggage but a scrip for their 
bread slung over their shoulders, with no shield, but 
abundantly equipped with weapons of offence — a short 
sword, a lance, and two javelins for each man — no doubt 
seemed unlikely to be a match for the mail-clad knights 
and their retainers whom Walter of Brienne was able to 
gather under his banners,- to the number of 14,000 or 
15,000, including many French feudal levies from Naples 
and the Morea, and many Turkish and other barbarous 

When Duke Walter saw himself surrounded by so 

^ Finlay, u.s., p. 158, note i. 

^ As to the equipment of the Ahnugavares there is an interesting note 
of the editor (Lord EUesmere) of the English translation of Amari's 
" War of the Sicilian Vespers," vol. ii. pp. 27-29. 

^ Fallmerayer, Gesch. v. Morea, ii. 179, 180. Muntaner (c. ccxl.) 
says he had 7f)0 Frank knights from the country of King Robert {i.e. 
Naples) and the principality of Morea, and 24,000 Greek infantry, 
belonging to the duchy. 

284 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

gallant a body of French knights and so large a number 
of infantry, he thought he could dispense with the Cata- 
lonians, and, when they had been in his service six months, 
brought on a crisis by refusing to pay them the sums he 
had promised. He was willing to retain 500 picked men 
of them, but these, with fidelity to their brothers-in-arms 
which was throughout a conspicuous feature of the Cata- 
lonian character, refused to separate from their comrades, 
and all of them advanced in threatening attitude towards 
Thebes, where the ducal palace, a magnificent building of 
Nicolas de St. Omer, crowned the height of the Cadmeia, 
the ancient citadel. A last appeal to the duke to fulfil 
his promise, received only the answer that he would hang 
them up on his gallows. It was March 13 11, and the 
plains of Boeotia were covered with green corn. Into the 
fields in front of their position at Skripon, the ancient 
Orchomenus, the Catalonian leaders diverted the stream of 
the river Cephissus, so that they became a network of 
muddy channels, hidden by the rank vegetation of spring. 
The Frank chivalry, not perceiving the stratagem, or de- 
spising their enemy too much to take precautions, charged 
headlong into the morass, and unable to force their horses 
through it, were despatched by the swords or knives of the 
Catalans. Walter of Brienne was among the first to die, 
and it was said that of the 700 Frank knights only two, 
Boniface of Verona, whom I have mentioned above, and 
Roger Deslaur of Roussillon, both of whom were spared 
by friends in the Catalonian ranks, escaped with their 
lives. ^ 

This battle of Lake Copais or the Cephissus, an early 

^ There is a good account of the battle in Finlay's " Medieval Greece 
and Trebizond," pp. 174-76. Finlay was well acquainted with the 
site, and remarks that it was near that of Philip's victory of Chseronea 
and that of Sylla's defeat of Mithridates' generals. The latest and 
best account of the battle is in Gregorovius' Gesch. dcr Stadt Athen im 
Mittelaltcr, ii. pp. IS sqq. In contemporary accounts the battle is 
known as that of Almyro ; but where this Almyro was is unknown. 


instance of the victory of infantry over heavily armed and 
mail-clad cavalry, brought to an end the rule of Frankish 
dukes at Athens. The captains of the Great Company, as 
the Catalan leaders called themselves, took the govern- 
ment into their own hands, divided among themselves the 
lands of the feudal nobility who had fallen with Duke 
Walter, and married their widows or heiresses — ladies by 
whom, as Muntaner says, they would have before thought 
themselves honoured if permitted to hold the basin in 
which they washed their hands. ^ The son of the slain 
duke, another Walter of Brienne, assumed the title of 
Duke of Athens, and retained the lordship of Nauplia 
and Argos in the principality of Achaia. His nominal 
title passed to kinsmen of the Enghien family, whose 
last heiress sold her rights in Nauplia and Argos to the 

But the Catalonians continued to be the actual lords of 
Attica and Boeotia for some eighty years, and for the first 
part of that time a disturbing and embittering element in 
Greek politics. They burned down the great palace of the 
St. Omers at Thebes, they are accused of having also burned 
the grove of the Nymphs at Colonos, associated with that 
of Plato at Academus, and that of the Eumenides, where 
the old CEdipus was fabled to have ended his long troubles.^ 
They annexed Neopatras in Thessaly and Salona, the 
ancient Amphissa, on the northern shore of the Gulf of 
Corinth ; they invaded the Greek states of Epirus and 
Vlachia, and the Angevin principality of Achaia, so that 
Pope John XXIL, appealed to to make peace between Latin 
communities amongst Greek schismatics, authorised the 
Latin Archbishops of Corinth, Patras, and Otranto, to preach 
a Crusade against the Catalonians. This was in 1330, 
after the death of Roger Deslaur, when Frederic IL, the 

^ " E donaren a tal tant hourada dona, que no li tanguera que li 
donas aygua mans" (Munt., ccxi. p. 431, Lanz). 

^ Fallmerayer, ii. p. 182, on the authority of a fragmentary MS. at 

286 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Aragonese King of Sicily, was the absentee Duke of Athens 
and Neopatras,^ as regent for his infant son Manfred, and 
his Ueutenant was Berengar d'Estanol or d'Estafiol, a 
Spanish knight from Ampurias in the Eastern Pyrenees. 
The Company was in the midst of enemies — the Angeli of 
Epiros and Arta, Zaccaria the Genoese, Marquis of Bodon- 
itza, the Paleologi at Constantinople, the Prince of Achaia, 
resenting the slaughter of his knights at the Cephissus, and 
anxious to help the young Walter of Brienne, whose family 
had always been allies of Anjou. Against all these, and 
the spiritual thunders of Clement V. from Avignon, and the 
naval power of Venice, fearful of an attack upon Euboea, 
Estafiol held his own : Bonifacio of Verona, the Lord of 
Karystos, anxious to free Euboea from the Prince of Achaia, 
was his ally : the King of Aragon, asked to lead the 
Crusade, replied to Pope Clement that the Catalonians were 
at least Catholics, not schismatics like the Greeks ; Fulk de 
Villaret, the Grand Master of St. John, who was at this time 
establishing his Order in the stronghold of Rhodes,- that 
they were destined to hold for 200 years, refused also to be 
leader, and the Crusade fell through. 

But the Company, settled in the delightful climate of 
Greece, and amid the refinement and luxury of the Franks 
of Morea, whose homes and wives they had won for them- 
selves, gradually lost their warlike ardour and ferocity. No 
leader of the calibre of Roger de Flor rose from their 
ranks, and they came to depend on legitimate or illegitimate 
members of the family of the Aragonese kings for leading. 
They were stirred up to help their former leader, the Infante 
Fernan of Majorca, when in June 13 15 he landed at 
Clarentza to endeavour to conquer the principality o 
Achaia. But before his Catalonian allies arrived on the 

^ Finlay says {ii.s.y pp. 178, 179): " Neopatras from its strong 
position, important military situation, and delightful climate, divided 
with Athens the honour of being the capital of the Catalan principality 
which was styled the duchy of Athens and Neopatras."' 

* Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, p. 394. 


scene, the Infante was defeated and slain. His claims 
ultimately devolved on the House of Aragon. 

Another prince of that house, Don Alfonso Fadrique, 
an illegitimate son of Frederick II. of Sicily, succeeded, on 
Berengar d'Estafiol's death in 131 6, as Captain-General of 
the Catalonian Company, and Regent of the duchy of 
Athens.^ He established himself in a palace on the Acro- 
polis, surrounded by Spanish knights and hidalgos. Under 
d'Estafiol the Company had strengthened its position in 
Greece ; it was protected by the Kings of Aragon and 
Sicily, and recognised, though in an unfriendly way, by 
Venice. It had proved its strength against the Angeli of 
Thessaly and Arta, and was now disposed to try conclu- 
sions with the most formidable power in those seas, the 
great maritime Republic, whose bailo, in conjunction with 
some or all of the Terzieri, held his head high in the castle of 
Negroponte. Boniface of Verona, whom Muntaner praises 
as the " richest, wisest, and most knightly man of his day," 
was one of the Terzieri ; he was persuaded to break with 
the Venetians, marry his daughter to Alfonso Fadrique, 
and become the ally of the Catalonians. War soon broke 
out, and Venetian ships sailed into the Piraeus, and captured 
some of those of the Catalonians. But the Catalonian captain 
with 2000 men forced his way over the Euripus bridge, and 
took possession of the castle of Negroponte. This brought 
the principality of Achaia into the quarrel ; for the Terzieri 
of Euboea, as we have seen, were feudal dependants of 
Achaia, as well as of Venice. The Regent Maud of Hai- 
nault, who was in power at Andravida, appealed urgently to 
the Doge Giovanni Soranzo, praying him to forbid his 
bailo to make peace with the Spaniards,- and to join her in 
driving the intruders out of the island. 

* His title is given, " Alfonsus Frederici dei gratia seren. Regis 
Sicilire filius in ducatu Athenaruni et in aliis partibus Imp. Romanise 
Presidens" (Gregorovius, ii. p. q4, n. l). 

* Her letter calls the Catalans " la Compaigne de Caitellains" 

288 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

The doge sent out Paolo Morosini as bailo, with orders 
to reconquer the island, and the King of Sicily, anxious to 
be on good terms with Venice, persuaded his son to restore 
Negroponte, but Venice winked at Alfonso Fadrique re- 
taining Carystos, which had come to him as part of the 
dowry of Bonifacio's daughter. In 1319 Venice made 
peace with him, stipulating chiefly that the Company should 
not acquire sea power or ally themselves with Turks.^ 
This left them at liberty to extend their authority north of 
Thermopylce, and consequently, when the Sebastocrator 
died and his dominions were divided, Phthiotis, Neopatras, 
and other places fell to them ; they soon possessed all the 
lands the Dukes of Athens had held except Argolis. The 
nobles of Morea, who cared little for their Angevin rulers 
and were hard pressed by Greeks and Catalonians, asked 
Venice to annex the principality of Achaia, but this the 
Signoria prudently declined. 

While the Company was strengthening its position in the 
East, its enemies were gathering in the West. The young 
Walter of Brienne had not renounced the hope of recover- 
ing what his father had lost in the battle of the Lake 
Copais. His maternal grandfather, by whom he had been 
brought up, Gauthier de Chatillon, was head of a great 
French family and Constable of France. De Brienne him- 
self was Count of Lecce in the kingdom of Naples, and 
owned large territories both in Champagne and in Cyprus ; 
he was married to a daughter of Philip of Tarentum and 
his wife, Catherine de Valois, the titular Empress of 
Romania. For some years he was detained in Italy by 

though they were certainly not Castilians. Her letter is quoted (it is in 
French) in Gregorovius, Gtsch. der Stadt Athen iin Mittelalter, ii. p. 97, 
n. I. 

* They had been plundering in the Greek islands and carrying off 
slaves for the Soldan of Egypt's slave market. This raiding for slaves 
was comnjon. In 1310, a Sicilian corsair having landed a cargo of 
slaves in Eubcea, the inhabitants rose and freed ihem (Gregorovius, 
iitadt At/ien, ii. pp. 103, 104). 


troubles connected with the Emperor Louis the Bavarian's 
progress to Rome, which excited the Ghibellines to 
activity: as one consequence of this, De Brienne in 1326 
became Vicar of Charles of Calabria in Florence, and 
achieved some distinction there. By 1329 these troubles 
were quieted, and he was able to prosecute his attack on 
the Company. It was part of a general movement of 
Anjou against Aragon. For it he sold some of his French 
estates ; Robert, King of Naples, called out his vassals to 
aid him ; and Guelf nobles not only from Apulia, but from 
France and Tuscany, flocked to his standards. In June 
1330 the Pope issued a Bull, calling on the Emperor and 
all princes of the West to help the rightful Duke of Athens 
to recover his inheritance from " certain schismatics, sons 
of perdition and nurslings of iniquity," who had occupied 
and were holding it. At the same time the Latin Patriarch 
of Constantinople, now a refugee in Negropont, and the 
Archbishops of Patras and Otranto, as I have before 
mentioned, were ordered to proclaim a Crusade against the 

On the other side, Alfonso Fadrique fortified Athens, 
Thebes, and Livadia. The Cadmea at Thebes was still a 
strong place, and was put in the hands of his allies, the 
Venetian noble family of Ghisi, lords of the islands of 
Tinos and Myconos, who had inherited a district of Euboea 
from the Dalle Carceri of Verona. They and the Sanudi of 
Naxos, representing the many Venetian nobles who had 
become independent princes in the Greek islands, were 
inclined to side with the Catalonians. The Company was 
bent on propitiating Venice and preventing her from sup- 
porting De Brienne. For this purpose they got a Venetian 
made Archbishop of Athens, and allowed Pteleon, a port 
on the Gulf of Volo that had belonged to the Sebastocrator, 
to be occupied by Venice. 

But it was not Alfonso Fadrique who settled the terms 
of "a treaty between Venice and the Company. Early in 


290 VEiXICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

1 33 1 he suddenly resigned his office of Governor or Vicar- 
General under the absent Duke of Athens. We do not 
know the reasons for this step. He was not recalled by 
the King of Sicily, but stayed on in Greece, the most 
powerful leader among the Catalonian adventurers, and 
one of the richest feudal lords in Morea, where his family, 
under the name of " De Aragonia," was influential for fifty 
years.^ He was succeeded as Vicar-General by Nicolas 
Lancia, Lord of Giarrantana. In August of the same year, 
1 33 1, Walter de Brienne at last set sail from Brindisi 
with 8oo French knights from France or Naples ; but 
instead of directing his course to the Piraeus, landed in 
Epirus and marched upon Arta. His father-in-law, Philip 
of Tarentum, persuaded him to combine an attempt on 
Constantinople with the Crusade against the Catalonian 
Company. John of Gravina, a brother of Philip,- had made 
a similar attempt on Constantinople six years before, but 
without success. Walter de Brienne took Arta, and made 
its despot, Orsini, Count of Cephalonia, acknowledge the 
King of Naples as his sovereign ; but though the Archbishop 
of Patras again published the Pope's excommunication of 
the Company, the expedition made no way against them. 
The Venetian bailo would not admit De Brienne's ships to 
Eubcean harbours, and the Company kept close in their 
fortresses and would not meet the French in the field. In 

1332 De Brienne returned to Lecce, his home in Apulia. 
When he gave up the attempt to recover Attica from the 

Company he went back to the West, and was again chosen 
to govern Florence, the leading Guelf city of Italy, in the 
interest of the House of Anjou. He finally died fighting as 
Constable of France against the English.^ In about the 

1 Gregorovius, Stadt A then, ii. pp. 129, 130. 

^ See Geneal. Table No. I. in Buchon, N. R.,\\. pt. i., "Maison 
d' Anjou Tarente." 

^ At Poitiers in 1356. He was the last of his family (Gregorovius, 
Stadi Athen, ii. p. 137). Boccaccio and Villani express the Florentine 
hatred against him. His mother, widow of the duke who fell at the 


same year as his expedition, Abulfeda, Prince of Hamath, 
the Arabian geographer, wrote his account of Greece, in 
which he describes the country east of the Adriatic over 
against ApuHa as the land of the Queen, that is, the 
Empress Catherine de Valois (Phihp her husband was just 
dead) ; el Mara, i.e. the Morea including Attica, as divided 
between the Byzantine Emperor and the Company, " a 
Prankish tribe that men call ol Kithalan " ; and names also 
the Vlachians, the people of Malfaguth (Malvasia), who 
were subjects of Constantinople, speaking a dialect of their 
own ; westward of them Iklereus (Clarentza), subject also 
to the Empress Catherine ; Nakrapant (Negroponte), be- 
longing to Venice ; and the kingdom of Astib or Thebes, 
famous for its silks embroidered with gold and silver.^ 

This notice of an impartial traveller and scholar, an 
alien in blood and religion, gives us a view of the state — 
perhaps only momentary — of the Levantine world at the 
time of the failure of Walter de Brienne's attack on the 
Company. After that time the Company was not molested 
by the Western powers : the Pope, it is true, again ex- 
communicated it and its leaders by name- in 1335, t>ut 
no champion appeared ready to attack a band of seasoned 
warriors, who were powerful in the support of the Kings 
of Sicily and Aragon. So the excommunication had no 
secular effect, and ere long the Pope himself, alarmed at 
the progress the Greeks were making in the Peloponnesus 
and the Turks in Anatolia, came to a conviction that the 
existence of a powerful band of mercenaries at Athens, 
who were at any rate Christians and Catholics, v/as an 
advantage not to be despised. When Benedict XII., who 
in 1334 succeeded John XXII., endeavoured to form a 

Lake Copais, died in 1354 and is buried at Troyes, where all her style 
and titles can be read on her tomb in the Jacobins' Church, 

^ Hopf in Ersch und Gruber, 85, pp. 431, 432. 

^ The names are given in Ducange [L'Empire de Conslantinople, 
ii. 205, ed. Buchon). They begin with the two sons of P'rederic, King 
of Sicily, William the Duke, and Alfonso his vicar. 

292 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

League of Christian Princes against the Turks, the Cata- 
lonians, asked by the Latin Patriarch in Negropont to join 
the League, begged him to mediate for them with the 
Pope, and Clement VI., who succeeded to the Papacy 
in the next year, received their ambassadors. Their 
excommunication was, however, not removed till 1346, 
when the Dauphin Humbert of Vienne, Captain-General 
of the fleet of the Pope's League,^ whose uncle, Guy of 
Vienne, had been an old friend of the Company, induced 
the Pope to absolve them for three years. This temporary 
release from spiritual penalties, and a reconciliation about 
the same time with the Bailo of Negropont, made the 
Dauphin's expedition an important event for the Company. 
Its success against the Turk was confined to the burning 
of a Turkish fleet in the harbour of Smyrna. 

But the family which was to succeed the Company 
and its Aragonese princes was that of the Acciajoli, 
armourers and bankers of Florence, by this time rising 
to a prominent position in Naples. Its founder had come, 
in the middle of the twelfth century, from Brescia to 
Florence, already a chief seat of manufacturing industry, 
whence goods were sent to the Levant in Venetian or 
Genoese ships hired for the purpose. The Brescian 
stranger established a steel factory, and flourished in a 
trade that was not likely to suffer depression in the days 
of the Ecelini. He was of plebeian origin, and his de- 
scendants took from their trade the surname of Acciajoli^ 
" men of steel." With that trade they combined another 
— that in the more precious metals, of which also Florence 
was a chief seat. In that trade the Acciajoli soon ranked 
with the great bankers, the Bardi and Peruzzi. All princes 
of that age who took up any adventurous policy needed 
the services of the money-lender, and could pawn to him 
lands or movable goods that it was well worth his while 

^ The League included both Venice and Genoa, and also Cyprus and 
the Knights of Rhodes. 


to speculate in. Florence being a Guelf city, it was natural 
that her bankers should welcome a close connexion with 
the Angevin Kings of Naples, the adventurers originally 
brought out of France by the Popes to crush Ghibellinism 
in Italy, and sure to be involved sooner or later in every 
ambitious scheme that the Church promoted or favoured. 
Early in the fourteenth century, one of the Acciajoli was 
made a counsellor of Robert, King of Naples. In 1325 
their bank lent money to Robert's brother, John of 
Gravina, for his expedition to the Morea, on the security 
of lands in that country ; thus beginning a connexion 
which Niccolo, the son of King Robert's counsellor, 
improved and extended. A young man of twenty-one, 
when PhiUp of Tarentum died in 1331 he became the 
confidential adviser, and perhaps the lover, of his widow, 
the Empress Catherine de Valois, an ambitious and mas- 
culine woman. By his own adroitness and the money 
of his bank, he was able to get from John of Gravina 
the principality of Achaia in exchange for the duchy of 
Durazzo. Young Robert, the Empress' eldest son, became 
Prince of Achaia, his mother exercising the sovereignty in 
his name. We have seen that Abulfeda looked upon her 
as de facto ruler of Epirus and Achaia. In 1334 Niccolo, 
by obtaining the transfer to himself of the lands on which 
his bank had foreclosed, and receiving others by purchase 
or grant from the Empress, became a powerful feudatory in 
the Morea. As bailo there under the Empress from 1338 
to 1340, and on his own account after her return to Italy, 
till July 1 34 1, he governed the principality vigorously and 
strictly, put down anarchical or factious barons, and held 
his ground against Greeks at Misithra, and Turkish pirates 
and Catalans. After 1341 he returned to Florence, took 
an active part in settling the city finances that had been 
disorganised under the Duke of Athens, and did valuable 
service to the Angevin princes of the branch of Taren- 
tum. Robert, the eldest of the three sons of the Empress 


Catherine de Valois, obtained, as we have seen, the princi- 
pality of Achaia : after his mother's death he assumed the 
title of Emperor of Romania ; while Louis, the second 
son, by his marriage with Johanna his cousin, the grand- 
daughter and heiress of Robert, King of Naples, became 
" King of Jerusalem and Sicily, Duke of Calabria and the 
duchy of Apulia and principality of Capua, Count of 
Provence, Forcalquier and Piedmont," ^ the head of the 
Italian branch of the House of Anjou. When Johanna, 
for being concerned in the murder of her former husband, 
was attacked by his Hungarian kindred and deserted by 
her subjects, Niccolo clung to her and her second husband 
Louis, shared their flight to Avignon, and there pleaded 
her cause before the Pope, and obtained her restoration 
to Naples. For this, he was made Seneschal of Sicily 
and Lord of Melfi, Malta, and Gozzo. To the Pope 
Clement VI., who restored Johanna to her kingdom, she 
sold the territory of Avignon, which belonged to her as 
part of Provence.- 

Two of Niccolo's sons, Angelo and Robert, succeeded 
him in turn as hereditary governors of the fortress of 
Corinth : they probably stayed in Greece when he returned 
to Florence, where he died in 1365, and was buried in 
a magnificent tomb in the monastery of San Lorenzo. 
One of his sons appointed Nerio Acciajoli, a kinsman, 
his deputy at Corinth, and mortgaged the estate to him. 
Nerio was wealthy and powerful, and holding the strong 
fortress of Corinth on the frontier of the duchy of 
Athens, was in a position to uphold the claim of the 
Angevin Prince of Achaia to superiority over the duchy ; 
though in fact the dukes, from the De la Roche family 

^ These are his titles in a grant of lands to Niccolo Acciajoli printed 
in Buchon, JV. R., ii. p. 116. We must remember that Louis' kingdom 
of Sicily was as much a fiction as his kingdom of Jerusalem. Sicily was 
really at this time governed by princes of the House of Aragon, one 
of whom also was named Louis. 

'^ Milman's " Latin Christianity," v. 508. 


downwards, had always been independent of Achaia. The 
rivals in possession were the absentee Princes of Aragon, 
the younger sons of Frederic II. of Sicily, and Frederic 
of Randazzo, the son of the last survivor of them, on 
whose death their right reverted to Frederic III., King 
of Sicily. These absentee dukes were represented on the 
spot by the few remaining descendants of the Catalonian 
Company, less warhke than their forefathers, and led by 
Spanish or Sicilian nobles, the most famous of whom 
belonged either to an illegitimate branch of the House, 
of Aragon or to the descendants of Roger de Loria, the 
famous admiral of Sicily. When, towards the end of the 
fourteenth century, Louis, Count of Salona, representing 
the illegitimate branch of Aragon, died, leaving a daughter 
heiress to very large possessions, Nerio put in a claim on 
behalf of his master, the Prince of Achaia, to dispose of 
her hand, and give her in marriage to a kinsman of the 
Acciajoli. This claim led to a war, in which Nerio 
defeated the Catalans and gained possession of Athens, 
Thebes, and Livadia, the three chief places of the duchy. 
In 1394 Ladislas, King of Naples, as feudal superior of 
the principality of Achaia, conferred on Nerio the title 
of Duke of Athens, which was not a fiction, as so many 
titles with which we have lately met, but represented a 
very real authority exercised by himself and several of his 
descendants. The Acciajoli, the armourers and bankers 
of Florence, were thus admitted into the ranks of the 
reigning families of Europe, very much as the Medici, 
another powerful financial family of Florence, were in the 
next century. The remnant of the Catalans, after their 
defeat, continued to fight the Angevin troops for a time 
with the help of some Navarrese mercenaries (from whom 
some say the name of the Bay of Navarino is derived) ; 
but in the end many of them fled the country, others 
probably were merged in the Greek population, among 
whom their name has passed into a proverb and a 

296 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

reproach. 1 The government of the Acciajoli at Athens may, 
if I live, be related in a later chapter of this History. It 
may be looked upon as the last act of the great drama 
begun by the Venetian conquest of Constantinople. 

1 The end of the Calalonian dominion is very well told in Finlay's 
"Medieval Greece and Trebizond," pp. 179-85- See also Grego- 
rovius' Stadt Athen im Mittelalter, ii. pp. 122-30. Schlumberger, 
(p. 3QI, n. i) quoting from Don Ant. Rubio y Lluch, says : " Encore 
de nos jours, dans certaines contrees de la Grece, en Eubee par 
exemple, pour reprocher a quelqu'un un acte illicite et injuste on dit : 
' Les Catalans eux-memes n'eussent pas agi de la sorte.' En Acar- 
nanie, encore aujourd'hui le nom de Catalan est synonyme de 'sauvage,' 
'larron,' ' malfaiteur.' . . . Le nom de Catalan est aujourd'hui con- 
sidere a Athenes comnie la plus sanglante insulte appliquee aun homme 
barbare et cruel. ' Catalane,' Y^a.ri\6.vi), est en Moree la pire injure 
qu'on puisse adresser a une megere, a quelque virago grossiere et 
malfaisante." " May the vengeance of the Catalans find you out" is a 
common malediction in many parts of Greece, just as the "Curse of 
Cromwell" is in Ireland. 



The thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth century are, 
as I have already remarked, a very interesting period in the 
history of the Middle Ages, and especially in its Italian 
history. It begins with the greatest of mediaeval Popes, 
Innocent III., and the founders of the two great Mendicant 
Orders, St. Dominic and St. Francis. In the next genera- 
tion the same aspect of humanity, that of the lofty Christian 
ideal of the City of God, is illustrated by St. Louis and the 
poet of the " Divine Comedy." The opposite aspect, with 
its ideal of culture and worldly prosperity, had its repre- 
sentative in the Emperor Frederic II,, the forerunner of the 
Renaissance, and the poet of the revival of letters, Francis 
Petrarch. Venice might have been expected, from the very 
decided bent of her national character towards the acquisi- 
tion of the good things of this world, to have sympathised 
with the Emperor Frederic. But in fact, as we have seen, 
she did not ; while holding herself generally aloof from 
party strife, she was always more Guelf than Ghibelline. 
But her great men of this great age were not saints or 
religious poets, but statesmen, warriors, and merchants. 
The great doge who conquered Constantinople, Enrico 
Dandolo, belongs almost entirely to the twelfth century, 
though his great exploit and his death fall in the first 
lustrum of the thirteenth. The reconquest of Constanti- 
nople by the Greeks produced no great man, but I think 
that the history recorded in my last chapter may justify the 

claim of Roger de Flor, who almost won it back for the 


298 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Latins, to that title. The doges of Venice of this century, 
except old Dandolo, do not rise above the average of 
ability, but Piero Gradenigo, if in no way of conspicuous 
merit as statesman or soldier, cannot be denied the credit 
of founding, by his closing of the Great Council, the sage 
and powerful aristocracy that lasted with little change till 
the great cataclysm of the French Revolution, 500 years 

But perhaps the greatest Venetian of this time, and 
of a greatness peculiarly characteristic of Venice, was 
Marco Polo, the travelling merchant and geographical 
discoverer of the Middle Ages. We really know a good 
deal about his history and that of his book, for the progress 
of discovery since his time has so far confirmed his narra- 
tive, that many things appear more credible to us than they 
did to his contemporaries or immediate successors. Like 
Herodotus, he mixes up much that is fabulous with his 
record, but the fabulous part is that which rests on hearsay 
evidence, while what he himself vouches for is generally 
credible, and, so far as we can test it, accurate. Yet 
posterity has not done him justice ; the reputation that 
has attached to his memory for most of the centuries that 
have passed since his body was buried in the vestibule of 
the church of San Lorenzo has been that of a Baron 
Munchausen. The nickname of Milioni, which was attached 
to him not altogether kindly, is said to have become that 
of the typical romancer and boaster on the comic stage of 
Venice, and a French savant of the nineteenth century, 
used to the strict methods of historical investigation now 
in vogue, M. Paulin Paris, is unwilling to state as fact one 
of the best-supported incidents of his life.^ 

^ His being taken prisoner by the Genoese in the battle of Curzola. 
M. Paulin Paris will only say that he was imprisoned by the Genoese 
for reasons unknown {^Les MS. Francais de la Bibliotheque du Roi, ii. 
p. 355). The prologue to Polo's own book says simply, " demorant en 
le charthre de Jene." Our traveller's capture at Curzola in 1298 rests 
on the authority of a writer three hundred years after his time— 


The facts of Marco Polo's life, as related in his own book 
and in Ramusio's preface to it, are simple enoug h. The 
Polo family was noble, and said to have come from 
Sebenico in Dalmatia. Polo was the Venetian way of 
spelling the name of the Apostle of the Gentiles, whose 
church, one of the old parish churches of Rialto, far older 
than the better known church Santi Giovanni e Paolo 
(named after a more obscure saint and martyr), was always 
called San Polo;^ but the family did not, like some other 
Venetian families, claim descent from Rome — either from 
^milius or from Sergius PauUus. One branch of the family 
settled in the parish of San Felice, and Andrea of this branch 
had in 1250 three sons all engaged in the Eastern trade, 
probably in partnership, having a mercantile house at 
Constantinople and another at Soldaia or Siidak, in the 
Crimea. In 1260 two of the brothers — Nicola, the father 
of our traveller, and Maffeo — started from Constantinople 
and crossed the Greater Sea - (as they call the Euxine) to 
the Crimea with a store of jewels, intended for sale to some 
of the Tartar princes, whose courts were at this time 
scattered over a great part of Asia. The prince to whom 
they first went, Barca Khan, kept his court at Sara and 
Bolgara, both on the Volga ; Sara, not far from where it 
enters the Caspian at Astracan ; Bolgara, some 500 miles 
higher up the river, not far from the modern Kazan. 

This Tartar kingdom, known both as Kiptchak and as 
the Golden Horde, was the westernmost of those founded 

Gianbattista Ramusio, author of a collection oi Navigazioni e Plaggt 
published in 1553, a careful man of affairs and a scientific geographer, 
who tells us he had the aid of several copies of Polo's MS. more than 
two hundred years old, and who certainly had access to accurate 
sources of information not available for us. 

^ The arms of the Ca Polo were, however, three " Pole " or "Jack- 
daws" sable on a bend or, birds that appear in a simile of Dante's 
Paradiso, xxi. 34. 

^ "Mormaiour": it was greater in comparison with the Propontis. 
"Mare Mauium," the original form of Black Sea, is used by Friar 
Jordanus and Mandeville (Yule's " Cathay," i. p. 44, n. 3). 

300 VENICE IN THE 13th ^: 14th CENTURIES 

by the great Zinghis Khan, whose numberless hordes 
spread over almost the whole of Northern Asia and 
North-eastern Europe in 1222 and the following years, 
one of the most cruel and destructive incursions that 
history records. Zinghis left four sons when he died in 
1227, of whom the eldest was the founder of the kingdom 
of Kiptchak, but a younger brother, Octai, had been pro- 
claimed his father's successor as Great Khan or Kaan,* and 
had occupied as his seat of government, in the country 
south of Lake Baikal, the village or permanent camp of 
Karakorum, 600 miles to the north-west of Pekin. Starting 
from this, the four rulers who succeeded Zinghis, of whom 
his grandson, Kublai Khan, was the last and the greatest, 
conquered nearly the whole of that great Empire, which, 
even then of immemorial antiquity, still exists in the hands 
of the same inexhaustible and indefatigable race, and with 
the same capital city, Pekin. Another grandson of Zinghis, 
Holagou,'- advanced to the south-west, overthrew in 1258 
the Abbaside Caliph at Bagdad, and ruled in Persia, send- 
ing out flying columns to waste and plunder as far as Aleppo 
and Damascus, till they were met and checked by the Mama- 
lukes of Syria and Egypt : and yet a fourth Mongol empire 
was founded by Chagatai, another son of Zinghis, the centre 
of which was in Turkestan, at a city called Almaligh or 
Armalec, on the Hi river, not very far from Samarcand. 

The Mongol invasion naturally caused lively interest and 
indeed consternation in both Christian and Mohammedan 
worlds. The barbarous tribes of the North, Scythian or 

' Marco Polo always preserves the distinction between Kaan and 
Khan. Kaan is said to mean King of Kings, Khan " king." I give the 
personal names Zinghis, Octai, &c., as Gibbon gives them ; modern 
authorities adopt all kinds of varieties, e.j^. Gengis, Tchinghiz, Djinghis 
or Dchinghis, varieties that, when they occur in initial letters, work 
havoc in an index. 

^ Marco Polo calls Holagou J/aou, showing the soft sound of the k 
and, fin the Tartar language. He gives him the title of Lord of the 
East {Seigneur du Levant), the Khan of Kiptchak being Seigneur du 
Ponent (see Yule, i. p. S, 2nd ed., 1875). 


Tartar or Mongolian, in their swarming multitudes and 
their gloomy isolation, had impressed the imagination of 
Jews and Arabs. They figure under the names of Gog and 
Magog in the prophecies of Ezekiel and St. John of the 
Apocalypse, and about the year 200 a.d. an entirely un- 
historical history of Alexander the Great, known by the 
name of the Pseudo CalUsthenes (which has had perhaps the 
most singular fate of any romance ever invented, having 
been early translated into several Eastern languages, sup- 
plied Persian poets with material, and travelled as far as 
Siam and the Malay countries, returning again to Europe 
through Constantinople in the tenth century), made it one 
of its hero's exploits that he had walled up Gog and Magog 
in a defile near the Caspian and the Caucasus.^ Among 
other Eastern readers or hearers, the legend had reached 
Mohammed, who, brooding on the passages in Ezekiel and 
the Apocalypse in connection with it, had in two chapters 
of the Koran proclaimed as one of the signs of the end of 
the world the breaking loose of Gog and Magog from their 
prison. When the flood of Mongol invasion burst in the 
thirteenth century on Asia and Europe, it was inevitable 
that Christian and Moslem alike should see in it the 
release of Gog and Magog, and the coming of the end of 
the world. 

It is characteristic of the Christian Church in that great 
age, when the great Pope Innocent III. was but recently 
dead, when St. Francis was still living, and the earliest 
followers of him and St. Dominic were spreading over the 
world in their first overpowering zeal,- that, far from 

^ Gog and Magog figure in many medireval maps, sometimes far 
away in the north-east of Asia, near Kamschatka. 

2 The contrast between the Mongol temporal, and the Dominican 
and Franciscan spiritual, incursions was not lost upon contemporaries. 
See the passage from Ricold of Montecroce quoted in Yule's " Cathay," 
p. cxxii. Ricold's Itinerary is printed in Pere^rinatores Medii ACvi 
quatuor (ed. J. C. Laurent, Lipsice, 1864). His words are (p. liS): 
" Et est memoria et gratitudine dignum omni populo Christiano quod 
eodem tempore quo misit Deus Tartaros ad partes Orientaies, ut 

302 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

breathing out slaughter and extermination, as the Koran 
had done, against the invading hosts, her leaders had at 
once begun measures for converting them to Christianity. 
Two Franciscans, John da Piano Carpini, from the country 
of Perugia, one of the first disciples of St. Francis, and 
William Ruysbroek or De Rubruquis, a Fleming, visited 
the Great Khan's country about 1250. The former started 
from Lyons in 1245 with a mission from the Council held 
there and Pope Innocent IV., picked up at Breslau another 
Franciscan, Father Benedict, the Pole, as a companion, 
reached the capital of Batu, the Lord of the Ponent, on 
the Volga, and from thence, after a journey of three 
months and a half, came to Karakorum, the standing camp 
of the Great Khan Kuyuk, the son of Octal, by whom he 
was dismissed with a haughty reply to the Pope's mission, 
in November 1246. Rubruquis, who had some unavowed 
commission from St. Louis, started in 1253, went by the 
Black Sea to Batu's court, and was passed on to Kara- 
korum to the Great Khan (who was then Mangku, the son 
of Tuli, another of Zinghis' sons and brother of the 
great Kublai Khan), returning to Antioch in the middle of 

In 1278 three Franciscans were sent by Pope Nicolas 
III. to Cathay with a long letter to Kublai Khan, but it is 
probable they did not reach their destination. In 1291 
another Franciscan, John of Monte Corvino, went alone from 
Tabriz, by way of India, to Cathay, to preach the gospel, and 
was after some years joined by other neighbours and recog- 
nised by the Pope, who made him Archbishop of Khanbaligh 
(Pekin), with authority over other bishops and churches in 
Cathay. His letters, printed by Sir H. Yule in his " Cathay 
and the Way Thither," - are most interesting. John stayed at 

occiderent et occiderentur, misit Deus ad Occidentales servos suos 
fidelissimos, beatos Dominicum et Franciscum ut illuminarent, instrue- 
rent et edificarent." 

' Yule's "Cathay," pp. cxxii.-cxxiv. 

* Pp. 197-209. The letters are dated in 1305 and 1306, when Kublai 


Pekin till his death, and was buried there. He was over 
eighty years of age when he died in 1328, and had been 
thirty-seven years in the East — a most devoted and coura- 
geous missionary, if perhaps a little lacking in charity towards 
the Nestorians. One Friar Nicolas was appointed by the 
Pope to succeed him in 1333, and started for the East, but 
there is reason to think that he did not reach Cathay.^ 
Andrew of Perugia, also a Franciscan, went out with Monte 
Corvino to be made Bishop of Zaiton, which was in the 
province of Fokien, in South China. A letter of his, 
written from Zaiton in 1326 to the warden of his convent 
at Perugia, mentions that an Armenian lady had built a 
church at Zaiton which would serve for his cathedral, and 
he was adding in a grove a quarter of a mile outside the 
city a convent for twenty-two friars. He speaks of the 
generosity of the Great Khan's government in supplying 
Christian missionaries with money and provisions, though 
the good man cannot approve the tolerance and religious 
indifference which this generosity shows. '-^ At a little later 
time Friar Odoric, a Franciscan of Pordenone, in Friuli, 
whose account of his travels, dictated by him on his death- 
bed, in the convent of St. Antony, in Padua,^ has come 
down to us in a rather puzzling variety of forms, 
started in 1318 "with the galleys from Venice," no doubt 
the "carovana " I have so often mentioned,"* and made his 

was dead and his grandson Temur (who must not be confused with 
Timur or Tamerlane) was Grand Khan. Temur is more often called 

^ See the letter of the Alan chiefs to Pope Benedict XII. in 1336, 
printed in Yule's "Cathay," pp. 314, 315. 

^ The letter is translated in Yule's " Cathay," pp. 222-25. 

^ Besides Marco Polo and Odoric, Joinville, Ibn Batuta, Hayton the 
Armenian, and Nicolas Conti dictated their works. Yule was inclined 
to attribute this to "that intense dislike which is still seen on the 
shores of the Mediterranean to the use of pen and ink " (p. 87 of Intro., 
ed. 1875). 

* Odoric uses the Latin " caravana " in the sense in which we use 
"caravan" in reference to eastern travelling (Yule's "Cathay," App. i. 
§ 3). " The galleys " started from Venice for Cyprus and Layas at a 

304 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

way to the Franciscan convent built by Andrew of Perugia 
at Zaiton, travelling, not by the northern route of the 
Volga and the Caspian, but by Persia, and sailing from 
Ormuz, on the Persian Gulf, to India, and so by Sumatra 
and Java to " that noble province Manzi, which we call 
Upper India " — i.e., to South China. " Fourteen years and 
a half," he says, "in the habit of Francis, that blessed 
confessor of Christ, I sojourned in these parts of the 
world." * At Tabriz and its suburb, Soldania, he found 
Franciscan convents existing, and at Tana, on the Malabar 
coast, he witnessed the martyrdom of four of his brother 
Franciscans, who had been entertained in the houses of the 
Nestorians settled there, till seized and put to death by the 
heathen governor. If the travelling friar had to carry his 
life in his hand among Pagan or Moslem persecutors, he 
could at any rate never have suffered long from solitude, 
even in these remote regions of the East. 

And, generally speaking, the inhabitants of the Far East, 
especially its Mongol rulers, were well disposed to Chris- 
tian missionaries — so friendly, indeed, that we constantly find 
statements that such and such a prince was a Christian. 
There is reason to suppose that the Nestorian Church, 
which, in the words of Sir H. Yule, "was at this time and 
in the preceding centuries diffused over Asia to an extent 
of which little conception is generally entertained, having 
a chain of bishops and metropolitans from Jerusalem to 
Pekin," '^ had made many converts among the Mongolian 
tribes. The famous and mysterious sovereign called 
Prester John, who reigned over a pastoral people in the 
country known in those times as Tangut or Tenduc, to 
the west of Pekin, seems to have been a convert of the 

fixed time. The regularity of this service was so great, that " pour les 
affaires traitees a Lajazzo, les echeances avaient pour terme I'arrivee 
des galeres" (Heyd, ii. p. 82). 

1 Yule's "Cathay," pp. 43, 44. 

- Yule's "Marco Polo," bk. i., c. v. vol. i. p. 58, 2nd edition. 


Nestorians ; but of him and other princes Rubruquis, 
the Flemish Franciscan I have mentioned, says that the 
Nestorians from those parts of the world will, " out of mere 
nothing spin the most wonderful stories, just as they have 
spread about that Sartach is a Christian, and have told 
the same of Mangu Cham and of Ken Cham ; the fact being 
merely that they treat Christians with more respect than 
other folk, but all the while are not Christians a bit." ^ 
The Western missionaries were unwilling to recognise the 
Nestorians as fellow-Christians, but there can be no doubt 
that familiarity with Nestorians and Mongolian tribes con- 
verted by them was one of the causes of the Great Khan and 
his subjects tolerating and even favouring the Franciscan 
missionaries. Another cause was common enmity to Moham- 
medan Turks, especially the Mamalukes of Syria and Egypt, 
which led Ghazan, the Mongol Khan of Persia, when him- 
self a convert to Islam, to be ready to accept the alliance 
of any Crusading power that would attempt to take Syria 
from the Sultan of Egypt, and undertake to hand over to 
such power the Holy Land.- 

With the Franciscan missionaries were mingled from the 
first other Western travellers, the merchants of the Italian 
commercial cities. Zinghiz Khan and his descendants 
amassed fabulous wealth by their conquests in China and 
other seats of old civilisation in the Far East. They were 
themselves quite capable of appreciating the advantages of 
civilisation, and took care to spare the industrious artisans 
they found in conquered places. Rubruquis, the mission- 
ary, found German miners and smiths at work at Talas 
and Bohat.^ A goldsmith of Paris, Guillaume I'Orfevre, 

^ Quoted in Yule's "Cathay," p. 177. 

^ Yule's "Marco Polo," ii. p. 409, ed. 1871. See also Heyd (Fr. 
trans.), ii. p. 69. 

* See d'Avezac's ed. in Rectteil de Voyages^ torn. iv. pp. 279 and 
350. Talas, on a river of the same name, is to be found in modern maps 
in the country north-west of Kashgar and the Thian Shan. 


3o6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

appears to have been found working at Karakorum, when 
Rubruquis visited that place. ^ 

Traders from the West had long abounded in the 
Christian towns on the Syrian coast and at Layas on the 
coast of Cilicia, then called Lesser Armenia, or Trebizond 
on the south shore of the Black Sea, or Caffa on the Sea 
of Azoff. These places had all been used as entrepots for 
merchandise coming to Europe from India or China, or going 
from Europe to the East. When the Mongol conquests 
had extended to the south of Russia in the north-west and 
to Persia and Mesopotamia on the south of west, it was but 
a short land journey from these entrepots to the Mongol 
outposts. And this overland route became the more usual 
one for articles of large value in proportion to their weight, 
such as jewels or spices, because transit dues in the 
Mongol Empire were lower than in Egypt, while the cost of 
the longer journey was not important for articles of small 

The Polo brothers in 1260 seem to have been the first 
Italian merchants to penetrate to the court of the Great 
Khan. When I last mentioned them, I traced their pro- 
gress from Soldaia as far as the strongholds on the Volga, 

^ See Yule, i. 230 (hk. i. ch. xlvi. note i). The passage in Rubroek's 
Latin, c. 34 {Recueil de ]'oyages, iv. p. 309), in French (Bergeron's 
Reaieil, vol. i. col. 74) tells first of a Christian woman of Metz in 
Lorraine, named Pascha or Paquette, who had been taken prisoner by 
the Mongols in Hungary and suffered unheard-of hardships on her way 
to Karakorum, but was then well off, married to a young Russian hus- 
band, a house-builder ("qui sciebat facere donios "). " Insuper narravit 
nobis quod apud Carecarum esset quidam magister aurifaber, Willelmus 
nomine, oriundus Parisius : cognomen ejus est Buchier, et nomen patris 
ejus Laurentius Buchier. Et adhuc credit se habere fratrem super 
Magnum Pontem nomine Rogerus Buchier." This same Master 
William made for Rubroek and his companions an iron for making 
wafers, and also a silver box to put the body of Christ in, with relics in 
little cavities made in the sides of the box. M. Marcel Mounier, who 
lately visited the large Buddhist temple at Erdeni Tso, the site of 
Karakorum, saw there an iron box with a Latin cross and a silver box 
which may very likely be the objects made for Rubroek (see Dr. 
Cordier's note at i. p. 230 of the jrd ed. of Yule's " Marco Polo"). 


where Barka, the Khan of the Kiptchaks, had his head- 
quarters. They stayed there for a year and made a 
good profit, and would then have returned, had not 
a war between Barka, "the Lord of the Ponent," and 
"the Lord of the Levant," as Holagou or Olau, the 
Khan of Persia, was called, made the roads so unsafe 
that they preferred to travel further eastward, where the 
country was at peace. So they crossed the Volga and 
entered upon steppes occupied by Tartar herdsmen, and 
passed in due time into the dominions of Borrak Khan, 
a descendant of Chagatai, the son of Zinghis, who at the 
division of his father's empire had received Turkestan. 
Bokhara was one of the chief cities of this khanate, and, 
in a three years' stay there, our merchants fell in with 
a caravan of ambassadors from the Khan of Persia on their 
way to the Court of the Great Khan Kublai, " the Lord of 
all the Tartars in the world." The ambassadors told them 
that the Great Khan was much interested in Latins, and 
would treat them with great honour and liberality, if they 
would join their company and travel with them. The 
spirit of adventure was strong in the Polo family, and the 
two brothers accepted the offer of the ambassadors and 
launched out into the unknown north-east of the world. 
It took them a year to reach Kublai's court : we are not 
told where it was held, perhaps still at Karakorum, as 
Kublai, who moved it to Khanbaligh or Pekin, had only 
lately succeeded his brother Mangku on the throne. 
Kublai received them with high honour, and showed an 
intelligent curiosity about the Western world : he naturally 
wished to know about the Emperors of the East and West, 
whose position corresponded with his own. But it is 
more surprising to find that he made inquiries about the 
" Apostle," i.e. the Pope and the Church ; and still stranger 
that he wrote a letter to the Pope, praying him to send out 
a hundred intelligent men of the Christian faith, acquainted 
with the Seven Arts, that is, the Trivium and Quadrivium of 

3o8 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the schools, able to argue, and to prove to idolaters and 
others that the law of Christ was best and other religions 
false and naught. This was a conditional promise to be- 
come a Christian himself, and as he did not become one, 
it is to be feared that the missionaries sent to his Empire 
were not sufficiently accomplished in the Trivium and 
Quadrivium. His letter also asked for some oil from the 
lamp burning on the Holy Sepulchre. The proficiency of 
the two brothers in the Tartar language suggested to the 
Kaan that they would be the best envoys to carry his letter 
to the Pope, and accordingly they started on their return to 
Europe, taking with them one of the Kaan's barons, who, 
however, soon fell ill and was left behind. 

A paiza or golden tablet given them by Kublai secured 
them safe conduct and provisions throughout the Mongol 
dominions ; but notwithstanding this it took them three 
years to travel to Layas (Lajazzo), whence they came by sea 
to Acre in April 1269. Their long journey had been made 
slow by snow and rain and immdations, and now they were 
further delayed by finding that Pope Clement IV. was dead. 
But at Acre they met with Theobald of Piacenza, the Papal 
legate in Egypt, who, after a delay of two years, which the 
brothers spent in a voyage to Negropont and Venice and 
back again, was himself elected Pope and took the name 
of Gregory X. The vacancy had lasted nearly three years, 
from November 1268 till September 1271, and the Vene- 
tians had finished their journey to Venice and another to 
Jerusalem, where they obtained the oil from the sacred 
lamp — by which the Kaan set great store ^ — and had 
already proceeded as far as Layas on their return, when 
their friend the legate, now himself Pope, summoned them 
to Acre, to give them his credentials and his reply to the 
Kaan's letter, and also two Friars Preachers as companions, 

^ See Yule's " Marco Polo," i. p. 27, Prologue, c. xiv. (" I'ot moult 
chier," Pauthier, i. 22). 


who, however, were frightened when they found war was 
going on in Hermenia, and refused to go farther. But they 
had brought with them a much better companion, Nicola's 
son, Marco, a lad of seventeen years old, whose pen has 
described to us the rest of their adventures among the 
Mongols and also the various lands of the East, over which 
the Great Khan was supreme Lord. 

Their journey back took them three years and a half, 
being lengthened by bad weather, and severe cold. The 
Great Khan sent a mission forty days' journey to meet them 
and bring them to his summer palace at Kemenfu, known 
to the Chinese as Shangtu, between 300 and 400 miles 
north of Pekin. He was much pleased with their creden- 
tials from the Pope, and the oil from the holy lamp, and 
took particular notice of the young Marco, ^ his esteem 
for whom increased when he found how well he knew the 
Tartar languages and customs, so that he very soon en- 
trusted him with an important mission to a country six 
months distant. Kublai was much pleased with the young 
man's report of this mission, which did not confine itself to 
the official business on which he had been sent, but told of 
all the remarkable things he had seen in the strange coun- 
tries, and the manners and customs of the people. In fact 
Marco gave the Great Khan such a relazione of his mission 
as the Venetian ambassadors used to send home from the 
European courts to which they were accredited. This 
habit of reporting to please the Great Khan was the occa- 
sion, Marco tells us, of his " knowing and seeing more of 
the divers countries of the world than any other man : and 
more than all others he set his mind to know, to observe, 
and to inquire, in order to relate to the Great Khan what 
he learned." 2 His book contains his observations in all 
the countries he saw, set forth in great detail ; but the 

^ " Le Joenne Bacheler" in Polo's original French (Pauthier, i. 
p. 22). 

* Prologue, c. xvi. (Yule, i. pp. 29, 30 ; Pauthier, vol. i. p. 25). 

3ro VENICE IN THE 13th c^- 14th CENTURIES 

account of his actual sojourn at Kublai's court is com- 
pressed into very few pages. 

He stayed there seventeen years, from 1274 till 1291, but 
he was all this time not stationary, but "going and coming, 
here and there on missions through divers countries, 
whither the Lord sent him." ^ His high favour with Kublai 
caused the Mongol barons to be jealous, and, perhaps for 
this reason, the Venetian travellers thought seriously of 
bringing their long stay to an end, and returning to Venice. 
But the Great Khan was unwiUing to part with them, and 
their eventual departure, early in 1292, was due to the 
accident that some envoys from Argon, the Eord of the 
East, who had been sent to the headquarters of their race 
to find a lady of royal Tartar blood to succeed his wife, who 
had lately died, had been provided by Kublai with a young 
princess, whom they wished to spare the fatigue of a long 
land journey. It was not easy to find a Mongol baron 
who knew the world so well as to be able to assure the lady 
a safe journey by sea," but the envoys had been impressed 
by the ability of the Latin strangers, of whom Marco had 
just returned from a journey to Indo-China, Ceylon, and 
the south of India, and they pressed Kublai to allow the 
Venetians to guide them and the princess to Persia. He 
consented unwillingly, and sent them off equipped magni- 
ficently for their long journey,^ entrusting them, moreover, 
with messages to the Kings of France and England, and 
other kings of Christendom, but not apparently to the 
Apostle. They started for Zaiton in the province of 
Fokien, then an important place, where half a century later, 
as we have seen,* there was a Latin bishop and a Franciscan 
convent, and went by sea, first to Sumatra, then to Ceylon 

* Pauthier, i. p. 25. 

^ Cantacuzenus, the Byzantine historian, says that the Tartars were 
d$d\aTTOi. iravTeXus (iii. p. 192 Bonn, quoted in Heyd, ii. p. Jt^). 

^ By means of "golden tablets of authority" or />aisas, as to which 
see Yule's note on " Marco Polo," ii. ch. 7, and antt;, p. 308. 

* Anig, p. 303. 


and Southern and Western India, landing at Hormuz in the 
Persian Gulf, two years after leaving China. Travelling 
by sea, with a sufficient escort to save the travellers from 
capture or death, was a slow and toilsome process. The 
thirteen ships which the Cireat Khan gave them, with their 
four masts, " often spreading twelve sails," were probably 
of the pattern of the Chinese junks we know, and required 
prudent navigation, and rest in port during the monsoons. 
They were large, with crews of 200 or 300, and each had 
fifty or sixty cabins for the merchants who travelled by 
them. Ibn Batuta, the Moor of Tangier, whose travels in 
China date from 1342, fifty years after Marco Polo's re- 
turn, speaks of crews of 1000 men. They had an admirable 
system of water-tight compartments, such as was not in use in 
any Western country till quite recent times : they had large 
sweeps or oars worked by several men (Ibn Batuta says as 
many as fifteen or even thirty), when the wind was not 
favourable, and small boats or tenders to tow them, if 
necessary.i In those "spacious days" there was ample 
leisure for long voyages, and a visitor to a far country was 
in no hurry to return home. A mission sent by Ghazan 
Khan from Persia to Cathay was absent from home seven 
years, and spent four in Cathay, and the three Polos were 
away from Venice more than thirty years ; in fact, this 
one journey made up the main business of their lives. 
The princess they escorted, when she reached Persia, 
found that Argon, whose wife she was to have been, 
was dead ; but there was no difficulty in transferring her 
to his son Ghazan, who was, it is probable, of a more 
suitable age. 

The Venetians got great credit from the Khan of Persia 
and the lady they had brought to him, for their care of her 
and the ladies of her train during the long voyage, and 

1 Yule's " Marco Polo," book iii. ch. i. The passage from Ibn 
Batuta is quoted at vol. ii. p. 198 (ed. of 187 1). See also Yule's 
•' Cathay," p. 418. 

312 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

were here, too, enabled to travel without expense till they 
left the Persian kingdom. After that they appear to have 
travelled by land to Trebizond and Constantinople, and 
thence by sea to Negropont and Venice. They had not 
neglected their trading interests during their long stay in 
the East, and returned very wealthy. The reputation of 
this, and perhaps a certain disposition to boast of the vast 
extent and riches of the Great Khan's dominions, were the 
cause of the nickname of " Milioni " being given to Marco, ^ 
and to the palace built by the three travellers near the church 
of San Giovanni Crisostomo, which was known as " Corte 
del Milioni" in the time of Giambattista Ramusio (a.d. 
1483 to 1557), whose account of our travellers in his 
Navigazioni e Viaggi contains, with much that is mythical, 
much also that has, in all probability, come down from 
authentic sources. His account of the return of the 
travellers may possibly belong to the mythical part ; 
it is traditional, certainly, for, writing 250 years after, he 
appeals to the authority of an illustrious Senator, Messer 
Gasparo Malipiero, who was an old man when he was a 
lad, and had lived all his life near the Corte del Milioni 
and had heard the same story from his father and grand- 
father. This would not carry us back within a hundred 
years of the event, but notwithstanding this imperfect evi- 
dence, and the flavour of the " Arabian Nights " that clings 
to the story, I think it may find a place in a sober history. 
It begins with an inaccuracy, for it makes the travellers 
return to their palace in the contrada of San Giovanni 
Crisostomo, which was not built till after their return. 
They found their palace, we are told, occupied by some 
of their kindred, who believed them to be long dead. 

1 It is curious that in a Register of the Great Council of the iSth of 
April 1305, one of the sureties for payments to be made by one Bonocio 
of Mestre as a penalty for smuggling wine is the nobleman Marcus 
Paulus Milioni. There was a contemporary Marco Polo from whom 
the nickname served to distinguish our traveller (Yule's "Marco 
Polo," Introd. i. pp. 65, 66 ; see ib., p. 78). 


They were in the position of Ulysses returning to Ithaca 
after twenty years' absence, except that they had been 
away six years longer. But their kinsmen did not wish to 
keep them out of their property, and allowed them to give 
a great banquet in it to their friends and relations. At 
this they appeared in robes of crimson satin in place of 
the coarse and gloomy clothes of Tartar make which they 
were wearing on their arrival, and after the feast exchanged 
the satin for other crimson robes of damask and velvet, 
at each change ordering the discarded finery to be given 
to the servants. At the last change they put on the 
ordinary dress of Venetian gentlemen, and the feast went 
on to its conclusion. Then, when the servants had been 
sent away, Marco, as the youngest of the travellers, went 
out of the room and brought in the old shabby Tartar 
raiment they had put off, on which all three set to work 
with sharp knives to rip up the seams, and disclosed a 
multitude of rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and other stones 
that had been skilfully hidden in them. They had, before 
leaving the Great Khan's dominions, changed all their gold 
into this portable shape, that it might pass safely by sea or 
desert in the many months' journeyings that separated them 
from their home.^ 

Ramusio goes on to tell in his preface how, not many 
months after the return of the travellers, Marco Polo was 
put in charge of one of the ninety galleys that the Signoria 
fitted out to engage a Genoese fleet that was attacking 
Curzola. I have related in a previous chapter - the great 
defeat the Venetians suffered there in 1298, and how Marco 
Polo was taken prisoner, and in his prison dictated the 
account of his travels in Tartary to a fellow-prisoner from 
Pisa named Rustichelli, which, as a common Pisan name, 
is more probably correct than Rusticians or Rustacians, or 

' Ramusio's account is in the preface to the sections of his Navi- 
gazioni e Fia^^? containing Marco Polo's book (vol. ii. p. 5). 
^ See ante, pp. 25(1, 257. 


any other of the variations that appear in MSS. of our 

Some Venetian accounts say that the prisoners were cruelly 
treated and starved in their Genoese prison ; but other 
accounts differ from these, and say the Genoese treated 
them with courtesy. At any rate, we know that Marco 
Polo lived to be released in 1299, when peace between 
the two Republics was made by the mediation of Matteo 
Visconti. He lived some time after this, and married, 
early in the fourteenth century, a lady whose name is 
supposed to have been Donata Loredano. One or two 
notices of him are found in legal documents extant, one of 
which refers to a lawsuit with another merchant about a 
speculation in musk, another to a dispute as to the 
boundaries of his house property in the parish of Gio- 
vanni Crisostomo, the palace in the Corte del Milioni 
of which Ramusio tells us. His will is extant, dated in 
January 1323, i.e. 1324 in the ordinary reckoning, and 
dictated to a priest and notary, in which he speaks of 
himself as growing daily feebler, through bodily ailment, 
and we know that in June 1325 he was dead. By his will 
he left, besides the tithe or death duty, that went to the 
Bishop of Castello, sums of money to all the monasteries 
from Capo d'Argine to Grado, a special legacy to the 
church of San Lorenzo, where he was to be buried, and 
to the Dominicans of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, and small 
sums to every congregation in Rialto, and every Schola or 

1 A Rustician de Pise is known as a writer of prose abridgments of 
old metrical romances, whom Paulin Paris supposes to have been 
attached to the Angevin court in Sicily. In his abridgment of the 
Romance of Lancelot, he omitted the episode of the loves of Lancelot 
and Queen Guinevere, on which M. I'aulin Paris remarks, "Alas ! that 
the copy of the Lancelot that fell into the hands of poor Francesca of 
Rimini was not one of those expurgated by Rustician ! " It is probable, 
from striking similarities between this Rustician's preamble to one of 
his collections of romances and the prologue to Marco Polo's book, 
that the romancer and Marco Polo's amanuensis are one and the same 


Confraternity of which he was a member. Such bequests 
were common in Venetian, as indeed in all mediaeval, wills. 
A less usual provision ordered the release from bondage of 
a Tartar slave named Pietro, " as completely as I pray God 
to release my own soul from all sin and guilt." ^ 

Sir H. Yule has remarked on the few notices from con- 
temporaries of Marco Polo's book that have come down to 
us. The most curious of these is contained in a note found 
in two of the best French MSS. of the book, that of the 
Paris Library and that of Berne, and mentions a personage 
we have met with in connection with the Catalan Company, 
Sieur Thiebault de Chepoy. From this we learn that the first 
copy made of the book was given by Marco Polo to Chepoy, 
when the latter was at Venice, as Vicar-General for Charles 
of Valois and the Empress his wife in all the territories of 
the Empire of Constantinople, in August 1307.- It is quite 
possible that a copy of this made for Charles of Valois is 
the very copy now in the Paris Library. The same note 
describes Marco Polo as a very honourable person of high 
character and respect in many countries, who was anxious 
that his geographical discoveries should be widely known, 
and was glad of the opportunity of having his book carried 
to the noble country of France.^ 

His book does not, in fact, appear to have attained any 
great notoriety either in his own day or in the later Middle 
Ages. The MSS. of it are not numerous — not nearly so 
numerous, it is said, as those of the certainly apocryphal 
travels of Sir John Maundevile — but among the earliest of 
them are translations into Latin and Italian, the Latin by 
Francesco Pipino, a Dominican of Bologna, who also wrote 

' The will is translated in Yule's " Marco Polo," i. pp. 69-72, 
2nd ed., 1875. The pagination of the introduction in this edition is 
neither in Roman nor in the ordinary Arabic character, but in a sloping 
variety of the latter. This very inconvenient peculiarity is repeated in 
the 3rd edition (1903). 

^ See p. 280, ante. 

* Yule's "Marco Polo," i. p. 67 (2nd ed., 1875). 

3i6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

a chronicle, part of which is printed by Muratori.^ He 
was a contemporary of Polo. There is no evidence that 
the name either of the traveller himself, or of the Empire of 
Cathay he has made famous, was known to the encyclo- 
paedic learning of Dante. The book was translated into 
Portuguese about the year 1500, and there is a curious and 
very free translation into Irish in the Duke of Devonshire's 
library. The Portuguese translation is said to have been 
embellished by a map of the traveller's own drawing. - 
Columbus had a second-hand knowledge of Polo's travels, 
and had no doubt some notion of reaching Cathay or 
Chipangu, if he sailed far enough to the West. But so 
little was known in Spain of the person of Marco Polo, 
that Mariana, the Spanish historian, speaks of Columbus' 
conviction of the existence of a new world having arisen 
from the information of " one Marco Polo, a Florentine 
physician." ^ Giovanni Villani, the Florentine chronicler, 
writing soon after 1300 about the Tartars, mentions the 
book called " Milione," made by Messer Marco Polo of 
Venice, who spent a long time among them ; and Pietro 
of Abano, a professor of medicine at Padua, who died in 
1 316, gives a remarkable account of what is known to 
astronomers as the Magellanic cloud, " a star as large as 
a sack," of which and other matters he had been told by 
" Marco, the Venetian, the most extensive traveller and the 
most diligent inquirer whom I have ever known," and 
reproduces a sketch that the traveller had made of this 
star "under the Antarctic."* Lastly John of Yypres, the 
Abbot of St. Bertin, who wrote after 1350, speaks in his 
chronicle of the long stay of the three Polos in Tartary, the 

' R. I. S., ix. col. 587 S(/t/- Muratori's extract begins with the Peace 
of Venice in 11 76 and ends, as the chronicle itself does, with the 
death of Pope Clement V. in 1314. 

- Major's " Prince Henry," pp. 61-63. 

* Yule, i. Introduction, p. 103. 

* /d., p. 116. 


employment of Marco by the Great Khan, and his " Book 
of Marvels written in the French vernacular." ^ 

The main part of Marco Polo's book is accurately 
described as a book of marvels ; the short prologue alone 
is concerned with his own and his kinsmen's adventures, 
which it relates with business-like brevity ; the rest is a sort 
of encyclopaedia of all kinds of knowledge, geographical, 
historical, and physical, relating to the immense countries 
over which he had travelled. 

Of all this encyclopaedic information there is little that 
directly concerns the history of Venice, and there are few 
direct notices of merchants or travellers from Venice, or 
any part of Europe, met with on his travels. There are 
more such notices in the writings of some subsequent 
travellers relating to other Italian merchants in Mongoha : 
John of Monte Corvino, the Archbishop of Khanbaligh or 
Pekin, speaks of Messer Pietro of Lucolongo, a faithful 
Christian man and great merchant, who had been his fellow- 
traveller, and given him the ground for his church and 
convent there." And when Giovanni di Marignolli, a 
Franciscan from Santa Croce at Florence, was going out 
as the Pope's legate to the Great Khan's court in 1338, he 
found at Almaligh in Turkestan, the capital of the Middle 
Kingdom of the Tartars, a merchant named Gillott,^ who 
ought to have been an Englishman, it would seem. The 
same prelate tells us that at Zaiton, the great port of 
China, there was a fondaco which served as a warehouse 
{depositor ill fii) for all the merchants, but he does not 
specially mention Italian merchants.'* And Andrew, Bishop 

^ Yule, i. Introduction, p. 118. 

^ Yule's " Cathay," p. 207. 

•* lb., p. 338. There is an account of his martyrdom (for he was put 
to death with some Christian missionaries at Almaligh in 1339) in 
Heyd, ii. p. 235, on the authority of Marignolli and Wadding's Ann. 
Urd. Min., Nos. 7 and 8. He is there described as Gillotus or 
Guillelmus Mutinensis, a Genoese merchant. 

*■ lb., p. 355. Yule notes that a fondaco would now be called a 


of Zaiton, writing in 1326, mentions Genoese merchants 
there.^ Ibn Batuta some years later found a number of 
Mohammedan merchants in the same city, of whose kind- 
ness to their co-reHgionists "in a land of unbelievers" he 
speaks with gratitude.- 

The few notices I have collected above show, I think, 
that Marco Polo, his father, and his uncle, stood very much 
alone in their generation, and had no rivals or superiors in 
the generations that followed. And their courage and 
enterprise, and the sound judgment and powers of govern- 
ment that Marco displays, are characteristic of his country- 
men generally. Marco Polo is as much a part of the glory 
of Venice as his prototype, Herodotus, is of Ionian Greece. 
The courage that was required for plunging into a vast 
unknown country, among people of unknown language, 
passing through countries where wars were frequently 
raging and brigandage never ceased,^ is fairly comparable 
to that which took Columbus across the unexplored Atlantic. 
When the three Polos started on their second journey, 
which was Marco's first, in 1271, Armenia, the first country 
they passed through, was so disturbed by war between the 
Sultan of Egypt and the King of the Lesser Armenia, that 
their life and liberty were imperilled, and two Dominican 
friars and the Master of the Temple, whom the Pope had 
sent with them as his envoys, turned back in fear ; but 
the intrepid travellers persevered, continued their journey 
eastward through three years and a half, much of it in bad 

1 Yule's " Cathay," p. 224. 

2 lb., p. 487. Ibn Batuta did not himself visit China as a merchant 
but as ambassador from the ruler of Delhi. 

* As in the country of the Caraonas in the south of Persia, who 
nearly captured our travellers (Book i. ch. xviii. ; Yule, i. pp. 98-IOI). 
The country between Tana (Azov) and Sarai, the capital of the Golden 
Horde, was overrun with brigands. This was not under the Great 
Khan's authority : wherever that extended, peace and prosperity 
generally prevailed (Heyd, ii. 241). Pegolotti makes a liberal allow- 
ance for blackmail to the Moccoli or brigands of Kurdistan in his 
estimate of the expense of carrying a mule's load of goods from Lajazzo 
to Tabriz {ib., ii. p. 119). 


weather and severe cold ; and, when they arrived at the 
Great Khan's dominions, cut themselves off for seventeen 
years (1274 to 1291) from their home and all news of their 
home : for in those days news travelled slowly and with 
difficulty from Europe to any place farther off than the 
lands surrounding the Mediterranean. 

And the intelligence of the great traveller was in no way 
inferior to his courage. He made himself master of four 
languages spoken amongst the Mongols, which had four 
different written characters.^ Of these four Sir H. Yule 
was convinced that Chinese was not one, though it is diffi- 
cult to believe that Marco could, as he himself tells us, 
have held a government office in Yang-chau, a purely 
Chinese city, for three years without knowing the language. 
No doubt Chinese is a very difficult language, and the 
mistakes found in Marco's writings, as to the meaning of 
Chinese expressions, may only show that his knowledge of 
it was imperfect.- It has long ago been remarked that his 
omission to mention the Chinese Wall or such characteristic 
Chinese customs as tea-drinking, compression of women's 
feet, fishing by means of cormorants, artificial hatching of 
eggs, and above all, printing, is strange, as he certainly 
travelled through much of China, and must have seen the 
Wall, and these customs all prevailed in his day.^ The 
contrast between this omission and the very remarkable 
power of observation and intelligent curiosity shown in his 
accounts of other countries he passed through, may be 
explained by the disadvantage experienced by even the 
most observant traveller in a country, with the language of 
which he is not familiar. His use of the Tartar or Persian 

^ Prologue, c xv. (i. p. 27 Yule's 3rd ed.). 

* See M. Henri Cordier's note on Prol. c. xv. (i. p. 29 of Yule's 3rd 
ed.) and also Yule's note 3 to ii. c. Ixix. (ii. p. 157 of Yule's 3rd ed.). 
There is a curious various reading in the best MSS. of Polo's book, 
one reading " ot seigneurie Marc Pol en ceste cite," another "sejourna 
en ceste cite." 

* See Yule's Introduction, p. iii (3rd ed.). 

320 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

names of places in China that had such foreign names is 
consistent, and may show that these languages were the 
common medium of communication with foreigners at the 
court of Cathay. 

I am not sure that Sir H. Yule is justified in his remark 
that Marco Polo has not the scientific spirit. His extra- 
ordinary accuracy of observation is surely, if not an instance 
of that spirit, a most useful assistant to it. As to the 
absence of humour, we may, I think, admit that his gravity 
in noticing the very strange custom of the Couvade, that he 
found prevailing in the province he calls Zardandan, on the 
frontiers of China and Thibet, a custom that seems to have 
caused merriment to the epic solemnity of the Alexandrian 
poet Apollonius Rhodius,^ is evidence of a deficiency of 
that sense. He shows his soundness of judgment in not 
ridiculing an institution like paper money, in which the 
Chinese were greatly in advance of their time, or the 
asceticism and scrupulous morality of the Buddhist monks 
in Thibet ; and still more in the wise and noble tolerance 
with which he speaks of the virtues of Sagamoni Borcan, 
that is, Sakya-muni the Divine, who, " had he been a 
Christian, would have been a great saint of our Lord Jesus 
Christ." 2 

Sir H. Yule summed up, in an admirable passage, the 
impression of Marco Polo's personality, left on his mind 
after the years he had given to the study of his book : " A 
practical man, brave, shrewd, prudent, keen in affairs, and 
never losing his interest in mercantile details, very fond 
of the chase, sparing of speech; with a deep wondering 
respect for saints, even though they be Pagan saints, and 
their asceticism, but a contempt for Patarins and such like, 

1 Argon., ii. 1011-14: — 

ivd^ fTTfi &p Ke T^KCovTai utt' avSpdcri riKva yvpaiKes, 
avTol fi^v arevaxovaiv (vi X^x^f"^""' Trecrovris, 
Kpaara dTjffdfxepoi. 

2 Bk. iii. c. XV. (ii. p. 318 of Yule's 3id ed.). The whole chapter, 
with Yule's notes, is very well worth reading. 


whose consciences would not run in customary grooves, 
and on his own part a keen appreciation of the world's 
pomps and vanities. See, on the one hand, his undisguised 
admiration of the hard life and long fastings of Sakya- 
muni ; and on the other how enthusiastic he gets in speak- 
ing of the Great Khan's command of the good things of the 
world, but above all of his matchless opportunities of 
sport." 1 

The trade of the Italian Republics with the Mongols, 
which the Polos may be said to have begun, went on 
prosperously notwithstanding the conversion of the Khans 
to Islam, which began at the end of the thirteenth century 
and was completed early in the fourteenth. It introduced 
them to parts of Asia from which they had been excluded 
by the Mohammedan fanaticism that had prevailed in 
Central Asia, and even at Bagdad and on the Persian Gulf, 
when the rulers of Egypt and Syria and Iconium were quite 
ready to trade with Christians. The objections to trade 
with these latter countries came from the Christian side. 
After the fall of Acre the Popes endeavoured to put a stop 
to all trade with infidels, not only that which supplied them 
with weapons and timber for shipbuilding — which had 
always been forbidden, and which public opinion generally 
disapproved — but all exchange of commodities that might 
enrich the infidel powers. A Bull of Clement V. in 1308, 
when he was planning a new Crusade, prohibited under the 
severest temporal and spiritual penalties all trade with the 
infidel. This went far beyond what the conscience of 
Western merchants generally was ready to submit to. 
Venice and Genoa, Marseilles and Barcelona disregarded 
the Bull ; they did not withdraw their consuls nor their 
trading settlements from Egypt, and their merchant ships 

' Introduction, p. 108 (3rd ed.). Marco's words referred to are: 
" Si que je vous di bien en verite que onques ne fu ne ne sera, je croi, 
qui si grant soulaz ne deduit puisse avoir en cest monde comme cestui 
ci " (Pauthier, p. 308, ch. xcii.). 


332 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

continued as before to frequent Alexandria and Damietta 
and the Syrian ports. An earlier Bull of Nicolas IV., who 
was Pope at the time of the fall of Acre, had ordered the 
Knights of the Temple and the Hospital to keep twenty 
galleys always in the waters of Cyprus to stop Christians 
trading with Saracens, and the two Orders — after the sup- 
pression of the Templars the Hospitallers alone — were 
zealous in this patrolling of the seas.^ Their position at 
Rhodes enabled them to watch the approaches to Alex- 
andria, and the Kings of Cyprus, who were at times willing 
to take part in this police work, had a similar commanding 
situation in regard to the coasts of Syria and the Lesser 
Armenia. We know from the famous treatise of Marino 
Sanudo, the Secreta Fidelium Crttcis, that this Papal policy 
had much to be said for it from a secular point of view ; 
but commercial interests prevented the Italian merchants 
from acquiescing in it, and Venice and Genoa and the 
King of Aragon ignored or openly resisted the attempts to 
stop their ships. Thus in the winter of 1311-12 the 
Knights Hospitallers seized a Genoese ship coming out of 
Alexandria with a cargo of spices, and would not release it, 
on the demand of a Genoese ambassador, without the 
authorisation of the Pope. The ambassador, enraged at 
their refusal, endeavoured to persuade a petty Turkish 
prince in Caria to imprison the Rhodian merchants and 
other subjects of the Order who were in his territory, and 
offered him a large subsidy if he would fit out an expedition 
to drive the knights out of Rhodes. He proceeded to take 
prisoners any knights he found on ships he met with, and 
these were kept in Genoese prisons till the Pope ordered 
their release. 

Venice was at first not so much disposed as Genoa to 

^ A case, in which four Venetian galleys guarding Cyprus in the 
service of the Templars engage a Genoese fleet off Corone ("in partibus 
de Coronexi") is related in Jacobi Aurie, Ann. Jan.. anno 1293 
(Pertz SS., xviii. p. 352). 


trade with Saracens in spite of the Pope's prohibition. 
For ten years after the fall of Acre she was not on good 
terms with the Soldan of Egypt, partly because he had 
seized at Gaza a richly laden Venetian ship, probably carry- 
ing away fugitives from Acre, and would not release it or 
its crew. Venetian subjects, also taken at Acre, were kept 
for long years imprisoned in Egypt. At length, in 1302, 
Guido dei Canali was sent on an embassy to the Soldan, 
and obtained a commercial treaty granting unusual exemp- 
tions from duties on import and export. With their usual 
indifference to the Pope's wishes, the Venetians agreed to 
sell to Egypt articles contraband of war, on condition of 
the permission to export without duty Egyptian goods of 
the same value. By the same treaty a Venetian consul 
was admitted to Alexandria, Francesco dei Canali, a nephew 
of the ambassador. Two years later, in 1304, we find 
Guido Duke of Crete, and detaining there a Genoese ship 
carrying a cargo of slaves from Constantinople to Egypt. 
This kind of trade was, we have seen, highly offensive 
Christian sentiment, and the Duke of Crete would not 
listen to the Soldan's reclamations, on which the Emir of 
Alexandria arrested his nephew, the consul, and cut off the 
salary of his successor. But this quarrel did not last, and 
Venice and Egypt continued at peace, and in 1317 were so 
friendly that the Emir released all his Venetian prisoners 
and sent to the doge presents of silk, aloes, and ginger, 
some of the choicest products of the East that still found 
their way to Europe through Egypt. ^ 

A good deal of light is thrown on the relations, both 
political and commercial, between Italy and the East, in the 
first third of the fourteenth century, by the letters of 
Marino Sanudo, surnamed Torsello,- some of which were 

^ Heyd, ii. pp. 35-42 (Fr. translation). 

^ Bongars says that "Torsello" was the name of a musical instru- 
ment, an anticipation of the " organa pneumatica quae nunc usurp- 
antur," that was introduced at Venice by a German under the patronage 

324 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

given to the world in i6ii by the French Huguenot scholar 
Jacques Bongars, in an appendix to his edition of the 
Secreta Fideliuni Cruets in Gesta Dei per Fraficos, and 
others recently, by Dr. Friedrich Kunstmann.^ Marino 
Sanudo, to whose views as to Crusades I have referred in 
my first chapter,- was a nobleman of Venice, a kinsman of 
several Sanudi who, after the Fourth Crusade, had established 
themselves at Naxos and elsewhere in the Greek islands. 
Either in their service, or in that of Venice, he had spent, he 
himself tells us, the greater part of his life in Romania, and 
claimed to have accurate knowledge of its condition, parti- 
cularly of the principality of Morea or Achaia.^ In 1304 
he published at Venice the first part of his famous treatise, 
to which, when completed by second and third parts, he 
gave the title of Secreta Fidelium Crucis. While writing his 
book he took five voyages to Cyprus, Armenia, Alexandria, 
and Rhodes. Before this he had been many times at Acre 
and Alexandria, probably engaged in trade, but, he is 
careful to tell us, never in prohibited trade ; that is, in the 
sale of slaves or timber or munitions of war to the infidel. 
When his book was finished, he went by sea from Venice 
to Bruges, and thence made his way overland to Avignon, 
where he stayed some time ■* at the Papal court, and met 
the King of Jerusalem and Sicily, that is, Robert II. of 
the House of Anjou. This King, like others of his family, 
professed much zeal for another Crusade. About the same 
time Philip VII. of France, the first King of the House 
of Valois, coquetted with the idea of leading an army of 

of our Sanudo. But in the Nouvehe Biographie GeneraU {s.v.) the 
surname is said to have been common in the Sanudo family long before. 

1 Abkaftdhingen der Miinchener Akademie de?- Wissenschaften, cl. 
ii. vol. vii. pp. 697-819. 

2 Ante, pp. 27, 28. 

^ The passage is in his " Petition to Pope John XXII.," written in 
1 32 1, prefixed to the Secreta, p. 3 (Bongars). It is quoted by Kunst- 
mann in a footnote to p. 700 of his paper, as above. 

* He presented his " Petition to Pope John XXII." in 1321, and 
he was back at Venice in 1324. 


Christendom to the Holy Land, and was made by the 
Pope Captain-General of "the Passage of God and of the 
Holy Land." ^ Marino Sanudo, now settled in Venice, an 
old man in great but not uncomplaining poverty, wrote a 
letter to the King of France in October 1334, urging the 
importance of reconciling the Latin and Greek Churches 
which had very nearly been accomplished in the days of 
Michael Paleologus.^ In his argument he recounts all the 
nearer countries of the East as far as Tabriz and Bagdad to 
show how Greeks, all following the ritual of the Greek 
Church, were widely spread over all these lands. ^ He 
makes no doubt, from his recollection of conversations at 
Constantinople in the previous year with abbots and priests, 
and especially with the former patriarch, Niphon, that the 
Greek Church was prepared to submit to Rome. He is 
himself no advocate of concession, treating the schismatic 
Greeks as almost on the same footing as Moslems or 
Pagans. If they would not submit, he was prepared to 
advise the Crusaders to do as their predecessors had done 
in 1204, elect a chief to conquer, with the help of the 
Venetians, the city of Constantinople and all the lands of 
the Greek Emperor. 

The King of France may have smiled at the inextinguish- 
able hopes of this Crusader born out of due time. He had 
himself probably no hope and very little desire for the 
restoration of the Latin Empire of Romania. The real 
antagonism was now not between Greeks and Latins, but 
between the Pope and the Knights of Rhodes, who wished 
to stop all intercourse with the Saracens, and the merchants 

1 " Capitaneo generali illustrissimo passagii dei et terrae sanctae " 
(Ep. vi. in Kunstmann's paper, u.s., p. 799). " Passagiuni " (see 
Ducange, s.v.) is commonly used for bolh a pilgrimage and a Crusade. 

- Sanudo calls that Emperor "Chiermicali Paleolore." The Chier 
stands for Kiypios, as we have seen in the case of A'ii sak for Isaac 
Angelas in Villehardouin. In this same letter C/ierniif, the former 
patriarch, is Ki^ptos 'Ni(puv. 

^ I think he includes Nestorians and Jacobites, whom the orthodox 
Greeks would have abhorred as much as he did himself. 


of Venice and Genoa, who lived by that intercourse. 
Another letter of Marino Sanudo, written in the same 
month (October 1334) to William, Count of Holland, 
gives us an interesting account of an expedition into the 
country of Mongols and Saracens, undertaken, it would 
seem, more for the sake of seeing the world than for any 
political or commercial object, by a person of uncertain 
name and nationality, ^ a member of the household of 
Louis, Duke of Bourbon, for whom Sanudo claims the 
good offices of the Count of Holland in reconciling him to 
Edward III. of England, to whose father he had been a 
loyal servant. The traveller had gone from Venice to 
Clarentza and Modone, thence to Constantinople and Pera, 
Trebisond and Tabriz and Bagdad, returning to Lajazzo in 
Cilicia or Lesser Armenia, from whence he sailed to Crete 
and Cyprus. From Cyprus he went, with a recommenda- 
tion from the King, to Alexandria, and to the Soldan of 
Babylon (Cairo), who supplied him with a horse and money 
for his travelling expenses (just as the Tartar princes had 
done for the Polos). After Cairo he visited the kingdom 
of Jerusalem and Damascus, and returning to Beyrut, 
sailed to Cyprus. There he stayed some time, entered 
the service of the King, and went to sea with the galleys of 
the Venetians and Hospitallers — those, no doubt, that we 
have read of as enforcing the police of the Eastern Mediter- 
ranean." In this service he went to Greece, and returned 
to Cyprus, then to Venice. Sanudo says that in both visits 
to Venice, at about two years' distance, the traveller lived 
on intimate terms with him. The letter seems at first 

' He is called, in one place, " Guilielmus Fernandi de Furvo dictus 
Badin," in another, "Guilielmus Bernardi de Fumo dictus Badin." 
He appears to have some connection with Count John of Armagnac 
and Rodez, who was then a prisoner at Ferrara. A Bernard, Count 
of Armagnac, married in 1302 the heiress of Henry, Count of Rodez, 
and this traveller may have been their son. Badin meant then, as now, 
a jester or trifler. 

^ See ante, p. 322. 


sight to be written with the object of showing the fitness of 
this WiUiam to be employed on the Crusade, but it ends 
with nothing more than a request for the good offices 
of the Count of Holland in reconciling him to the King of 
England. Probably the old Venetian statesman had some 
hopes that a gallant young prince like P^dward III. could be 
easily persuaded to raise again the banner of the Cross. ^ 

If the design of the travelling merchants and missionaries 
who visited the Tartar countries in the early fourteenth 
century was to make trade with friendly Tartars supply the 
place of failing trade with unfriendly Saracens, there is 
abundant evidence to show that this was unnecessary. The 
trade with Saracen countries went on in spite of Papal 
prohibitions, though possibly in diminished volume. In 
the early years of the fourteenth century we meet with laws 
of Genoa, of Pera, of Caffa, relating to trade with the 
infidel, but prohibiting nothing but the export of iron, 
timber, arms or slaves {inumulicos sive 7nunmlichas, i.e. 
"Mamelukes"). And there is abundant evidence that 
there existed at this time at Alexandria 7^ ;/^fl^/ and consuls, 
and therefore a colony of merchants, of Genoa, Pisa, 
Barcelona, Marseilles, and Venice. Simon Simeonis, an 
Irish Franciscan, going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 
1322, was hospitably entertained at the fondaco of the 
Marseillais at Alexandria, and heard of the reopening of a 
church of St. Mary of the Cave at Old Cairo. The colony 
of Pisa at Alexandria had a public bakery, the profits of 
which were devoted to the maintenance of a candle at the 
shrine of the Madonna in their cathedral at home. In a 
deed of October 1304 we have a mention of nine Venetian 
merchants at Alexandria acting as joint-sureties with the 
consul Pangrazio Venier,^ and the registers of the decrees 
of the Senate of 1 293-1320 show that not only the flax and 

1 Epist. ix. in Abhandlungen der Mihichener Akad., u.s. 
- Tafel and Thomas, iv. 32. The deed in question seems to rehite 
to the case of the Geuoese slave-ship mentioned at p. 323. 

328 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

dates of Egypt, but pepper and ginger and cinnamon from 
the farther East were regularly exported from Alexandria to 
Venice, and regulations made for the times of the carovane 
sailing and returning.^ 

It is probable, I think, that the trade with Egypt for the 
products of the far East continued, in spite of the Papal 
prohibitions, to be more active than that with the Tartar 
countries. When Bagdad, the capital of the empire of the 
Khalifs, was destroyed by Holagou, no goods from the 
East came to Europe by that great city, whose vast extent 
Marco Polo had described with enthusiasm. But Tabriz, the 
Tartar capital of Persia, continued to be a great trading 
centre. The district of Yezd, which was not far from it, 
became under the Tartars an important place for the 
manufacture of silk,^ and goods from India and China could 
reach its markets without passing through any Moham- 
medan countries. Argoun, one of Holagou's successors, was 
particularly friendly with European merchants, especially 
with the Genoese, one of whom, of the Ghisolfi family, was 
in the Khan's body-guard. Gulielmus Adse, Bishop of 
Sultanieh, which was a suburb of Tabriz, the author of a 
book with the ruthless title De modo extirpandi Saracenos, 
tells us of a Genoese plan for making a port on the 
Persian Gulf and stopping at Aden merchantmen from India 
or China bound for Egypt.^ But this plan was not effected, 
and Alexandria continued to be a great entrepot of Eastern 
trade. It was more accessible from Italian ports than the 
Crimea or Azov, or even than Cyprus, and the sea route 
from India and China to the Red Sea was easier than the 
caravan route across the inhospitable deserts and steppes 
of Central Asia, and had been familiar through many ages 
to the merchants of Pekin or Canton or the coasts of India 
and Ceylon. Still we have satisfactory evidence that an 

^ Archivio Veneto, xviii. 315, xix. 103 s., ill s. 
^ Heyd, ii. p. 109. 
^ lb., p. III. 


active trade with Cathay was carried on by way of Central 
Asia in the first half of the fourteenth century. One of the 
most curious documents that have come down to us from 
that age is the handbook of Asiatic trade and travel com- 
piled by Francesco Balducci Pegolotti, an agent of the great 
Florentine bankers the Bardi, who was in Cyprus in 1324 
and in the Lesser Armenia in 1335. Amongst all manner 
of instructive information as to money and weights and 
measures and the fiscal system, police, and administration of 
the countries of Asia, we have a particular account of the 
course of the great northern commercial road to China, 
which started from Tana or Azov, and went by Tabriz and 
Bokhara and Kashgar and across the desert of Gobi to the 
Chinese frontier, and thence by some of the great Chinese 
waterways to Cassai or Kinsay (Hangchow), which it seems to 
have been found advisable to take on the way to Khanbaligh 
or Pekin.^ In Cathay or Northern China, the Government 
of the Great Khan had facilitated travel by a very perfect 
system of posts and post-houses, at intervals of twenty-five 
or thirty miles, at which good accommodation for the night 
was provided, and a vast number of horses were kept, 
intended primarily for the Khan's messengers, but avail- 
able also for private travellers. These had been an insti- 
tution in China long before the Tartar conquest, but the 
Tartars extended it to other parts of their Empire, and 
even in Siberia the traveller found sledges with teams of 
dogs (of whose intelligence Marco Polo tells us wonderful 
stories), in whatever parts of the road were impassable for 
horses.- Outside the Great Khan's dominions, on the 
Persian and Armenian border, there was brigandage in 
many places, but at Tabriz (Tauris) there was a brisk trade 
for Eastern goods, some of which probably came northward 
from the Persian Gulf, some by the northern route from 

* Heyd, ii. 225-40. 

- Pages 480-83 of Vule's 3rd ed. His account of the posts in China 
is at i. pp. 433 sqq. of the same edition. 


Cathay ; and there seems to have been a community of 
European merchants settled there. We know that as early 
as 1264, a quarter of a century before the fall of Acre, a 
Venetian merchant, Pietro Viglioni or Vioni, was living 
there, and perhaps (as M. Heyd thinks) acting as agent 
for a company that exported woollen goods from North 
Italy, Germany, or Flanders, and imported pearls and sugar 
and manufactured articles of costly materials, cups and 
candlesticks, and, it is interesting to note, chessmen and 
a double chessboard, one side for chess, the other for 
marelle} We owe this knowledge to a copy of his will, 
which has found its way into the Archives of Venice, 
having been deposited in the first instance with the Venetian 
bailo at Acre, and has been printed in the Archivio Veneto 
for 1883.2 

In 1320 a Venetian ambassador, Michele Delfino, made 
his way by Trebizond to Tabriz, and there signed on behalf 
of the doge a commercial treaty with Abou Said, Khan or 
Sultan of Persia, whose name is corrupted in the copy of 
the treaty we possess to Monsait. This deals with a great 
variety of the everyday incidents of travel, the demands of 
postmasters or tax-gatherers, the plunderings of brigands, 
the places where travellers had a right to encamp their 
caravans, their right to buy and sell where they pleased, the 
right of Venetian friars to build churches.^ 

One of the evils against which this treaty secures Vene- 
tian travellers was the liability to seizure of their persons 
and goods for the debts of their fellow-countrymen. An 

^ For marelle see Godefroi, s.v. merelles. The game was played 
with discs like our draughts, and was looked upon as the most innocent 
of games. 

- Atrh. Ven.,K\y'i. 161-65. It forms part of the series called Mistt, 
and was deposited in the Public Archives by the Administration of 
the Pii Istituti riuniti. 

' " Se li nostri frari Latini volese far in alguna citade o luogo del so 
Imperio, luogo per soa oration, che li lo possa far" (Thomas, Dipl. 
Veneto Levantinum, p. 173, No. 85). There is a full account of this 
treaty in Heyd, ii. pp. 1 2.1.-27. 


incident of this kind caused great trouble in the year 1324, 
to Marco de Molino, consul or Mafor of the Venetian 
community at Tabriz, inducing him to write a despatch 
to the doge suggesting that it might become necessary to 
abandon the settlement. The doge in 1328 sent out a 
special commissioner, Marco Cornaro, to arrange for the 
payment of the debt in this case, but we do not know 
whether he succeeded in this ; we do know that in the 
course of his negotiations he was himself arrested. In 1332, 
again, we find that the Venetian Senate had to authorise 
the levy of a special tax on every beast of burden leaving 
Tabriz or Trebizond with goods owned by Venetians, to 
provide for a payment due to one Hadji Soliman Taibi. 
Abou Said died in 1336, and his khanate was split into 
small independent principalities, at war among themselves, 
and the roads became unsafe. About the year 1370 the 
petty chieftain who ruled at Tabriz and Aderbaidjan wrote 
a letter to the Venetian bailo and merchants at Trebizond, 
begging the latter to return to Tabriz, as in the time of 
Abou Said, and promising to guarantee the safety of the 
road. The reply of the merchants, which has come down 
to us, shows that, when they wrote, no caravans had for 
some time been able to get through from Tabriz to 

At this very time events were preparing far away in the 
north-east, which were soon to put an end to the enlight- 
ened Tartar government in Persia. Timour, a kinsman of 
the house of Zinghis, the son of a petty chieftain in the 
territory south of Samarcand, that had originally fallen to 
the lot of the Khans of Zagatai or Transoxiana, but, on the 
dying out of their line, had been invaded by Kalmuck 
hordes from Kashgar, had risen to distinction, when still a 
young man, in fighting against the invaders. He professed 
to be merely an Emir, or commander in the army of a 
nominal Khan of the family of Zinghis, but his ambition 
* Heyd, ii. pp. 128, 129. 

332 VENICE IN THE 13th .K: 14th CENTURIES 

knew no bounds, and during the thirty years from 1370 till 
1400 he overran first his own country of Samarcand, next 
that of the Golden Horde or Kiptchak, then Persia, and 
then India. In the course of his conquest of Kiptchak, 
which included a good part of South Russia, he besieged 
Tana or Azov, where, as we have seen, there was always a 
numerous colony of Italian traders. In a chronicle of 
Treviso written by Andreas de Redusiis de Quero, a noble- 
man of the family of the Counts of CoUalto in the service 
of the Venetian Republic, we have a contemporary account, 
on the authority of Pietro Miani, a Venetian merchant at 
Azov, of an embassy sent to the camp of the great Timour 
(whom he calls Tamberlam) by the merchants of Venice, 
Genoa, Catalonia, and Biscay living at Azov, who found 
the great conqueror in his camp that occupied eighty miles, 
and were admitted to his tent, a city of silk and gold,^ three 
miles in extent, and enclosing in its circuit a river with a 
ford. There they were allowed, after removing their shoes 
and their berrettas, to have an interview with the King 
of Kings and Lord of Lords, and present to him, as he sat 
on his golden throne, the offerings sent him by the mer- 
chants, entreating his permission to continue their buying 
and selling at Azov, when it surrendered. Two Franciscan 
friars - were at his side, whom he gladly heard (as Herod 
did John Baptist), and his reply was gracious ; he invited 
the envoys to a banquet, and pledged them in his jewelled 
cup ; he seems to have perhaps exceeded the limits of good 
taste in the display of his magnificence ; but he sent one of 
his nobles to Azov, who examined with interest their ships 

^ A somewhat similar tent is described in Clavijo's " Embassy to the 
Court of Timour," pp. 142-44 (Hakluyt Society). 

^ The chronicler is particular in describing them as Friars Minor ; 
but the Dominicans, or Friars Preachers, were more in evidence at 
Timour's court, as appears from the correspondence between Charles 
VI. of France and Timour printed by Silvestre de Sacy in l\Ii!in. de 
r Academic des Insn:, vi. (\f'<22), pp. i^jo sqq. It appears that the 
Archbishop of Sultanieh was always a Dominican. 


and warehouses, and traded with them, before returning to 
his master. But in a few days Timour came to Azov, seized 
all their merchandise, and made prisoners all the merchants 
who did not escape by sea.^ 

Timour, it must be remembered, was the enemy of the 
Turks, and his decisive victory at Ancyra over the Sultan 
Bajazet in 1402 was hailed as a deliverance by the Regent 
of Constantinople (the Emperor Manuel was absent at this 
time for four years, seeking aid from the Franks), the Genoese 
of Galata, the Knights of Rhodes, and all other champions 
of the Cross against the Crescent. All of these powers 
had done what they could to facilitate the advance of the 
Mongol conqueror on Europe. He was the enemy of 
their most formidable enemy ; and so the Government of 
Constantinople was found ready to promise tribute, and 
accept the aid of 5000 Mongol auxiliaries against the Turk. 
The Knights of Rhodes resisted him for a time at Smyrna, 
but had to submit, as was the fate also of the " Mahons," 
the directors of the Genoese trading company that governed 
Chios and Phocoea : so that Timour's power reached the 
shores of the yEgean Sea. He had no ships, and his people, 
like the other Tartars, had no taste for the sea, and in fact 
his progress westward came to an end at Smyrna. The 
conquest of Asia Minor, and of the matchless position of 
Constantinople, was to be the work not of the Mongol but 
of the Osmanli. 

Timour died in April 1405, in the heart of Central Asia, 
on his march to attack China. He did not found a stable 
dynasty in any part of his vast dominions ; for the Mogul 
dynasty that reigned in India was founded by a descendant 
of one of his younger sons in the fifth generation, and was 
not a continuation of any of the former Tartar dynasties. 
Timour, though a great warrior, and apparently a man of 
genius, was not of the calibre of Kublai Khan, not the 
builder of an Empire. He did much to make his capital, 

* Muratori, A\ I. S., xix. cols. 802-4. 

334 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Samarcand, a magnificent city, and a centre of trade and 
manufactures. Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo, who was sent 
there in 1403 on an embassy from King Henry III. of 
Castile, tells us that Timour brought skilled artisans there 
from all the countries he conquered : silk-weavers, and 
makers of bows, glass, and earthenware, from Damascus ; 
masons and silversmiths from Turkey {i.e. Asia Minor) ; 
that he introduced the cultivation of hemp and flax, and 
that under his government the bazaars of Samarcand were 
full of the silks and musks, the precious stones, pearls, and 
rhubarb of China, whose people were "the most skilful 
workmen in the world " ; of linen and furs from Russia and 
Tartary ; nutmegs, cloves, ginger, and other spices, " which 
do not reach Alexandria," from India. ^ But the Spanish 
ambassadors do not seem to have met with any Italian 
merchants on their journey from Trebizond to Samarcand, 
though in the Armenian country between Trebizond and 
Erzingan the robber chieftains they met with explained 
to them that they had nothing to live on but the dues they 
levied from passing travellers, and required to be satisfied 
that the goods the Spaniards carried were not their 
own property, but presents to Timour from their king, and 
that they were not concerned with trade, but with the 
forming of an alliance to fight the Turk.^ The decay of 
the strong and honest government of the Tartar Khans 
will have not only deprived these interesting feudal robbers 
of their living, but compelled trade to resort to other than 
its hitherto frequented roads. And accordingly we find, at 
the beginning of the fifteenth century, that an active trade 
had been established between Tabriz and Brusa, the ori- 
ginal capital of the Osmanli in the north-west of Asia Minor, 
a trade entirely in Mussulman hands, and passing through 
a country exclusively Mussulman. Caravans from Syria 
also travelled to Brusa, where Florentine and Genoese 
merchants were to be found, who carried the spices brought 
* Clavijo, U.S., pp. 170, 171. ^ lb., pp. 66, 67. 


by these caravans to Pera or Constantinople, whence they 
were distributed throughout the Christian markets of 
Europe.^ But the relations of Venetian and other Italian 
traders with the Ottomans, who were now on the eve of 
establishing themselves on the Bosporus, are concerned 
with a later chapter of Venetian history. 

1 Heyd, ii, pp. 351, 352. 



I RETURN from the long digression on the affairs of the 
East, which has occupied my last two chapters, to the 
domestic affairs of the lagoon city, and the events that 
stirred men's minds in Italy at the beginning of the four- 
teenth century. The remarkable man who had laid such 
firm foundations for the aristocracy of Venice, the Doge 
Pietro Gradenigo, died in 131 1. Marino Giorgi (or in 
Venetian dialect Zorzi) was chosen to succeed him on the 
13th of August by the forty-one electors, after Stephen 
Giustiniani, a distinguished member of a famous family, 
had declined nomination, and retired into the convent of 
San Giorgio Maggiore.^ There seems to have been no 
contest, no party feeling called forth. The words of the 
later Marino Sanudo, the biographer of the doges, " Era 
chiamato Santo, tant' era buona e Cattolica persona, ed 
era ricco," - show the calm and reasonable spirit in which 
he was chosen. " He was seen to pass through the court 
of the palace going towards Castello, and was made doge," 
the biographer continues. A later chronicler adds that he 
was seen to pass with a sack of bread to distribute to poor 
prisoners, and that afterwards, to guard against the effect 
produced by such a visible act of charity or piety — that 
might not always be fortuitous — it was made a rule that 
all windows and poggiuoli opening on the street should be 

^ Cicogna, Iscnzioni, iv. 109. 

^ M. Sanudo, rite de Ditchi di Venezia, in Muratoii, K. I. S., xxii. 
col. 592. 



kept shut during an election. A city under excommunica- 
tion, that had suffered severely from spiritual penalties, 
might have sound reason for choosing an old man of 
saintly reputation, as likely to be d. persona grata at Rome. 
Any such object was frustrated, for after being doge for ten 
months and ten days, with the excommunication still un- 
removed, the old man was carried to his grave in Santi 
Giovanni e Paolo. He directed some of his riches to be 
applied to the foundation of a Dominican convent for twelve 
friars, for which a site was chosen on the Fondamenta, on 
the way to Castello. He also endowed the Friars' Church, 
and a hospital for poor children, with a revenue sufficient 
to provide for their maintenance. These munificent 
charities kept his memory alive without a sumptuous tomb 
and an epitaph. 

War seems to have been going on through Zorzi's short 
reign. Zara was in rebellion, and supported by the King 
of Hungary, whose general, called by our Venetian autho- 
rities "il Banno,"^ fought many battles with the Venetian 
commander, Belletto Giustiniani. A more questionable 
person employed in the service of Venice was " a Spaniard 
or Catalan," 2 a condottiere named Damaso, or Dalmasio, 
de' Banoli, who was suspected of double-dealing, making 
overtures to the Zaratines to enter their service against 
his Venetian employers. The Zaratines distrusted him, 
and preferred to make peace with Venice. Dalmasio 
was allowed to take ship with his band to Apulia, and 
Sanudo relates with some satisfaction that he was drowned 
on his way there : but this appears to be not the truth ; his 
ship was wrecked on the voyage, and his plunder lost, but 
he escaped with his life, and we hear of him again in 1317 
in command of a band of Catalans, whom Robert, King of 
Naples, sent to hold Ferrara for the Pope. The Zaratines 
had to promise to choose as their governor one of three 

1 He was no doubt the Ban of Croatia, Mladino. 
"^ He was a native of the Balearic Isles (Romanin, iii. p. 91), 


338 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Venetian nobles named in the treaty, the Ban of Croatia 
was granted, in compensation for giving up the title of 
Count of Zara, the privilege of citizenship of Venice.^ 
This treaty was made after the death of the doge. 

The short reign of Marino Zorzi covered part of the time 
of the Emperor Henry of Luxemburg's journey to Rome to 
be crowned, which was hailed with so much enthusiasm by 
the serious members of the Ghibelline party, amongst whom 
Dante was conspicuous. Ambassadors had been sent by 
the late Doge Gradenigo in 1310 to congratulate the 
Emperor on his coronation as King of Italy at Milan : the 
new doge in the following year appointed four, one of them 
being Belletto Giustinian, who had commanded the troops 
before Zara,'- to be present at his coronation as Emperor at 
Rome. But the Genoese and Venetians separated them- 
selves from the other Italian deputies by refusing to take 
an oath of allegiance. They no doubt had good reasons 
both of policy and of precedent for this refusal ; but the 
legal and historical arguments they used did not impress 
Nicolas, the Bishop of Butronto, the Emperor's favourite 
counsellor, whose Iter Italicuin gives us a lively contem- 
porary account of these events. "They (the Venetians) 
said many things," he writes, "to excuse themselves from 
swearing, which I do not recollect, excepting that they are 
a quintessence, and will belong neither to the Church nor 
to the Emperor, nor to the sea nor to the land." ^ The 
detachment of Venetian interests from those of both the 
Western and the Eastern world was a situation that was 

1 The terms are given in full from the Pacta by Romanin, iii. 


^ He was afterwards taken prisoner by the Zaratines and put to 

* Milman's "Latin Christianity," v. p. 387. note /, Romanin, iii. 
p. 86. The Iter Italicum is printed in Bohmer's Pontes renim Germ., 
torn. i. pp. 69-137, and in Muratori, R. I. S., torn. ix. col. 8S7 sqq. The 
passage quoted is on p. >'" Bohmer, col. 8q; Muratori. " Quinta 
essentia" was the fifth element, not earth, air. fire, or water. 


puzzling and sometimes provoking to the ordinary Guelf 
or Ghibelline politician. 

Not withstanding their refusal of the oath, the Venetians 
allowed Henry to enlist 1400 cross-bowmen in their 
territory to accompany him on his march to Rome. He 
had to force his way into the city against the resistance of 
the Guelfs under John, the brother of Robert, King of 
Naples, whom he could not dislodge from the Vatican 
and St. Peter's, so that the cardinals sent from Avignon 
(for there was no Pope in Rome at this time) to crown 
Henry, had to fulfil their duty by a ceremony, shorn of 
much of its splendour, in St. John Lateran. After his 
coronation the Emperor had to retire from Rome to Pisa, 
always a Ghibelline city, and from there direct the siege of 
Florence. Dante, from his exile in the Casentino, wrote a 
letter to Henry to stir him up to vengeance against the 
rebellious and disloyal city. This was written in 131 1. In 
June 131 2 the Emperor was crowned at Rome; in Feb- 
ruary 13 13 Florence was placed under the ban of the 
Empire; in August 13 13 Henry died at Buonconvento 
near Pisa. 

Marino Zorzi died in July 131 2, just a year before the 
Emperor. His successor was another old man, Giovanni 
Soranzo, who was seventy-two years old, and had done 
distinguished service to the city as a soldier and an adminis- 
trator. His father, Antonio, had been one of the Pro- 
curators of St. Mark, the only officers, except the doge and 
the Grand Chancellor, who held their office for life, and 
had belonged to the highest class of procurators, who were 
distinguished as Frocuraiores de supra, and had charge of 
the Basilica and its endowments. The doge had himself 
been Podesta of Chioggia, and in 1296 had been sent in 
command of twenty-five galleys to fight against the Genoese 
in the Black Sea, and while there had taken Caffa and held 
it against a host of Tartars sent to reconquer it. He had 
also fought in the war of Ferrara, and had been Podest^ of 


Ferrara. In 1309 he, like his father, had become Pro- 
curator of St. Mark de supra, and held this office when he 
was elected doge in July 131 2. 

I have already mentioned the war with Zara and the 
terms of peace agreed to in September 1313. In the 
church of Sta. Maria de' Servi is an inscription marking 
the grave of Baldovin Delfino, " a man of courage and 
prudence, who recovered the city of Zara for the most 
serene Signory." ^ He was the commander of the last 
detachment of ships that was sent out in the spring of 131 3 
and received the submission of the rebellious city ; "^ he had 
previously done good service against the Tiepolo con- 
spirators. In February of the same year the excommunica- 
tion of Venice for her seizure of Ferrara was at length 
removed, and the Pope confirmed a Bull of Clement IV. 
prohibiting any legate or other agent of the Holy See from 
laying Venice under an interdict " without a special order 
from the See itself, making mention of this particular con- 
cession." ^ Ferrara herself was not let off so easily. Her 
citizens rose against Dalmasio and his Catalans, whom 
Robert, King of Naples, the Pope's champion, put into the 
city, and recalled Rinaldo and Obizzo of the House of 
Este, who were friendly to Venice, and received rights of 
citizenship there in the year 1331, the same year in which 
the interdict was at length taken off Ferrara and the Este 
princes recognised as vicars of the Holy See. 

The Estes were one of many families who at this time 
were coming to the surface in the seething politics of Italy 
as Signori, " lords," or what the Greeks would have called 
" tyrants." Their prevalence was the best justification for 
the reformed constitution lately given to Venice by 

^ Cicogna, Isirizioni, i. p. 75. 

- His election as Count of Zara is presented to the doge by the 
Proctor of the Commune on 20th Jan. 1326. See this document in 
Conimemoriali, lib. ii. No. 466 (p. 273 of the first volume of Cotntn. 
edited by Predelli in Moftumenti Storici, series i.). 

* Roman., iii. 95, n. i. 


Gradenigo. They were specially abundant in the Lombard 
cities, that had championed the cause of republican freedom 
against the German Emperors. Milan was now under the 
Visconti, Verona under the Scaligers, who were gradually 
subjecting to themselves a great part of North Italy. 
Several of the cities acknowledging the supremacy of the 
Scaligers had lords of their own : Carraras at Padua, 
Castruccio Castracani at Lucca, Pietro de Rossi at Parma. 
Near the Scaligers' borders were Guido da Polenta at 
Ravenna and the Gonzagas at Mantua. The first of these 
with whom Venice came into conflict was Guido da Polenta, 
who is memorable to us as the kind host with whom the 
exiled Dante ended his days, and as the kinsman of the 
Francesca of Rimini whose figure is the most pathetic that 
has come down to us from the Middle Ages. Guido had 
difficulties with Venice about merchandise imported by 
Venetian traders that passed up the Po through the territory 
of Ravenna. Among the ambassadors sent to Venice to 
state the case of Ravenna was Dante Alighieri,' but un- 
fortunately the MS. volumes of the records {Misti) ^ for 
the five years (131 7-21), which include the year of the 
embassy, have perished, and we have only the Index, which 
tells us no details about it. 

The next Signori with whom Venice came into relations 
were the Carraras of Padua. These, like most others of 
their class, rose to power by making themselves leaders of 
the popular party. Jacopo da Carrara in 13 18 was recog- 
nised as Lord of Padua. He made a friend of Can Grande 

1 Toynbee's " Life of Dante," p. 129. 

^ The term Misti, " Miscellaneous," is that which was given in the 
Registers of the Venetian archives to the records of deliberations of the 
Senate. The classification of documents in the archives is far from 
scientific or logical, reminding us sometimes of Mill's description of 
the Categories of Aristotle. " Com>i/einoriaH,'' from which I shall 
have frequently to quote, were in theory the register of the documents 
selected as most memorable in all classes. In practice they contain a 
little of everything, matters of diplomacy, matters of internal adminis- 
tration, &c. (Baschet, Arch, dc Venise, pp. 225-32). 

342 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

della Scala, the Lord of Verona, who, after inducing Vicenza 
to transfer her allegiance from Padua to Verona, was pro- 
ceeding to take Padua also, when Carrara induced him to 
leave her her independence. Carrara was also closely 
allied with Venice, having married Anna, a daughter of 
the Doge Gradenigo, and been admitted with his nephew, 
Marsilio, to the roll of the Venetian nobility. Taddea, the 
daughter of Jacopo by Anna Gradenigo, was married at 
San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice to Mastino, the nephew 
and successor of Can Grande della Scala. When Jacopo 
da Carrara died in 1324 his successor Marsilio continued 
the friend and ally of Venice, but in 1328 he had to submit 
to the great Scaliger, and this brought Venice into relations 
with the Scaliger family. Before I begin the account of 
those relations there are one or two other matters in the 
history of the Doges Zorzi and Soranzo that demand our 

The war with Zara, that lasted all through the time of 
the former, seems to have strained the financial resources 
of Venice. In July 131 1 and in March and May 131 2 
forced loans of one per cent, were raised, an old tax called 
Messetaria, apparently a stamp duty on contracts,^ was 
doubled in amount, and it was expressly provided that the 
whole increase should accrue to the State, and that no 
clerk or other official should have a larger commission in 
consequence of the raising of the duty. 

In April 131 2 an agreement was come to on certain 
questions that had arisen between Venice and Padua in 
regard to the course of the Brenta, where it formed the 
frontier between the two cities. The streams in that region 
were ever shifting their beds, and by the agreement now 
made arbiters were appointed to settle what compensation 
was due to either party in consequence of such changes. 
No toll for passage over the Adige was to be charged to 

^ Messefo was an old word for mezzano, a mediator or broker in a 


Venetian traders, and no duty on the transport of timber — 
no doubt by raft on the Brenta — from Bassano. Padua 
was allowed in return free access to the salt deposits of 

In the time of Doge Soranzo some fugitives from Lucca, 
where Castruccio Castracani, an able Ghibelline partisan, 
had usurped the lordship, came to Venice. Among them 
were skilled manufacturers of silk, and the establishment 
of that industry was welcome to the Venetian Government, 
who granted the workers a settlement in the CalU della 
Bissa (the Passage of the Snake), in the parish of San 
Bartolomeo. They afterwards moved to those of St. John 
Chrysostom (where they were neighbours of Marco Polo), 
San Canciano, and Santi Apostoli, and in them founded 
some convents and chapels.^ 

Another industry that became characteristic of Venice 
was introduced when Soranzo was doge, that of the making 
of mirrors. Three Venetian citizens brought a German 
artisan, we are told, in February 131 7- 18, and made him 
work at the same craft in Venice. This seems to have 
been at this time established in Murano, but in later times 
the manufacture was transferred to other parts of the city. 

Some important public works in the city dated from the 
time of Doge Soranzo. New houses were built for the Pro- 
curators of St. Mark, the chapel of St. Nicolas in the doge's 
palace was enlarged, the arsenal was extended by the pur- 
chase from the Abbot of San Daniele of a lake ^ that could 

^ Roman., iii. pp. 87, 88- 

^ An inscription in Cicogna, i. 94, 95, records the consecration of a 
" Chapela del Centurione detta de' Lucchesi, posta suUa Fondamenta 
de' Servi," dedicated, I suppose, to the centurion of the Crucifixion, 
or the centurion whose servant was healed and faith commended. 
Romanin mentions that the words " Provisores Sirici," i.e. "Superin- 
tendents of the Silk Trade," were to be read fifty years ago over the 
door where tickets for the Teatro Malibran were distributed (iii. p. 
102, n. i). There is a great deal about the Lucchese silk-workers in 
Tassini, Curiosita Vencziane, s.v. Bissa. 

' This addition was known as the Arsenale Nuovo : the Nuovissimo, 
to the north of it, extending as far as the line of the Fondamenta 

344 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

serve as a basin and docks. The purchase was completed 
in June 1324, and about the same time a German engineer 
was allowed to build windmills in the lake. 

A paved road was made from San Marco to Castello, 
which probably took the same line as is taken by the 
present broad pavement along the Riva dei Schiavoni, as 
far as San Biagio, and after that point by the broad Strada 
Nuova de' Giardini. There was great activity under Doge 
Soranzo in improving the material condition of the city : 
wells were sunk, provision was made for extinguishing fires 
by supplying buckets of water and implements for pulling 
down burning buildings. At the same time the morals of 
the people were looked after, the police force was increased, 
and the number of hostelries diminished, and the presence 
in the city of unemployed poor, natives or foreigners, dis- 
couraged. The years of his government were a time of 
great abundance, the necessaries of life were cheap, and the 
population increased rapidly, amounting, according to a 
probable estimate, to more than 200,000 souls. ^ 

On the last day of the year 1328, the Doge Soranzo died. 
He had been an old man when elected in 131 2, and was 
eighty-eight at his death. He was buried with all the 
honours usual at Venice for distinguished servants of the 
State who had attained the highest office. His body was 
carried to the Hall of the Signori di Notte, in golden shoes, 

Nuove, was added in 1473. The grant from the Prior of San Daniele 
of the lake, with the argine ^.xxAfojidatnenta belonging to it, in exchange 
for more than 2500 lire in iinprestiti of the public debt, together with 
the consent of the chapter of the convent, and of the abbot and chapter 
of the Benedictine convent of San Benigno di Fruttuaria in the diocese 
of Ivrea, from which the priory of San Daniele was dependent, is 
printed in Coinmem., lib. ii. Nos. 454, 439, 440 (pp. 269 and 266 of 
vol. i. of series i. of Moniimcnti Storici Ven., 1876), and in Cornaro, 
Eccl. Ven., dec. vi. p. 199. The consent of the Bishop of Castello and 
the canons of his church is in the same vol. of Monuni. S/orici, Nos. 
462, 463, p. 272. All these ecclesiastics state that they had been 
satisfied that the convent would not suffer in income by the alienation. 
The laws of the Republic took care that the private interests of re- 
ligious communities should not be injured in the public interest. 
' Roman., iii. p. 103, n. 10. 


with his sword at his side, his escutcheon, that was to 
remain as a memorial of him in the BasiHca, carried before 
him by a servant. There he lay in state, till carried by the 
nobles chosen for this office down the staircase of the 
palace and into the church of St. Mark by the principal 
western door. The dogaressa and her ladies were await- 
ing the body in the church. When the funeral rites were 
ended, the body was deposited in the chapel of the Bap- 
tistery, in a sarcophagus that can still be seen there, with 
no name and no inscription — only the coat-of-arms of the 
Soranzo family. When he was left there, the bell that 
called the Great Council together was rung, and on its 
assembly in the palace, the senior counsellor of the doge 
spoke some words in praise of the dead and in lamenta- 
tion for his death, and exhorted those present to pray 
to the Lord for the election of a good successor. 

The prosperity that prevailed under the Doge Soranzo is 
illustrated by the numerous documents that have come 
down from that time relative to the foreign trade of the 
Republic. We have seen something in my last chapter 
of the Eastern trade of these days passing through Tre- 
bizond and Tabriz. The documents printed in the volumes 
of Conwiemortali sho'Vi us that trade with the West was also 
active. We read of one Tommaso Loredano, who ex- 
ported a large quantity of sugar to England by the hands 
of one Nicoletto Basadonna. The sugar was exchanged 
in London for wool coming from San Bitolfo^ that is, 
St. Botolph's town or Boston ; and this wool was put on 
two cocche or merchant ships to be carried to Flanders, 
the headquarters of the weaving trade, from whence the 
Venetian trader was to carry manufactured cloth or linen 
back to Dalmatia or the Levant. The cocche laden with 
the wool were taken by English ships, and Basadonna, their 
captain, slain, for which the doge claimed redress } From 

' Marin, St. del Cominercio Fcnez., v. p. 306 ; Comin., lib. ii. 
No. 191. 

346 VENICE IN THE 13th <.V- 14th CENTURIES 

another document, of the date of December 1325, we 
hear of a fight that took place in Southampton between 
the crews of five Venetian galleys and men of Southampton 
and Wight, and of a proclamation by King Edward II., 
with the consent of his Parliament assembled in West- 
minster, in the octave of Martinmas, pardoning all the offence 
committed by the Venetians.^ 

Among the documents of about the same date is a 
letter from the Duke of Lorraine, Brabant, and Limburg, 
and another from the echevins, consuls, and citizens of 
Antwerp, praying the doge to allow merchants and travel- 
lers from Venice to frequent Antwerp. In 13 19 the doge 
had prayed the Count of Flanders and the echevins of 
Bruges to lower the market dues and to allow Venetian traders 
to sell silk on any day — that is, I presume, not to be limited 
to certain market days.^ In 1322 we are told of trading 
adventurers sending ships to Seville, Cadiz, and Lisbon, 
and it was worth while for the Venetian Government in 
1320 to pay 2000 Florentine florins to Charles of Valois 
as the price of a patent of the French King relieving their 
traders from arbitrary imposts in France. 

All the historians tell us, among the remarkable events 
of Doge Soranzo's time, of the birth in the year 13 16 of 
three lion cubs. A lion and lioness had been given to the 
doge by Frederic, King of Sicily, and were kept in a cage 
or chamber in the courtyard of the palace under the 
portico, near the houses of the doge's gastaldi. Wild 
beasts had occasionally been kept in confinement here, 
occasionally in what was called the Terra Nuova, where 
the public granaries {Magazzini per k Made) afterwards 
were, next door to the Zecca or Mint, in the spot where 
the gardens of the royal palace now are. The notary of 
the duchy of Venice, Giovanni Marchesini, made a 
protocol of it in the register known as Facta, that was 
kept generally for treaties or records of other dealings with 

^ Comtnem.. lib. ii. No. 453. " Roman., iii. lOO, loi. 


foreign powers. Marino Sanudo, in his " Lives of the 
Doges," has given us a copy of the entry in the register, 
w^hich is amusing from its naivete and humour. " In the 
said year and month, on Sunday the 12th of September, 
about the hour of matins at San Marco, just about sun- 
rise, the said lioness brought forth naturally, as animals 
do, three lion cubs, living and hairy, who as soon as 
born began to move and to run about their mother in 
the chamber, as was seen by the said Lord Doge and 
almost all the inhabitants of Venice and elsewhere, who 
were at Venice the said day, who ran to see this almost 
miraculous sight. And one of the animals born is male, 
and the other two are female. I Giovanni Marchesini, 
notary of the duchy of Venice, as on the faith of my 
eyesight I saw the nativity of the said animals, so by order 
of the said Lord Doge have I written and registered the 
aforesaid statement." ^ He had previously recorded how 
many Venetians had witnessed three months before, in the 
cage, the performance, " naturally as animals do," of the 
proper antecedent of the birth. This curious record is, 
I imagine, one of the earliest notices in the history of 
zoological gardens. 

The board of correttori who were appointed on the death 
of a doge to propose alterations in the Promissione of the new 
doge advised the increase of his stipend from 4000 to 5200 
lire, the provision of plate worth 600 sequins for his use, 
and of a larger number of liveried servants. He was also 
to have for the initial expenses of his office a loan of 3000 
lire from the Commune, to be repaid in full, if he lived for 
three years, and to the amount of 1000 lire, if he died in 
the third year. The Commune was also to provide the 
zoja or cap of state for the doge's use and the Bucintoro or 
state barge, which were to be kept by the Procuratori.^ 

1 ^/M(f Muratori, R. I. 6"., xxii. cols. 594, 595. 
^ The latter correction had been proposed for the Promissione of 
Marin Zorzi, but had been rejected. " Item cum poneretur pars quod 

348 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

The Promissione prohibited the sacking of houses in 
honour of the election of a new doge, that had been a 
relic of old-fashioned roughness. Perhaps this and the 
increase of the doge's stipend may be taken as kindred 
provisions, evidence of the increased dignity that was 
thought to be due to the chief magistrate of a powerful 
State, who had been accustomed for some generations to 
be treated as an equal by kings and emperors and the new- 
fangled but powerful Signori of Milan or Verona. But if 
the doge's dignity was increased, there was no thought of 
increasing his power. This same Promissione took from 
him the power of summoning on his own authority the 
arengo or general assembly of citizens even for matters 
relating to the church of St. Mark, which was in theory the 
chapel of his palace. 

Soranzo's successor, elected on the 4th of January 1329, 
was that Francesco Dandolo surnamed, like his contem- 
porary, the great Scaliger, Cane ("the dog"), whom we met 
with, some chapters back, as ambassador from the Republic 
to the Pope, in 1311.^ One of his first acts as doge was 
to receive from the inhabitants the surrender of Pola and 
Valle, in Istria, which had rebelled against the lieutenants 
of the Patriarch of Aquileia, and were saved from recon- 
quest by Giustinian Giustiniani. The Venetians agreed to 
pay the patriarch for them an annual rent, which they were 
well worth, as they gave Venice a convenient outpost for 
the purposes of trade with Istria and Dalmatia. 

The new doge was at once involved in negotiation with 
other Christian powers in contemplation of a new Crusade. 
The occasion for this action was the rapid progress made by 
the Ottoman Turks in Asia Minor, which;had brought them 

Zoja Domini Ducis et Bucentaurus fierent per Comune, et staret ipsa 
Zoja in Procuratia et Bucentaurus in Arsenatu, captum fuit de stare 
firmi" (Rom. iii. 82, n. 8), i.e. it was decided to leave things unaltered. 
As to Zoja see my " Early History," p. 360, n. i. Zoja is the Venetian 
form oi gioia, of which gioiello, " a jewel," is a derivative. 
^ See autc, p. 212. 


very near to the Bosporus and the gates of Constantinople. 
In 1326, during the civil war between the grandfather 
and grandson, the elder and younger Andronicus, the 
Ottoman Turks had taken Prusa. The next places to be 
attacked were Nicaea and Nicomedia. Finlay has pointed 
out how the Turks, under their great Sultan Orkhan, dis- 
covered the secret of reducing to impotence by their own 
light-armed, irregular levies the Byzantine armies, that were 
still perhaps the best armed and best instructed in the 
world. This was by establishing fortified posts on all sides 
of the Byzantine cities, and from these wasting the lands, 
and stopping traffic on the high roads, till the citizens 
behind their walls felt the pressure of famine. Nicsea was 
forced to surrender in 1330, Nicomedia in 1339, and the 
Turkish strategy began to be employed with the same 
harassing effect on the capital itself. One method of 
defending themselves against Orkhan, to which Andronicus 
III., who was undisputed ruler of the Eastern Empire after 
his grandfather's death in 1322, resorted, was to take into 
the imperial service against the Ottomans some of the 
petty Turkish chiefs of the Seldjukian race, who were still 
numerous in Asia Minor, and bitterly jealous of the rising 
Ottoman power. It had been previously a Byzantine 
custom to engage these chiefs against the Genoese mer- 
chants or pirates, who were constantly attacking the coast- 
land or islands of the Archipelago. These bands in the 
imperial service were brought over in the Emperor's ships 
to Europe, and began to set up Turkish settlements in 
Thrace or Macedonia. One of their objects was to capture 
Greek slaves for the markets of Asia Minor. In 1329 or 
1330 Turkish bands plundered in the valley of the Hebrus 
as far as Trajanopolis ; in 1331 another band wasted the 
country round Redestos ; in 1332 there was a landing of 
Turks in the bay of Thessalonica ; in 1334 many Greek 
islands were plundered and Greek merchant-ships taken by 
Turkish corsairs; and in 1340 a large force of 8000 Turks 


penetrated as far as the foot of Mount Hsemus, bringing 
with them a long train of pack-horses, on which they 
packed the plunder of the country invaded, and carried it 
away to their ships. ^ In 1346 Orkhan induced John 
Cantacuzene, who had usurped the Empire from the weak 
hands of John Paleologus, to give his daughter, Theodora, in 
marriage to him, a Turkish Emir, and had received his bride 
with great splendour in his camp at Selymbria on the Pro- 
pontis, in a European province, and not many miles from 
the capital. No one observing the state of Eastern Europe 
could doubt that the Turkish advance was a danger to the 
Greek Empire and to Christianity. A stipulation in a 
treaty Orkhan made with the Empress Anne of Savoy, as 
Regent for her son, John Paleologus, empowered the 
Turkish Emir to sell Christian captives at Constantinople, 
and the conscience of Christendom was shocked at the 
spectacle of "a naked crowd of Christians of both sexes 
and every age, of priests and monks, of matrons and 
virgins, exposed in the public market." - John Cantacu- 
zene, who was a zealous Christian and theologian, felt 
shame at the alliance with the unbeliever, into which he 
had been driven by the exigencies of civil war, and sent 
an embassy to Pope Clement V^I., who was still at Avignon, 
where he kept a splendid and profligate court, to pray for 
help from the West ; and the talk of a Crusade and the 
union of the Churches that had gone so far in the time of 
Michael Paleologus was revived. 

More than twenty years before this, in 1331, towards the 
end of the long pontificate of John XXII., an attempt 
to organise Christian resistance to the Turkish advance 
was being made. Philip of Valois, King of France, had 
written to the Doge Francesco Dandolo to say he had 
decided to send an expedition to the Holy Land, and to 
beg that envoys might be sent to him from Venice before 

' Finlay, " Byz. and Greek Emp.," ii. pp. 527-34. 
^ Gibbon, c. Ixiv. viii. p. 27, ed. of Dr. Smith. 

•TROJECTED crusade for 1333 351 

Christmas Eve, with power to fix the number of ships the 
Republic would supply for the expedition, and to inform 
him of the cost of passages on Venetian ships, the price 
of victuals and wines of Cyprus.^ In May 1332 the 
Venetian envoys handed in their answer in writing, 
imposing stringent conditions, such as the consent of the 
Holy See ; peace with Christian powers — that is to say, no 
attack on the Greek Empire or Hungary ; the provision of 
a sufficient force to ensure success, viz., 20,000 horse and 
50,000 foot, with a corresponding number of machines and 
materials of war ; and the immediate despatch to the Levant 
of twenty or thirty galleys to check the Turkish fleet, and 
to contract for the supply of provisions in the kingdom of 
Naples, Sicily, Romania, Candia, and the Black Sea. If 
these conditions were satisfied, Venice would supply ships 
for the passage to Asia of 5000 horses and 10,000 foot- 
soldiers, with their baggage, and provisions for a year. If 
the King himself took part in the enterprise, she would 
provide in addition 4000 sailors for six months. The 
place of landing in Syria was not disclosed in the written 
instructions, but the envoys were empowered to state it 
verbally. In September of the same year a treaty of 
alliance for five years, between the Greek Emperor, Venice, 
and the Knights of St. John, was made at Rhodes, binding 
the contingents of the three powers to meet at Negropont 
in April 1333. But the unreadiness of Andronicus pre- 
vented the execution of this treaty and of a modification of 
it agreed to at Avignon in 1334." The death of Pope 
John XXII. in that year made a postponement of the 
Crusade necessary, but Venice ordered Pietro Zeno, who 
about the same time was sent to put down a revolt in 
Candia, to begin the execution of the agreement with 
France by taking Turkish ships in the Archipelago. 

^ Comment., iii. 235. 

- lb., iii. 252,264, and 321. See also Romanin, iii. p. 112. The 
treaty of 1334 joined the King of France, the Pope, and the King of 
Cyprus to the other contracting powers. 

352 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

In 1342, Henry, Patriarch of Constantinople, came to 
Venice with a Bull of Pope Clement VI., announcing that 
in consequence of the losses suffered by the Venetians and 
other Christians in the East at the hands of the Turks, he 
had made an agreement with the King of Cyprus and 
"the Priors and Masters of the Religion of Rhodes" for 
an expedition to the East, and asking the doge to inform 
the cardinal-legate, accredited as ambassador to the Italian 
Governments, what galleys Venice would contribute. The 
doge, having promised to furnish one-fourth of the armada 
to be sent against the Turks, was informed by another 
Papal Bull in August 1343 that the Pope had agreed with 
the King of Cyprus and the Knights of Rhodes to send a 
fleet of twenty galleys to Negropont by next All Saints' 
Day, and was invited to send six galleys — one more than 
the promised fourth part — and not counting one that the 
people of Negropont were themselves arming.^ In the 
next month, the Patriarch of Grado and his suffragans were 
informed by the Pope of the alliance he had formed, and 
instructed to preach a Crusade in all the churches subject 
to them, with the offer of indulgences usually granted to 
those who fought for the Holy Sepulchre.^ In December 
another Bull was issued, empowering the same prelates to 
raise from their churches the tithe that the Pope had 
ordered to be levied on all ecclesiastical revenues in 
England, France, and Spain, and all other countries of the 
world, excepting only the revenues of the religion of 
Rhodes.^ In December 1344, the Pope formally con- 
gratulated the Knights of Rhodes and the Venetians on 
their success in taking Smyrna from the Turks ;^ and in 
December 1345 he prolonged for two more years the 
special tax on ecclesiastical property.^ 

1 Co>n»ieni., iv. Nos. i8, 22, 24, 53. ^ lb., iv. 66. 

» lb., iv. 100. 

* For a fuller account of this expedition s&e post, p. 379. 

* lb., iv. 185. 


If the Venetians were not very sincere in their desire of 
a Crusade, they were probably no more insincere than 
most of the sovereigns of Europe who took up the idea 
at this time. PhiHp of France had the ambition to strike 
a blow for the recovery of the Holy Sepulchre and also 
to drive the Moors out of Spain : but such projects were, 
and had been since the time of the first Charles of Anjou, 
a part of the necessary equipment of any prince who 
aspired to be the champion of the Church. As the 
champion of the Church, it was also one of his aims to 
wrest the imperial crown from Louis the Bavarian, whose 
long contest with the Papacy was the most characteristic 
feature of the history of the early years of the fourteenth 
century. When, in July 1346, three months before the 
death of Louis, the electors met at Rhense and filled the 
place of the excommunicated Emperor by the choice of 
a rival German prince, Charles of Moravia, son and heir 
of John, the blind King of Bohemia, who fell at Crecy 
in August of that year, it was part of the programme 
of the new King of the Romans that he should take the 
Cross and lead an expedition against the Turks. I have 
quoted in a former chapter the lines in which Petrarch 
hailed the new Charlemagne, who was at length to deliver 
the Holy City from the infidel.^ 

But the Crusade never came off, and Venice was not 
called upon to undertake its passage to Syria. And about 
the same time that Pope John XXII. began to negotiate 
about the Crusade, Venice became involved in a serious 
dispute with the Scaligers of Verona. When Can Grande 
della Scala died suddenly in 1329, his power had grown 
so as to reach nearly across Italy from sea to sea. He 
was Lord of Verona, Vicenza, Padua, Feltre, and Belluno, 
and had just possessed himself of Treviso. His two 
nephews, who succeeded him, extended these dominions 
still further : Alberto was, indeed, an indolent man of 
1 Ante, p. 252. 


354 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

pleasure, but Mastino was able and ambitious. John of 
Luxemburg (the blind King of Bohemia) had endeavoured 
at this time with some success to pacify the Lombard 
cities, but both Guelfs and Ghibellines united their forces 
to check the foreigner from beyond the Alps, and Mastino 
della Scala and Azzo Visconti took advantage of this 
to extend their own power : while Visconti seized Cre- 
mona, the Scaligers added Parma and eventually Lucca 
to their lordship. 

The addition of Padua and Treviso to Mastino's lord- 
ship made him the immediate neighbour of Venice, and 
the inheritor of more than one quarrel with the Republic. 
He claimed the right to levy transit dues on Venetian 
merchandise passing up the Po or the other rivers, and 
export duties on the produce of the Terra Ferma that 
Venice required to feed her swarming population, much of 
which produce came from lands belonging to Venetian con- 
vents ; he resented the monopoly of salt, which was the source 
of so much Venetian wealth, and endeavoured to produce 
salt in his own dominions or to import it from Germany ; 
and to protect his own salt-works he rebuilt a fort, for- 
merly belonging to the Paduans, at a place called Peta- 
debo.^ Negotiations went on, embassies were sent from 
both sides ; Mastino, impatient of the numerous documents 
sent him under the leaden seal of the doge, bade the 
Venetians keep their lead for roofing the campanile of St. 
Mark. His refusal to dismantle Petadebo brought matters 
to a crisis, and war was declared. The doge had been 
for peace, but was in a minority, the whole people being 
zealous for resisting the overgrown power of the Scaligers, 
and ready to volunteer for military service. It was neces- 
sary, however, to hire mercenary troops: and the aggressions 

1 Petadebo or Petta di Bo is shown on the map of the lagoons 
executed by the Hydogiaphic Expedition of i868 as an isolated spot 
between the Valle dei Sette Moiti and the Palude di Fondello, some 
five or six miles NNW. of Chioggia. 


of Mastino on his neighbours had caused the exile of many 
of the party leaders in other cities, who could be made 
into capable and willing condottieri. Laurentius de 
Monacis ^ describes how troops from Italy, France, Ger- 
many, and Burgundy assembled at Ravenna, and from 
thence were taken in ships to the Lido of St. Nicolas, 
and there encamped, and provided with all the supplies 
required for men and horses. Pietro de' Rossi of Parma, 
the most accomplished general in Italy, was holding out 
his castle of Pontremolo to the last extremity against 
Mastino, and gladly engaged to lead the Venetian troops.^ 
Florence, whom the Scaligers had deprived of Lucca, was 
ready to furnish money for the campaign. 

The army of Venice and her allies lost no time in 
striking a decisive blow. War was declared on the 14th 
of July 1336, and on the loth of October Pietro de' Rossi, 
after a successful incursion into the territory of Lucca, 
came to Venice, and received from the doge in San Marco 
the banner of the Republic, and without delay crossed the 
Brenta into Paduan territory, and on St. Cecilia's Day ^ — 
the 22nd of November — was in possession of the fort built 
by Scaliger to protect his salt-works, which had been one 
of the chief causes of the quarrel with Venice. The men 
of Chioggia had joined in the attack from their ships, and 
now pulled down the fort and with its stones built another 

1 Lib. XV. p. 290. 

^ There is a pretty account in Laur. de Monacis, I.e., of his parting 
with his wife and daughters at Pontremolo and escape in disguise to 

* See in Verci {Storia delta Marca Trivi°iana, torn, xi., Documenti , 
p. 79), the decree of the Great Council of Chioggia, ordering a solemn 
feast yearly on St. Cecilia's Day, with a provision of 100 soldi from the 
treasury of the Commune for "doplejia" (torches with a wick of doubled 
cord) to illuminate the statue of the Madonna during the whole of the 
mass, because on that day " Salvator mundi qui superbis resistit, 
humilibusque dat gratiam, dedit et castrum Salinarum, et hostes qui in 
eo erant, in manibiis dominationis Venetiarum." Verci's account of 
this war in the text of the same volume (pp, 52 sqq.) is interesting. 
Lorenzo de Monacis (lib. xv.) is also a contemporary authority for these 


fort at Stalimbeco, called Torre dell' Aggere. This un- 
fortunate beginning of the war, in consequence of which 
Padua was already hard pressed by the allies, and De' 
Rossi was able to take some of the suburbs of Treviso, 
encouraged the numerous enemies of the Scaligers to join 
the league against them. Ambassadors came to Venice 
from Visconti, Lord of Milan, Este of Ferrara, and Gon- 
zaga of Mantua, to endeavour to form a league for the de- 
struction and ruin of the two brothers Delia Scala. Charles, 
Prince of Bohemia, and his brother, the Count of Carin- 
thia,^ who had pretensions to Feltre, Belluno, and Cadore, 
also joined the confederacy against the Scaligers. 

In January 1337 a large embassy from Azzo Visconti, 
the Estes, and Gonzagas, came to Venice to attempt media- 
tion between the Scaligers and their enemies. With them 
came Marsilio da Carrara, apparently as an informal envoy 
from the two brothers Delia Scala. In this capacity he 
was naturally an object of suspicion, and the mob of 
Venice stoned and insulted him. He returned to Padua 
and complained of this treatment, saying that he could 
not go again on a similar embassy with safety. But while 
at Venice he had found an opportunity of secret negotia- 
tion with the doge, who, while walking up and down 
among the ambassadors in the portico of the palace, had 
exchanged a few words with each of them in private. The 
bargain had been soon struck. Marsilio had said, " What 
if I were to give you Padua ? " " You should be its lord," 
was the doge's reply. Details were left to be settled in 
writing. - 

It had probably been imprudent of the brothers to 

^ Romanin (iii. p. 124) says, " Prince Charles of Bohemia and John 
of Carinthia, his brother." I gather from Hopf's Hist. Geneal. Atlas, 
ablh. i. pp. 35'^, 3?9, and 3(6, that these were Charles, Margrave of 
Moravia and King of the Romans, who became in 1 346 King of 
Bohemia, on the death of his father, and in the same year Emperor 
as Charles IV., and his brother John Henry, Count of Tyrol, the first 
husband of Margaret Maultasche. 

2 Laurentius de Monacis, xv. p. 298. 


entrust their interests to one who had once been Lord of 
Padua, and had been compelled to exchange his indepen- 
dent rule for dependence on their family. Marsilio's cousin, 
Ubertino da Carrara, had suffered at the hands of Alberto 
della Scala the most poignant dishonour that a husband 
can suffer.^ Marsilio and Ubertino became both zealous 
allies of Venice, and at the same time the armies of the 
allies were successful. They missed, indeed, the oppor- 
tunity of taking Verona through the treachery or bad 
strategy of Luchino Visconti ; but Pietro de' Rossi got 
possession of Treviso, and, Mastino having failed to relieve 
Padua, that city also fell into the hands of the Venetians. 
The division of the places taken from the Scaligers was 
settled by an arrangement made before the city was taken, 
and ratified, after its fall, at a conference in Marsilio's house 
at Padua. Padua, Monselice, Este, with Castelbaldo, 
Cittadella, and Bassano, were to be governed by Marsilio, 
and after him by Ubertino, Venice and her allies pledging 
themselves to make no peace with the Scaligers that did not 
secure to the Carrara family their property in Padua, even 
if the government of the city could not be obtained. In 
return for this promise the Carraras guaranteed to Venice 
all the trading privileges they had possessed in Paduan 
territory, and the right to bring to the lagoons without 
hindrance, the produce of the lands on the Terra Ferma 
belonging to Venetian monasteries or private owners. 

When Padua at length was taken in August 1337, 
Alberto della Scala was brought a prisoner to Venice, and 
Venetian commissioners were sent to hand over the city to 
the Carraras. Fortune had declared everywhere against 

' Daru adds, "il avait fait surmonter de deux cornes d'or le cimier 
qui couronnait ses armes, pour eterniser le souvenir de son injure." 
Characteristically, he makes Marsilio the outraged husband and Mastino 
the seducer (ii. p. 91, ed. 1826). The contemporary authority for this 
story is the Isioria Padovana of Galeazzo and Andrea Gataro (Muratoii, 
R. /. S., xvii. cols. 21 and 22). See also a curious extract from an 
anonymous chronicle in Paduan dialect in Cittadella (Storia della 
Doniinazione Carrarese in Padova, i. p. 456). 

358 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the Scaligers. Brescia and Bergamo had been won by 
Visconti, Feltre and Belluno by Charles of Bohemia. 
Rolando de' Rossi, who succeeded to the chief command 
of the Venetian army, when his brother Pietro was killed 
at the storming of Monselice, carried his victorious arms 
nearly up to the walls of Verona, and afterwards threatened 
Lucca. The agreement with the Carraras had enabled 
Venice and her allies to gain a decided advantage over the 
lords of Verona, and the capture of Alberto della Scala had 
no doubt a powerful influence in inclining his brother to 
peace. Ubertino da Carrara, who succeeded MarsiUo in 
1338, Obizzo d'Este, and ambassadors from Florence 
met Francesco da Rugolino, the representative of Mastino, 
at Venice in the winter of 1338-39, and on the 24th of 
January 1339 (1338 according to Venetian reckoning) a 
treaty was signed. By this Lucca, which had proved the 
chief difficulty in the negotiations, remained in the hands 
of Mastino ; but the fortresses and lands belonging to it, 
that had been subject to Florence before the war, were to 
revert to her. Parma also was retained by the Scaligers, 
subject to a moderate money payment to the De' Rossi 
family. The Scaligers ceded Treviso, Castelbaldo, and 
Bassano to the Venetians, who retained Treviso, while 
handing over Castelbaldo and Bassano to Ubertino da 
Carrara. Detailed provisions as to other places estab- 
lished the general rule of restoring the status quo before the 
growth of the Scaligers' power. The princes of Bohemia, 
the Count of Carinthia, the Visconti, the Estes, and the 
Gonzagas, and many smaller princes of North Italy were 
parties to this treaty, which was celebrated by the admission 
of many of the chief allies of Venice, such as the Estes, 
Gonzagas, and Carraras, and the Scaligers themselves, as 
those who were to be friends for the future, to the ranks of 
the Venetian nobility, and by a grand tournament in the 
Piazza of St. Mark.^ 

^ The terms of this peace are given in the Historia Cortiinorum, 


The treaty that ended the war with the Scaligers forms 
an epoch in Venetian history, as it was the first occasion of 
a large and important province of the Terra Ferma being 
placed under the government of the Republic. The March 
of Treviso, which was ceded to Venice, reached northward 
as far as the Pedemonte we have met with in the history of 
Ecelino, the country of Asolo and Bassano. This part, 
with Castelbaldo, Venice gave up to the Carraras, lords of 
Padua : the districts of Treviso, Conegliano, Castelfranco, 
Sacile, and Oderzo, she kept under her own government, 
appointing a podesta for Treviso, another for Conegliano, 
and officers of less dignity for the other places. The Podesta 
of Treviso had a lesser and a greater council to advise and 
control him, and was required not to be a citizen of Treviso 
or of any of the towns in its immediate neighbourhood. 
This was the general rule in all the cities of North Italy, 
where in the last two centuries podestks had sprung up. In 
future years, as the extent of the Terra Ferma under the 
government of Venice increased, it was the rule to set up 
a podesta in all the principal places, a capitano or pro- 
veditore in the less important, and to surround the podesta 
with counsellors and other officials, under regulations very 
much on the model of the constitutional arrangements of 
the Dominajite or Ruling City, as Venice came to be 
called. The Podesta of Treviso was to be elected by a 
complicated series of indirect elections, very much as was 
the case in the election of a doge ; these indirect elections 
resulted in the choice of three candidates, who were bal- 
loted for in the council of 300, the one who received 
most votes being podesta for the first six months of the 
year, the second for the last six months, while the third 
was called third podesta. The podesta administered 

vii. 18 (Muratori, R. I. .S"., torn. xii. cols. 896, 897). Romanin's account 
of them (iii. pp. 126, 127, and 129, 130) is a little confused : the treaty 
with the Carraras (Sept. 1337) and with Florence and the Scaligers 
(Jan. 1339) made up together the complete settlement. 

36o VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

justice in a court, of whiich the Anziani of the several 
Arti or trade guilds were to be members.^ 

We have an account, written in 1787, in the last years of 
the Republic, of the constitution of Chioggia, where there 
were two councils, a greater one composed of citizens of 
Venetian origin, a lesser of six members elected by the 
greater council, which also elected the magistrates, judges, 
and more important officers, including a Grand Chancellor, 
who, as at Venice, was at the head of all the secretaries 
(members of the Civil Service in modern phraseology), who 
were appointed by the lesser council. In the election of 
the Grand Chancellor, the Grand Council of Chioggia was 
subject to the control of the Collegio of Venice. ^ 

The first Podestk of Treviso, who was transferred from 
Padua, where he had been appointed to the same office 
for the year from ist March 1338 to 28th of February 1339, 
bore a name long well known in Venetian history, and 
destined to a melancholy immortality from his time, Marin 
Faliero. He was already sixty years old, and had done 
much service to his country at home and abroad ; he had 
been on the Council of Ten in 1315 and 1320, and had 
taken an active part in the proceedings against Bajamonte 
Tiepolo ; in 1327 he had been sent on an embassy to 
Bologna; in 1333 he had commanded some galleys sent 
to the Black Sea and Constantinople to guard the fleet of 
merchantmen sailing to Tana : he had been podesta at 
Farra and Brazzo in Dalmatia, at Chioggia until his re- 
moval to Padua in 1 338, and in the war against the Scaligers 

1 Romanin, iii. pp. 132, 133. 

- TopograJJa Veiieta, iii. pp. 285, 286. Treviso, according to the 
same account, was governed by a \'enetian noble with tiie title of 
podesta and capitano, but apparently without any council. Another 
podesta resided at Castelfranco, the pretty little walled town between 
Treviso and ^'icenza, famous for a great picture by Giorgione in the 
Duomo. Conegliano, which had not been in Venetian possession 
uninterruptedly since the time of the Scaligers, was in 1787 under the 
government of a Venetian noble, whom the author of the Topografia 
calls merely Rappresentante [ib., iv. 154 sqq., 169 sqq.). 


had served with the army sent to La Motta. Besides this 
he had held minor offices, beginning with that of savio agli 
Ordini, or alii Ordigni, the gate by which young nobles at 
Venice generally entered on public life, an office which 
admitted them, but without a vote, to the full CoUegio or 
Executive Council, which met every day, and enabled them 
to become acquainted at an early age, from twenty-three 
to twenty-five, with secret and confidential business of 

The early age at which Venetian nobles could be ap- 
pointed " to office, and the short time for which offices were 
held — in many cases not more than six months — facilitated 
the accumulation of experience, and made the Republic an 
admirable training school for statesmen : we have already 
remarked one evidence of this in the frequent employment 
of Venetians as podestas in other cities. Besides his re- 
peated service as savio, Marin Faliero had been in 1327 one 
of the Anziani alia Pace, who were police officers for the city, 
and had served on many commissions appointed to advise 
on special matters — e.g. as to the reply to be given to a 
letter from the captain of the league against the Turks in 
November 1333.^ 

I shall have occasion in a later chapter to go more fully 
into the history of the administration of the Terra Ferma. 
Venice had long had subject islands or fortresses — Candia, 
Negropont, Modone and Corone in the Morea, besides the 
islands of the Quarnero, and those on the coast of Dal- 
matia, and the maritime cities of the Dalmatian mainland. 

^ Yriarte, Vie cCun Patricien, pp. 23, 24 (410 ed.). They were not 
always young men, for in 1335, when Marin Faliero was one of them, 
he was fifty-seven. 

- Those who had served as savii agli Ordini were made special 
exceptions to the rule that made thirty-five the minimum age for the 
Pregadi, being allowed to enter that council at twenty-eight (Besta, // 
Senato Veitez., p. 84). 

' See Lazzarini's paper, Marino Faliero avanti il Dogado in Nuovo 
Archivio Veneto, v. pt. i. (1893), pp. 106-16. 

362 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

A narrow fringe of the mainland of Italy had also long 
formed part of the Dogado or duchy of Venice. The 
traditional boundary of the Dogado reached inland from 
the seashore ^ only one mile : but the rivers flowing into 
the Adriatic, and constantly depositing fresh soil, gradually 
converted what had been lagoon into Terra Ferma, so that 
not only islands like Murano and Torcello, more than a 
mile from the sea, but continental places like Chioggia and 
Brondolo, and Caorle and Cavarzere, in olden times known 
as Caput Aggeris or Capodargine, from its situation at the 
end of the embankment that kept the Adige from over- 
flowing the low country near it,^ belonged to the Dogado. 
In later times the cities or districts of the Dogado were under 
magistrates with the titles of Podesta, Proveditor, Capitano, 
but in the times we are now dealing with they were subject 
in both administrative and judicial matters to the magis- 
trates and courts of the city, the Dominante. The Greek 
or Dalmatian dependencies were under Rettori or Conti, 
the former always sent from Venice, the latter sometimes 
Venetians and sometimes natives. But the whole of 
Dalmatia was in later times governed by a Venetian sena- 
tor with the title of Proveditor-General of Dalmatia and 
Albania, an officer of co-ordinate rank with the Captain- 
(ieneral of the Gulf, i.e. of the Adriatic. 

In the same year that the treaty with the Scaligers was 
signed, on October 31, 1339, the old Doge Francesco Dan- 
dolo died. He had been the instrument of conferring two 
signal benefits on his country. In 13 13 he had induced 
the Pope to remove the excommunication, and in 1339 ^^ 
had conquered for her the first province of Terra Ferma. 
The Breve over his coat of arms commemorated this con- 
quest in the lines " Marchia tota diu mecum bellando 

1 " From the point where the sail waters met the fresh." 

- Alestre, though so near the city of Venice, was never part of the 

Dogado, but belonged to the Trevisano and formed part of the Terra 

Ferma (Topog. Ven., iv. p. 160). 


subacta Tarvisium tandem sub mea jura dedit," where 
"the March" represents the whole territory of the 
Scaligers. He was buried among the Franciscans in the 
chapter-house of Sta. Maria de' Frari, in one of the most 
beautiful of Venetian tombs, now removed to the cloister 
of the Seminario Patriarchale, as to which there is an 
eloquent lament in Ruskin's "Stones of Venice." ^ 

Before the election of his successor, the Correttori ap- 
pointed, as usual, to revise the Promissione imposed some 
further restrictions on the doge's power, requiring the 
consent of greater and lesser council to his abdication, 
and prohibiting his answering any communication on public 
affairs without consulting the lesser council. On the 7th 
November his successor was elected, Bartolomeo Gra- 
denigo, Procurator of St. Mark de supra, an old man of 
seventy-six. He governed the Republic only three years, 
and then died on the 28th of December 1342, and was 
buried in San Marco. He appears to have upheld the 
dignity of his city-Republic and its chief magistrate, for 
Edward HI. of England, going to war with the French 
King, made to the doge a statement of his case against 
France, prayed for the aid of forty Venetian galleys, or, if 
this could not be granted, at least that Venice would be 
neutral, and keep Genoa neutral, offering in return to grant 
advantages to Venetian trade, and to receive at his court, a 
famous school of knightly prowess,^ two sons of the doge. 
The doge replied with gratitude, but pointed to the con- 
stantly increasing power of the Turkish fleets in the Medi- 
terranean, as a conclusive reason against sending Venetian 

^ iii. ii. 74, ed. 1898. 

^ " Quos proe ceteris suae curiae honorare intendit et tribuere prsemium 
honoris militia;, ipsos ad majora prosequendo, unde tota civitas Vene- 
tiarum merito habebit contentari " (Lor. de Mon., xv. p. 308, in the 
Appendix to vol. viii. of Muratori's R. I. S., 1758). The answer of 
the doge given by the chronicler is very dignified. The letters are 
calendared in Predelli's Commemoriali,\\\. 487-89 (Mon., Siorici, u.s., 
iii. p. 85). 

364 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

galleys to attack a Christian power in the West.^ The duty 
of keeping the Turks at bay was coming to be recognised 
as incumbent on Venice : John Paleologus, the Emperor 
of Constantinople, looked to Venetian or Genoese capi- 
talists to lend him the money with which he bought off the 
attacks of the unbelievers now firmly established at Brusa. 
We can read in Predelli's Commemoriali an abstract of the 
deed - by which that unfortunate sovereign pawns his 
crown jewels to the Venetian bailo and his counsellors at 
Constantinople for a loan of 30,000 gold ducats required 
to pay off another loan due to certain Venetians of Con- 
stantinople, Negropont, and other places. I have in a 
former chapter referred to the repeated attempts made in 
these years by the Avignon Popes to set on foot a great 
Crusade against Syria or Egypt under the Venetians, the 
King of France, the Emperor of Constantinople, the King 
of Cyprus, and the Knights of Rhodes. It was very likely 
in connexion with these efforts to save the Eastern Empire 
from imminent destruction that in the summer of 1342 
the Genoese and Venetians attempted through their repre- 
sentatives at Tana in the Black Sea to settle all differences 
between the two Republics.^ 

The government of Bartolomeo Gradenigo was dis- 
tinguished by several new buildings in the city : the church 
of the Servi,"* one of the most beautiful in Venice, which 

1 " Respondit quod notorium est toti mundo in quantum sancta fides 
Christiana assidue opprimitur per Turchos hostes nefarios Sanctae 
Crucis, qui terras insulas et homines partium Romanise crudelissime 
delent. . . . Armant etiam ligna et galeas ducentas et trecentas, cum 
quis profiiciscuntur, quo volunt contra Christianos non reperientes 
obstaculum nisi a galeis Venetorum" (Lor. de Monacis, u.s., p. 


^ In Predelli, Coiiiniem., u.s., iv. 56, p. 124. It was executed in the 
palace of Blachernre, under the golden bolla, and signed by the Emperor's 
hand in red ink. 

* Predelli, Commem., u.s., iii. 575 and 580, pp. 102, 103. 

* The order of Servi B. M. Virginis was founded at Florence early in 
the fourteenth century. Pietro da Todi, the eighth prior-general of the 
order, came to Venice in 1316, and one Giov. Avanzo, who had 


was demolished by an act of vandalism in 1812/ but had 
been in its time one of the favourite burying-places for 
Venetian families of distinction, ^ was begun in 1330, and 
was by this time slowly rising to its full height, though it 
was not finished till 1474. Thus it was strictly contem- 
porary with the doge's palace, in the Gothic style most 
peculiar to Venice. It seems to have had some peculiar 
connexion with the silk weavers from Lucca, who had a 
Guild of the Sacred Face {Sodaliihwi Vultus Sancti) in this 
church, and used at Easter to eat the paschal lamb with 
adjuncts and ceremonies derived from Lucca in the refec- 
tory of the monks. ^ 

About the same time a Foundling Hospital was founded 
by a Franciscan, Pietro d'Assisi, near the church of San 
Francesco della Vigna, a great public granary was estab- 
lished on what was called the Terra Nova, on the site of 
the present garden of the royal palace, and a new hall for 
the meetings of the Great Council was added to the doge's 
palace. As this addition marks the acme of Gothic archi- 
tecture in Venice, and was the beginning of the palace we 
now know, and as the history of the building is not alto- 
gether clear, a few pages may be devoted here to a building 
of so singular a charm, that has impressed the imagination 
of so many generations. Probably no building has called 
forth so much enthusiasm in Venetians and foreigners. 
From Guardi and Canaletti to Turner and Bonington, 
artists have never been tired of painting it, and writers on 

apparently received a patent of nobility at Venice for some service to 
the State, granted a site for the monastery (Corner., E. F., torn. ii. 

P- 3)- 

^ Ruskin's " Stones of Venice (" Venetian Index," s.v., iii. p. 359, 
ed. 1898). 

' Verde della Scala, who was buried there (Flam. Corn., E. V., ii. 
p. 23), was daughter of Mastino and wife of Nicol5 d'Este. Miss Yonge 
says the name Viridis was not uncommon in the fourteenth century 
(" Hist, of Christian Names," i. 423). Fra Paoli Sarpi was a monk of 
the Servite convent, and is buried there. 

' Flam. Corn., E. F., ii. pp. 54 sqq. 

366 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

architecture from Sansovino to Ruskin have studied and 
described its details with loving care. The old palace that 
preceded it was spoken of by the chroniclers who described 
the visits of Otto III. and Henry V. to Venice as of a 
beauty that claimed the admiration of those emperors. 
From the fact that the Basilica of St. Mark was primarily 
the chapel of the doge's palace, we may assume that the 
palace was not unworthy of its chapel : but the Venetians 
of that day did not express their admiration by painting or 
drawing it ; we have no plan or drawing of it,' and must 
form an image of it in our minds from the few remains of 
Byzantine architecture still standing in Venice, the most 
notable of which are the Fondaco de' Tiirchi, once a palace 
of the Dukes of Ferrara, now forming part of the Museo 
Civico, and the Casa Loreda/i and Casa Farsetli, on the 
Grand Canal below the Rialto, both now occupied by the 
Municipio.^ But though we must trust to our imaginations 
for the outward presentment of the doge's palace that had 
been the seat of government since the time of Sebastiano 
Ziani, and probably had not been much changed since the 
time of Partecipazii and Orseoli, when the first dwelling- 
place of the prince rose on the Rialto shore side by side 
with the still standing palace chapel dedicated to the 
Evangelist Patron Saint, we know a great deal about its 

^ The oldest picture of the city appears to be one in an illuminated 
MS. in the Bodleian dating from the beginning of the fifteenth century 
(Molmenti, St. di V. nella Vita privata, i. p. 42). Others are in 
existence about a century later. None of these make any pretence to 
accuracy. The valuable map that Tomaso Temanza found in the 
Marcian Library is much older (of the middle of the twelfth century) ; 
but it is a bare map, without any pictorial illustrations except a few 
conventional church towers. It was published with very instructive 
notes in 1781, and is reproduced by Molmenti opposite p. },"] of vol. i. 
In my "Early History'" (p. 107, n. I) I have expressed the opinion 
(differing from that of Molmenti) that this map is of the fourteenth 
century. Temanza (pp. 53, 54) thinks the outline of the map is of the 
twelfth century, but that many of the names were inserted in the 

■^ They are illustrated at page 32 of Molmenti's Venezia in the series 
Italia Artistica (Bergamo, 1903). 


internal arrangements. In 1838 the Abate Cadorin pub- 
lished the opinions of fifteen eminent architects, that were 
obtained by the Signoria after a fire in 1577 had seriously 
damaged the palace, as to the propriety of restoring or 
pulling down and rebuilding it.^ All the opinions are 
sworn to : the Venetian laws ever placed great reliance on 
the sanctity of an oath. The great Palladio, who was one 
of the fifteen, advised pulling down and rebuilding in the 
classical style then most in fashion, which had been 
adopted in the many buildings with which he had beautified 
his own city of Vicenza, and in the three great churches, 
San Giorgio Maggiore, the Redentore, and San Francesco 
della Vigna, that he had designed or was shortly to design 
in Venice. The most valuable part of Cadorin's treatise is, 
however, not the opinions of the sixteenth-century architects, 
but the extracts he made in his notes from old documents 
in the archives illustrating the long history of the palace. 
A similar line has been taken by two learned antiquaries of 
late years — Francesco Zanotto, who in four solid and hand- 
some quarto volumes,^ published between 1841 and 1861, 
has collected a vast number of pubhshed and unpublished 
notices of every part of the doge's palace and of the series 
of events associated with each ; and Giambattista Lorenzi, 
Assistant Librarian of the Marciana, who in his Monumenti 
per servire alia Storia del Palazzo Ducale di Venezia (1869) 
has collected from the archives and published, with only 
dates and the words relating to the palace, every record of 
work done on the building or public event that took place 
there. Ruskin, in the second and third volumes of his 
" Stones of Venice," has made much use of the Abate 
Cadorin's book ^ — the other books I have mentioned, the 

^ Pareri di XV. Architetti, &c-, per 1' Abate Giuseppe Cadorin. 

* 7/ Palazzo Ducale di Venezia, per F. Zanotto. 

^ He says (" Stones of Venice," ii. viii. 303), " I cannot help feeling 
some childish pleasure in the accidental resemblance to my own name 
in that of the architect whose opinion was first given in favour of the 
ancient fabric, Giovanni Rusconi." 

368 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

latter of which is dedicated to him, have been pubUshed 
since the " Stones of Venice " — and has added much, from 
his own intimate acquaintance with the details of the build- 
ing, to increase our knowledge of its history. 

The original palace, and the original chapel, of the 
doge {cappeila Ducale) were built about the year 8io a.d., 
near the old church of St. Theodore and Ponte della Paglia, 
so called from the hay and straw which barges from the 
mainland landed there. ^ Both palace and chapel were 
burned in 976 in the riot in which the Doge Candiano IV. 
was murdered, but the destruction of the palace was not so 
complete as to prevent John the Deacon, a contemporary 
writing after the fire, from describing Agnello Partecipazio 
as the builder of the palace still remaining.- San Marco 
was rebuilt by Pietro Orseolo I., the Saint, who succeeded 
Candiano, but the palace was probably left for his son, the 
next doge, Pietro Orseolo II., to restore. That great doge 
was, as will be remembered, visited by the Emperor Otto 
III., whom he lodged "in the Eastern Tower," which must 
have stood by the Rio del Palazzo, the canal over which 
the Fofite della Paglia, and at a later date the Bridge of 
Sighs, were thrown. In 1 105-6 there were again two great 
fires in the palace within two months, but ten years after 
the later of these, Ordelafo Falier, the doge, was again 
able to entertain in his palace another imperial guest, 
Henry V., who, we are told, admired not only the site of 
the city and the beauty of its buildings, but the equity of 
its government.^ Towards the end of the twelfth century, 
it was repaired and enlarged by the Doge Sebastian© Ziani, 
who, while leaving it practically on the same site as before, 

^ Ruskin's "Stones of Venice," ii. viii. p. 2S3. 

^ Qtti Palatii hue tisgite 7nanentis fuerit fabticator, quoted by Ruskin 
(" Stones of Venice," ii. viii. 289). The passage of John the Deacon 
is to be found at vol. i. p. 106 of Monticolo's Cronache Vetxeziane 

^ This is from a Dandolo Chronicle quoted in Cadorin (Ruskin, 
"Stones of Venice," ii. viii. p. 289, n. 5). 


made some changes, which were facilitated by his pulUng 
down of the wall that had been built during the panic of an 
Hungarian invasion at the beginning of the tenth century, 
reaching "from the head of the canal of Castello to the 
church of St. Maria Zobenigo."^ This wall, as we can see 
from Temanza's map, ran round the group of buildings 
formed by San Marco and the palace, passing between the 
latter and the canal (opposite San Giorgio), and separating 
both church and palace from the Piazzetta. The removal ^ 
of this enabled Ziani to extend his palace on the south to 
the water's edge, leaving only a narrow strip of dry land 
[un poco di fondiwienta)^ and to advance its front towards 
the Piazzetta to its present position, nearly in line with the 
western fagade of San Marco. The Piazzetta was in 
Ziani's time (1173 to 1178) and till 1264 unpaved : it had 
been part of an orchard or garden belonging to the nuns 
of San Zaccaria, and was known as the Brolio, Bruolo, or 
Brojo ^ of San Zaccaria. Old chronicles quoted by Gallicci- 
oUi^ and byZanotto^ speak of the palace as built "/« lo 
luogo deito Brojo,^' " iti brolio in el confin di San Moise" and 
describe its site, before it was paved, as ^'^ tutta erba, percio 
delta Brolio." Another old writer says that " in the open 

^ See my " Early History of Venice," pp. 106 and 107, n. i. The 
canal of Castello was far away to the east, the canal that passes in front 
of San Pietro. Temanza's map shows the wall beginning near this by 
San Daniele, the lake of which was not yet included in the arsenal. 
No more of it is shown except the part round the old arsenal, and that 
round the precincts of San Marco and the palace. 

^ See Zanotto, // Palazzo Ducale, vol. i. (St07-ia del/a Fabbrica, 
cap. vi. p. 23). 

•' Chronicle quoted by Gallicciolli, lib. i. cap. viii., n. 250 (Zanotto, 
M.S., p. 25). 

* For the meaning of these words see p. 79, n. i of my " Early 
History of Venice." The word Broglio was still in use in the time of 
Giannotti. One of the ends of the Hall of the Great Council was the 
"Testa di verso Broglio," the opposite "Testa di verso Castello." 
The sides of the hall were "di verso San Marco"' (north), " di verso 
San Giorgio" (south). Contarini and Giannotti, 1678, p. 280. 

^ ATemoric I'oictc, lib. i, cap. v. n. 92. 

•• II Palazzo Ducale, vol. i., Introd., p. 27. 

2 A 

370 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

space where the well ^ now is there was a Bruolo with the 
church of San Geminiano." - When this extension of the 
site became available, Ziani appears to have pulled down 
the wing facing the Piazzetta, or perhaps only its fagade, 
and to have carried the opposite (eastern) front up to the 
Rio del Palazzo. What change he made in the Grand 
Canal front it is not so easy to say ; but Sansovino tells us 
that "he not only renewed or repaired the old palace, but 
enlarged it in every direction." ^ 

The Byzantine building that Sebastiano Ziani took in 
hand in the last quarter of the twelfth century and enlarged 
and beautified was the palace in which the Emperor 
Frederic Barbarossa was lodged for two months in 1177. 
No doubt his rooms were in the part of the palace towards 
San Marco or towards the Rio, in which the doge's apart- 
ments were situated at that time, and indeed ever after- 
wards, till the end of the Republic, the part which 
Sansovino calls Palazzo Ducale and distinguishes from 
Palazzo Publico, the part facing the Grand Canal or 
the Piazzetta. The latter contained the offices of the 
chancellor and his clerks, who presided over the State 
archives, and of the other magistrates, the principal 
courts of law, and the halls in which the Great Council 
and the Senate or Pregadi and other smaller bodies sat. 
The only part of the doge's residence that faced the 
Piazzetta seems to have been the stables. The horses were 
kept behind the arches of the ground floor {loggia terrena) 
on that side, from which there were doors leading out on 

1 There was a well in the Piazzetta, as would appear from a picture 
of Lazzaro Sebastiani in the Museo Civico, reproduced in Molmenti 

(i. p. 41)- 

■^ " In piazza dove al presante e il pozzo, li era un bruolo con la 
glexia (chiesa) de S. Ziminian" (L'Erizzo, quoted by Zanotto, us.). 
The church of San Geminiano is supposed to have stood in what is 
now the north-western portion of the Great Piazza, that of St. Theodore 
in the open space to the north of San Marco, where the Patriarcato 
now stands. 

^ Venezia Descritta, p. 319. 


to the Piazzetta ; and besides those for the use of the doge 
himself and his attendants, we read of six " beautiful 
coursers," kept for the use of any one who had done con- 
spicuous service to the State. For in those days, horses, 
though comparatively seldom seen, were not so unknown 
in Venice as they afterwards became. Until the hundreds 
of bridges over the canals were arched, the city could not 
be traversed in a gondola so easily as now, and the unpaved 
calli of those days were more convenient for riding and less 
convenient for walking than those we know. They were 
always, however, narrow and crowded, and so in early times 
restrictions were put upon riding. No one, after the third 
hour had struck by the bell of San Marco — i.e. after nine 
o'clock in the morning, when the courts were sitting and 
business was active — might ride to the Piazza of St. Mark 
by the Merceria ; when he came to the fig-tree that grew 
in the midst of the Campo San Salvatore he must dismount 
from his horse or mule. This was ordered by a law of 
1291 ; another of 1359 forbade riding fast {correre a cavallo) 
over the Rialto bridge, but allowed riding at a foot pace 
{andare)} Jousting in the city, as we have seen, was not 
unknown, but neither this nor other feats of horsemanship - 
were allowed without special licence from eight of the 
Council of Ten. But that riding was usual for the grave 
and reverend signiors of the Pregadi or the CoUegio we 
may infer from the name (trottera) given to the bell rung 
just before the sittings began, to warn the members coming 
to the palace to put their horses or mules to a trot.^ 
When they dismounted to cross the Piazza they tied their 

^ Sansovino, V. D., p. 455 (Zanotto, i. pp. 28, 32, 33). 

^ Bagordari, of uncertain origin, " to joust with spears " (Gallicciolli, 
i. viii., n. 26, quoted by Zanotto, u.s.). See Diez, s.v. Bagordo. 

^ Gallicciolli, Mem. Veii., i. p. 244 and 247: Marion Crawford, 
" Gleanings from Venetian History," i. p. 177. Before 1365 notice of 
meetings was given not by a bell, but by the voice of a Comandador 
proclaiming it at the scale or landing-places at San Marco and the 
Rialto. See also Mutinelli, Lessico, pp. 79 sqq. ; Temanza, Fianta 
Antica, pp. 68, 69. 

372 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

steeds to some of the elder bushes that grew in a thick 
grove, where the clock-tower of the Merceria now stands. 

Though our authorities do not always give a certain 
account or a consistent one, and the absence of any plans 
earlier than 1580 makes it difficult to come to a conclusion, 
I think we can form some idea of the palace that was 
in existence in 1339, when Bartolomeo Gradenigo was 
elected doge, and of the alterations he made in it. The 
doge's apartments were on the north side, against the 
south side of San Marco and of some other building 
between it and the Rio, known as the fabbrica of the 
canons of the BasiUca.^ The accommodation for the doge 
was but small, and in 16 18, when a banqueting hall was 
added, it was placed on the upper floor of this fabbrica, 
and access to it obtained by a cavalcavia, a covered gallery 
upon arches (something, we may imagine, like the long 
gallery crossing the Arno, that forms part of the Uffizi at 
Florence), passing " by a very bold arch from the wall of 
the palace to that of the Sacristy." ^ The doge's banquets, 
which formed an important part of the ceremonial of public 
life in earlier days, were probably held in some of the 
rooms devoted to public business. There was another 
covered passage leading to San Marco from the doge's 
apartments for his use in wet weather.^ The doge's apart- 
ments had not been altered at the date I am speaking of; 
they were part of the Byzantine building finished by 
Sebastiano Ziani; and a good deal of the east front, 
towards the Rio, was also Byzantine. Ruskin was able to 

^ Martino da Canale, whom I have so often quoted, in his description 
of San Marco says, "da lato a quella (Chiesa) e il palazzo di Monsignor 
il Doge . . . e dall' altro lato sono / Maestri Capellani" ; this was 
their proper title in old times. 

^ " Un volto arditissimo dalla muraglia del Palazzo fino a quella 
della Sagrestia" (Zanotto, vol. ii. pt. viii. p. 3). 

^ The doge's apartments are now devoted to the Mitseo Archeologico. 
The covered staircase is shown in tavola x. in Zanolto's first volume, 
which is a facsimile of a plan drawn in 1580, when the question of 
moving the prisons was under discussion. 


trace a certain amount of Byzantine work in this front at 
the present time.^ I doubt if there is conclusive evidence 
that any considerable addition had been made to the 
palace since Sebastiano Ziani's enlargement. The Hall of 
the Great Council in this Byzantine palace has been 
thought, perhaps on insufficient grounds, to have been on 
the ground floor. It was certainly on a lower level than 
the room in which the doge sat with his counsellors, and 
that in which the secretaries wrote their minutes, for a 
document cited by Lorenzi permits the members of a com- 
mittee sitting in one of these rooms to go downstairs into 
the " Cortesella," or into the Hall of the Great Council. ^ 
But this is consistent with the committee having sat in a 
room on the second floor and the hall having been on the 
first floor; and there is some evidence that the ground 
floor in early times contained, besides the doge's stables, 
httle but the prisons and some houses occupied by the 
gastaldi or let to private tenants.^ 

Sansovino uses language suggesting that a new hall for 
the Great Council was built between 1301 and 1309, but 
there is no support for this suggestion in any of the extracts 
from records of votes {parti) given by Lorenzi, though 
these begin as early as 1255."* On the 14th of July 1301 a 
vote was passed that " because the Hall of the Great Council 
was not sufficient for the members of the council " (an 
incidental confirmation of the view that the effect of the 
Serrata was not to restrict, but to increase, the number or 
the attendance of members) "it be enlarged up to the room 
over the curia." ^ This enlargement, which was to be paid 

^ "Stones of Venice," Appendix i., iii. 212 (ed. 1898). 

- Loienzi, Monumenti per servire, &c., Nos. 14, 25, and 76. 

* Lorenzi, u.s., No. 7, note. 

* There are, however, none between 1303 and 131 1, and this may be 
due to the records for those years being lost. 

* " Usque super curiam," where " curia " is probably the "Curia de 
Proprio," the most important law-court in Venice (Lorenzi, u.s.. No. 
21). There was an order in 1339 for shutting up a window "in the 
Curia over the altar of St. Mark," and pulling down a building " like a 
tabernacle" lately erected there (Lorenzi, No. y7). 


for from rents belonging to the Commune, either was not 
carried out or soon became insufficient, for in 1340 the 
question whether the hall should be again enlarged or a new 
hall built was referred to a Commission of Three. ^ These 
soon sent in their report {consilium) in favour of a new hall, 
going into details, which make it pretty clear that the hall 
of the Signori di Notte, over which the new hall was to be 
built, was on the south side of the palace towards the Grand 
Canal. The opinion of the experts whom the Commission 
consulted was that the columns of the open arcade that 
existed already on that side of the palace, with a walk on 
the roof over them," were strong enough to support the new 
hall, but the Commission ex abundanti caiitela advised that 
as many new columns as were necessary should be added. 
The report of the Commission was adopted, not unani- 
mously, but by a large majority of the council, and in 
carrying out the project it would appear that new columns 
were not added, but some of the existing columns (Zanotto 
tells us which ^) thickened and strengthened. That the 
hall then built is that still known as the Hall of the Great 
Council, as Ruskin says,* I think we need not doubt : the 
old hall, which, whether enlarged or not in 1301, had been 
till now used by the Great Council, became henceforth 

' I quote the words of the reference as illustrating Venetian 
procedure : " Cum super facto Sale nove pro Majori Consilio varie 
opiniones dicantur, quia aliqui dicunt de faciendo earn super sala 
Dominorum de nocte, et alii dicunt quod posset ampliari sala presens, 
removendo hospitia cancellarie et cortesellam, et veniendo cum sala 
usque ad hospicia Domini " {i.e. to the doge's apartments) : " ita quod 
sala bene cresceret per tertium et ultra, quod esset ad plenum sufficiens 
pro omni tempore, et quilibet debet velle quod sit melius in hoc facto 
. . . vadit pars" {i.e. " the resolution is passed ") "quod eligantur iii, 
sapientes {savii) per electionem " (Lorenzi, u.s.., No. 79). 

* " Ambulum existens super colonis versus canale respicientibus " 
(Lorenzi, No. 80). 

* Palazzo Ditcale, vol. i. tavola xii. p. t^"?^. The report of the Com- 
mission went into many details as to doors and staircases, and recom- 
mended the expenditure of 9500 sequins for the construction and 2000 
more for paintings and gilding (Roman., iii. pp. 144, 145). 

* "Stones of Venice," ii. viii. 295. 


either the Sala dello Scrutinio (not the room we now know 
by that name) or the Sala dei Pregadi, the same as is now 
known by that name, so far as the identity can be said to 
be preserved of any building that has been more than once 
burnt down and rebuilt. There is concurrent testimony 
that makes it practically certain that the new hall was not 
used till the year 1423, eighty-three years from the decision 
come to in 1340 to build a new hall instead of enlarging 
the existing one, as proposed in 1301. The hall had been 
so far finished by 1365 as to allow of a great fresco of 
Paradise being painted on its eastern wall by Guariento. 
But the elaborate finishing and decoration, hindered no 
doubt by the constant shortness of funds, delayed the 
actual use of the room for fifty-eight years more. It was 
first used for a sitting of the Great Council on the 23rd 
April 1423, the first day on which Francesco Foscari 
presided as doge.^ 

^ See Raskin, "Stones of Venice," ii. viii. 295-301. Ruskin's 
account is a little confused by his constant omission to distinguish 
between the Great Council and the Senate. 



The Gothic palace, designed and partly realised in stone 
during Bartolomeo Gradenigo's government, is sufficient to 
make its three years remarkable. I have shown that it was 
also signalised by events of some importance in foreign 
policy. Another event that fell in ^those years was the 
terrible storm and flood of the 15 th February 1340, that 
gave rise to a striking legend, illustrated by two famous 
pictures — one by Giorgione, now much blackened by age 
and rough wear, the other by Paris Bordone — in the Vene- 
tian Academy. The men of those days believed firmly that 
in such outbursts of natural forces evil spirits were riding 
abroad and could sometimes be seen by mortal eyes, but 
controlled only by saints from heaven ; and the story passed 
current that a poor fisherman sheltering in his boat by the 
scala of St. Mark was hailed by a stranger, who with an 
authority that could not be resisted bade him row him 
across to San Giorgio Maggiore. There another stranger, a 
young man, joined him, and the two ordered the fisherman 
to take them on board and venture on the more difficult 
passage to St. Nicolas of the Lido. There a third stranger 
came out to join them, and the order was given to row out 
to the open Adriatic through the Porto di Lido. The 
fisherman's courage and faith did not fail, though in the 
narrow Porto they saw coming towards them, running before 
the wind, a boat full of demons.^ Then the three strangers 

* Una galera plena di diavoli (M. Sanudo, Vite de' Duchi, in Mur., 
R. I. S., xxii. col. 608). 



stood up and exorcised the evil spirits, and the phantom 
ship disappeared. The fisherman took back his three 
passengers, and landed each where he had embarked him. 
"The last, when put ashore at the Molo, gave him in pay- 
ment a ring from his finger, and bade him take it to the doge 
and the Procurators of St. Mark, who would find it had been 
taken from the treasure of the sanctuary of the saint, and 
to tell them that he was St. Mark, and that he and his two 
companions, the youthful St. George and St. Nicolas of 
Bari, had stopped the crew of demons who were sailing in 
to sink the whole city under the waves. The very fine 
picture of Paris Bordone represents the fisherman bringing 
the ring into the doge's presence. Giorgione attempted the 
more arduous task of depicting the shipload of devils in the 
darkness stayed by the three saints. It gives a sort of reality 
to the legend, that one of the procurators, to whom the 
missing ring was restored, was Andrea Dandolo, who was 
to succeed Gradenigo as doge, the chronicler on whom the 
historian of the early ages of Venice has so much to depend.^ 
On the 28th of December 1342 Bartolomeo Gradenigo 
died. He was buried in St. Mark's at the north end of the 
vestibule, where his marble sarcophagus is still to be seen. 
It was described in a contemporary record as behind the 
door, " near the image of St. Alypius." - There was no 
doubt whatever as to who was the fittest man to succeed 
him. Andrea Dandolo, one of the Procurators of St. Mark 
since 1331, belonged to one of the most distinguished 
families among the nobles, was rich and universally popular. 
He had been Podesta of Trieste nine years before, and in 
the war with the Scaligers had served as Proveditore al 
campo, that is, as chief commissariat and financial officer in 
the field. But his services in war had been less notable 
than in peace. He had been the first among the nobles of 

1 The story is told in Murray and Hare, and in Mrs. Jameson's 
"Sacred and Legendary Art." 
^ Roman., iii. 146, n. 4. 

378 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Venice to take the degree of doctor in the University of 
Padua, and he had for some years been professor of law in 
that famous seat of learning, that had been in existence for 
more than one hundred years. His legislation for Venice 
belongs to a later period of his life, and his historical 
writings also probably date from the time that he was doge, 
but there is still a good deal of uncertainty as to what these 
historical works were/ 

Three years before, when the death of Francesco Dan- 
dolo, who belonged to a different branch of this great 
family, bearing different arms, had left the office of doge 
vacant, Andrea Dandolo was already the most conspicuous 
personage in the city and universally popular, having won 
the surname of il Cortese^^ " the courteous," so that there 
had been a strong wish to choose him. But he was still a 
young man — thirty-three, or according to other accounts 
thirty-six years old — and recent doges had almost always 
been old men. The electors did not venture to break the 
precedent. But in only three years the office was again 
vacant, and this time the feeling for Andrea Dandolo was 
too strong to be resisted,^ and he was elected on the 4th 
January 1373, only a week after Gradenigo's death. 

The first events of his government were brilliantly suc- 
cessful. The League that had been so long projected 
for a combined Crusade against the Turks was at length 
brought to pass. Pope Clement VI., the Emperor of 

^ I have discussed this question briefly at pp. xi.-xiv. of the 
Introduction to my " Early History of Venice." 

- There is much variety in our authorities as to this surname. 
Muratori thinks it was properly Cortesino, an affectionate diminutive 
of Cortese. Sansovino and Pietro Giustiniano thought the name was 
Comisino, from Comis = affabile. But this is a very doubtful word. 
Other authorities have Cei-tosin, which may easily be a corruption of 
Cortesin. See Muratori's Preface to the Chronicle in R. I. S., vol. xii. 

P- 3- 

* The "History of the Cortusii" (Mur., R. I. S., xii. 909) says: 

"Cum Veneti de aliquo annoso eligendo non possent convenire, post 
certamen elegerunt Andream Dandulum annorum xxxviii." There 
is a v.l. of xxxiii. 


Constantinople, the King of Cyprus, and the Grand 
Master of Rhodes, formed with Venice the original League ; 
the King of France afterwards joined it, and the Dauphin 
of Vienne,^ a near neighbour of the Avignon Pope, was to 
sail as commander of the Papal troops on the expedition, 
for which Venice furnished fifteen galleys and a number 
of transports, and Genoa added four galleys. Pietro Zeno 
was the Venetian captain, who took many places in 
Anatolia from the Turks, and finally Smyrna. Being 
besieged in the castle of Smyrna by the Turks he had 
expelled, Zeno was defeated in a sortie he [made, and lost 
his life, with Martino Zaccaria, the Pope's admiral ; - but 
Venice held the town and castle for the present. 
Morbassan, as our Venetian authorities call the Turkish 
commander — Amur or Amir Pasha — who had so nearly 
wrested Smyrna from them, was a chivalrous person, and a 
warm friend of John Cantacuzenus, one of the rival 
Emperors of Constantinople, who had shown his philo- 
sophic indifference by marrying his daughter to Orkhan, 
the Ottoman Sultan. Amur's father, Aidin, a petty 
Seldjukian prince, had achieved great power in Anatolia 
forty years before, at the time of Roger de Flor's invasion. 
Amur, a bitter enemy as well as a warm friend, bore a 
deadly hatred to the Venetians, and flayed or burnt all of 
them who fell into his hands. But no cruelties prevented 
them from keeping a firm hold on a place so important for 

1 Marino Sanudo ( Vite de' Dogi, u.s., col. 6io) says "il Delfino di 
Vienna, figliuolo del Re di Francia" : but this is a mistake due to an 
anticipation of the future. The Dauphin in question was Humbert, 
the last Count of the Albon family, a feudatory of the Emperor and 
independent of France, who sold his dominions in 1349 to Charles of 
Valois, stipulating that the old title of Dauphin should always be borne 
by the inheritor of the province. From this date the eldest son of the 
King of France bore the title of Dauphin, which seems at first to have 
been a baptismal name. Delfino was a surname at Venice. 

^ According to the account in Caresini and Lorenzo de Monacis they 
were killed in a church outside the walls, where they had gone to hear 
mass, and from having met their deaths while performing their religious 
services under difficulties, were held to be martyrs. 

38o VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

their Eastern trade as was Smyrna.^ The chief command of 
the alUed force in the town now fell to the Dauphin Humbert, 
as the Pope's representative, but he did not show himself 
capable as a soldier or a diplomatist, and was in 1347 
absolved from his Crusader's vow by the Pope, and sailed to 
Cilicia to aid the Christian King of Armenia against the 
Sultan of Babylon {i.e. Cairo). A Venetian commander 
remained in Smyrna till the next year, when the Crusaders' 
League was dissolved, but Smyrna remained in Christian 
hands for half a century longer. 

At the same time that the Venetians were fighting as 
Crusaders for Smyrna, they were exerting themselves to 
get the Pope's permission to renew their trade with the 
infidel in Egypt and the Syrian ports. This was an 
important object for them, as in 1343 a quarrel with the 
Tartar prince of the Golden Horde led to the expulsion of 
all Italian traders — Venetians, Genoese, and Florentines 
alike — from Tana or Azov, and the blockade of Caffa in the 
Crimea, where the Genoese were established in great 
strength and were able to maintain themselves. But the 
destruction of the Italian colonies at Azov caused no little 
distress to parts of the West that depended on them for 
their supplies of corn and salt fish, and we are told that the 
price of silk and spices in Italy was suddenly doubled 
through the interruption of the Eastern trade that, by the 
way of Trebizond and Lajazzo, arrived at the entrepots on 
the Black Sea or the Bosporus.' It became at once an 
urgent necessity for the Italian trading towns to have free 
trade with the ports of Egypt and Syria, instead of the 
intercourse, restricted and hampered, which, as we have 
seen, had gone on, in spite of the Pope's prohibition. 
That prohibition had imposed heavy fines, equal to the 
value of the goods exported, against all who contravened 

' Le Bret, ii. i. pp. 7, 8. 

'^ There is a very instructive notice of these events in Heyd, ii. 
p. 188 (French trans.). 


it, and had made the fines recoverable from the executors 
if the offender was dead. The executors of wills at Venice 
were very often the procurators, so that persons of high 
influence in the State were injuriously affected. In. 1322 
some such persons were excommunicated by an envoy of 
Pope John XXII., and in the following year the Pregadi 
and the Quarantia had issued an edict absolutely prohibiting 
all trade with the Sultan's dominions. This was so far 
effective that in 1345 the Sultan could say that for twenty- 
three years not a single Venetian ship had been seen in 
his dominions.^ The breach with the Tartars made this 
prohibition intolerable. Before the end of the year 1343 
the doge sent two ambassadors, Marin Faliero and Andrea 
Cornaro, to Avignon to pray for the removal of the pro- 
hibition, and on the 27th of April of the following year the 
Pope granted their request so far as to allow, for five 
years, four merchantmen and six galleys to be sent to 
Alexandria or other ports subject to the Soldan of Egypt. 
The Papal rescript addressed to the doge and Commune of 
Venice took into consideration the condition of Venice, 
dependent for its daily food on sea-trade,'^ and the zeal its 
Government had shown for the business of the holy faith, 
and waived the prohibitions to the extent demanded, 
excepting only the export of the usual prohibited 
articles, viz., arms, iron, ship-timber, and slaves, and 
requiring the doge or the exporting merchant to make 
oath before the diocesan of the place from which any cargo 
was exported that it included no such prohibited article. ^ 
By August of the next year (1345) it was discovered 
that the six galleys were not enough to protect the four 

^ Thomas, Diplovi. Veneto- Levant., p. 291. 

- " Attentis manifestis conditionibus dicte terre ac necessitatibus 
vestris, qui aliunde non habetis unde possitis quarere victum vestrum." 

^ We have in Com7)iemoriaH, iii. p. 76, a declaration on oath by the 
procurator of the doge and Commune before a canon and other priests 
of Castello, the bishop being absent. This refers to four galleys 
sailing for Egypt under the command of Marco Giustiniani. 

382 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

merchantmen from pirates and other dangers, and the 
Pope allowed each of the four merchantmen to be replaced 
by seven galleys, stipulating that not more than six galleys 
should sail in company, and renewing the requirement of 
the oath that no prohibited articles formed part of the 
cargo. The same rescript extended both concessions for 
five years, reckoned from the end of the first five.^ 

The Venetian Government lost no time in taking advan- 
tage of the Papal concessions. Nicolb Zeno was sent at 
once to Egypt, and in February 1344 the Soldan had 
granted his request and sent him back to Venice with a 
Latin translation of the Arabic decree, by which all 
Venetian subjects sojourning in Egypt or travelling through 
it, whether merchants or others, were promised honourable 
treatment and protection.- The decree fixes the import 
duties, and makes a number of detailed provisions to 
secure the freedom and comfort of Venetian traders.^ 

The regulation prohibiting contraband of war was 
reasonable enough as long as a Crusade was in contempla- 
tion and active preparations for it were going on. But it 
was maintained long after this had ceased to be the case, 
and the prohibition of all trade might certainly have been 
withdrawn. But this was continued (there is no doubt, as 
a means of Papal extortion), when even so strong an 
advocate of Crusades as Marino Sanudo thought it might be 
given up.^ At Avignon, as at Rome in Juvenal's time, all 

^ The two documents are printed in Thomas' Diplont. Veneto- Levant. 
(in Moni. Storici, &c., ser. i. vol. v. pp. 277-306). 

^ They were to be " honorati et custoditi." 

^ It is printed in Thomas' Diplom. JVneto-Levatit. (u.s.), pp. 290- 
96. Like other Oriental documents, it is scrupulous and munificent in 
titles and compliments. Andrea Dandolo is " mazor honor de tuta 
cristentade, luxe de li adhoradori del Crucifixo . . . ornamento del 
santo batesemo, amigo de re et de soldani" (p. 291). 

* See his letter appended to Sec. Fid. Criicis (ed. Bongars), p. 297. 
The letter is a circular addressed to many prelates in 1326. He 
advises a truce with the Soldan " hac conditione, quod noster dominus " 
(the Pope) " dimitteret, quod Christiani possent ire et redire cum omni- 
bus mercibus in terras Soldano subjectas, praeter cum ferro armis, (ice." 


things had their price, licences to trade with the infidel as 
well as other privileges. We know that a kinsman of 
Clement VI., William Roger, Count of Beaufort and Vis- 
count of Turenne, a great magnate of the south of France, 
had a grant, in his own and his wife's name, of a licence 
to send to Egypt thirty galleys and ten merchantmen. The 
count's dominions had no seaboard, and he owned no 
ships, but the concession authorised him to transfer the 
licence, and he sold it to one Stefano de Batuto, a cham- 
berlain of one of the cardinals, who transferred it to the 
doge in 1359 for 12,000 golden florins of Florence.-^ The 
licences had, it is clear, become negotiable. The Popes 
claimed the right to revoke them, and in the same year 
(1359) Innocent VI., to punish some infraction of the con- 
ditions committed at Venice, actually revoked all issued 
by himself or his predecessors.- 

In 1345, the year after trade with Egypt was resumed, 
the Republic was hard hit by a revolt of Zara, always a 
reluctant subject. Its discontent with Venetian rule was 
studiously encouraged by the King of Hungary, whose 
dominions reached to its very walls, and by the lesser 
Slavonian potentates, known as the Bans of Croatia, 
Slavonia, Servia, and Bossine or Bosnia. The kingdom of 
Hungary was at this time much involved in Italian politics 
through the marriage of Andrew, King Louis' younger 
brother, with Joanna, the heiress of the Angevin line,^ who 

^ The ratification of the transfer to the doge is printed in Archivio 
Veneto, xvii. p. 114 in a paper by G. M. Thomas. See also Heyd, ii. 
p. 47. 

^ Predelli, Comment., ii. p. 305. 

^ The Hungarian crown had fallen to a branch of the House of 
Anjou by the marriage of Mary, the sister of King Ladislas, who died 
without issue in 1290, to Charles H. (the Lame), King of Naples. By 
the Pope's favour Charles Martel, the eldest son of Charles H., was 
crowned King of Hungary, but when he died before his father, leaving 
a son, Charles Robert, not yet uf age, Robert, the second son of Charles 
II., who succeeded his father at Naples, usurped the throne of Hungary 
and held it for his life. On his death Charles Robert's eldest son, 
Louis, became King of Hungary. Andrew, a younger son, married, and 

384 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

on her grandfather Robert's death in 1343 became Queen 
of Naples. I have referred in a former chapter ^ to this 
marriage and its tragical end in Andrew's murder, in con- 
nexion with the fortunes of the Acciajoli family. The 
murder took place in September 1345," and Louis, Andrew's 
brother, was after that time eager to avenge it on the guilty 
wife and her second husband, Louis of Tarentum. But 
both before and after his brother's murder, the possession 
of harbours on the coast of Dalmatia was important, for 
the ambitious views of the King of Hungary, as a base of 
operations against the coast of Apulia. He encouraged 
the Zaratines to rebel against Venice, and was ready to 
put forth all his strength to help them.^ 

Zara was as well fitted as any place on the Dalmatian 
coast to serve as starting-place for an expedition against 
Apulia. The town, strongly fortified, was on a peninsula 
joining the land to the eastward, washed by the Adriatic 
on the south and west. On the north it had a com- 
modious harbour, protected by the fortifications of the 
town, on the shores of which the plain stretching to the 
eastward offered room for a large force to encamp. 
The possibility of the Hungarians getting a footing in 
Dalmatia as a stepping-stone on the road to Apulia 
was alarming to Venice,* for whose maritime power her 
Dalmatian subjects were indispensable. So on the first 
news of a Hungarian invasion that had occupied some 
forts near Zara, the Venetian Government sent five galleys, 
under Pietro da Canale as Captain-General, to watch the 
invaders, who thereupon retired into their own country, 

was murdered by his cousin, Joanna, grand-daughter of Robert of 
Naples. The whole story, which is rather complicated, is explained 
in Lucius, De Keg. Dah/i., lib. iv. cap. x. and xvi. 
^ Ante, p. 294. 

* Lucius, De Ktgno Dalmatic, lib. iv. cap. xv. p. 214. 

^ An embassy from Zara, asking for aid against Venice, was in 
Apulia at the time of Andrew's murder (Lucius, I.e.). 

* This is well brought out in Lucius, De Regtio Dalmatia, lib. iv. 
cap. XV. p. 210. 


leaving garrisons in the forts they had occupied, whose 
presence there caused the people of Zara to persevere in 
their revolt. So in August 1345 it was decided at Venice 
that Zara must be punished. The count who was its 
governor,! not a native at this time, but a Venetian, Andrea 
Cornaro, was recalled, and the city placed under two 
officers, a Capitano-Generale di Mare and a Capitano- 
Generale di Terra. It was, we may presume, placed under 
martial law, but it does not appear that the Venetian 
officers were able to enter the city. The contemporary 
accounts we have of these events throw a good deal of 
light on the administration of the army and navy of 
Venice. Besides the two Captains-General now appointed, 
there was the Captain of the Gulf, and the Captain- 
General (simply), both apparently permanent officers, and 
two Governatori, who appear to have been commanders 
or Sopracofniii of galleys, with some authority over the 
captains of other ships. ^ To these six, with five savii or 
commissioners sent out from Venice with the title of 
Proveditori, who were all nobles of distinction and must 
have been analogous to the members of the Convention 
sent out as commissioners with the revolutionary armies 
of France, was entrusted the power to decide, with an 
authority equal to that of the doge and Pregadi, all ques- 
tions of fighting or advancing or retiring.^ This body of 
eleven nobles is, I think, that which our best contem- 
porary authority "^ calls // Collegio. 

^ See a7ite, p. 362. It appears from Lucius {De Regno Dalmatice, lib. 
iv. cap. XV. p. 211) that the Zaratines by agreement with \^enice were 
entitled to be governed by a count a member of the great Council of 

^ They must have been important officers, for one of the two first 
appointed was Simeone Dandolo, the doge's brother and the other a 
Morosini, who was a Procurator of St. Mark (Morelli, Mo7i. Ven. di 
var. Letter., p. vii.). 

^ See a paper of Sign. Lazzarini on " Marino Faliero avanti il 
Dogado" in Nuovo Arch. Ven., v. pt. i. 1893, p. 131. 

■* The anonymous "Chronicle of the Siege and Recovery of Zara," 
published in 1796 by Morelli, Custode of the Library of St. Mark, from 

2 B 

386 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

There seems to have been a good deal of vacillation as 
to the choice of commanders in the siege of Zara. In 
1345, Piero da Canale, whom I have before mentioned, 
was made Captain-General of Sea Forces, and shortly 
afterwards Marco Giustiniani was made Captain-General 
of Land Forces, and went out to Nona, eight miles from 
Zara, where he built a great bastia or fortified camp, with 
twenty-eight lofty wooden towers. In September Marin 
Faliero, of whom we have already heard, and shall hear 
much more, was relieved of his ofiice as Podesta of Treviso, 
on the ground that he was about to go out as Captain- 
General of the Fleet. ^ On the 30th of November it was 
proposed to make him also Captain-General of the Land 
Forces for six months. But the legality of this proposal was 
questioned by the Avogadori, who were upheld by the 
Quarantia, on which another officer, Pietro Civran, was 
given the sea command. Faliero, however, was not sent 
out in command of the land forces, but stayed at Venice 
and was made first savio agli orditii- — an office of hardly 
sufficient dignity for a man no longer young, who had held 
important posts — and in January 1346 a special com- 
missioner {savio) for the affairs of Zara and Slavonia till 
the end of March. He was probably one of the Proveditori 
just mentioned, if he served before Zara at all. But he was 
certainly not the chief commander who recovered Zara, as 
Byron makes him. 

He evidently was already a man who had warm friends 

a MS. in that library. It forms part of a complimentary publication 
in honour of " the Entry of his Excellency the Cavaliere Alvise Pisani 
on the Dignity of Procurator of St. Mark," the title of which is 
Monumenti Veneziaiii di varia Letteratura. 

^ " Iturus in Capitaneum maris" (Lazzarini in Niio. Arch. F^«.,u.s., 
p. 128). 

^ The savi agli ordini were specially concerned with navigation, 
merchants, and merchandise, and the Adriatic fleet {Armata del Golfo). 
In a decree of 1332 their full Latin title is "sapientes super ordinibus 
navigandi. " They were the original Board {^Collegia) of Savi, those 
known as S. Grandi and 3'. della Terra Fertna being later creations 
(Le Bret, ii. i. pp. 50 sqq.). 


and bitter enemies ; but we have no clue to the secret 
causes of the vacillation I have indicated. For this period 
we have no diary such as that kept in later times by Marino 
Sanudo, the biographer of the doges ; ^ only the meagre 
record of proposals voted or not voted in the Great Council 
or the Pregadi or the Council of Ten. The chronicle 
published by Morelli confines itself for the most part to 
military details. These are interesting, as are all accounts 
of medieval sieges. The Venetian force sent out was 
strengthened by contingents from the cities and islands 
of the Dalmatian coast, and from the Riviere of Ancona 
and Romagna, whose inhabitants were rivals and enemies 
of the Zaratines. But their forces, when united, were 
small compared with those the King of Hungary and 
the Slavonian princes could pour in from the land side. 
These were marched to a place the chronicle calls Luca, 
described, like Nona, as eight miles from Zara. The 
Zaratines had before this closed the mouth of their 
harbour with a chain and trunks of trees, but this barrier 
Civran's galleys broke through, and erected another bastia 
on the shore of the harbour. Civran was now commander- 
in-chief, and he invited the rebels to surrender, promising 
to spare their lives if they surrendered within three days. 
At the end of the three days, as they still held out, he 
assaulted the walls, bringing up ships with bridges attached 

* For Marino Sanudo's Dia7ii see the preface to Rawdon Brown's 
"Calendar of Venetian State Papers relating to English History," 
pp. xviii. sqq. He was a poor nobleman who had held some offices, 
and who devoted himself to the work of collecting and noting all the 
events of each day as it passed. He was daily on the Broglio (the 
colonnades of the Piazza), where news was discussed, or on the Ex- 
change at the Rialto. He was specially allowed access to all public 
records and despatches. From the year 1495, when he was twenty- 
nine years old, till 1533, he wrote out his diaries in fifty-eight foiio 
volumes, each of 500 pages, receiving (but only for the last few years) 
a stipend of 150 gold ducats. Till 1863 these remained in MS. In that 
year a selection of papers relating to South .Slavonia was published at 
the expense of the Historical Society of Agram. In quite recent years 
the whole has been published in Italy in forty-five large volumes. 

388 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

to be thrown out from the masts to towers on the walls ; 
but some of the bridges were too short to reach the walls, 
one collapsed, and one tower that had been built to be 
wheeled up close to the walls was too heavy to be moved. 
Civran, having forced his way into the harbour, formed his 
heavy ships, less fitted for fighting, which the common 
people at Venice C2i\\e.d.peatte mantovane,^ into a solid mass, 
a floating fort, round which the lighter galleys manoeuvred. 
This floating fort and the bastia at Nona seem to have been 
the chief strength of the Venetians ; from them they made, 
on the 26th May 1346, the unsuccessful assault on the 
town which I have just described. 

The King of Hungary arrived the day after the repulse 
of the Venetian attack ; his headquarters were at Semelnich. 
His forces amounted, according to the MS. history quoted 
by Lucius, which he ascribes to an anonymous monk or 
friar, who was an eye-witness on the Zaratine side, to 
100,000, all cavalry, and of many Slavonic and Teutonic 
nationalities. The besieged citizens received him with a 
procession of clergy and laity, and presented to him two 
richly-caparisoned horses. On the 15th June, St. Vitus' 
Day— a fortunate anniversary for the Venetian Government, 
as on that day the conspiracy of Bajamonte Tiepolo had 
come to a calamitous explosion — he pitched his tent within 

^ Peatta is explained in the Venetian Dictionaries of Mutinelli and 
Boerio as a large flat-bottomed barge used for the carriage of goods 
into the interior of Venice. " Chiatta cioe piatta barcaccia da carico 
assai forte e di molta capacita." Chiatta, a word still in use, may 
possibly be connected etymologically with the German "jacht" and 
its Dutch equivalent from which the English "yacht " comes. Peatoni 
or large Peate were three large barges used by the doge and the 
Signoria for their visits to churches and other solemn occasions, mag- 
nificently decorated and giUled, and rowed each by eight arsenalotti in 
splendid liveries (Martinelli, s.v.). The word piatta is used also in 
the Sanudo Chronicle quoted by Romanin, iii. p. 155, n. 2, for the 
barges sent round in the time of the great pestilence to collect bodies 
lor burial. " E fu proveduto di mandar attorno pei sestieri piatte 
girdando Corpi tiiorti e che coloro che aveano morti in casa, li doves- 
sero buttar nclle piatte sotto grandi pene." 


a bowshot of the bastia. For about a fortnight he lay 
before the fort, endeavouring to cut off the supply of water 
from its defenders, who were, however, kept well supplied 
by ship from springs on the neighbouring islands or from 
the Brenta across the Adriatic. The King, having his own 
country at his command, could keep his troops well sup- 
plied with provisions. There was, therefore, considerable 
risk of the Venetians being overpowered by numbers, and 
there were rumours of Genoese ships near the Adriatic, 
threatening to cut them off from their base. They had 
been willing before this to accept the mediation of Albert 
of Austria, and had sent ambassadors to Vienna to submit 
their case ; but the Hungarian King would not treat unless 
the siege of Zara was first raised. They had also offered 
to let the King and his army embark peaceably and cross 
the sea to avenge his brother's death if he would undertake 
not to interfere with their siege operations before Zara ; ^ 
but he was too deeply pledged to help the Zaratines to be 
able to make this promise. On the ist of July, the day of 
St. Martialis, which the Venetians afterwards kept as a 
national feast, he assaulted the bastia ; but the garrison, 
having warning from a spy that it was intended to throw 
fire into the fort, took care to remove all combustibles 
from it, and repelled the assault with such vigour that they 
killed 7000 Hungarians with the loss of only 500 or 600 
on their own side. This was, in fact, the end of the siege. 
The King's forces were so much weakened that he gave up 
all idea of relieving Zara, and apparently of establishing 
direct communication across the Adriatic between Hungary 
and Apulia. There is some doubt as to when Zara sur- 
rendered; Romanin thinks it was in November 1346. 
Marino Sanudo, in his " Lives of the Doges," postpones it, 
but with evident misgivings/-' till the following year, on 

1 Lucius, U.S., p. 215. 

* He says : " che mi pare slesse assai dopo la vittoria " {apud Mur., 
K. I. S., xxii. c. 613). 

390 VENICE IN THE 13th e^- 14th CENTURIES 

St. Thomas' Day, December 21, 1347.^ Marco Giustiniani, 
whom we have seen in command at Nona in the previous 
year, was now left at Zara as count. 

I have mentioned that during the siege the Venetians 
had been in apprehension of hostilities from some Genoese 
ships that were in the neighbourhood of the Adriatic. 
These were thirty galleys that had been got ready for sea 
to watch thirty others maintained by exiles from Genoa at 
Monaco, which latter had eventually been taken into the 
French King's service, and were used by him in his war 
with England,- When the fear of these exiles was past, 
the Genoese ships, it was thought at Venice, might be used 
to help Zara. But they sailed away to the Levant to besiege 
the isle of Scio, and afterwards to Foglia Vecchia and 
Foglia Nuova, the centres of the alum trade, in Asia Minor, 
a trade which (like that in the mastic of Scio) had always 
been largely in Genoese hands. At this time they were 
also much occupied with the affairs, both political and 
mercantile, of the Crimea and the Sea of Azov. Both 
Genoese and Venetian merchants had lately, as we have 
seen,^ been expelled from Tana or Azov by Zanibek or 
Janibech, a Tartar prince whom the Venetians call Emperor 
of Gazaria or the Crimea.^ 

The rivalry of Genoa and Venice was by this time 
so threatening to the peace of the Mediterranean and 
the interests of the Christian world, that it will be 
well to take a survey of the recent history of Genoa and 
her colonies in the Levant. One of these, Caffa, on 

^ There is a succinct notice of this siege of Zara in the Neuburg 
(Styria) continuation of the Annales Melliceitscs (of Melk in Austria), 
to be found in Pertz xi. (SS. ix.) p. 673, The same paragraph 
chronicles the English victory at Crecy in the same year. 

* The Genoese cross-bowmen played an important part in the battle 
of Crecy. The Genoese were as famous archers as the English : all 
their ships of war had a body of cross-bowmen on board. 

•^ Ante, p. 380. 

* He was really Khan of Kiptchak or of the Golden Horde, in which 
dignity he had succeeded his father, Uzbek Khan, in 1340. 


the south-eastern coast of the Crimea, near the old 
Greek city of Theudosia, which was a Milesian colony, had 
risen into importance since the restoration of the Greek 
Empire under Michael Paleologus in 1261 ; it was from 
the first mainly a Genoese settlement — the Genoese, as I 
have before had occasion to remark, occupied a privileged 
position at Constantinople after the destruction of the 
Latin Empire set up by Venetian power — and the Genoese 
through the early part of the fourteenth century had favoured 
its growth and prosperity in every way ; it was the spoiled 
child of Genoa. All Genoese ships sailing to the Sea of 
Azov or the east coast of the Black Sea, or returning thence 
to Constantinople or Galata, were bound to make two days' 
stay at Caffa and pay an ad valorem transit duty on their 
cargoes. Venice naturally looked with jealousy on the 
Genoese town, and when she resumed her trade with the 
Black Sea, sent her merchantmen to Soldaia, the neighbour 
and rival port in the Crimea, in spite of prohibitions con- 
tained in her treaties with Constantinople. In 1296, as 
we have seen,^ a Venetian admiral besieged and took Caffa 
and spent a winter there, but was not able to maintain his 
conquest, which was restored to Genoa at the peace of 
1299, if not before.- 

If Genoa had a recognised predominance at Caffa, at 
Tana, founded in the first years of the fourteenth century, 
at the head of the Sea of Azov, where the Don flows into 
it, Venice obtained from Uzbek Khan the concession of 
a quarter in the new town, distinct from that occupied by 
the Genoese. The concession to Venice was made in 
1332 ; but before that time Venetian fleets, sailing to 
Trebizond, had habitually detached one or two ships to 
the Sea of Azov, through the shallow waters of which 
Italian sailors only gradually learned to feel their way up 
to the river mouth. When the Venetian and Genoese sea- 
men were able to moor their vessels over against the quays 
^ Aiite, p. 256. ^ See Heyd, ii. pp. 156-69. 

392 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

and wharves of the new town of Tana, that place, as the best 
starting-point from the Black Sea to the Volga, on which 
the Khan of Kiptchak had his headquarters and his court, 
became the object of the rival ambitions of the Italian 
trading towns. Venice and Genoa had settlements side by 
side there, from which the subjects of both were sum- 
marily ejected, as we have seen, in 1343.^ This was the 
punishment of a riot, in which a Venetian had killed a 
Tartar, in consequence of which there seems to have been 
a good deal of bloodshed, and the Italian warehouses and 
dwellings in those parts were plundered or destroyed, 
Florentines, as well as Venetians and Genoese, suffering 
heavy losses. ^ But they did not long remain passive under 
the exclusion. By the end of October 1343 the expediency 
of sending an embassy to renew the interrupted intercourse 
with Zanibek was being discussed at Venice. Travellers 
were sent to Tana to see if the Khan would grant a safe- 
conduct to ambassadors, and to open communications with 
the Italian merchants who had stayed there through the 
troubles. The report of these travellers, when at length 
received in April 1344, was hopeful : the merchants at 
Tana had been allowed to resume their trading, and the 
feeling of the Khan was in favour of a reconciliation. In 
June a proposal was received from Genoa that ambassadors 
from the two Republics should travel to Kiptchak together, 
with strict injunctions to insist on the same terms, as 
regarded compensation for the past and security for the 
future, being granted to both. The two Venetian ambas- 
sadors, Marco Ruzzini and Giovanni Steno (the latter belong- 
ing to a family of which we shall soon hear more) started 
at once for Caffa, where they met four Genoese ambassadors, 
and a treaty of alliance for a year was made between the 

^ Ante, p. 380. 

- Giov. Villani, the Florentine chronicler, mentions this trouble at 
Tana and the rise in prices of silk and spices and other goods of the 
Levant in consequence (lib. xii. cap. 27). 


two Republics. But when the six ambassadors reached 
Caffa, things did not proceed quickly nor altogether favour- 
ably. Not only were the ambassadors detained at Caffa, 
but a Tartar army appeared before the town and threatened 
again to besiege it. Pope Clement VI., who took great 
interest in Caffa as a centre of missionary enterprise, made 
zealous efforts to save it. He exhorted the Dauphin of 
Vienne, who was still in command of a crusading fleet in 
the waters of the Levant, and the Genoese authorities, to 
send help to Caffa. It appears even, from an inscription 
coming from Caffa, now in the Museum at Theudosia, that 
the fortifications of the town were repaired by money from 
the Papal treasury.^ Thanks to the strength of its fortifi- 
cations and the brave stand made by its Genoese defenders, 
Caffa was saved, and the Khan returned to his capital. But 
no progress towards restoring trade was made by the Vene- 
tian ambassadors, who, in the spring of 1346 were recalled 
to Venice, and the Senate did not attempt to renew the 
negotiations till in June 1347 a rumour came that the 
Genoese had made a separate peace with Zanibek. A second 
embassy was at once sent to the north to oppose the cession 
of Tana to Genoa, and at the same time, or perhaps as an 
alternative, to apply for leave to establish a Venetian 
settlement at Vosporo, the ancient Bosporus, the modern 
Kertch. This embassy found the feeling at the Khan's 
court much more conciliatory : the punishment of the 
murderer of the Tartar, who was responsible for the 
original quarrel, was accepted as a satisfaction, and the 
Khan promised not to visit his offence upon the first 
Venetian trader found in his dominions, as he had 
threatened to do. He ordered the governor of Tana to 
assign to the Venetian traders a sutificient tract of land for 
their magazines on the banks of the Don, and he re-estab- 
lished the old trading privileges, except that the market 
dues were raised from 3 to 5 per cent. No promise was 
• See Heyd, ii. pp. 192-95, esp. note 4 on p. 195. 

394 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

made as to Vosporo ; but probably, with a footing secured 
at Tana, the Venetians did not care for this. In this year 
(1347) they thus recovered the right of trading with the 
Empire of Kiptchak. But the Genoese were displeased at 
this, which was, it would seem, an infraction of a clause 
of the treaty between the two RepubUcs, binding both 
to trade with no part of Kiptchak east of Caffa, and pro- 
ceeded to overt acts of hostility, confiscating the cargoes 
of Venetian ships, and taking possession of the narrowest 
part of the Bosporus, a few miles north of Constantinople ^ 
(where the Turks have now two forts, known as the Rou- 
melian and Anatolian castles), with a view to stopping 
Venetian ships from entering the Black Sea. 

The feeling of hostility between the two maritime Repub- 
lics was becoming embittered. The squadron of twenty- 
nine galleys, which had been got ready to oppose those 
that the fuorusciti had assembled at Monaco, had, as we 
have seen, when the latter had entered the French King's 
service, sailed for the Levant.- When off Negropont, the 
Venetian headquarters in the Levant, they fell in with 
a nearly equal force of Venetian and Rhodian ships under 
the command of the Pope's crusading general, Imbert, 
Dauphin of Vienne. These were bound for Asia Minor, to 
keep Smyrna, which was still feebly held by the Greek 
Emperor, from falling into the hands of the Turks. The 
Genoese had some claim to Smyrna, and at any rate a 
Venetian enterprise in these parts was likely to interfere 
with their own designs on Scio and the Phocaeas, to which 
I have before adverted. Genoese authorities say that the 
Dauphin tried to bribe the captains of some of their 
ships to join with his squadron in a plan for estabhshing 

^ This was called in antiquity the Straits of Hieron, from a temple 
that claimed to have been built by the Argonauts. The name had in 
the Middle Ages become corrupted into Giro or Guirol, and the two 
castles already standing there were known as Guirol de la Grecia and 
Guirol de la Turquia (Heyd, ii. p. 199)- 

- They sailed on St. George's Day, the 23rd of April 1346. 


Venetian posts at Scio and the Phocgeas/ which would 
be able to command the Hellespont and neutralise 
the advantage Genoa got from her occupation of the 
Bosporus. The Genoese captains refused to betray their 
country, and the Genoese commander-in-chief, Simone 
Vignoso, succeeded, after some loss, in starving the Greek 
garrison of Scio into surrender. This was effected in Sep- 
tember 1346. The admiral also forced the two Phocaeas — 
Foglia Vecchia and Nuova — to submit, and returned to 
Genoa by November. 

The position of Genoa in the Levant was stronger than 
ever now that she held Scio in addition to Galata and the 
Bosporus and Caffa. Seven years before, in 1339, her home 
government had gone through a revolution. For some time 
before this the city had been practically governed by a 
podesta sent by Robert, King of Naples, the head of the 
Guelf party in Italy — who, both from his position and from 
his character, exercised great influence throughout the 
Peninsula. But in theory there was rather a complicated 
scheme of government, and consoli, capitani del popolo, and 
an ofificer (or perhaps several officers) with the strange 
title of Abate,^ who was certainly not an ecclesiastic, but 
an elected representative of the commons, were regularly 
set up and exercised certain functions.^ The feudal nobles, 
whose castles were in the mountain valleys or along the 
Riviera di Levante and the Riviera di Ponente as far as 
Monaco, were also Genoese subjects : the principal noble 

^ Canale, Nuova Isloria della Rep. di Geneva, iv. p. lo, Heyd, i. p. 
492 (Fr. tr.). 

^ We read of Abati of three suburbs of Genoa — Polcevera, Bisagno, 
and Voltri. These suburbs were generally the headquarters of the 
nobles excluded from the city. 

' Stella says (Mur., R. I. S., xvii. col. 1002c) of the Genoese 
Government, "dum Urbis essent presides . . . capitanei nuncupati, 
essetque super maleficiis et jure reddendo . . . Potestas, insuper et 
Populus unum haberet Rectorem, qui super quibusdam sibi ministrans 
justitiam, Abbas Populi dicebatur," where sibi=populo. And again, 
col. 1002 A, " Erat enim tunc Laicus unus Januensis, qui populo jus 
reddebat, et Abbas titulo vocabatur." 


families, Dorias, Spinolas, Grimaldis, Fieschis, we con- 
stantly find in command of Genoese fleets, and also help- 
ing to govern the city as capitani del popolo or presidi. 
They were frequently at feud with one another, some being 
Guelfs and some Ghibellines. The commons were, it 
would appear, generally Ghibelline : but party spirit at 
Genoa did not run in the ordinary channels of Guelf and 
Ghibelline so much as in those of nobles and commons; 
and the feeling of the commons against the nobles was 
very bitter. In 1338 a dispute arose between the captains 
(prcBceptores) and the crews of some galleys sailing to 
Flanders off the coast of France ; and one Capurro, a 
seaman who had been a ringleader of the mutinous crews, 
was seized and imprisoned by the King of France. This 
caused a great ferment when known at Genoa, and all 
manner of constitutional changes to allay the popular dis- 
content were proposed. At a meeting in the Palazzo 
degli Abati,^ a man of the people, a gold-beater by trade, 
sprang into the pulpito or tribune and nominated Simone 
Boccanegra, a much-respected citizen of the trading class, 
as Abate. The proposal was carried by acclamation, but 
Boccanegra would not accept that office, which he con- 
sidered derogatory to his family ; - nor that of Signore, 
which, like the other, being known to the law, and exist- 
ing side by side with that of the capitani del popolo, would 
have given its holder only an authority co-ordinate with 
theirs : and the object of Boccanegra's supporters was to 
make him sole ruler. So the title of doge was proposed 

^ " In thalamo Palatii Regiminis JanuK, quod dicitur Palatium 
Abbatis (nam Capitanei habitabant domibus propriis)" (Stella aptid 
Murat., Ji. I. S., xvii. col. 1072). The chronicler goes on: " tantum 
differebatur per ipsos viginti " (i.e. the twenty citizens chosen to elect 
an abbot) "quod Populo tiijdium reddebatur. Sed quidam Mechanicus, 
aliqualiter stolidus, de Arte argenti folium prneparantium, ascendens 
pulpitum, non de licentia Capitaneorum ait : Domini, vullis dicam 
salutem vestram?" &c. The whole account is well worth reading. 

^ " Cum illi de Domo sua majoris essent gradus, quam hi qui statue- 
banlur Abbates' (Stella, u.s., col. 1073). 


and at once adopted, with a rider that there should be no 
capitani : and Boccanegra was carried to his house with 
acclamations. 1 The title was, of course, adopted from 
Venice, and a decree was soon passed, making the office, 
as at Venice, one for life. 

Boccanegra seems to have been a just and a strong 
ruler : he suppressed disorder in the city ; mounting his 
horse and riding through the streets, he ordered one who 
was caught carrying away stolen goods to be beheaded 
on the spot. The "Mariners,"- however, succeeded in 
plundering the palace of some of the Dorias. The capi- 
tani, a Spinola and a Doria, left the city and withdrew to 
their castles at Polcevera and Albenga. For some time 
there was much violence in the city and suburbs : the 
books of the creditors of the State and the account books 
at the Dogana were burned in a lane near the church of 
San Lorenzo. It was ordered that no one but a Ghibelline 
should be elected to any public office, but nobles, except 
a few Spinolas and Dorias, were allowed to remain in 
the city, and those who were merchants to continue their 
business.^ The 23rd of September, the day of St. Thecla, 
was kept in after years as the anniversary of this revolu- 
tion. The doge before the end of the year made himself 
master of the whole of both the Eastern and Western 
Riviera except Monaco and Ventimiglia, where an army 
of 12,000 infantry and 25 galleys were collected by some 
of the exiled nobles. Luchino Visconti, the Lord of Milan, 
intrigued with the disaffected nobles in the city, and 
caused violent faction fights in the streets, in the course 

^ The cry in the streets was " Vivat Populus et mercatores et vivat 
Dux" (Stella, zi.s., col. 1073). 

- Stella notes the use of Marinarii as colloquial, "quos vocat 
Marinarios vulgaris lingua prajsens" {ti.s., col. 1071). 

^ Stella, iLS, col. 1074. He quotes as his authority the letters of one 
of the doge's counsellors who was in the city at the time. He could 
hardly have been himself a contemporary, as he finished his chronicle 
in 1409, and lived after that till 1420, when he v, as carried oft" by the 
plague" (Murat., K. /. S., xvii. col. 1287). 

398 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

of which the doge's life was attempted. Neither the balia, 
the committee of i8, who had been elected for a short 
time at the date of the doge's election, nor the 12 cone- 
stabili, the local officers of the city, could bring about 
peace. When in 1345 Boccanegra, wearied by the fruitless 
struggle of six years, resigned his office and retired to 
Pisa,^ there was difficulty in finding a successor, but on 
Christmas Day of that year a noble, generally respected, 
Giovanni di Murta, was prevailed upon to accept the post. 
He magnanimously refused to accept a salary larger than 
his necessary expenses as doge would require,^ and en- 
deavoured to reconcile 7iobili and popolani, but with no 
better success than his predecessor. The houses of the 
Squarciafichi and other nobles in the city were burned, 
and their owners driven out of city and suburbs ; but 
these established themselves on Monte San Bernardo, and 
there inflicted a defeat on the doge's troops, while other 
nobles at Albenga held out in the castle there against the 
forces of the city. It was not till the Bishop of Padua, 
the Pope's Legate, and Luchino Visconti, supporting the 
efforts of a new podesta from Bergamo, imposed terms 
on the combatants, that harmony was restored. It was 
after this that the fleet, which, as we have seen, took Scio 
and the Foglias, was fitted out by a number of patriotic 

* Stella, U.S., col. 1082: " Die siquidem vigesima tertia Decembris 
in sero prasmissus Dux Simon Buccanigra, cernens, ut dicebat, sibi 
rupta promissa, linquens Dominium, de Palatio publico cum fratribus, 
et ipsius familia discessit." The "broken promises " refer to a long 
and intricate course of negotiations between the populus and the 
intrinseci and extrinseci (nobiles). The council of twelve, six of the 
nobles and six of the people, who had been of late acting loyally with 
the doge, endeavoured to bring all parties to the cry " Vivat Dux et 
bonus Status" instead of "Vivat Dux et Populus," populus having 
become a party watchword. 

^ " Nee a Republica reginiinis mercedem volebat, nisi solum id quod 
in Ducatu pro se et sua familia prcesidem decet expendere." This is 
vague enough, but he appealed at the same time to the example of 
Venice : he probably meant to promise that he would accept a fixed 
salary and not make what he could out of the public revenue (Stella, 
U.S., col. 1083). 


Genoese, forming a Maone ^ or joint-stock company of 
shareholders, to whom the Republic guaranteed interest on 
their money, reserving the right of repurchasing the shares. 

The civil strife that prevailed at this time, which the 
annalist Giorgio Stella pathetically laments,- as making it 
doubtful whether a place could be properly called civitas, 
where unitas civiutn and civilitas were so conspicuously 
wanting, did not prevent the Genoese from playing an 
active part in foreign lands and seas. In 1340 the fleets 
of merchantmen bound for Caffa and Trebizond were sent 
out with all their ships equipped and munitioned for war, 
and the commander of the ships sent to Caffa, hearing 
there that a Turkish fleet was cruising on the way to 
Tana to waylay the Genoese and other Italian merchant- 
men found in those waters, landed the cargoes from seven 
galleys at Caffa, and sent the ships with twenty smaller 
boats {barchas), manned by Genoese settlers at Caffa and 
fully armed, towards Pera, where they fell in with and 
destroyed the Turkish fleet, recovering much spoil that 
had been taken from Christian ships. At the same time 
Egidio Buccanegra, the doge's brother, was put in com- 
mand of a fleet and army raised by the King of Castile 
to defend his dominions against a threatened invasion of 
Saracens from Morocco. 

The events in the domestic history of Genoa, that I 
have last related, came in order of time before the expul- 
sion of Italian traders from Tana (a.d. 1343), the siege of 
Caffa by Zanibek (a.d. 1345) and the conquest of Scio 

^ For this word (no doubt of Arabic origin) see Heyd, i. p. 494, n. i 
(French trans.). The members of the Maone, mostly Genoese resident 
in Scio, were called Giustiniafii^irom. their headquarters in the Palazzo 
Giustiniani at Genoa. The chief authority for their status and history 
is Hopf's article " Giustiniani " in Ersch und Gruber, vol. Ixviii. 

^ ji.s., col. 1076. He is, moreover, shocked at the savage punish- 
ments inflicted on pirates or Venetians, contrasting these with the 
magnanimity of the ancient Romans, who would not allow a triumph 
over enemies belonging to their own country. Giorgio Stella, who 
was a notary, is a man of education and good feeling, and writes 
tolerable Latin. 

400 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

and the Foglias by Genoa (a.d. 1346), which I have 
related out of the order of time. The last of this series 
of events was the establishment of a fortified post by the 
Genoese in the Bosporus at the point where the castles 
of Roumelia and Anatolia are now placed. This marked 
the highest point of the ambition of the newly restored 
democracy at Genoa. It took effect in 1347.^ 

The siege of Caffa in 1345 is said to have been the means 
of bringing into Europe one of the greatest scourges that 
have ever afflicted humanity, the " Black Death " of the 
fourteenth century. A pestilence was raging in the be- 
sieging Tartar army, and Zanibek, as one means of over- 
coming the obstinacy of the defence, was believed to have 
shot into the city from his machines the infected bodies of 
the dead." The besieged threw out these bodies into the 
sea, but the plague notwithstanding broke out in the town 
and was conveyed to the Italian ports by the merchant 
ships that were constantly sailing to Europe. The " Eastern 
tempest," as Petrarch calls it,^ carried off in the spring of 

^ See ante, p. 394. There is a good account of this encroachment 
of the Genoese in Niceph. Gregoras, lib. xviii. c. ii. (vol. ii. p. 877 

- Heyd, ii. p. 196. The contemporary authority from which Heyd 
derived his account of the origin of the black death is a Latin MS. 
found in 1841 in the Rhediger Library at Breslau, purporting to be 
compiled by Gabriele de' Mussi, entitled Ystoria de Alorho sive 
mortalitate qiie fiiit anno Doviini A/CCCXL VIII. Dr. A. W. Henschel 
of Breslau, who first published it in the Archiv fitr Gesatnmte Medizin, 
ii. pp. 26-59, understood the author of the account to assert that he 
was at Caffa at the time of the siege, and came to Genoa in the vessel 
that first brought the infection there. Signor A. G. Tononi in a paper 
in the Giornaie Ligustico for 1884 objects to this theory that Gab. de' 
Mussi, who is well known to have been a notary at Piacenza, was 
certainly at Piacenza in 1346 and all the years immediately preceding 
or following it. I think there can be no doubt that the writer of the 
account, who may not have been the compiler, claims to speak as an 

^ " Poi repente tempesta 

Oriental turbo si I'aere e I'onde 

Che la nave percosse ad uno scoglio." 

— Sonnetti e Canzotii, Pte. IIa, canz. iii. (p. 306). 

Laura died on 6th April 1348. The tales of the Decameron began 


1348 at Avignon Laura de Sade, the " virentissima laurus " 
of the poet, who has made her name famous in the history 
of Hterature ; at Florence about the same time it drove the 
gay company whom Boccaccio describes into their villa 
garden to avoid the danger and the sad sights and sounds 
of the stricken city. The pestilence appeared in the same 
year at Genoa, and the chronicler Giorgio Stella notes 
that to his day, though other epidemics had since occurred, 
this year 1348 was still known among the common people 
as that of "the great mortality."^ The contemporary ac- 
count of Gabriele de' Mussi gives a terrible picture of the 
ravages of the plague on shipboard, "scarce ten of a thou- 
sand " surviving to the end of the voyage, and those who 
did survive and landed at Genoa or Venice or in Sicily or 
the Islands of the Sea,2 infecting the friends who came to 
visit and embrace them. The narrator is bent on im- 
proving the occasion, and inveighs against the wicked 
Italian cities in rhetoric borrowed from Ezekiel or the 
Apocalypse : but through all the rhetoric the pathos of 
real horror can be read. 

Early in the spring of 1348 the plague appeared at 
Venice, preceded on the 25th of January by a severe earth- 
quake, the shocks of which continued several days, and 
shook down houses and campanili and dried up canals. 
The pestilence followed soon after, and was accompanied 
by the same physical suffering and moral degradation that 
Boccaccio has described at Florence. The Venetian 
government did not lose its presence of mind, and took 
prudent steps to diminish the danger of infection, appoint- 
ing a special commission of three to enforce sanitary 
improvement and prohibit infected persons from passing 
the frontiers. They required the victims of the plague to 

" nel principio della primavera " of that year (Introd. p. 14, ed. 1861, 

^ "Magna mortalitas " (apud Muratori, Ji. I. S., xvii. col. 1090). 
He wrote in the years 1396 to 1405. 

^ De Mussi, apud Haeser, Archiv. f. d. G. M., ii. p. 50. 

2 C 


be buried in one of four cemeteries, those of St. George of 
the Sea-weed, San Marco Boccalame, San Leonardo di 
Fossaruola and Sant Erasmo near the Lido, four remote 
and soHtary churches,^ and sent round barges to collect 
bodies to the cry of Corpi Morti, imposing large penalties 
on those who failed to throw the corpses in their houses 
into the death-boats.- Three doctors of special experience 
were brought into the city by the Senate. The pestilence 
raged furiously : it was believed that three-fifths of the 
population died, that fifty families of the nobility became 
extinct, the forty members of the Quarantia were so re- 
duced in number that new elections had to be held, and 
meanwhile the number of such members required to be 
present in the Great Council on certain occasions was 
reduced from thirty to twenty.^ 

Some of the unfriendly neighbours of Venice took advan- 
tage of her depopulation to attack her. In September 
1348 Capo d'lstria revolted, expelled the Venetian podesta 
and burned his palace, and in the same or the following 
year Count Albert of Gorz, whose territories were in the 
mountains north-west of Trieste, invaded Venetian lands. 
Both were punished and forced to submit, and the count 
was sent prisoner to Venice and had to promise to destroy 
some of his fortresses. The terms of peace granted to the 

1 Laur. de Monacis says: "Ad insulam St. Marci Bochalami, 
St. Leonardi de Fossa Mala, St. Herasmi et ad alias insulas sitas extra 
corpus civitatis" (lib. xvi. p. 314). His account of the Plague is the 
most terrible I have read. He says that it had never ceased entirely 
till the year 142S, in which he was writing (ib. p. 315). The churches 
of St. Mark and St. Leonard are both mentioned under the name of 
di Bocca Lama in Flam. Cornaro, A^otizie Storiche, &c., the Italian 
version of his Ecclesii? I'enettc, p. 505. They were on a large island 
between San Giorgio in Alga (see p. 59 of vol. i. of Traveller's Edition 
of " Stones of \'enice ") and the mainland. The island has long ago 
been added to the low coast-line near Fusina, and the names of Bocca 
Lama and Lama have vanished from maps and from memory. 

^ Roman., iii. p. I 55. Laur. de Monacis, lib. xvi. p. 314, speaks of 
these death-boats "quae //ate dicuntur," i.e. Piate (see ante, p. 388, 

^ Roman., iii. p. 156. 


count were not liked at Venice, and the Proveditori who 
agreed to them were fined. ^ 

In 1350 Giovanni di Murta, the Doge of Genoa, died. 
The Genoese annalist Stella is loud in praise of his 
prudence and patriotism, his devotion to goodness and 
righteousness, the preference of public to private ends that 
he showed in leaving his money to the poor. As his 
successor, the citizens, after some hesitation, chose Giovanni 
di Valente, the candidate proposed by the merchants, who 
was impartial in the distribution of honours and offices 
between the nobles and the commons.- But he appears 
not to have been trusted, as his predecessor had been, 
by the Venetians : for there was no more talk of common 
action between the two Republics against the Turks, but 
on the contrary, before the end of the year 1350 there was 
fighting in the Greek waters, where a fleet of thirty-five 
Venetian galleys under Marco Ruzzini fell in with fourteen 
Genoese armed merchantmen and took ten of them.^ The 
remaining four under Nicola de Magnerri escaped to Scio, 
where they were joined by nine more galleys, and the whole 
thirteen placed, by the votes of Simone Vignoso, the podesta, 
and other Genoese living in Scio, under Filippo Doria, who 
sailed with them to Negropont, and took the city there, 
the seat of the Venetian government, and twenty-three 
Venetian ships. ■* 

The defeat of the Venetians was signal, and their losses 
great, and Thomas Viaro, their bailo at Negropont, was put 

' Roman., iii. p. 158. 

^ " Nam consilia et Urbis beneficia inter Nolnles et de Populo pari 
largitione dabantnr " (Stella apud Mur. u.s., col. 1091B). 

^ Nicephoru.s Gregoras (ii. p. S78) .says this engagement took place 
iv AUXioi /cat 'lipe'u) toIs K6\irois rocs i-^yvs Eu/Soi'as. Caresini (contin. 
Diindo\o apud Murat., A'. I. S., xii. col. 420) says "in portii Castri." 
There is a Paleocastro on the west coast of Euboea, and another on the 
opposite coast of Attica. I do not think Castri is a mistake for Carysti. 

* Stella {U.S., col. 1091) puts this taking of Negropont in November 
1350, and the Bonn editor of Nicephorus Gregoras, ii. p. 878, appeals 
to agree. Stella says, and the Byzantine historian agrees, that in 1351 
no event of importance occurred. 

404 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

on his trial for allowing the Genoese fleet to surprise the 
town : but he was acquitted, and the blame for the disaster 
laid upon Ruzzini, who had, it appears, withdrawn to 
Candia for reinforcements, and returned too late. The 
loss of the city was serious, and before renewing the struggle 
in these parts Venice looked out for allies. Giovanni 
Steno was sent to Perpignan to seek aid from the King of 
Aragon, and returned not only with a treaty of alliance,^ 
but with a knight's belt conferred on him by the king. 
Soon after, early in 1351, Nicola Pisani went with twenty- 
five galleys to Pera, where he took some Genoese galleys 
with which Giovanni Delfino sailed to Constantinople and 
concluded an alliance with the Emperor Joannes Canta- 
cuzenus. The Emperor promised to keep twelve galleys 
at sea, to operate chiefly in the Black Sea, the Venetians 
paying for eight of them a sum of 10,776 perperi each 
month. The Genoese were to be treated as enemies, the 
Venetians welcomed in every part of the Greek Empire. 
If Pera should be taken it was to be razed to the ground, 
Scio and Phocea were to be restored to the Emperor. 
The Venetians were to pay half the cost of the machines 
used by the Emperor in the siege of Pera. Any booty 
taken from the enemy was to be divided into equal thirds 
for the Emperor, the Venetians, and the fleet. The Em- 
peror was already heavily in debt to Venice, which held 
jewels of his crown as security. These were to be returned 
as soon as Pera w:is taken — a sign of the great value set by 
Venice on the destruction of that hostile post.^ 

The war, in contemplation of which these alliances were 

1 The heads of the treaty, dated i6th January 1351, are given in 
Commemoriali, iv. 368, vol. ii. p. 187. The king promised to keep 
eighteen galleys in the Tyrrhenian Sea, with crews paid, as regards one- 
third of the amount by himself, two-thirds by Venice, the share of the 
latter to amount to 12,000 gold florins a month to be paid in Avignon. 
The king was to appoint the admiral, \'enice two commissioners to 
advise him. Raffaino de Caresini, the continuator of Dandolo, is one 
of the witnesses to the signatures at Perpignan. 

- Cotnmern ., iv. 402 in vol. ii. p. 196. 


sought by Venice, broke out more fiercely in 135 1. A 
commission of twenty-five savii was appointed to devise 
warlike measures in secret, and increased duties were laid 
upon salt, oil, wine, and meat to supply funds for the war. 
Nicola Pisani was put in command of an armada sent 
towards Pera. He could make no impression on the strong 
walls of the Genoese fortifications, but he laid waste the 
country round and stationed fourteen ships at the mouth 
of the Black Sea to intercept the Genoese ships coming 
home from the Sea of Azov. He had, however, to leave 
this advantageous position and return to the Archipelago, 
when Negropont was threatened by the enemy. Paganino 
Doria, the Genoese admiral at Pera, followed Pisani to the 
south, but finding that the Aragonese fleet had joined the 
Venetian, he retreated hastily to Pera. This was the end 
of the campaign of 1351. The Venetian fleet appears to 
have wintered at Modone in the Morea,^ and in February 
1352 appeared near Constantinople in company with the 
Greek and Aragonese (Catalonian) fleets. The Genoese 
fleet, still under Paganino Doria, evaded their attack by 
retreating into a narrow part of the Bosporus near Pera, 
where the enemy had no room to bring all their line into 
action or to pass the flank of the Genoese ships and take 
them in rear. Ponzio di Santa Paola, the Catalonian 
admiral, rashly followed the retreating enemy into this 
Strait. A furious combat at close quarters followed, ships 
grappUng with ships, or being swept with missiles, or stones 
from machines, or boarded by the enemy. A violent storm 
that arose as night fell increased the horrors of the scene. 
The Venetians found their aUies untrustworthy, the Greeks 
are said not to have fought at all,- and the Aragonese were 

1 Folieta, Storia Gen., lib. vii., apud Grajvium, i. col. 449, quoted 
in Roman., iii. p. 166, n. 2. 

^ " Grffici vero non pugnantes sospites abierunt " (Stella apud 
Murat., R. I- S., xvii. col. 1091). Cantacuzenus prefers to say that their 
knowledge of the waters enabled them to avoid the sunken rocks and 
do great execution on the enemy (iii. p. 221 Bonn). 

4o6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

soon discouraged. Their own loss in killed, wounded, and 
missing was fifteen hundred. The Genoese lost nearly as 
many, and were in no condition to pursue the retreating 
Venetians : it is remarked by their annalist that he heard 
of no annual commemoration of their triumph, no visit of 
their doge to any church to make a thank-offering, perhaps 
because the victory of a day in which so many Genoese 
worthies were lost was not thought worthy to be remem- 

Pisani continued to keep the sea and plunder Genoese 
ships, as did also the Rettori of the Venetian possessions in 
Greece and its islands ; but his conduct of the battle was not 
approved in Venice, and the Avogadore, Andrea Gradenigo, 
was sent out to hold an inquiry into the conduct of any 
officers who had failed of their duty in the battle. If the 
Avogadore's mission amounted to a trial of Pisani, he was 
acquitted and not deprived of his command. We learn 
from Cantacuzenus that both Venetians and Catalonians 
put much trust in his knowledge of the islands and sea- 
board of the ^gean and the Black Sea : - the imperial 
historian himself accuses him roundly of cowardice. The 
Aragonese admiral who succeeded Santa Paula (killed in 
the battle), in a letter to the doge bears witness to the 
loyalty and skill of Pisani.^ 

The Greek Empire was in a miserable state of dissolution 
at this time. Civil war was imminent between John V., 
the young representative of the imperial family of the 

^ " De hoc enim triumpho non vidi per annum agi memoriam, nee 
ex eo JanuK pmjsideni, ut moris est, Templo alicui aliqualem oblationem 
impendere ; forsan quod deficientibus hoc prselio Januensibus tot probis, 
hujus diei minime palma recolitur" (Stella, u.s., col. 1092). This 
battle was known as the battle of the Bosporus. Finlay, on the autho- 
rity of Cantacuzenus (iv. 30, torn. iii. p. 221 Bonn), says that it was 
fought near the island of Prote and some sunken rocks called Vracho- 
phagos (" Byzantine and Greek Empires," ii. p. 570). Uberto Foglietta 
{Gen. Hist., lib. vii. p. 141, (T/wf/ Gr?evium, u.s., col. 449) remarks also 
on the fact that the Genoese had no joyful celebration of the victory. 

^ Cantacuz.. iv. 30 (torn. iii. p. 219 Bonn). 

' Com mem., iv. 434 (ii. p. 203 Predelli). 


Paleologi, and John Cantacuzenus, the historian, who, from 
being grand domestic or prime minister to the Regent 
Anna, John V.'s mother, had usurped the imperial throne.^ 
The Empire was one of shreds and patches. Finlay has 
shown, in a remarkable passage,- how it consisted of a 
number of isolated fragments separated from one another 
by large tracts, in which Turks or Servians or Bulgarians 
or Catalonians or Italians bore rule. The Venetians and 
the Knights Hospitallers held some islands, the Genoese 
were formidable throughout the Levant, and most of all 
in the immediate neighbourhood of Constantinople. So 
formidable were they after the failure of the Venetian 
and Aragonese attack on them, in which the Greek con- 
tingent had taken but an inglorious part, that Cantacuzenus 
was only anxious to make his peace with them behind the 
backs of his late allies. By a treaty agreed to in May 1352 
he granted them two things which they had long desired, 
an extension of the bounds of their colony of Galata and 
the right to exclude his Greek subjects from the trade with 
the Sea of Azov, except in company with Genoese ships or 
by special permission obtained from the Genoese govern- 
ment.^ He had no love for either Genoa or Venice, just 
as neither Italian Republic had any wish to aid him to rid 
his Empire of the other. He was anxious to destroy Galata, 
which was an eyesore to the Golden Horn, as ^gina had 
been to the Piraeus : but he had no wish whatever to see 
it in Venetian hands. It was, moreover, clearly to his 
advantage that the two Republics should fight out their 
quarrels in the West rather than at the doors of his palace.'* 

' The Regent Anna was a princess of Savoy, belonging to a house 
that had been generally friendly to their neighbours, the Genoese. This 
may have helped to bring about the alliance of Cantacuzenus with the 

* "Byzantine and Greek Empire," ii. pp. 557-59. 

' Canale, Nuova 1st., iv. p. 27. The treaty can be read in Sauli 
{Col. de' Genov. in Galata, ii. pp. 216-22, esp. p. 219). 

* This is well traced by Parisot [Canlacuzene hoiniiie d'etat et 
Historien, pp. 261, 262). 


Accordingly in August 1353, when Cantacuzenus was no 
longer an enemy of the Genoese, the Venetian and Cata- 
lonian fleets had drawn off to the westward. The King of 
Aragon had some claims to govern Sardinia, several towns 
in which the Genoese had occupied. Venice in the previous 
autumn had seen her position in the Levant strengthened 
by the cession to Marino Faliero, now Count of Valmarena 
in the hills north of Conegliano, as a representative of the 
Proveditori of the Venetian fleet, of the island of Tenedos,^ 
a post of observation of the Hellespont as it had been of 
Troy in the mythical days of the second -^^neid. She was 
therefore at liberty to despatch her fleet still under Pisani 
to assist the Catalonians, who under Bernardo di Cabrera 
were besieging the town of Alghero in Sardinia, and were 
threatened by a Genoese fleet under Antonio Grimaldi sent 
to relieve the place. Pisani's tactics, lashing the bulk of 
his ships together to make what the Venetian historian 
calls a "campo di battaglia," kept ten galleys loose under 
Giovanni Sanuto to challenge the enemy. The Genoese, 
who thought they had only the Catalans to deal with, were 
struck with panic at the number and vigour of their 
assailants and were driven against the shore. This signal 
defeat, which avenged the Venetians for their defeat on the 
Bosporus, is known as the battle of La Lojera.- 

Genoa was humbled and crushed by this defeat. Her 
enemies had the control of the sea, the Catalonian fleet 
supreme in the Western, the Venetian in the Eastern 
Mediterranean. She was not only cut off from the Black 
Sea and Constantinople, she who lately had been able to 

^ It was ceded as security for a loan of 20,000 gold ducats maae by 
the commune of Venice {CommemoriaH, v. 5 ; Predelli, torn. ii. p. 214). 
The date of the cession was loth October 1352. 

^ Roman., iii. 169. The defeat is honestly admitted by Stella {u.s., 
col. 1092), who says, "Licet ductore prudenti astutisve Consiliariis 
nostratum esset munitus exercitus tamen quia numero impares, aut 
quia fortuna variat morem ejus, conculcati et devicti Januenses fuerunt 
. . . Anguslia flebili ipsa Januensis civitas fuit repleta." 


dictate what ships should show themselves in those waters, 
but her loss of the command of the sea cut off most of her 
supplies of food. The populous city and its narrow terri- 
tory, shut in between the mountains and the sea, was 
dependent for its food either on over-sea trade or on the 
fertile plains of Lombardy, The latter resource had been 
imperilled since 1348, when at the crisis caused by the 
great mortality, Luchino Visconti, the Lord of Milan, had 
intervened in the domestic feuds of the Republic, had 
invaded her territory in conjunction with some of her exiled 
nobles, taken some of her subject cities, and threatened to 
assault her walls. This disaster had been averted by the 
death of Luchino, but his successor Giovanni, the Arch- 
bishop of Milan, was still her watchful enemy, and occupied 
with his troops all the passes leading from Lombardy into 
Liguria. Famine knows no law, and in September 1353, 
just a month after the defeat of Lojera, the Doge Valente and 
his Council had to make terms with the Lord of Milan, the 
great potentate whose rule extended over the greater part 
of North Italy from the Apennines to the Adige. Submis- 
sion to a foreign power was not so unknown at Genoa as 
at Venice. Not so many years before she had been 
governed by the podestas of Robert of Naples, and she 
had submitted to the Emperor Henry of Luxemburg and 
to Pope John XXII. In return for the opening of the 
roads by which provisions could come from Lombardy, and 
the aid of the troops of the archbishop against Venice and 
Aragon, she granted him the same submission she had 
granted to King Robert, but stipulated that she should be 
governed by her own laws and that the Red Cross of 
St. George should still appear on the flags of her ships 
above the Viper of the Visconti.^ Lorenzo de Monacis, 
the Venetian chronicler, bitterly remarks of the humbled 
enemies of his country, " So they permit the blessed 
Martyr St. George, the Knight of Christ, to appear by the 

^ Canale, Nuova Istoiia, iv. 31-33. 


side of his enemy the Serpent, to the perpetual infamy and 
disgrace of their posterity." ^ 

The archbishop had before this haughtily called upon 
the Venetians to show what rights they had in some forts 
and territory near the city of Brescia, which itself belonged 
to the Visconti, and Andrea Dandolo had replied that he 
would send a captain with 15,000 men-at-arms into the 
Milanese to say what right the Venetians had to their 
Brescian lands.- The archbishop let the matter rest for a 
time, but when he saw the Venetians involved in war with 
the Genoese, he revived his demand, and the doge found 
it expedient to agree to let him occupy the territory on 
condition that he promised not to help the Genoese. 
Shortly after this came the Genoese surrender to the arch- 
bishop, and he then maintained that to fight the battles of 
Genoa now she was his subject was no breach of his promise 
not to help her while she was independent. Venice then 
took measures to form a league against the Visconti. The 
Marquises of Montferrat and Ferrara, with the Lords of 
Verona, Padua, Mantua, and Faenza, joined her ; she hired 
a band of condottieri and prevailed upon Charles, King of 
Bohemia and King-elect of the Romans, who became at 
this time the Emperor Charles IV., to be captain-general of 
the League — all this, in the words of Lorenzo de Monacis, 
at great and incredible cost,^ but with little result ; for the 
Visconti bribed the captains of the condottieri, sowed 
discord among the allied cities, and sent an embassy to 
Venice, which by the eloquent mouth of the greatest 

* Lib. xii. p. 217, ed. Flam. Corn., Venice, 1758. The viper on 
the Visconti shield was " anguis evomens puerum." 

^ "Quod mitteret unum Capitaneum cum ;^. galeatis ad partes 

Mediolani qui diceret quo jure Veneti dictam Ripariam possidebant " 
(Laur. de Mon., k.s., p. 217). " Riparia Bresci?e " is perhaps the 
Brescian territory bordering on the Lago di Garda, and had been 
ceded to them by the Scaligers after the war with Mastino. 

^ " Hae omnia maximis et incredibilibus pecuniarum profusionibus " 
(Laur. de Mon., u.s , p. -17). 


scholar of that age, the poet Francesco Petrarcha, offered 
them very favourable terms. But the Venetians were too 
much bent on humbling Genoa to listen to the persuasions 
or reproaches of Petrarch, and twice refused the terms 
offered by the archbishop. They were at the same time 
deserted by the King of Bohemia, who, enriched by 
100,000 ducats which they had paid for his services, and 
bribed also by the brothers Matteo and Bernabo Visconti, 
who in 1354 succeeded their uncle the archbishop at 
Milan, accomplished his progress to Rome, was there 
crowned and blessed by the Cardinal of Ostia, and 
returned into Bohemia ^ without striking a blow against 
the Visconti. 

Meanwhile the war between Venice and Genoa went on. 
In 1354 the campaign was begun by a small Genoese 
squadron of light ships running up the Adriatic and burning 
Lesina and Curzola in the islands off the Dalmatian coast. 
Nicola Pisani, who was still in command of the Venetian 
fleet, having tried in vain to overtake the four Genoese 
galleys that had done this damage, reported to the doge 
that the Republic needed a large force of light and swift- 
sailing vessels that could venture into shallow water : the 
large Venetian ships were powerful in a regular action or 
in the open sea, but were no match for lighter vessels 
in coast warfare ; ^ he called upon the government to 
build a class of vessels that could follow the enemy every- 
where and so secure victory. Good advice of this kind 
could not bear fruit immediately, and the year 1354 was 
disastrous to Venice, partly from this, want of mobility in 
her fleets, partly from the heavy hand of the Lords of Milan 

^ The scornful words of Lorenzo de Monads are worth quoting : 
"Carolus eliam more :iUo corruptus pecunia a nepotibus Archiepiscopi 
. . . auctus pecunia V^enetorum et Vice-comitum accessit Romam, et 
corona Imperii, ac solita benedictione suscepta pecuniosus quam 
gloriosus rediit in Bohemiam {u.s., p. 21.S). The coronation was on 
Easter Sunday, April 5, IJSS- 

- Laur. de Moii., u.s., p. 218. The Genoese ships were biremes, 
the Venetian triremes he describes as " corpulentia sua tardas." 

412 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

supporting her enemy. In March Nicola Pisani with 
thirty-three galleys, part fitted out in Venice, part called 
in from Dalmatia and Crete, sailed to Sardinia to join the 
King of Aragon, who was still besieging Alghero, but lost 
many men without bringing the town to surrender, and 
could not persuade the King to let him have the eighteen 
ships he was entitled by treaty to demand, for operations 
in the Levant. Paganino Doria, the Genoese admiral, 
hearing that Pisani's fleet had passed Sicily bound for 
Sardinia, took advantage of his absence to run up the 
Adriatic, burning towns on both its coasts, and finally 
swooping down upon Parenzo in Istria, which he took, as 
well as two ships and the bodies of two saints, Maurus and 
Cyrillus. On this adventurous voyage he sailed by the 
Venetian Lido, and caused so much alarm in the city 
that the Port of St. Nicolas, the principal outlet from the 
Lagoon, was hastily blocked up by boats and chains and 
felled trees. The city was not attacked, but the Genoese 
fleet with many ships they had taken sailed away to Scio, 
and continued its depredations in the Archipelago and 
Cyprus and what the Venetian chronicler calls Upper 
Romania. Parenzo was taken in August 1354, and three 
weeks afterwards the great Doge Andrea Dandolo died, at 
the early age of forty-five, after governing the Republic for 
eleven years and nine months of strenuous bodily and 
mental exertion, in the words of Lorenzo de Monacis, " of 
a disease contracted by grief, happy in that he did not live 
to hear of the fatal disaster of Porto Lungo." This 
disaster happened on the 4th of November. Pisani had, 
after the loss of Parenzo, withdrawn to the eastward, pro- 
bably in fear that the Genoese might carry everything 
before them in the Archipelago and the Black Sea. Doria 
was in the harbour of Scio and could not be lured out to 
either a general engagement or a combat of twelve galleys 
on either side. He was expecting reinforcements from 
home. The Venetian admiral, after watching some time 


about Samos and the approaches to Theologus (Ephesus), 
withdrew to Cytherea and thence to the fortress of Corona, 
where he had reason to believe that important despatches 
were waiting for him. Close by Corone, at the south- 
western extremity of the Peloponnesus, are the island of 
Sapienza and the harbour of Porto Lungo, between it and 
the fortress, which is some miles to the south of the Bay of 
Navarino. In the harbour Paganino Doria attacked the 
Venetian fleet, having first sent forward a very fast-sailing 
galley under a nephew of his who was experienced in naval 
warfare, who reported that it could be easily beaten. The 
defeat was overwhelming. Nicola Quirino, who with 
twenty galleys was stationed as an advanced guard at the 
entrance of the harbour, lost his head and ran his ships 
ashore. One Venetian ship of the main body ran aground 
on a spit of sand, and others following it, shared its fate. 
Doria had only to take possession of these and then to 
advance farther into the harbour and take the others with- 
out stroke of sword. " He routed them without a struggle 
and overcame them without a victory. You would have 
thought there were on one side armed men, on the other 
unarmed women." The Venetian chronicler goes on to 
say that such a catastrophe could have come only from the 
judgment of God upon a city elated beyond measure, and 
from the weighty mass of her sins.^ But what he had just 
before told us of the slowness and want of mobility of the 
Venetian ships, and the patience of Doria in refusing to 
fight until his enemy was in a dangerous position, seems 
sufficient to account for the Venetian disaster, without 
having recourse to the portents he proceeds, in the manner 
of Livy, to recount. 

Peace could not but follow such a collapse. When it 

was concluded it was between the Republic of Venice 

and the three brothers Visconti, Lords of Milan. The 

Republic of Genoa was no longer an independent power, 

' Laur. de Monacis, u.s., p. 221. 

414 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

able to declare war or make a treaty. And her rival, though 
still proudly maintaining her independence, was humbled 
and crippled. The result of their long contest, and 
still more of their unwillingness to co-operate with the 
Greek Empire, was seen in the steady growth of the Turkish 
power, which was destined in a hundred years to establish 
itself firmly at Constantinople. For this hostility to the 
Greek government, or at least for a consistent policy of 
weakening it, Genoa was more to blame than Venice, 
and the Popes were more relentless enemies than either. 
Religious fanaticism was not carried to mischievous lengths 
either at Venice or at Genoa, but commercial rivalry 
blinded them as much as fanatical intolerance could have 
done, to the inevitable consequences of their policy. 

They were not left without warning. I have mentioned 
the embassy on which Petrarch was sent by Giovanni 
Visconti in 1353 to attempt to reconcile the two Republics. 
It is difficult for us in these days to realise the position to 
which a man like Petrarch had attained. It was much 
that a man of no nobility of birth and no wealth, the son 
of a notary of Florence, who had been banished and ruined 
in the violent party conflicts that raged in the age of Dante 
in that turbulent city, a man who in early life had taken 
the minor orders, but had postponed indefinitely the priest- 
hood, which in those days was the recognised road by 
which low-born talent might advance to honour and power, 
should, only in recognition of some sonnets and odes in 
the vulgar tongue,^ not then regarded as a worthy rival of 
the Latin, have been solemnly crowned with laurel in the 
Capitol by the Senator of Rome, and should have been 
allowed to offer his laurel crown on the altar of St. Peter's. 
But it is more surprising to find the scholar and poet, 
who had never concealed his aversion for the solid legal 
studies, to which he might have been thought to have an 

1 Petrarch's Latin poetry was all or almost all subsequent to this 


hereditary vocation, in close and confidential relations 
with popes and cardinals and princes, and employed by 
them in dignified posts on questions of haute politique. 
In 135 1, when the Venetians were seeking the alliance of 
the King of Aragon and the Emperor John Cantacuzenus 
against Genoa, Petrarch wrote to the doge, who was his 
contemporary and an old friend, and whom, after his death, 
he spoke of as a man " good and honest, a great lover 
of his country, and moreover learned, eloquent, and 
prudent and courteous and gentle." ^ His letter of the 
i8th of March 135 1 laments that the stout and obstinate 
enemy with whom his Republic was at war was of Italian 
race, not from Damascus, Susa or Memphis or Smyrna, 
but from Genoa, an enemy, war with whom must result 
in the extinction or darkening of one of the two eyes of 
Italy. If a barbarian invasion were again to come, the 
two Republics would certainly stand side by side to repel 
it. Would the doge stain the ancient honour of the Venetian 
people and of his own office by asking the aid of a barbarous 
king (it was thus he characterised the King of Aragon) for 
the overthrow of Italians ? He quotes the magnanimous 
declaration of the Spartan commander, when urged to de- 
stroy the hostile city of Athens, that he would not put out 
one of the eyes of Greece. No one could justly blame an 
unwarlike patriot like himself, if while others were hewing 
timber in their woods to build ships, were sharpening 
swords and arrows and strengthening walls and docks, he 
had recourse to the only weapon he could use, his pen.- 

Petrarch had also an intimate friend and correspondent 
on the Genoese side. Guidone Settimo, who, as a child, 
had been one of the company that migrated with Petrarch, 
then eight years old, from Pisa to Avignon, who had been 
his companion on his first visit to Vaucluse in 131 6, and 
his warm friend ever since, was now Archdeacon of Genoa, 

^ Epist. Fain., xix. 9, vol. ii. p. 537 in Fracasselti's Latin ed. 
^ lb., xi. 8, vol. ii. pp. 124-34 in Fracassetti's Lat. ed. 

4i6 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

of which he became Archbishop in 1359. To him Petrarch 
wrote a long letter when news reached him of the crushing 
defeat the Genoese fleet suffered at La Lojera from the 
united forces of Venice and Aragon. His sympathy with 
the misfortunes of Genoa has all the marks of sincerity. 
" If I were to say what I feared has happened, I should lie. 
Rather what I thought scarcely possible has happened. 
The sea has seen and shuddered at the rout of the Genoese 
fleet. The battle was not a fair contest of equal forces, 
but an irruption of foreign allies had made the enemy's 
numbers far greater, and the winds and waves had helped 
the stronger side." He consoles his friend by ancient and 
modern instances of the inconstancy of fortune, and the 
salutary lessons that the Genoese were not, after all, gods of 
the sea. He hears the stranger news that the courage ot 
the vanquished was broken, of those Genoese whom he had 
thought a world in ruin would have found fearless. " When 
the messenger came with the news, it was night, and black 
night seemed to have gathered greater darkness. I shud- 
dered in all my body and soul. As soon as I re- 
covered, I seized my pen." As he had dissuaded from 
an Italian war, and applauded the victory won over the 
foreigner {i.e. at the Bosporus), so now it was his duty 
to strengthen the failing spirit of the conquered. But the 
tone of his letter shows that he thought the blow was a 
final one, that Genoa had fallen not to rise again. His 
last words are, " We cannot hope for peace, we can for 
victory, if our courage does not give way to false opinions. 
It is folly for man to hope anything eternal for himself, 
when he sees kingdoms themselves to be mortal." ^ 

This letter was written in September 1353. Eight 
months after, in May 1354, Petrarch had again had to take 
up his pen to write his condolences to Dandolo on the great 
defeat of the Venetians at Porto Lungo, so soon had 
his warnings of the inconstancy of fortune come true. In 
' Epist. Fam., xvii. 3, vol. ii. pp. 422-35, Fracassetti's ed. 


the interval between La Lojera and Porto Lungo, Petrarch 
had come to Venice on a mission of peace, sent by Gio- 
vanni Visconti, the archbishop and lord of Milan, ^ and he 
refers in this letter to the arguments he had used in public 
to the doge's council and in private to the doge's own ear. 
He had been then a faithful but ineffective persuader of 
peace. No ruler was better advised than the doge, no 
people more calm and dignified ; but at that time the 
war fever and the clash of arms had made the hearts of 
the doge and his nobles deaf to wholesome counsel and 
just entreaties. A light breath of rumour from the north 
(I presume the hope that the Emperor Charles IV. would 
intervene against the new lord of Genoa) was sufficient to 
frustrate the object of Petrarch's mission. The horror he 
felt at Italians hiring foreign soldiers to waste their fair 
country and slaughter their brethren he again loudly ex- 
presses. He feared his own incapacity had been the cause 
of the failure of his embassy to secure peace. " When 
many words had been wasted, I returned as full of sorrow, 
shame, and terror as I had come full of hope. To open 
to reason ears that were stopped and hearts that were 
obstinate was a task beyond my eloquence, as it would have 
been beyond that of Cicero." What remained for him was 
to see now if his pen could move more than his voice 
had done the hardened mind of the doge and his 
counsellors. His exposition of the horrors of war and 
the blessings of peace is a noble piece of eloquence. 
He paints in the liveliest colours the foreign soldiers of 
fortune, who like wolves and vultures delight in blood 
and carnage, fear and starve in peace, whose thirst for 
blood and for gold is equal. He appeals to the doge not 
to let the flourishing Republic committed to his guard and 
all the rich and lovely part of Italy that lies between the 

^ Petrarch's words are : " ah hoc nuper Italoruni niaximo," as if the 
archbishop were already dead ; but he died in October 1354, after the 
Doge Dandolo, and certainly after this letter was written. 

2 D 

4i8 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Apennine and the Alps become the prey of these foreign 
and hungry wolves. He must not think that, if Italy 
perish, Venice could be safe. What he had seen at Venice 
had convinced him that a warlike policy was popular there. 
" Nature has made thee," he urges, " gentle and a lover of 
peace, and your people one whose unbounded prosperity 
rests not on the foundation of war but on peace and 
justice. Beware you do not fall under the condemnation 
the Psalmist pronounces on those ' who pondered unright- 
eousness in their heart, and stirred up strife all the day 
long,' or incur the malediction ' Scatter the peoples that 
delight in war.' If by chance thou hast let the popular 
breath drive thee on a dangerous course, draw back thy 
foot from the precipice whilst thou canst, whilst the armies 
have not yet engaged, whilst Mars thunders but has not 
yet launched his thunderbolt, whilst the sweet name of 
peace can yet be heard amid the bitter and dreadful threats 
of war. Seize the last chance, that thou mayst be called 
the author of peace in Italy, and hand down to posterity 
a name already glorious in many ways, with this glory 
above the rest. What will thy literary distinction advantage 
thee, thy study in the liberal arts, in which fame proclaims 
with truth thy great achievements above all other rulers of 
this age, if, having seen what is better, thou pursuest the 
worse course ? I beseech and adjure thee by the zealous 
love for virtue, in which thou art behind none, by the love 
for country in which thou surpassest all, lastly, by the five 
wounds of Christ, from which his most sacred and most 
innocent blood flowed, if thou thinkest I have spoken with 
piety and fidelity do not refuse to hear and attend to me, 
and if the counsel pleases, contemn not its author." ^ 

This letter was written in May 1354. In April of the 
next year, writing to the Archdeacon of Genoa,^ he returns 
to the subject of Venice and her doge. He had foretold 

' Epist. Fain., xviii. i6 (vol. ii. pp. 505-12, ed. Fracassetli). 
* ik, xix. 9 (vol. ii. pp. 534-38, ed. Fracassetti). 


the rapid reverse in the fortunes of the Venetians, not by 
the stars or any other form of divination, but by mental 
foresight. " And would that their doge Andrew," he goes 
on, " were still living, that I might stir him up by letters, 
and sting him to the quick with my free speech. For I 
knew him to be a good man, though more ardent in the 
pursuit of war than was consistent with his nature and 
character. I did not spare him in his lifetime ; he bore 
my reproaches patiently, but, elated by recent victory, he 
rejected my counsel. Death was kind to him in sparing 
him the sight of his country's bitter sorrow, and the still 
more cutting letters I would have sent him." The letter 
goes on in a more serious tone. The great doge, as he had 
heard from those who were present, had received a few days 
beforehisdeath the affectionate, if reproachful, letter Petrarch 
had sent him, and was anxious to answer it, but hesitated ; 
not that so practised and elegant a writer could not find 
words, but because the facts could not be got over. From 
whatever cause, he sent Petrarch's messenger back with- 
out a reply, saying he would send an answer by his own 
messenger, "but this he never sent, prevented by disease, 
whether of body or mind, for within a few days, contrary to 
his expectation and that of all the world, the same Genoese 
fieet he had thought utterly conquered and panic-stricken 
sailed boldly up to the Venetian coast and brought on a 
conflict, in which the doge himself in armour, contrary to 
his custom, took part. And after that day he did scarcely 
anything, as though he were hastening by an opportune 
death to withdraw his head from the impending evils." 

It is evident, I think, that Petrarch was not impartial 
in the contest of Venice with Genoa, but was disposed 
always to put Venice in the wrong, notwithstanding his 
affection, which probably was genuine enough, for its 
learned doge. A Florentine was likely to be prejudiced 
against Venice to begin with, and it is evident that the 
poet had no conception of the real causes of the rivalry of 


Venice and Genoa, the importance to them and to the 
world of the trade with Constantinople and the Sea of 
Azov. He was an enthusiastic lover of Italy, and it was 
the dearest desire of his heart to see the Pope restored to 
Rome, and, if possible, governing the Church from the 
Vatican, while an Emperor, his friend and protector, 
governed the world from the Capitol. In default of an 
Emperor, he had been ready to welcome a tribune in the 
person of Rienzi. A Roman Emperor in France or 
Germany, or a Pope at Avignon, was an abomination. The 
thought of Italy, the beautiful queen of the world, her 
fertile plains, her amcena rura, shut in and protected by the 
rugged and frozen Alps from the rude world beyond, the 
long list of her cities that he runs through, this was what 
stirred his enthusiasm.^ The French clergy with whom he 
was obliged to associate at Avignon might pardonably 
admire the arches of the little bridges of Paris and the 
murmur of the Seine as it flowed under them, and imagine 
there was nothing grand or delectable outside Paris — this 
reproach of Petrarch has a strangely modern sound — but 
to Petrarch Avignon was as hateful a place of banishment 
as Tomi on the Euxine was to Ovid.^ 

This exclusive love for Italy, and the feeling, for which 
there was some ground, that Venice was too cosmopolitan 
to be purely Italian, furnish a reasonable and creditable 
ground for the preference for Genoa that Petrarch shows. 
But I think we may assume that he was influenced by other 
considerations also. In the year 1353 he had come to 

^ See amongst other instances the letter (Fa??i., ix. 13, vol. ii. p. 41, 
Fracass.) addressed to Philippe de Vitry, afterwards Bishop of Meaux, 
who had condoled with one of the Avignon cardinals on his "exile" 
to Italy: " peregrinationem sanctissimam et qua gloriosior nulla esse 
potest, exilii cognomine decoloras. Esse in Italia miserum exilium 
reris, extra quam esse, nisi quia omne solum forti patria est, potius 
videri posset exilium?" His catalogue of the glories of Italy is to be 
found in pp. 48-51. There is another pretty description of Italian 
scenery round San Colombano in Fa?)t., xvii. 5 (ii. 442, 443). 

^ See the letter to Ph. de Vitry, pp. 44, 45. 


live at Milan on the invitation of the Archbishop and 
Lord of the city, Giovanni Visconti, who had given him a 
house in a remote and quiet part of the city near the 
venerable church of St. Ambrose.^ The archbishop, like 
his brother and predecessor Luchino, was a humanist and 
a student. Petrarch was friendly with both brothers, and 
on public grounds valued their services to Italy. The 
Visconti were Italians and not foreign condottieri, the 
wolves and vultures whose presence in Italy he so deplored. 
And the influence of powerful lords like the della Scalas, 
the Estes, or the Visconti was also a check on the furious 
party spirit that had wrought so much mischief. In October 
1353, about a month after the defeat of the Genoese at La 
Lojera and their surrender of their independence to the 
lord of Milan, Petrarch wrote another letter to Guido 
Settimo, the Archdeacon of Genoa, describing the reception 
of the Genoese envoys in " the hall of the royal palace." 
Those of the envoys with whom he had talked had been 
ready to blame the conduct of their admiral, but had been 
less dejected at the defeat than at the intestine discord that 
was raging at Genoa, and the temper of the nobles who were 
for taking advantage of the misfortunes of their country as 
a means of recovering power. The fear of civil discord had 
driven the people to take refuge in the protection "of this 
most just prince." Some of the prince's council had wished 
Petrarch to reply to the formal tender of their submission. 
In those days and at the court of a learned prince the 
elegance of the Latin of such an oration was much thought 
of. But Petrarch excused himself on the ground of lack of 
time for preparation, and the archbishop replied himself "in 
words that another might perhaps have made more ornate, 
but not more effective." The poet was moved to tears by 
the reply, though there is a touch of criticism in his remark 
that the long list of saints to whom the prince appealed 

' Fain., xix. 16, ii. p. 556 of Fracassetti's edition. 


took up no small part of the whole speech. He is unwilling 
to disclose what he thinks likely to be the result ; but he 
trusts in the maxim of the philosophers that the best con- 
dition for a state is to be under the just government of one 
person,^ that is, under a monarchy. We have seen how he 
in his letter to Andrea Dandolo spoke of the archbishop as 
the greatest of Italians. In his account of the reception of 
the Genoese envoys, he speaks of the home of the Visconti 
as " regia domus." - 

The Visconti were not quite of the type of the ordinary 
despot who came to power in a city wearied out by the 
strife of its factions, of one of which he had generally been 
the leader. Their family was so ancient that its name had 
disappeared in the mists of antiquity ; only their title Vice- 
Comes, Vice-Count, remained to them for a surname, and 
the meaning and history of this were forgotten. Muratori's 
eighth Dissertation in his Antiquities on the titles Comes 
and Vice-Comes, from the times of the old Roman Empire 
downwards, discusses amongst other questions that now 
before us, and comes to no definite conclusion. "As some 
Vice-Comites began to transmit this title ro their descen- 
dants," he says, " such an appellation gradually passed into 
a family surname." And again : " It would be an arduous 
business to wish to define whence this title, that afterwards 
became the family name of the Milanese Visconti, came. 
Perhaps they may have been the Vicarii or Deputies of the 
Imperial Count in the city of Milan or have governed some 
district on the Lago Maggiore, of which the Archbishop of 
Milan was Count." ^ 

The Archbishop of Milan, who, by virtue of his privilege 
of crowning the emperor-elect with the Iron Crown of 
Lombardy, was a high officer of the Imperial Court, had a 

^ Ep. Fam., xvii. 4, vol. ii. pp. 436-39, Fracassetti. 
- Giov. Villano (ix. 107). Muratori, /\. I. S., xiii. c. 496, says of the 
first Matteo, " II quale era come uno grande Re in Lombardia." 
* Murat., Antiqiiitates, Diss. viii. in torn. i. col. 441 sqq. 


viaggtoranza or feudal superiority in Milan, ^ and his here- 
ditary deputy would naturally be a person of great import- 
ance in the city. In the first half of the eleventh century 
we meet with an Eriprandus Vice-Comes playing a part in 
Milanese history, and the historians of the Crusades men- 
tion an Otto Vice-Comes, a Milanese knight, who in the end 
of the same century won in combat with a Saracen, whom 
he killed, the cognisance of the viper that was ever after 
associated with the family. Muratori suspects that the 
accounts of this knight are not free from fable. But in 
the thirteenth century an Archbishop Otto Visconti is cer- 
tainly an historical person ; in his time the Visconti family 
was the head of the Ghibellines in Milan as the della 
Torre family was the head of the Guelfs, and the ofifice of 
Imperial Vicar is found in the hands sometimes of one of 
these families and sometimes of the other. Matteo Vis- 
conti, as we have seen, had in 1299, as Imperial Vicar, 
imposed terms of peace upon Genoa and Venice ; '-^ and 
when his three grandsons, Matteo II., Bernabo, and 
Galeazzo, who shared the lordship on the death of their 
uncle Archbishop Giovanni, again intervened as arbitrators 
between the two cities after the battle of Porto Lungo, 
they appeal to their grandfather's action as a precedent.^ 
The subjection of their city to a person of pretensions so 
vague and mysterious as those of an Imperial Vicar might 
well have appeared not altogether dishonourable to an 
independent Republic. 

The award of the three brothers, which deals with all the 
points at issue between Genoese and Venetians in all their 
wars, the trade with Azov (which they ordered to be sus- 
pended for three years), the exchange of prisoners (of 

' Cambiano della Ruffia, Historico Discorso, lib. i. in vol. iii., Script, 
of Hist. Pair. Alonum., col. 987. 

- Ante, pp. 257, 258. 

^ See Liber Juriufn Gemiensium, ii. col. 618 in Hist. Patr. Alunum. 
They describe themselves as "pro sacra imperatoria majestate Vicarii 

424 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

whom great numbers had been made in the fifty-six years 
since the treaty dictated by Matteo Visconti in 1299), the 
restraint of private war or piracy by either of the contract- 
ing parties,^ is dated June i, 1355. Giovanni Gradenigo 
was then doge of Venice, and very important events had 
happened at Venice since the death of Andrea Dandolo. 
These I must relate in the next chapter. 

' No armed Genoese ship was to enter the Adriatic, which the lords 
of Milan call " the gulf of the Lord Doge and the Commune of Venice," 
and no armed Venetian ship was to appear between the harbour of 
Pisa and Marseilles {Liber-Jur. Gen., ii. c. 624). 



The correctors of the doge's promissione appointed on 
Andrea Dandolo's death made some of the usual unim- 
portant alterations in the way of strengthening the control 
exercised over the doge by his counsellors and the councils 
of the citizens, the Great Council, the Pregadi, and the 
Forty. The electors who were then nominated chose for 
his successor the man whose name has been frequently 
mentioned before in this history, Marin Faliero. He was 
already an old man, seventy-six years of age, according to 
Marin Sanudo, the biographer of the doges, twenty-nine 
years older than his predecessor, who was only forty-seven 
at his death. The new doge was of one of the oldest noble 
families in Venice. The Altino Chronicle speaks of them 
under the name of Frauduni or Faletri, and suggests that 
their name had been originally Fanestris, from the old mari- 
time town of Fano, near Ancona ; it says that their family 
came to Rialto from Equilio. The Falieri did not belong to 
the first and most select of the noble families, those who had 
taken part in the election of the first doge ; but they had 
given two doges to the Republic — Vitale at the end of the 
eleventh, and Ordelafo at the beginning of the twelfth cen- 
tury. In those days the family was divided into three 
branches, Anafesti, Ordelafi, and Dodoni, to the last of 
which those two doges belonged. At the date we have 
now reached we do not know whether these branches still 
existed, but there were still branches named after the con- 
trade or parishes in which they lived ; the new doge 


belonged to the Falieri of Santi Apostoli. His grandfather 
was one Marco, ^ who seems to have died before 1310; his 
father, Marco's younger son, was named Jacopo ; his uncle 
and namesake, his father's elder brother, was an important 
person, who was several times a counsellor of the doge ; 
was in 1322 a Procurator of Saint Mark; in 1328 was 
elected captain of the Paisanatico in Istria; and in 1329, 
shortly before his death, was sent on an embassy to King 
Robert of Naples. 

His nephew, who was now elected doge, is first heard of as 
one of the Council of Ten from 1 3 r 5 to 1 3 2 o, when Bajamonte 
Tiepolo and his fellow-conspirators were being tried. In 
1320 he was one of two members of that Council who were 
empowered to spend 10,000 lire di piccoli, with the object 
of working zealously and carefully to bring about the 
death- of Bajamonte. In 1327 he ceased to be on the 
Council of Ten, after an embassy to Bologna, on being 
elected one of the Anziani alia Face. In 1333 he had 
been given the command of a fleet in the Black Sea to 
protect Venetian merchant vessels sailing to Tana, and had 
been called upon to advise upon letters received from the 
captains appointed by the Pope to command the troops 
of the league against the Turks. At this time he was an 
elected savio or commissioner, an officer of a class coming 
more and more into use, elected generally in bodies of 
four or five, to deal with some defined business, and hold- 
ing office only for a few months.^ 

He was at this time fifty-six years of age, and had 
been for eighteen years in high employment in the State. 

^ Cecchetti in Nuovo Archivio Fen., iii. pt. i. p. 183 ; Lazzarini in 
A'. A. v., V. pt. i., 1893, pp. 95 sqq. A genealogist of the Trecento 
says of the Falieri : "inter ipsos nobilitate plurimum interest, quamvis 
unam gerant armaturam et se expelant de consilio." The last words, 
I think, mean that they exclude one another from the Great Council, 
on which only one of a family could sit. 

- They were to bring about "sollicite et attente mortem et desola- 
lionem " of Bajamonte (A'. A. V., v. pt. i. p. 106). 

^ Of these Savi see ante, p. 386, n. 2. 


From this year he began to be employed as podesta, some- 
times in places tributary to Venice, such as the islands of 
Lesina and Brazza on the Dalmatian coast, or Chioggia, 
sometimes in foreign cities or districts of Italy, Padua, 
Treviso, Serravalle. The latter place is on the lower slopes 
of the Venetian Alps, north of Conegliano, in the Val 
Mareno, which had been the seat of a count belonging to 
the important family of Camino, holding it under the 
Bishop of Ceneda. In 1349 the valley, with its castle of 
Coste, was ceded by Rizzardo da Camino to Marin Faliero, 
as guarantor of a loan to the Camini made by the Procu- 
rators of St. Mark ; ^ and Faliero henceforth appears in 
Venetian documents as Comes Vallis Mareni, to which 
title that of Miles was added, after he was knighted in 
March 1353 by the Emperor Charles IV. in his ducal castle 
of Vienna. Thither Faliero had gone with Marco Corner (or 
Cornaro) on an embassy in reference to a claim made by the 
King of Hungary for the cession of Dalmatia, as wrongfully 
taken from him. The claim was referred to the Emperor, 
and the king and the two Venetians were heard by Charles 
in Vienna in presence of four of the electors, the three 
Rhenish archbishops, and the Marquis of Brandenburg. 
The Emperor's decision had been that Venice should keep 
Dalmatia, but pay a money compensation to the king. 

Thus Marin Faliero, before he became doge, had been 
conversant with the highest political questions and in 
intimate relations with the greatest personages of the 
Christian world. We do not know what was the connexion 
between his service as Podesta of Serravalle and his ac- 
quisition of the dignity of Count of Val Mareno ; there 
would have been nothing strange in a rich Venetian official 
lending money to a family of landowners resident near the 
seat of his government. We know, from other instances, 

' Lazzarini in N. A. V., xiii. pt. ii. pp. 322-24. Falier received 
between 2000 and 3000 lire di piccoli from the feudo, and kept in the 
fort at his own expense a sufficient garrison of nine men. 

428 VENICE IN THE 13th c^- 14th CENTURIES 

that ambition of feudal rank would be regarded with sus- 
picion at Venice, and this may explain the curious vacilla- 
tion as to FaUero's appointment to the command against 
Zara, to which I have referred on a previous page.^ 
His services to his country in the quarrel with the Scali- 
gers, in the long struggle with Genoa in Romania and 
the Black Sea, and in the subjugation of Zara (though the 
chief command here was denied him) show that he was not 
seriously distrusted. But the evidence we have of "the 
last infirmity of noble minds " in his character throws a 
lurid light on the tragical denouement of his career.^ 

At the time of his election he was away from Venice on 
an embassy to the Pope at Avignon.^ In order to reach 
Venice in the shortest possible time, he had to pass through 
the Milanese territory, and the republic was now at war 
with the lord of Milan, who had become lord paramount 
and protector of Genoa. The Archbishop Giovanni, how- 
ever, who was just at the end of his long life, made no 
difficulty about a safe-conduct, which was sent to the doge- 
elect by the hand of Stefanello, one of the secretaries. It 
found him at Verona, from whence he came, apparently 
down the Adige by boat, to Chioggia. There the Bucin- 
toro awaited him, but a thick fog prevailing — it was the 
5th of October — made it dangerous to take the large ship 
through the shallow and tortuous channels leading to the 
city. So the doge and his suite got into piatte, the flat- 
bottomed boats we read of in the time of the Plague, in 

^ V. ante, pp. 386, 387. 

^ The impatience of his disposition is also shown by the fact of his 
having boxed the ears of the Bishop of Treviso for being late at a pro- 
cession. This was in 1339, when he was podesta at Treviso (Roman., 
iii. 178). 

' Petrarch tells us that he had gone to Avignon on a mission of 
peace, I presimie to get the Pope to mediate between Venice and the 
lord of Milan " dum ad ripam Rhodani pro negotio pacis, per me 
primum et mox per eum frustra tentato apud Romanum Pontificem 
legationis officio fungitur, Ducatus honor non petenti, imo quidem 
ignaro sibi obtigit " {Epist. Fain., xix. 9, pp. 539, 540, Fracassetti, 
vol. ii.). 


order to land on the Riva by the Ponte della PagUa. But 
in the fog they missed the proper landing-place and were 
put on shore at the Molo, opposite the two columns of the 
Piazzetta. The tragedy that followed made men observe it 
as an evil omen that the new doge walked to his palace 
over the space between the columns that had an ill repute 
as the haunt of gamblers and the place to which the heads 
of malefactors, on which a price had been set, were re- 
quired to be brought.! But this evil omen may be 
apocryphal, as some of the detailed story I give below 
almost certainly is. 

At the time of his accession the old doge, it has been said, 
had been recently married to a young second wife,^ a lady 
named Lodovica or Aloica Gradenigo, of the great family 
that had given two doges to the republic in the last seventy 
years. Her grandfather, Bertuccio, had been brother to 
Bartolomeo Gradenigo, doge from 1339 to 1342, but was 
not a son of Pietro, the founder of the aristocratic con- 
stitution.^ Nothing is known to the discredit of either the 

^ Laurentius de Monacis, p. 315 ; Romanin, iii. p. 177. Petrarch 
refers to this circumstance in his often-quoted words: " sinistro pede 
Palatium ingressus" {Epist. Fani., xix. 9 ut supra). 

- The story implies that she was young and beautifiil ; but the 
pitiless accuracy of documents in the hands of Venetian antiquaries 
has been held to show that she was certainly over forty and probably 
over fifty, having been married to Marin before the year 1335, and 
probably born very early in the fourteenth century (Cecchetti in Arch. 
Ven., xxix. 202 ; Lazzarini in .A''. A. V., xiii. pt. i., 1897, pp. 68 sqq.). 
The popular version of the story is given in few words by the Abb^ de 
Sade in his Mim. de Fraufois Petrarque, iii. p. 415 : " Le vieux doge 
avait une jolie femme qui ne lui etait pas fidele." 

■^ Almost every statement in this paragraph has been disputed. It 
has been said of Aloica Gradenigo that she was grand-daughter of 
Piero Gradenigo, the doge ; that she was no near relation of his. 
Every one familiar with genealogical studies knows how much con- 
fusion is caused by aunts and nieces or cousins having the same Chris- 
tian name. We may be certain that after her husband's death she 
lived in the contrada of San Severo, and there made a will in 1384. in 
which she styled herself " da qua indiedro Dogaressa de Veniexia " ; 
but this will is not now to be found in the Archivio NotariU — only 
another later will that was declared invalid, but which also describes 
her as olim ducissa. The official note of the punishment of Michele 

430 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

doge or his wife in their conjugal relations ; but an old 
husband of a young wife has in all times been exposed to 
the criticism and ribaldry of profligate and thoughtless 
young people, such as must have been numerous amongst 
the wealthy aristocracy of Venice. We have no contem- 
porary account of the details of the offence given ; but we 
are told by Lorenzo de Monacis, a writer of authority, who 
held the high office of Chancellor of Crete and died in 
1429, only seventy-five years after Marin Faliero's acces- 
sion, that " certain young nobles wrote up some offensive 
words in corners of the interior of the palace, and (which 
more angered the doge) were punished by a slight censure." ^ 
Later chroniclers connected the offensive words with his young 
wife, and ascribed them to Michele Steno, a young man of 
twenty-three, who lived to do good service to his country 
in many capacities, was in 1386 a distinguished Procurator 
of St. Mark, and at length in 1400 doge. He was present 
at the doge's ball given in the palace on the last day of the 
carnival after the bull-baiting {caccia dei tori) in the Piazza, 
and on account of some rudeness towards one of the ladies 
in attendance on the dogaressa, had been turned out of 
the ballroom by the doge. In revenge for this he was 
said to have fastened on the back of the doge's chair, or 
on the wall of one of the rooms, a placard decorated with 
a pair of horns and, according to one account,'^ a grossly 

Steno and the others for the " foul and slanderous words " written in 
carnino domini diicis makes no mention of the doge's wife. Another 
note does refer to the doge's nephew (or niece, if nepote can mean 
niece, as Ducange says). The most instructive document on this whole 
subject is R. Fulin's article in Arch. Ven., vii. 99-109. The questions 
involved are also well discussed in Molmenti's Dogaressa di Venezia, 
pp. 134-50. This book should not be consulted in the English trans- 
lation. Molmenti is inclined to think the placard contained a calumny 
on the doge's niece, i.e. his nephew's wife, a lady of the Contarini family ; 
and, though not conclusive, his reasons for this are very strong. 

^ Lib. xvi. p. 316. 

■^ This account from the MS. Chronicle of Sivos appears to Stefani, 
the author of the article on the Steno family in Litta's Famiglie Celebri 
Italiane, vol. ii. tavola ii. " tener piii d'ogn' altra la proprieta del 


indecent inscription ; but, according to the common version, 
one not going beyond the licence allowed in those days, and 
which we could easily credit in the mouth of the young 
rufflers or the fine ladies of " Romeo and Juliet." " Marin 
Falier Doxe, de la bela ?noier, altri la galde (i.e. gode) 
e lu la ?nantien." Such placards {polizzini) were not an 
unparalleled insult — eleven years later, in 1366, we have 
a record of one accused before the Council of Ten for 
having spoken a song or a sonnet {cantionem vel sonetum) 
libellous to the nobles of Venice — and might even be 
looked upon as a recognised vehicle of popular criticism 
on those in authority, like the verses hung on Pasquin at 
Rome.^ On this occasion proceedings were taken for the 
punishment of the offender, who was known, but the light- 
ness of the penalty imposed appeared to the doge to add 
insult to injury. - 

Lorenzo de Monacis ^ has some weighty remarks on the 
astonishing fact that a man full of days and reputed so 
grave a statesman should have been so cruel as to plot so 
great a wickedness as the betrayal of his country. " The 
grave wisdom of a doge was bound to disregard the levity 
of youth and acquiesce in the decision of the government 
of his city, from which it is clear enough that he had no 
just cause, but sought an occasion, for doing ill. Elated 
by the greatness of his honours, and not content with the 
venerated place of supreme Magistrate of his country, a 
place honoured by all the princes of the world, he forgot 
the great benefits he had received from his country, and, 
driven by merciless ambition, plotted by the aid of some 
citizens of the populace to overthrow the constitution of 
the state and, having destroyed the Nobility, to exchange 

' Instances are given by Cecchetti in an article in Archivio Veneto, 
i. p. 364, one from the records of the Council of Ten in the time of 
Andrea Dandolo, the other dating from the time when Michele Steno 
was himself doge. 

- See R. Fulin's article, nt supra, in Arch. Ven., vii. 99-109. 

^ U.S., lib. .\vi. p. 315. 

432 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

the dignity of the ancient Dukedom, that had come to him 
by unbroken succession, for a new and violent usurpation." 

Raphayn Caresini, the Great Chancellor, one of the con- 
tin uators of Dandolo, who was also a contemporary,^ 
expresses the same astonishment : " It is distressing to 
remember that a man in so excellent a city, in so righteous 
and splendid a dignity, sprung from so glorious and most 
loyal a family as the Faledri, one made illustrious by the 
belt of imperial knighthood, rich and in himself certainly 
virtuous, should have been unwilling to practise virtue,'' 
and attributes his degeneracy to the instigation of a malig- 
nant spirit. The malignant spirit may have been the desire 
of vengeance for an outrageous insult to himself and his 
wife, allowed to go unpunished, as the popular story of 
later chroniclers goes. We must, however, always remember 
that the aristocratic government was naturally held answer- 
able for the miserable defeat of Porto Lungo, in which 
some nobles among the commanders of ships had been 
found wanting in skill and courage. And this would also 
naturally anger in particular the seafaring population of 

The story vouched for by existing records begins with a 
quarrel between Marco Barbaro, a patrician, i.e. a member 
of the Great Council, and the authorities of the Arsenal, in 
the course of which the Admiral Stefano Ghiazza, surnamed 
Gisello, a man very popular in the city, was struck in the 
face by Barbaro. The Admiral {Amtniraglio or A7niragio) 
at Venice was not, as we might suppose, the supreme 
commander of the fleet, the Capitan Geftcra! da Alar, but 
the head of the Arsenalotti or Workmen of the Arsenal, 
who were, as we have seen, a body of highly paid and 
highly trusted artisans, with a military organisation, who 
had amongst other privileges that of guarding the ducal 
palace during an interregnum, and their Admiral was 

^ Apud Muratori, R. I. S., xii. col. 424. Caresini speaks as one 
who knew personally Andrea Dandolo (id. col. 417). 


merely one of themselves, an artisan of special and acknow- 
ledged ability,^ but the subordinate of the Proveditor 
deir Arsenale, and not a nobleman. Gisello complained 
to the doge of the treatment he had received and of similar 
ill-treatment that the master of a ship, Bertucci Isarello, 
had experienced from Giovanni Dandolo at the Camera 
deir Armatnento^ and inveighed against the insolence of 
the nobles of the Great Council, and, when the doge warmly 
sympathised, and referred to the difficulty that he, though 
doge, had to get redress for insult, muttered, " But one ties 
up mischievous beasts, or, if one cannot tie them up, knocks 
them on the head." This speech, if it did not first suggest 
a conspiracy against the aristocracy, seems to have brought 
it about. We hear of Gisello and Bertucci Isarello, and 
the father-in-law of the latter, Filippo Calendario the stone- 
mason ^ (whom tradition has very consistently maintained 
to be the architect of the Gothic part of the doge's palace), 
being sent for by the doge and closeted with him, and of a 
kinsman of the doge, Bertuccio Falier, being one of the 

Petrarch, writing from Milan in April 1355 to Guidone 

^ Yriarte, Vie ifitn Patricicn, p. 245. 

^ The Camera dell' Armamento is shown on the plan of the doge's 
palace, tavole x. and x. bis in Zanotto. It appears to have been on 
the ground floor, at the south-west corner, near the prisons, and the 
offices of the Gastaldi Ducali, Sopragastaldo, and others — possibly 
of the Ammiraglio also. The room No. 8 is called on tavola x. bis, as 
I read it, " Chanierin deP Armaf)iento" ; but Zanotti's text calls it 
Alagazzino. This is, no doubt, the Camera dell' Armamento men- 
tioned in our account. Armamento meant not only the arms for the 
ships, but their whole equipment. 

* The best account of Calendario is in Cadorin {Pareri di xv. Archi- 
tetti, pp. 122-25), who quotes from Giov. Battista Egnazio a statement 
that he designed the colonnade round the Piazza of St. Mark ("forum 
ipsum columnis intercolumiisque ornavit "), and also added to the 
palace the " comitium majus" for the counsellors to meet in for the 
election of magistrates. He is sometimes called " Tajapiera" "stone- 
cutter," sometimes 7/iarittaio. Pietro Baseggio. whose daughter mar- 
ried a son of Calendario, was "proius" of the ducal palace, which 
appears to be equivalent to chief architect or builder. See also Lazzarini 
in N'. A. v., xiii. pt. i. p. 76. 

2 £ 

434 VENICE IN THE 13th & 14th CENTURIES 

Settimo, Archdeacon of Genoa, gives an account of the 
execution of the doge, but confesses that he does not know 
the cause of it or the details of his treason, of which various 
accounts were in circulation.^ The Council of Ten, which 
took the leading part in detecting and punishing the con- 
spiracy, was always secret in its methods and would doubt- 
less not publish the evidence. The Quarantia Criminale, 
the highest court for such a matter, may have taken part 
in the investigation, but^ whether by accident or intention- 
ally, its registers for the years 1355 to 1367 have dis- 
appeared.- The particulars of the conspiracy given by the 
chroniclers are to the effect that it was agreed that a rising 
should take place on the 15 th April, that disturbances 
should be provoked in different parts of the city, to quell 
which Bertuccio Falier should occupy the Piazza of St. 
Mark with a body of armed men strong enough to assassi- 
nate the nobles who resisted, and proclaim Marin Falier 
prince. Till the fixed day arrived the conspirators busied 
themselves to stir up the people against the nobles, and 
are said to have secretly committed outrages on quiet 
citizens in many parts of the city, calling out to one 
another in the dark the names of nobles, that those 
assaulted might think that their assailants bore noble 

The conspiracy was widespread, but we are told that 
many of those involved in it did not know that the doge 
was one of the conspirators. He sharply reproved Gisello, 
who had assembled a crowd one evening in the Piazza to 

^ " Causas rerum ut poetce solent in primordiis suorum operum 
explicare, si comperta loqui velim, nequeo : tam ambigue et tam varie 
referuntur" {Epist. Fam., xix. 9, p. 539 of Fracassetti). 

- Ronianin, iii. p. 183, n. 2. For the significance of the entry " non 
scribatur " in the Register [Misti del Co/is. dei x.), where the note of 
the doge's trial would naturally have come, see Lazzarini's article on 
Marin Faliero in N. A. I'., xiii. pt. i. pp. 5-7. He thinks the refer- 
ence is to a special book kept for '^^rocessi" or trials, and now lost, in 
which, and not in the register for the date, the minute of the trial was 
to be entered. 


air his grievances against the nobles. On the 8th of April 
a few arrests were made, probably of those who had taken 
part in Gisello's demonstration ; but till the 14th, the 
eve of the day fixed for the revolution, no suspicion of the 
serious state of affairs seems to have been entertained. 
On the 14th, however, grave information came to the govern- 
ment from two quarters.^ One of the conspirators, a 
furrier of Bergamo, named Beltrame or Bertram, called on 
a friend and protector Nicolo Lioni, and entreated him not 
to leave his house next day, and when pressed to give 
his reasons told all he knew, which did not include the 
complicity of the doge. Lioni went at once to the doge, 
who made light of the information, but Lioni, not satisfied 
with this, called on Giovanni Gradenigo of San Polo and 
Marco Cornaro of Santi Apostoli — both of them future 
doges — and brought them to his house to join in the 
examination of Beltrame. Both were convinced of the 
truth of his story, which was confirmed by information 
brought to the heads of the Council of Ten at the same 
time, by one Marco Nigro of Castello.- The Ten had 
other information in their possession that made them 
suspect the doge. This made things look so serious that 
the Ten were called together at once in the Monastery of 
San Salvatore, and immediately afterwards a larger body, 
composed of the doge's counsellors, the Avogadori, the