“Doge” was the title reserved for the elective Head of State of the Republic of Venice. For over a thousand years, from 697 to 1797, the Doge was the head of state of the Venetian Republic. Considered ancient duke of the Byzantine dominion, then elective sovereign, he became in the centuries supreme magistrate and image of the majesty of the State, but without power until Venice lost its millenary independence to Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Doge was a member of the Venetian patriciate and was elected by the Major Council through a complicated succession of elections and draws in order to avoid fraud. Once elected he announced his fidelity to the laws of the Republic through the ducal promise and his wife was crowned “dogaressa”.
The office was for life, the end of the dogeship meant the death of the doge in office, and was progressively depowered in order to avoid the birth of a lordship.
Generally the Doge wore scarlet robes, ermine mantle and ducal horn, a sort of crown derived from Byzantine customs.
Many were doges in Venice who over the years took power in the Republic. In total, there were 120 Venetian doges, a very high number. Everyone gave or took away something in Venice. However, at least one doge really deserves to be remembered: his name is Enrico Dandolo. Thanks to the skill and charisma of the old doge Dandolo, Venice inherited wealth, trade and centuries of prosperity and glory.
Location: Palazzo Ducale, Venice