Front Cover
 Title Page
 Origin of Venice
 Agnello Partecipazio, Doge X
 The brides of Venice
 The first crusades
 Sebastiano Ziani
 Enrico Dandolo, Doge XLI
 Back Cover

Group Title: One shilling series
Title: Pictures from the early history of Venice, A.D. 403-1205
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 Material Information
Title: Pictures from the early history of Venice, A.D. 403-1205
Series Title: One shilling series
Alternate Title: Pictures from Venice
Physical Description: 128, 2 p., 3 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Phillimore, Catherine Mary
Whymper, Josiah Wood, 1813-1903 ( Engraver )
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) -- Committee of General Literature and Education
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Pott, Young, and Company ( Publisher )
Oxford University Press ( Printer )
Publisher: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge ;
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
Pott, Young, & Co.
Place of Publication: London
New York
Manufacturer: Clarendon Press
Publication Date: c1870
Copyright Date: 1870
Subject: History -- Juvenile literature -- Venice (Italy)   ( lcsh )
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Bldn -- 1875
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United States -- New York -- New York
England -- Oxford
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General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors; illustrations engraved by J. Whimper.
Statement of Responsibility: by Catherine Mary Phillimore ; published under the direction of the Committee of General Literature and Education, appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Origin of Venice
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    Agnello Partecipazio, Doge X
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
    The brides of Venice
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 28a
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    The first crusades
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
    Sebastiano Ziani
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 84a
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Enrico Dandolo, Doge XLI
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
    Back Cover
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
Full Text

ey Uiubii

Arthur McTaggart Short

Claude Place Cardiff

The Baldwin Library
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A.D. 403-1205.


Author of
"The King's Namesake," "Thoughts on Marie Antoinette," &c. &c.


Society for rrontoting firistian RnobleBge.
Sold at the Depositories:
17 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields;
4 Royal Exchange; 48 Piccadilly;
And by all Booksellers.

New York: Pott, Young, & Co.

For the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge,


I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs;
A Palace and a Prison on each hand:
I saw from out the waves her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me and a dying glory smiles
O'er the far times, where many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lions' marble piles,
When Venice sat in state, throned on a hundred islesl'

"She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers:
And such she was;-her daughters had their dowers
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
Pour'd in her lap all gems in sparkling showers;
In purple was she robed, and of her feast.
Monarchs partook, and deem'd their dignity increased."
Byron, 'Childe Harold's Pilgrimage,"
Canto IV. sc. I, 2.
VENICE! Perhaps there are few to whom the mere
sound of the name does not suggest some such vision as
that which Childe Harold describes in these verses. They
recall to our imagination the chief features of the enchant-
ing scene:-the wonderful city, rising out of the midst
of the waters, where East and West seem as it were to
touch hands and combine to make one strangely beautiful
result:-the rich Byzantine Basilica of San Marco, with
its mosque-like cupolas, contrasting with the tall campaniles
and splendid specimens of Palladian architecture of the
other churches, and grand stone palaces stretching with
magnificent flight of steps right down into the blue waters
of the Lagune,:-the Piazza San Marco, with its granite
columns, so eminently characteristic of Venice, the Rialto,
the Bridge of Sighs, and Fortune's gilded ball shifting with


every breeze, only too appropriate to the once proud, now
fallen city.
However melancholy may be the reflection that her
ancient glory has, together with her nationality, passed
away, and Venice, now merely a city of the kingdom of
Italy, is very different from the proud Republic of past
centuries; yet sufficient traces of her former grandeur
remain to indicate in some measure what that past must
have been.
Take for example any chamber in the ducal palace, wide
and empty as they now are, only trodden by the passing
crowd of tourists and sightseers, yet it requires no very
vivid imagination to see it again re-peopled with stately
senators and doges, and to hear approaching along the
corridors the rustle of those gorgeous garments which the
great Venetian artists, in the palmy days of the Republic,
so loved to paint.
In Venice everything is in itself a picture, and all the
objects remain on the mind as clearly depicted as on the
canvas of a painter.
It would seem, then, as if a series of pictures would be
the best method of recalling, once again, her gorgeous
past. The mere chronicle of historical facts is, in truth,
all too dry to represent her marvellous story, and would
convey a very inadequate idea of her splendour and mag-
nificence; and therefore it is proposed in this little work
to place, as much in a pictorial form as possible, before the
reader the various phases of her history; to select, where
it is possible, one biography and group around it con-
temporaneous events; and thus, while preserving one
general outline, present at the same time a particular
picture illustrative of each great period of her early
If, figuratively speaking, these pages should succeed in
reflecting any ray of the especial glow and beauty of
Venice, it would be because, having twice visited this
romantic city, the writer still retains a vivid recollection
of its ineffaceable charm.


A.D. 403-717.
"Mark by what wretched steps their glory grows
From dirt and sea-weed as proud Venice rose."
Pope, "Essay on Man," Epistle III.

FiT is indeed a singular reflection that the
famous Republic, which played its part among
Sthe most renowned of the Italian states, which
conquered Constantinople, resisted an European
league, and was for a long time the chief com-
mercial city of the world, should have had her
origin in those fugitives who sought refuge from
the sword of the Barbarian in the uncultivated
islands of the Adriatic.
Here at least they hoped to escape further
pursuit. Their barren place of retreat presented
no allurement to tempt the invader, and the
access to it was alike difficult and dangerous.
"At the extremity of the gulf," says Gibbon,
where the Hadriatic feebly imitates the tides of
the ocean, near an hundred small islands are
separated by shallow water from the Continent
and protected from the waves by several long

6 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

slips of land which admit the entrance of vessels
through some secret and narrow channels. Till
the middle of the fifth century, these remote and
sequestered spots remained without cultivation,
with few inhabitants, and without a name'."
Gibbon remarks also, in another passage, that
although it was Attila's boast "that the grass
never grew on the spot where his horse had trod,"
yet he undesignedly laid the foundation of Venice.
But her existence can be traced to a still more
distant source. Some fifty years before the in-
vasion of the Huns in 452, the inhabitants of the
Roman province of Venetia had fled to these
islands before the face of Alaric and his savage
Goths. After his defeat by the Roman general
Stilicho many of the fugitives returned to their
homes on the continent, but they were soon com-
pelled to leave them a second time to pillage and
destruction. The flourishing cities of Aquileia,
Altinum, Concordia, and Padua, were reduced to
ashes by the Barbarian, rightly termed The
Scourge of God," and their inhabitants poured in
troops upon those islands which had already
afforded them a refuge in similar need.
Without entering into minute geographical
details, the islands selected by the fugitives may
be described as situated at the mouths of the
numerous rivers which throw themselves into the
sea, over a space of thirty leagues on the north-
western coast of the Gulf of Venice, which extends
from Grado to Chiozza. These islands are em-
1 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. vi. c. xxxv,
p. 120.

Origin of Venice. 7

banked against the open sea by long narrow
intervening slips of land which make a kind of
natural breakwater.
This breakwater, for which aggere" is the
technical Italian term, has been formed by the
deposits borne down by the rivers in their rapid
fall, and not arrested in its course till it meets the
sea, where it has raised itself into a natural and
stable rampart against the inroads of the waves.
Thus protected against the sea, the channels of
the great rivers, the Lizonzo, the Tagliamento, the
Livenza, the Adige, and the Po, make them diffi-
cult of access from the land, a difficulty which is
further increased by a bed of soft mud covered
with water only one or two feet in depth, and
extending about twenty or thirty miles from the
outer shore. This expanse, neither sea or land,
and called the Lagune, is navigable only by skiffs
drawing a few inches of water; but where it is
traversed by the channels of the rivers, or where
canals have been dug for the purpose, large ships
may ride securely. Consequently the navigation
is intricate and difficult, except for those well-
acquainted with the different water-courses.
The islands within are scattered over various
parts of the Lagune, some divided by narrow
channels, others at a greater distance act as out-
posts, and the chief of these, "Rialto 1," had for
some time served as a port to Padua.
The waves of barbarism continued to sweep
over Italy for many a century more, and beat

I Rialto, an abbreviation of Rivo alto.

8 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

against the feeble Western empire, which at last
tottered to its fall before the attacks of Odoacer
and his Heruli (476).
With this branch of the great Roman empire,
Venice, in spite of her origin from Venetia, one
of the Roman provinces, had but little to do.
Various causes, the translation of the seat of the
empire to Constantinople, the feebleness of the
emperors, the invasion of the Barbarians with their
attendant evils of provinces devastated, towns
sacked and burnt, and a terrified and fleeing popu-
lation, necessarily loosened the ties which united
the provinces to an empire powerless to help
them. Thus its fall was comparatively unheeded
by the Venetians. Indeed their isolated position
prevented their keeping pace with the march of
events in Italy, till Theodoric the Ostrogoth king,
who had, in his turn, conquered and slain the
conqueror Odoacer, applied to the Venetians to
assist him in the transport of oil and wine for his
troops from Istria to Ravenna.
The letter of Cassiodorus, the minister of Theo-
doric, containing this request, is an exact picture
of the condition of Venice at that time. It is a
curious testimony to the industry, commerce, and
naval proficiency of a state which had already
made itself respected, although as yet not a
century old.
Venice, now highly to be esteemed,' says
Cassiodorus, "is bounded on the south by the Po
and Ravenna, on the east the sight of the Adriatic
gladdens her eyes. The ebbing and flowing tides
now reveal and now conceal a portion of the

Origin of Venice. 9

beach, so as to present by turns the aspect of an
unbroken line of land or that of a number of
islands divided by canals. Like water-fowl, you
have fixed your nests on the bosom of the waves.
You have joined together some of the scattered
islands, and you have erected dykes as barriers
to the fury of the waves. Fish is, with you, the
universal food of all ranks. There is no difference
between the poor and the rich: your dwelling
houses are all alike, and thus there is no cause
for the one to envy the other. Instead of pasture
lands you have fields of salt; these are the sources
of your riches, and hence you derive your sub-
sistence .... It is possible to do without gold, but
not without salt, which is so essential to human
life. Repair then your boats which you attach
to the walls of your habitations as others would
fasten up their horses and their live stock, and keep
them in readiness to assist in the transport of oil
and wine from Istria, as soon as you shall receive
the order to do so from Laurentius1."
This epistle of the Pretorian prefect on behalf
of the Ostrogoth king to the magistrates of a
republic of fishermen has been carefully considered
by many historians, in order to find out whether
or not the Venetian state was independent of the
new Barbarian king of Italy. The Venetians have
insisted much upon the absolute and immemorial
independence of their country-but it would seem
scarcely probable that a town just struggling into
existence in the vicinity of so great a power

' Daru, Hist. de Venise, vol. i. pp. 22, 23.

io Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

could have been entirely independent of it. The
tone of this imperial letter, half mild and half
authoritative, would rather suggest that some
amicable arrangement existed between the greater
and the smaller state, whereby the assistance of
Venice as an ally of Theodoric was partly claimed
and partly recognized as an obligation.
Nevertheless the natural ally of Venice was the
remaining Eastern branch of the old Roman em-
pire, to whom she looked for protection against
the constant incursions of the Barbarians; and
hence arose her connection with the East whence
she afterwards drew her apparently inexhaustible
When therefore the two famous generals of that
empire, Belisarius and Narses, were fighting their
brilliant campaigns against the Ostrogoths and
Goths in Italy, the Venetians gladly furnished
ships, first to Belisarius to convey his troops over
the marshes to Ravenna in 533, and again in
552 to Narses when struggling with Totila king
of the Goths.
The Barbarians on this occasion had laid all
the country under water from Verona to the
mouth of the Po, so that there was no way of
transporting the troops of the empire from Aquileia
to Ravenna except by water.
In return for the ships lent him by the Venetians,
Narses made a vow that, in the event of his being
victorious, he would erect two churches in Venice,
one to St. Theodore and one to St. Geminiano.
Success crowned the joint efforts of the imperial
army and the Venetian ships. The siege of

Origin of Venice. 1

Ancona was raised, the host of the Goths put to
flight. The Venetians returned covered with
glory to their city, and Narses with them to fulfil
his vow. Both churches were built, but no trace
of either exists now; one was absorbed into the
Basilica of San Marco, and the second pulled
down to enlarge the Piazza.
Meanwhile the increase of activity and industry
in the islands consequent upon the growth of the
population and the additional funds brought by the
refugees, made a change of government necessary,
the number of magistrates originally chosen not
sufficing to the present condition of things. It was
unanimously agreed therefore that each island-
and at that time twelve islands were inhabited-
should choose its own tribune or magistrate for
the administration of justice. These magistrates,
who were to be renewed every year, were account-
able for their actions to the general assem-
bly of the colony which had alone the right of
pronouncing upon the affairs of the Common-
Hence it will be seen that the government of
Venice was originally a democracy. The com-
mon bond of poverty and misfortune, to which in
truth they owed their unmolested independence,
tended to produce an equality of classes, especially
where the humble occupations of fishing and com-
merce were their only means of subsistence. Thus
united they maintained their independence; and
one of their first actions in concert, which laid
the foundation of their naval renown, was a suc-
cessful withstanding of the slave corsairs who

12 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

infested the shores of the Adriatic. This first
essay of her power gave confidence to the state,
and enabled her afterwards to repel enemies of a
more dangerous nature, while she made use of the
vessels armed for this purpose to forbid the navi-
gation of her Lagune to the inhabitants of the
continent and even to Padua, which had originally
established a port on the Rialto itself.
Once again, in the seventh century, the Barbarians,
in the shape of the Longobardians, under their
king Alboin, poured into Italy, and the population
of the Venetian islands was still further increased
by the fugitives from the great towns on the
continent. In vain did the Greek empire make
a feeble effort to defend the only three towns,
Altino, Concordia, and Opitergio, which remained
to her out of the ancient province of Venetia.
The Barbarians put their army and armament to
the rout, sacked and pillaged all the towns along
the coast, and the inhabitants again fled for refuge
to the islands. Nor was there this time any
prospect of their being able to return to the
continent, for the Longobardians, or Lombards,
settled themselves permanently in the country
which they had invaded, and which has ever since
borne their name. Moreover, being Arians, they
persecuted the believers of the true faith, and
thus many bishops were driven from their sees to
the islands where they sought to establish new
dioceses. Among these was the patriarch of
Aquileia, who fled to Grado followed by all his
clergy and people, and bearing with him the holy
vessels of the church. But the Arian king of

Origin of Venice. 13

the Lombards immediately appointed an Arian
patriarch to Aquileia; and a perpetual feud was
carried on between the two patriarchates for more
than six hundred years.
This rapid and perpetual increase of the Vene-
tian people was not however by any means to be
looked upon as an unmixed good. The magistrates,
whose importance had increased with their en-
larged functions, abused their power, and the
universal discontent which they raised nearly
brought about the ruin of the newly-formed state.
An assembly convened at Heraclea for the purpose
of changing the form of government, all but ended
in a general massacre, so fierce were the passions
of the people. It resulted, however, in a proposal
on the part of Cristoforo, patriarch of Grado, to
concentrate the power in the hands of one person,
to whom should be given not the title of king,
but that of "Duce," i.e. duke or chief. The
common people quickly turned the word into
doxe, which was again repolished by the Italians
into doge. This proposition was received with
vociferous applause, and the assembly proceeded
at once to an election.
Paoluccio Anafesto was chosen doge in the year
697, and became the first of that illustrious line
of princes unique alike in their power, their glory,
and their name. The electors were the founders of
the families of Contarini, Morosi, Tiepolo, Michieli,
Falieri, Dandolo, Badoaro Sanudo, Gradenigo,
Memmo, Polani, and Barozzi, all afterwards more
or less distinguished in Venetian annals.
The first three centuries of the history of Venice

14 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

thus rapidly sketched, the narrative pauses, in order
to consider the important moment when, in one
day, she passed from a democracy to.an elective
monarchy, a monarchy which in all but the name
was one of the most despotic character. The
Venetians make it a point of honour to prove
that by this change Venice neither lost her title
of Republic nor yet her liberty. But this is a
mere question of words. If the doge was not
called a sovereign, he had at first all the power
belonging to the kingly office. If he was assisted
iri his government by a council of state, he himself
nominated the members of that council. He had
the power of convoking the general assembly, of
selecting the judges and tribunes, and appeals lay
from them to his jurisdiction. By his order eccle-
siastical synods were summoned; and although the
election of prelates was decided by the people and
clergy, yet the right of their investiture, which
operated as a veto, belonged to the doge, and
they were only enthroned with his permission.
Finally, with him lay the choice of peace or war,
and many examples exist to prove that the Republic
was often plunged into war merely to avenge the
private quarrels of her princes.
The people were fortunate in the choice of
their first doge. Paoluccio Anafesto, son of the
tribune of Heraclea, was well fitted for the illus-
trious office assigned to him. After his election
he was borne along in triumph on the shoulders
of the people, in order that he might be seen
by all, to the church, where the people asked
God's blessing on their choice; and the new doge,

Origin of Venice. 15

after having sworn to maintain the interests of
the nation, was suffered to retire to his palace.
This ceremony became a custom at the election
of every doge.
It is generally the case that those who are called
upon in the first instance to guide and govern a
state are men of ability, and this proved to be
true with regard to the first doge of Venice. He
preserved peace both at home and abroad, and
made a strict alliance with the king of the Lombards,
whereby, besides the feeling of security from
attack, much positive good in the shape of com-
mercial privileges accrued to his country. He
caused also forts to be built at the estuaries of
the rivers, and his internal administration was
marked by firmness and prudence, so as to keep in
check all civil dissensions. He further issued an
edict that each island should furnish a certain
number of vessels for the general defence of the
nation, and the arsenals where these were con-
structed were walled in against the inroads of the
So fair a beginning seemed to argue well for
the future prospects of Venice under her new form
of government, when, after a peaceful reign of
twenty years, the first doge departed this life, 717,
in the island of Heraclea, of which city he was a
native, and where he had fixed the seat of his


A.D. 810-829.

"Well might Charlemain
And his brave peers, each with his visor up,
On their long lances lean and gaze awhile,
When the Venetian to their eyes disclosed
The wonders of the East I Well might they then
Sigh for new conquests!"
Roger's "Italy."
feature of any prominence in the early his-
tory of Venice. Despite the fair promise of
the first reign, the interval which elapsed between
the election of the first and that of the tenth
doge might be chiefly occupied with the recital of
the struggles between the people and the leaders
whom they chose,-struggles which generally
ended in the violent deposition of the doge, who,
if he escaped death by assassination was incapa-
citated from reigning by being deprived of sight.
Orso, the third doge, who had presumed upon his
victory over the Lombards and his title of Ipato
(hypate or consul), conferred upon him by the
Greek emperor, to oppress the people, was the
first victim of this cruel practice.

Agnello Partecipazio. 17

After his deposition, in 737, the experiment of
a chief magistrate appearing to have failed, it
was resolved to change the form of government;
and a ruler under the title of Maestro della
Milizia," was to be elected annually to supply the
place of the abolished doge.
But this change was attended with no better
success, and after seven years, characterized by
tyranny on the one side and resistance on the
other, the Maestri della Milizia" were discarded
and a new doge chosen, only to meet with the
same unhappy fate as his predecessor. Maurizio
Galbaio, the next successor, by his wise and prudent
rule contrived to reign peaceably for twenty-three
years. But the benefits derived by his people from
so long and tranquil a reign were considerably
marred by a fatal mistake which he made, and
which was copied by many of his successors.
Associating his son with him in the government,
he endeavoured to insure his succession to the
ducal throne, and thus to make the dogeship here-
ditary instead of elective.
Hence arose new troubles. At the death of
Maurizio Galbaio a conspiracy was formed to
dethrone his son, who was as vicious as his father
had been virtuous, and the assistance of Pepin,
son of Charlemagne, was called in to accomplish
this purpose. But the new State was destined early
C to learn the lesson, plainly taught by all history, of
the danger of asking a foreign power to interfere
in domestic troubles. The arms of the powerful
son of Charlemagne were turned upon Venice
on her refusal to assist him in the conquest of

18 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

Dalmatia. The conspirator Obelerio who had
been elected to the dogeship, vacant by the de-
thronement of the son of Galbaio, lost courage,
and the people lost their confidence in him, so
that at the moment of steadily advancing peril
the Republic was without a chief.
In their distress a leader appeared to help them
out of their difficulty, Agnello Partecipazio, one
of those men whose great qualities shine most
brilliantly in the time of danger. He massed
the population in the island of Rialto, leaving
Malamocco deserted, and counselled them with
firm and courageous words to put no trust in the
deceitful promises of Pepin. As soon as Pepin
had gained possession of the deserted island he
perceived how great would be the difficulty of
conquering the Rialto, defended by brave and
resolute men, and also the impossibility of
besieging a city which had so many outlets both
by sea and by land. Moreover he could not divide
his troops, lest he should be surprised by the arrival
of the army of the Eastern empire. The Vene-
tians meanwhile awaited his attack. Their ships
were all armed in readiness for the defence of the
Rialto and the neighboring islands. At length
the Franks, tired of any further delay, began the
Pepin first attempted a communication with
the Rialto by a bridge of boats, but this was
quickly destroyed by the Venetian fleet under the
command of Victor, a leader of great experience
chosen by Agnello Partecipazio, and a citizen of
Heraclea. The king of the Lombards next tried

Agnello Partecipazio. 19

to force the passage with his ships. These were
far larger than those of the Venetians and not
constructed for the navigation of the shallow
Lagune. Victor took advantage of their un-
wieldy size, and as soon as they advanced upon
him, withdrew with his ships towards the shore
of the Rialto, the Lombards following in close
pursuit. Meanwhile the tide was going out, and
the great unwieldy vessels soon found it impos-
sible to manoeuvre. Many stuck fast in the mud
and remained exposed to the attacks of the
lighter and more active Venetian craft. These
hovering round their comparatively helpless ene-
mies, assailed them now with darts and now with
combustible materials, which they flung on the
decks of the Lombard vessels. Many of them
were soon in flames, and the disorder became
general. At length the reflux of the tide enabled
those ships which had escaped conflagration to
make the best of their way back to Malamocco.
Pepin revenged himself for the ill-success of his
expedition against the Rialto, by pillaging and de-
vastating those other Venetian islands of which he
and his troops had already possessed themselves.
The old chronicles of Venice give a fabulous
account of the triumph and victory of the Ve-
netians on this occasion, but the plain facts
appear to be these. Although the Lombards did
gain possession of the southern islands as far as
Malamocco and, on the opposite side, of Grado,
Heraclea, Aquileia, and Caorle, yet in this alone
did their victory consist, for they were repulsed
with loss from the Rialto and the neighboring
C 2

20 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

islands. This first great national triumph was
afterwards made the subject of a picture by the
Venetian artist Andrea Vicentino, and placed in
the "Sala dello Scrutinio in the ducal palace.
Agnello Partecipazio had, by his wise advice
and courageous conduct, saved his country. In re-
turn the dignity of doge was unanimously conferred
upon him. He came to the ducal chair in a time
of great trouble; multitudes of families had been
ruined, many islands were deserted, many towns
completely destroyed, and yet, during his reign of
eighteen years, he not only succeeded in repairing
these disasters, but also added much to the dignity
and prosperity of his country. Two tribunes were
associated with him in the government, and re-
elected from year to year. The seat of the
government, which had been first established at
Heraclea and afterwards changed to Malamocco,
was in this reign finally removed to Rialto. This
had been the stronghold of Venetian liberty in
their late struggle with the Franks, and those who
had fled to it in time of peril now determined to
fix their abode there. The doge caused the little
islands which surrounded the Rialto, about sixty
in all, to be united by a number of bridges.
They were soon covered with habitations, and it
was then, and not till then, that the people called
the city, which they had built themselves in the
midst of a marsh, "Venezia," in memory of the
large and fertile province out of which they had
been hunted by the Barbarians.
" Hall of the Elections," where the forty-one electors of the
doge and different officers were chosen by ballot.

Agnello Partecipazio.

In the reign of this doge a cathedral was built
at Olivolo, the churches of San Severo and San
Lorenzo, and a ducal palace on the same site as
that occupied by the present building. The care
which he spent upon the capital did not prevent
Agnello Partecipazio from watching over the in-
terests of the towns destroyed by the war. Mala-
mocco, Palestrina, and Chiozza arose out of their
ruins, and Heraclea, the native city of the Partici-
piato or Badoaro family, was entirely rebuilt and
called Citta Nuova."
Only twice was the peace of this reign disturbed;
once by the Patriarch of Aquileia, who was repulsed
by the Venetians in his attack upon Grado, and
once by a conspiracy against the life of the doge.
Notwithstanding the excellent qualities which
caused his reign to stand forth as an epoch in the
history of Venice, Agnello Partecipazio, fell into
the same fault which had marred the reign of
Maurizio Galbaio. He was unable to resist the
temptation of associating his sons with him in
the government, and striving thus to perpetuate in
his family the post of honour and dignity which
he had filled so well.
SOf his two sons, Giustiniano and Giovanni, he
chose the latter, who was the youngest, as his
associate with him on the throne. But on the
return of the elder, Giustiniano, from Constan-
tinople whither he had gone on an embassy, this
choice had to be revoked. Giustiniano would not
suffer his younger brother to be preferred before
him; and, Giovanni having relinquished his posi-
tion, Giustiniano succeeded to the dogeship at the

22 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

death of his father Agnello in 827. But weak
alike in character and health, he was soon glad to
summon back his brother to share at once his
power and his responsibilities. Their reign would
have been uneventful had it not been marked by
one very singular circumstance so illustrative of
the character of the people and times, and so
inseparably connected with the future of Venice
that it deserves to be recorded at full length.
This event was the translation of the relics of
the evangelist St. Mark from Alexandria to Venice.
In the year 828 two Venetian captains, Bona da
Malamocco and Rustico da Torcello, with their
ten vessels put into port at Alexandria, either for
purposes of commerce or because driven thither by
a storm. They landed and found the Christian
inhabitants of the town in sore grief on account
of the thievish practices of the Mussulmans, who
constantly stole the sacred vessels and ornaments
of the Christian churches to adorn their own
mosques and palaces. The dismay of the Chris-
tians was still greater when a rumour reached them
that the sultan intended to destroy the church
where these relics had originally been deposited,
for the sake of its rich marbles which he wanted
for his own palace. It so happened that an
ancient tradition in Venice foretold that the body
of St. Mark would one day find a resting-place
within her walls and become the object of the
devout veneration of her citizens. The oppor-
tunity for the fulfilment of this tradition seemed
now to have arrived, and the two Venetian cap-
tains hastened to avail themselves of it. Staurazio

Agnello Partecipazio. 23

and Teodoro were the two priests who served the
church which contained the holy relics, and which
was doomed by the sultan to destruction. The
Venetians proposed to them to transport the
sacred treasure to their native city where it would
find a secure and honoured resting-place. It was
not however an easy task to obtain the consent of
the priests to this scheme, but at length they
delivered up the body of the saint, which was
transferred with the greatest secrecy to the Ve-
netian ships. With their treasure safely em-
barked, the Venetians set sail for their native
city, and notwithstanding a furious storm, reached
it in safety. When they landed the whole city was
thrown into a fever of joy and excitement. It
was universally agreed that the presence of the
saint would be at once a perpetual safeguard to
their State and an earnest of her future splendour
and glory. Venice was solemnly consigned to his
protection, and the doge, the bishops and all the
clergy went forth to receive with due honour the
body of the holy evangelist. It was deposited
with a solemn service in the ducal chapel, there to
await the noble basilica, which was erected in the
next reign and dedicated to St. Mark, the doge
Giustiniani having left a large sum of money
in his will for that purpose.
This event was one of greater significance than
would appear at first sight, for upon it were
founded the fundamental institutions of the new
State. From that moment St. Mark was declared
to be the patron saint of Venice: all the public
buildings and monuments,were decorated with his

24 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

image, or with that of the lion, his emblem It
was stamped upon her coinage, it fluttered from
the masts of her vessels as they flew over the wide
seas, and waved from the standards planted on
the numerous cities and fortresses which were her
conquests. The hopes of the nation were centred
in that name; it was an incitement to noble
deeds, the war-cry which struck terror into the
enemies of the Christian faith, the sound of
acclamation and victory. At the shout of San
Marco!" there was no Venetian whose spirit was
not stirred to greater courage, and it was a terror
alike to traitors and tyrants when invoked as the
avenger of treason and wrong.
And thus, however obscure may have been the
reign of the eleventh doge, it was at least dis-
tinguished by this most eminent characteristic of
the history of Venice. Some notion of the extent
of her commerce with the East even at that early
stage of her existence may be gathered from the

1 The symbol of the holy evangelist St. Mark is so familiar to
all that it is not necessary to speak of its origin in these pages,
but there are some particularities in the emblem chosen by the
Venetians which make it especially their own. This might be de-
scribed in heraldic terms as "azure. siegeant." his wings, "or" and
he holds a book argent'" open under his paws. He sits, in order
to show that the Venetians are wise and pacific, that being the at-
titude of sages and counsellors also to signify that they conquer
more by address than by violence. He is winged, to show that
they are prompt in execution. The legend written on the open
book is "Pax Tibi, i f, .:.. ,- ...1. -i meus," which was the salu-
tation addresseO by an angel to the saint when, according to the old
tradition, he landed and it was foretold to him that his body would
one day rest there. But in time of war on the Venetian islands
the book is closed and a naked sword placed between his paws.
(Amelot de la Houssaye. Hist. du Gouvern. de Venise. p. 568.)

Agnello Parteci.azio. 25

fact of her being able to send ten vessels into the
port of Alexandria. Nor were commercial advan-
tages the only benefit which Venice derived from
her intercourse with the East. The Venetian
navigators while engaged in traffic borrowed many
ideas from the Eastern nations. They brought
away notions of their sumptuous and costly
buildings, and they gained an insight into those
manufactures whence issued the gorgeous tissues
and dyes which were the envy of the Western
nations, who could neither imitate nor reproduce
them. The Venetians perfected their naval archi-
tecture in the Grecian school, and their ships soon
attained as great a reputation as the Grecian
vessels had in former times. The civil discords,
briefly alluded to in these pages, which agitated
Venice in her infancy were often connected with
the commercial rivalries of the various islands.
Nevertheless, when a great peril threatened the
State, these petty discords were forgotten, and all
combined to make common cause against the son
of Charlemagne.
Their struggle with Pepin had also another
effect, that of uniting them in still closer bonds to
the Eastern empire of whose commerce they as
yet enjoyed an undisturbed monopoly. For Si-
enna, Pisa, and Florence were as yet unknown,
and Genoa, although already industrious and
powerful, was too fully occupied with repulsing the
Saracens from her gates to begin her career of
rivalry with Venice.


A.D. 991-1008.



. .. Two and two
(The richest tapestry unrolled before them).
First came the Brides; each in her virgin-veil,
Nor unattended by her bridal maids,
The two that, step by step, behind her bore
The small but precious caskets that contained
The dowry and the presents. On she moved
In the sweet seriousness of virgin youth;
Her eyes cast down, and holding in her hand
A fan, that gently waved, of ostrich plumes;
Her veil, transparent as the gossamer,
Fell from beneath a starry diadem;
And on her dazzling neck a jewel shone,
Riuby or diamond or dark amethyst;
A jewelled chain, in many a winding wreath,
Wreathing her gold brocade."
Rogers', "The Brides of Venice," Italy.

HE Venetian historians frankly admit that it
is difficult to disentangle what is true from
what is false in the early chronicles of their
country, so much of the history of those times
being mixed up with plausible fables.
But a few of the prominent features which
admit of no doubt shall be selected as illustrative
of her history between the reigns of the eleventh

The Brides of Venice. 27

and twenty-sixth doge. If we cast a brief glance
over that interval we shall see how many perils
beset the position of the ruler of Venice before
his authority assumed that despotic and absolute
character which it afterwards attained.
Of the fourteen doges who filled the ducal throne
during that time only six were able to maintain
their position till they died a natural death. Two
were murdered with circumstances of great bar-
barity. Four fled away by night lest a similar
fate should overtake them. One was violently
deposed and one only, Pietro Candiano, doge XVI,
died gloriously fighting at the head of his troops
against the Croatian pirates. Between these pirates
who infested the shores of the Adriatic and the
wars with the Saracens, Venice had a perpetual
struggle for existence. Yet out of these very
dangers sprang the future renown of the State.
Necessity compelled the Venetians to be always
armed for defence, and by constant practice their
fleet acquired such a reputation that their alliance
was courted by both empires. In 837, when
Southern Italy sent up a cry for relief to the Greek
emperor from the depredations of the Saracens,
he in turn appealed to Venice to join their fleet
to his, which was by itself too feeble to withstand
the enemy.
The title of "Protospatario Imperiale," conferred
on the doge in recognition of the services of the
Venetian ships, was scarcely an equivalent for
leaving them to bear the whole brunt of the battle
in the Gulf of Tarento, an unequal struggle
which ended in the victory of the Saracens and

28 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

the disastrous defeat of Venice. Nevertheless it
must be owned that the titles 'and honours of the
Byzantine court were eagerly coveted by the doges
of Venice in the ninth and tenth centuries. As
Venice grew stronger and Constantinople weaker,
the relations between the two states assumed a
different character, and Venice gradually exchanged
her state of tacit dependence for the more honourable
position of an ally of the empire. Thus her assist-
ance, which at one time might have been claimed
as due from a subject province, was now solicited
to further the general interests of both states.
With regard to the Western empire, the privileges
which had been granted by Charlemagne were re-
newed by his successors, one of whom, Louis the
German, paid a visit to the city in the midst of
the Lagune whose fame had already reached him.
Again, in 867, the invasions of the Saracens
being still more persistent and disastrous in their
consequences, both emperors of the East and West
under their respective rulers, Basil the Macedonian
and Louis the German, appealed to Venice for the
assistance of her fleet, and although this time the
allies were successful and the Venetians returned
triumphant, no permanent good result ensued.
Venice had likewise civil discords to contend
with. There was the ceaseless feud between the
Patriarchs of Aquileia and Grado; and there were
ecclesiastical dissensions of a still graver character,
arising out of the perverse determination of the
doge "Orso Partecipazio" to appoint a son of the
Greek emperor Leo, Domenico Caloprino, to the
vacant bishopric of Torcello, contrary to the protest


---k- A. \
Page 2D.

The Brides of Venice. 29

of the patriarch of Grado, who declared him unfit
for the post. For this opposition to his wishes the
doge persecuted the patriarch, who fled to Rome
to lay his complaint before the pope. The quarrel
was only terminated by an agreement that the
Greek should not be consecrated in the patriarch's
lifetime, although he might receive the emoluments
of the office. A few years later the contest between
the family of the Caloprini and that of the Morosini
gave rise to one of those prolonged and disastrous
feuds which Venice shared in common with every
other Italian state, generally ending in the banish-
ment now of one party, now of another, as each
came into power, the exiled party invariably
appealing for assistance to a foreign power, and
thus bringing harm, often ruin for the time, on
the state.
Yet these perpetual struggles, either with external
foes or internal discords, all tended to develop the
national character of Venice, whose peculiar
features began to show .themselves in her build-
ings, her commerce, and her customs. Already
had the Basilica of San Marco been built and
rebuilt, a fire having destroyed in 977 the edifice
which had been first erected to receive the relics
of the holy evangelist. It was now being rebuilt
with all the choicest marbles, gold and gems from
the Levant, treasures which would go on accumu-
lating for a hundred years more before the holy
temple would be complete. Every year Venice
celebrated with great pomp the festival of her
patron saint, and one of the customs which had
formed part of the rejoicings held on this occasion

30 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.
was early destined to have a special significance
of its own.
The history of "The Brides of Venice" might
have inspired many a poetical fancy, and one
poem dedicated to them is familiar to us, while
the yearly festival celebrated in their honour arose
out of the following romantic incident:-
Once every year, on the eve of the Feast of the
Purification, Venice was wont to celebrate with
public rejoicings the marriages-of twelve of her
children. Historians do not agree whether these
"The noblest sons and daughters of the State
Whose names are written in the Book of Gold,"
or whether they were in a humbler station of life,
the maidens' dower being supplied by the legacies
of rich citizens who had bequeathed their money
for this favourite purpose. But be this as it may
it does not affect the narrative. On that day in
the cathedral of Olivolo, the residence of the
patriarch, the marriages of the betrothed were
solemnized with every circumstance of pomp and
splendour. Gay gondolas conveyed the marriage
guests to the island of Olivolo and all disembarked,
brides and bridegrooms, their friends and their
kindred, hailed by songs and music, clad in festive
garments, each bride attended by two maidens
who carried her dowry and her presents contained
in precious caskets; and thus the procession
moved onwards to the cathedral.
Unhappi ly this attractive display of beauty and of
wealth combined presented too great a temptation

The Brides of Venice. 31

to those persistent foes of Venice, the pirates of
Istria, especially when they considered how easily
the rich booty could be obtained. The island of
Olivolo, quiet and deserted except on these festive
occasions, was situated in the furthest precinct of
the city, and only inhabited by the priests who
served the cathedral. Moreover the olive trees
which grew there in abundance, and whence it
derived its name, furnished a convenient hiding-
place for the corsairs, and here they laid their
ambush on the night previous to the ceremony to
await their unarmed and unsuspecting prey.
The marriage rites were ended, and all knelt to
receive the patriarchal blessing. There followed a
moment of solemn silence, which was rudely broken
by the sudden entrance of armed ruffians into the
holy place. With one simultaneous swoop each
seized a bride and her dower, and before a blow
could be struck in their defence, the robbers had
carried off their priceless booty and were sailing
swiftly across the blue waves back to the shores of
Istria. Who could describe the cry of grief and
rage which went up from the bereaved sons of
Venice, the heartrending despair of the matrons,
the agitation of the whole city? But it was no
idle grief. The doge, who had honoured the
festival by his presence, would not suffer so gross
an insult to pass unavenged. In a moment the
city was in arms, all the galleys that were in the
harbour put to sea, and a favourable wind soon
wafted them to the shore of Caorlo, where the
pirates had disembarked and were being engaged
in dividing their prey. The Venetians landed

32 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

at that point, which has ever since borne the name
of "Porto delle Donzelle" (the maidens' harbour),
and fell with relentless fury upon their enemies.
Not one of the pirates escaped, and the brides of
Venice, rescued unharmed, were brought back in
triumph to their native city.
"And ever to preserve
The memory of a day so full of change,
From joy to grief, from grief to joy again:
Through many an age, as oft as it came round,
'Twas held religiously. The Doge resigned
His crimson for pure ermine, visiting
At earliest dawn St. Mary's silver shrine;
And through the city, in a stately barge
Of gold, were borne with songs and symphonies
Twelve ladies young and noble. Clad they were
In bridal white with bridal ornaments,
Each in her glittering veil; and on the deck,
As on a burnished throne, they glided by;
No window or balcony but adorned
With hangings of rich texture, not a roof
But covered with beholders, and the air
Vocal with joy. Onward they went, their oars
Moving in concert with the harmony,
Through the Rialto to the Ducal Palace,
And at a banquet, served with honour there,
Sat representing, in the eyes of all,
Eyes not unwet, I ween, with grateful tears,
Their lovely ancestors, the Brides of Venice'."
This event occurred in the year 939, under the
nineteenth doge, Pietro II, Candiano. The reign
of Pietro Orseolo II forms the next real epoch in
the history of Venice. He was elected to fill
the ducal chair in 991. Rather more than five
hundred years had therefore elapsed since the
fugitives from Padua and Aquileia had first sought
an isle in the Lagune. This handful of exiles
SRogers' Italy, "The Brides of Venice."

The Brides of Venice. 33

and fishermen had now developed into a rich,
commercial, and powerful nation, capable of
making war in defence of their rights, but prefer-
ring to follow peacefully their commercial pursuits
as long as they could do so unmolested. The
result of this moderation appears if not in an
untroubled existence, at least in the formation of
an independent state which gradually freed itself
from the influence of the two great empires
between whom it was placed, which could treat
with neighboring countries, and whose princes
had already formed alliances with the daughters
of kings. Still at present, with the exception of
a few ports on the neighboring coast, the whole
state was comprised in the Lagune whence it had
sprung. But in this reign Venice was to enter a
new phase of existence. Her commerce, at first
carried on merely as a means of subsistence, had,
by her unwearied activity, now become so exten-
sive with Greece, Egypt, and the Levant, that she
began to cherish ambitious dreams of extending
her dominions in order to obtain ports for the
vessels, and thereby an additional security for her
navigation. The first acquisition of those foreign
dominions, for which she became afterwards so
famous, Venice owes to the exertions of Pietro
Orseolo II., Before embarking in this difficult
enterprise his first care was to restore peace at
home, by restraining with a firm hand those fac-
tions which had caused so much bloodshed and
distress in the city, and whose violence had often
penetrated into the state deliberations and even
into the palace itself. The new doge passed a

34 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

law whereby any act of violence in the state
assembly was punished with a fine of twenty gold
pieces, and death in the .case of the offender not
being able to pay the fine. His attention was
next directed to securing the commercial interests
of the nation. For this purpose he made a strict
alliance with the Greek emperors, Basil and
Constantine, from whom he obtained a crisobolo,
or golden bull of the empire, which conferred upon
Venice more ample privileges and exemptions than
any which she had hitherto enjoyed; and by a well-
timed embassy and presents he cultivated the
good-will and alliance of the Egyptian sultan.
These acts of peaceful policy being accom-
plished, the doge was at liberty to undertake those
deeds of warlike enterprise which covered his
name with glory and laid the foundation of his
country's future renown. He first turned the arms
of the Republic against the Narentine pirates who
still continued to infest her shores, and from whose
depredations Venice had only been able to obtain
a respite by the payment of an annual tribute.
This disgraceful state of subjection dated from
the time of Pietro IV, Candiano (959), and Pietro
Orseolo II determined to submit to it no longer.
He refused to pay the accustomed tribute, where-
upon the pirates immediately sent out their ships
into the gulf to renew their former depredations.
But these were speedily checked by the Vene-
tian vessels, commanded by Badoaro Bragadino,
who carried the war into their own country,
pillaged their shores, and even penetrated as far
as Lissa, one of their chief towns, which they

The Brides of Venice.

destroyed, and carried the inhabitants away cap-
tives to Rialto.
The pirates, finding themselves no longer able
to cope with Venice, proceeded to ravage the
coasts of Dalmatia, and the oppressed inhabitants
appealed to Venice for that protection and relief
which they knew it would be in vain to seek
from the feeble Eastern empire. The doge, hav-
ing first prudently obtained the consent of the
Byzantine court, prepared a fleet of thirty-five
vessels and an army sufficient for the enterprise.
He himself took the command; and on Ascension
Day, in the year 998, set sail with the standard
of St. Mark, blessed by the patriarch of Grado,
floating from his mast-head, to acquire for Venice
her first dominions in a foreign land.
The cities of Parenzo, Pola, Capo d'Istria,
Piriano, Isola, Enone, Rovigno, and Humago all
came forth to meet the Venetians, whom they
looked upon as their deliverers, and to swear
fealty to the doge. Zara, with whom Venice had
long entertained friendlyand commercial relations,
hailed him also as her liege lord, and the bishops
who arrived at the heads of the deputations from
Coryetta and Arbo, implored him to restore peace
to their shores, promising to mention his name
in conjunction with that of the Greek emperor
in the daily prayers.
The fleet of Mulcimir, king of Croatia, fell into
the hands of the doge, whereupon the islands of
Lunga, Coronata, Levigrado and Belgrado, and
many others which are scattered along the coasts
of Dalmatia and Croatia, voluntarily seceded to

36 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.
Venice, while the peace was cemented by the
marriage of the son of Mulcimir with the
daughter of the doge. The larger islands of Cur-
zola, Lesina and Lagosta were the first to offer
any resistance to the hitherto unchecked progress
of the Venetians.
But Orseolo, nothing daunted, attacked first Cur-
zola, and gained possession of it after a hard-
fought battle. Lesina, the stronghold of the Na-
rentine pirates and considered impregnable, still
remained to be taken. The city was perched
on the top of a rocky height, strongly fortified and
defended by a numerous garrison. The Venetian
fleet blockaded the port, the army besieged the
town, and, on the rejection of all terms by the
besieged, the order was given for the attack. The
besieged, assailed by a storm of darts and arrows,
withdrew behind the ramparts, when the Venetians
without an instant's delay fixed their scaling-
ladders to the walls. The garrison, unable to
oppose their enemies who appeared at the same
moment on all sides, were forced to yield to the
simultaneous attack, and the Venetians poured
into the town. The doge arrived in time to put
a stop to the horrible carnage and to give a safe
conduct to the remaining inhabitants, who were
conveyed by his order to San Massimo. After
the surrender of these important islands the con-
quest of the rest of the Slavonian continent was
easily assured, and the doge repaired with his
victorious troops to Spalatro, where he received
the homage of the whole of Dalmatia. So ended
the struggle between the Venetians and the pirates

The Brides of Venice.

who had so long been her most pertinacious ene-
mies, and besides the glory of her conquest Venice
would derive numerous advantages out of her new
territory. Corn, wine, oil, cattle, wood, all those
necessaries of life which, owing to her singular
position she had hitherto been obliged to import
from foreign countries, were now her own posses-
sions, together with a number of ports of high
commercial importance. The Venetian histo-
rians, jealous of their country's honour, are careful
to assure us that the people of Dalmatia volun-
tarily placed themselves under the dominion of
Venice for the sake of obtaining her protection
against the pirates; but, on the other hand, it
must be noted that, in the government of the
newly-acquired territory there was no distinc-
tion drawn between those towns who had wel-
comed the Venetian troops as their deliverers and
those who had resisted them as enemies and had
only been compelled to yield by force of arms.
To each town alike a magistrate was sent, who,
under the title of podesta, governed in the name of
the Republic. The magistrates were chosen by
the doge out of the oldest Venetian families.
Their power was absolute, so that the new subjects
had no choice but to submit and no voice what-
ever in the administration of their country. It is
difficult to believe that had these cities known
what would be their fate they would have yielded
themselves so unreservedly to Venice. But to the
Republic the conquest was pure gain. The new
territory extended over nearly three hundred and
fifty miles, from Istria to Ragusi, and when the

38 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

doge, on his return to Venice, convened a national
assembly in which he related to them the success
of his expedition, the transports of joy with which
he was received and the acclamations which
greeted the recital of-his exploits, can be easily
imagined. It was solemnly enacted that the doge of
Venice should for the future bear also the new
title of "Duke of Dalmatia," and that it should
be his duty every year to make a solemn proces-
sion to the "Lido (the long island on the verge
of the Adriatic), for the purpose of publicly an-
nouncing the dominion of the Republic over the
sea. A ceremony which shortly afterwards deve-
loped into the picturesque custom of the marriage
of Venice with the sea.
The glory of the reign of Pietro Orseolo II
would have been incomplete had he been content
with cementing an alliance with one empire alone.
The great Western empire had awakened to
new life and vigour under Otho the Great, king of
Germany, who, by his conquest of Italy in 961, had
merged the two kingdoms in one empire, and thus
obtained for Germany the ancient imperial dig-
nity. This new power was likely to become a far
more valuable ally or formidable foe than her
sister empire in the east which was daily be-
coming feebler and more incapable of main-
taining her position.
The news of the triumphant victories of the
doge of Venice reached Otho III, then emperor of
Germany, the grandson of Otho the Great, at
Pavia, where he was halting on his way to appease
the civil discords of Rome, and he manifested a
great wish to pay a secret visit to Venice.

The Brides of Venice.

That the doge should have been overjoyed
at the prospect of showing hospitality to so
powerful a sovereign can be easily imagined; he
lost no time in announcing his readiness to re-
ceive his illustrious guest, promising, in accordance
with his expressed wish, to keep his visit a secret
till after his departure. On reaching Ravenna
it was rumoured that the emperor intended, for
the benefit of his health, to avail himself of
certain sea-baths in the island of Pomposa, where
there was a celebrated abbey not far from the
Venetian territory. Hence he embarked by night
with a 'few chosen members of his suite for the
island of San Servolo, whither the doge had re-
paired with all secrecy to receive him. There
they passed the night, and with the earliest dawn
Pietro Orseolo conducted the emperor, accom-
panied by only two of his court, to the Rialto.
That day was spent in the monastery of San Zac-
caria, and at night the emperor was secretly con-
veyed in a gondola to the ducal palace. Otho III
was greatly struck with the singular beauty of all
he saw; and, in order to leave a lasting testimony
of his good-will towards the doge, offered to be
god-father to his daughter, himself holding the
child at the baptismal font; while upon the
Venetians he conferred permanent benefits, free-
ing them from the honorary tribute of a robe of
cloth of gold, which hitherto it had been the custom
for them to send to the emperor at every renewal of
the treaties between the two states. He more-
over renewed the exemptions which had been
granted them throughout his dominions, and gave

40 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

them permission to occupy certain neighboring
ports, such as Trevisa, Campalto and San Michel
del Quarto. In vain did the doge press upon the
emperor magnificent gifts in return for these
favours. He would only accept an ivory chair
and a silver cup of beautiful workmanship in
memory of his visit, and he left Venice as secretly
as he had arrived.
When the state was made aware of the honour
which had thus secretly been conferred upon it in
the visit of the emperor Otho III, the doge was
raised still higher in the estimation of the people;
and, as a mark of their gratitude, they conceded
to him that which, unlike too many of his pre-
decessors, he had refrained from demanding, the
right of associating his son with him in the
government that he might succeed to the doge,
ship at his death. Pietro Orseolo continued to
deserve well of his country by his wise and
prudent internal administration. He added yet
more lustre to his reign by driving the Saracens
out of the south of Italy, who, not content with
having obtained absolute dominion over Sicily,
had (100oo4) invaded southern Italy and besieged
with a numerous army the city of Bari, which was
held against them by the army of the Eastern
empire. Three months had elapsed, the besieged
were reduced to sore straits, and the emperors of
the East again appealed to their now powerful
ally the doge of Venice. A Venetian fleet was
soon armed, and, commanded by the indefatigable
Orseolo in person, set sail for the south of Italy.
When they appeared in sight the Saracens drew

The Brides of Venice.

out their cavalry along the coast and used every
endeavour in manceuvring with their ships to pre-
vent the landing of the Venetian armament. But
it was all in vain, Orseolo triumphed over every
obstacle and managed to land all his troops
with fresh supplies of provisions in the besieged
city. Reinforced by the arrival of the Vene-
tians and with the doge at their head, an attack
upon the enemy simultaneously by land and by
sea was agreed upon by the besieged garrison, and
after a desperate struggle which lasted three entire
days, the victory remained with the Venetians and
the siege of the city was raised. In order to show
their entire approbation of such signal services,
the Byzantine emperors summoned Giovanni, the
eldest son of the doge and his colleague in power,
to receive the high honour which they destined for
him, of an alliance with the sister of the emperor
Basil. Giovanni and his brother Otho repaired to
Constantinople where the marriage was celebrated
with Eastern splendour. Both the emperors were
present, and themselves placed the crowns of gold
upon the heads of the betrothed and then pre-
sented them to the exulting populace. When
the newly-married pair arrived at Venice the doge
himself went out to meet them with a gallant
fleet, and in the midst of universal rejoicings
conducted them to his palace. In a short time
the joy of the doge was made complete by the
birth of a grandson, who was christened Basilio
in honour of his imperial -uncle, and immense
largesse was distributed to the people in honour of
the event. More solid and lasting benefits the

42 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

doge had already conferred upon his people in
the rebuilding of the walls, the churches, and the
greater part of the towns of Heraclea and Grado,
in each of which cities he built a palace for
himself. He also laboured hard to complete the
ducal palace which his father had begun to restore,
employing for that purpose, and more particularly
for the chapel belonging to it, the rich marbles
and gold of the Levant.
But the glory and the prosperity of Pietro Orseolo
II had reached their climax, and in one brief mo-
ment they were exchanged for desolation and
despair. The plague, which was at that time
ravaging the whole of Italy, reached Venice, and it
was a pitiable sight to see the city, just flourishing
and prosperous with all her new honours fresh
upon her, converted into a loathsome charnel-
house, all her works suspended and not a house
where there was not one dead.
The fatal disease entered the ducal palace, and
to it fell victims Giovanni, his young bride and
his infant son. They were buried in one tomb
in the church of San Zaccaria, and together with
them all those fair prospects of honour and re-
nown which but a brief period ago had seemed
so brilliant before them.
The terrible calamity which had thus over-
taken the doge awakened so universal a sympathy,
that the people forgot their own private calam-
ities in their anxiety to show their sympathy for
a ruler who had ever had their best interests at
heart and the glory and welfare of the State.
They gave a tangible proof of their gratitude for

The Brides of Venice.

these benefits and the confidence which. they re-
posed in him by pressing him to take as his col-
league his third son Otho as yet only a youth
of fourteen years old.
But although he was touched by this proof of
the gratitude of the people and of their confidence
in him, nothing could ever repair the breach
made by the horrible-disease in the doge's family,
which had brought in its train the downfall of
hopes so brilliant. The health of Pietro Orseolo
gave way, and he sank under the shock. His
death was worthy of his life. When he knew
that his last hour was at hand, still mindful of his
country, he set in order his worldly goods, dividing
them into two equal parts. The one half he be-
queathed to public charities and the construction
or maintaining of churches, the other half he be-
queathed to his wife and remaining children.
Then retiring into a monastery, he spent some
little time in preparing for death, which he met
with courage and fortitude at the untimely age of
forty-eight in the year ioo8, deeply regretted by
the nation, who gave him the justly-earned epithet
of "Great." He was buried beside his kindred in
the church of San Zaccaria. Venice may well
look upon him as the founder of her glory, for by
his courage and wisdom he won for her fleet and
her army the first foundation of a renown which
afterwards attained such astonishing proportions,
and by his judicious and conciliatory treaties he
paved the way to a position which for a time
was one of the proudest among European states.


A.D. 1069-1172.


There, when her fiery race the desert poured,
And pale Byzantium feared Medina's sword,
When coward Asia shook in trembling woe,
And bent appall'd before the Bactrian bow;
From the moist regions of the Western star
The wandering hermit waked the storm of war.
Their limbs all iron, and their souls all flame,
A countless host, the Red-cross warriors came."
Heber's "Palestine."
HE fickle conduct of the Venetians towards
their rulers was perhaps never more shown
than in their treatment of the Orseolo
family. The founder of the family, Pietro Orseolo
I, had been canonized as a saint for his many
virtues. To Pietro Orseolo II the state, as has
been already seen, was deeply indebted; and his
son Otho, although only eighteen when called to
fill the vacant throne, proved himself a worthy
descendant of his father and grandfather.
Eight years of peaceful internal administration
were succeeded by the successful conquest of
Adria, the defeat of the Croatian pirates, and the
deliverance of Grado out of the hands of the
patriarch of Aquileia. But, owing to the unhappy
feuds which were always raging between the

The First Crusades.

great Venetian families, neither his own merits
nor the benefits which his father had conferred
upon the state were able to keep him on the
throne. His enemies stirred up the people
against him. He was deposed and exiled; and
when, too late, the people would have recalled
him, the ambassadors sent to fetch him from
Constantinople found him already dead. In their
absence another Orseolo, a member of the younger
branch of the family, had violently possessed him-
self of the ducal power and had been as violently
deposed. The ingratitude of the people reached
its climax when, mindful only of this lawless deed,
and forgetful of all past benefits, they condemned
the descendants of the great Pietro Orseolo to
perpetual exile from Venice or her dominions.
No place of abode was permitted to them
either in the territory which their ancestors had
acquired for Venice, or in the towns and villages
which they had rebuilt, nor yet in the city which
they had adorned with palaces and churches erected
at their own private cost.
The illustrious family of the Contarini' took
the place of the exiled Orseoli. The long reign
of Domenico Contarini, the first doge of that
name, was fully occupied with repulsing the per-
petual aggressions of the patriach of Aquileia
upon Grado, and in reclaiming Zara afresh from
the Croatian pirates. Struggles with new ene-
mies, in the shape of the hardy Normans, under
SThe Contarini were among the oldest of the Venetian fami-
lies, being one of the twelve called Apostolical," on account of
their number who had elected the first doge.

46 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

Robert Guiscard, occupied the next two reigns.
The Venetians beheld with no little uneasiness
the settlements of this enterprising people in
Sicily and Calabria; but when, from thence, the
Normans endeavoured to gain possession of Du-
razzo in the immediate vicinity of her Dalmatian
cities, Venice gladly acceded to the request of
the Greek emperor to make common cause with
him against the invaders.
One victory, although complete, was not suffi-
cient to discourage the warlike adventurer Robert,
who re-appeared with a new fleet before the town,
and this time Venice met with a complete and
disastrous defeat. Three thousand Venetians were
killed, as many were taken prisoners, and only
the remains of their fine fleet and army returned
wrecked and shattered to Venice. The people,
accustomed to success, could not endure with
patience this melancholy sight, and revenged
themselves on their doge, Domenico Selvo, by
deposing him and compelling him to take monastic
vows. Yet, with this last exception, his reign
had not been otherwise than beneficial to Venice.
He had united the state in still closer bonds to
the Eastern empire by an alliance with the sister
of the emperor Nicephorus, and this relationship,
combined with the important services which he
had rendered the empire, had procured for him
the dignity of president of the imperial council.
The fabric of the Basilica of S. Marco being
nearly completed in his reign, he had begun the
decoration of the inside with eastern marbles,
columns of serpentine, porphyry, verde-antique, and

The First Crusades.

rich mosaics. Eastern artificers were summoned
to begin the work of inlaying the mosaics, an art
in which they instructed the Venetians, who carried
on the work till the whole, that is a surface of
fourteen thousand square feet, was complete. In
the next reign, that of Vitale Faliero, the building
was consecrated, and the relics of the saint to
whom it was dedicated were placed in a marble
urn on the chief altar of the crypt, immediately
under the high altar of the basilica itself, where
they remained undisturbed till the 6th of May,
18 1. In that year the urn was opened, and they
were discovered, together with a leaden plate bear-
ing the name of Vitale Faliero I and the date of the
consecration, 1094. The work of beautifying the
interior of the basilica went on for many centuries
after its consecration; and even now, in its present
decaying state, a single glance will reveal to us
what it must have been when first complete.
Upon the domes, vaulted arches, and walls, every-
where mosaics may be seen in brilliant colours
upon a gold ground. The floor is inlaid with many
coloured stones, arranged in geometric figures,
arabesques, and forms of animals, which give the
whole pavement the appearance of a rich brocade.
The walls are faced with the finest marble; every-
thing shows the devotion of inestimable wealth,
as if all human art had contributed to bring the
work to a height of unrivalled splendour2.
Venice had drawn these treasures from those
SHe was the first doge buried in the vestibule of San Marco,
in one of the niches in the walls.
a Kugler's History of Painting," 1. 92.

48 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

eastern climes with which, owing to a variety of
circumstances, she had become familiar from the
earliest period of her existence. The Byzantine
court, luxurious and indolent, leaned more and
more upon her young and vigorous ally; and, in
return for her support and protection, gladly threw
open the ports of her empire and permitted the
export of her inexhaustible riches. And if the
doges of Venice often imperilled their lives in
the service of their Eastern suzerain, was not
a fitting recompense provided for them in the
dignities of the imperial court, and were they not
frequently admitted to the position of sons by
alliances with the sisters and daughters of emperors?
But an event, which changed for a time the whole
face of Europe, could not be without its effect upon
Venice, and the time was coming when she would
be compelled to make her choice between the
Eastern and Western empires.
The Crusades have been considered under every
aspect, political, moral, and religious, by a number
of learned historians. The ablest intellects have
found matter for grave discussion as to the causes
which led to the holy war, the motives of the
crusaders, the means they employed to attain their
end, and their conduct when their object was
accomplished. There is therefore no reason to
touch in these papers upon an abstract question,
in any case far too wide for their narrow limits.
But we will confine ourselves to the effect of the
Crusades upon Venice, and the motives which com-
pelled her to take part in them; motives which were
so complicated and worldly that, when considered

The First Crusades.

in connection with Venice alone, the subject
loses that religious and romantic character which
elsewhere invest it with such a peculiar charm.
The time had arrived when, urged by a common
religious enthusiasm, the nations of -Europe
were hastening to Palestine, for the purpose of
rescuing from infidel hands those holy places which
had witnessed the scene of our Lord's earthly
ministry, and more especially the Holy Sepulchre
itself. Venice was the last of the European states
to obey the general impulse, because of her close
connection with the Eastern empire, whose lead
she felt as yet constrained to follow in a matter
which so nearly affected the interests of both
states. At first sight it is not easy to understand
the crooked policy adopted by the Greek emperor
Alexius Commenus on this occasion. The Turks
were the common enemies of the Christian name.
They had conquered Asia Minor and had possessed
themselves of Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre,
treating with savage barbarity the pilgrims who
came to worship at its shrine. Nothing but. a
narrow sea lay between these victorious infidels
and Constantinople, the seat of the empire. In
this perilous position it was only natural that
Alexius should look for assistance from the Western
nations. He sent ambassadors to plead his distress
at the Council of Placentia (I095), summoned by
Urban II to stir up the European princes to
embrace the Crusade, and to implore their assist-
ance in repelling the Barbarians before they could
make any further progress into Europe. But he
was astonished at the response to his appeal, so

50 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.
far beyond anything that he had either expected
or desired. He shrunk back appalled before the
vast and heterogeneous Western armament which
began to pour into his dominions. His fears were
aroused lest the arms which had been prepared for
the infidels should hereafter be turned against his
own empire: a suspicion which proved to be a true
presentiment, although not fulfilled for another hun-
dred years. Filled with jealous fears, he besought the
Venetians to refrain, as yet, from furthering the
progress of the Christian host, and Venice was not
sorry to suspend her enthusiasm and await the
pleasure of her patron and ally the Greek emperor.
She had her own reasons for not favouring the
strange and romantic proceeding. It was probable
that some at least of all these European nations
which were pouring eastwards in such a continuous
stream would settle in the Levant, and then what
would become of that monopoly of commerce which
she had hitherto enjoyed? She had yet to learn that
her future grandeur would arise out of this very
enterprise upon which she now looked with such
cold indifference. But as soon as her eyes became
open to this fact the same selfish policy, which had
held her back in the first instance, led her on to
desert her former ally and turn to embrace the vast
resources offered to her by the Western nations.
The First Crusade was preached in 1096, and the
pilgrims set out on their pilgrimage that year.
Venice, adhering to the policy of the Greek empire,
gave them no assistance in their passage to the
Holy Land. An additional reason for this inaction
may be found in the fact that her forces had been

The First Crusades.

crippled by severe national calamities. Fire had
destroyed a great part of the city, and this was
followed by earthquakes and famine.
In the following year (1097), when she had a
little recovered from these disasters, it was im-
possible for Venice to remain any longer a mere
spectator of the extraordinary scene which was
being enacted before her. Besides, the Crusade
had assumed a different character. It was no
longer the march of an ungovernable tribe of
people of all ranks, all ages, and either sex, entirely
without discipline, in many cases without arms,
without knowledge, and without a guide, urged
onwards by a common enthusiasm which, how-
ever marred by disorders and crimes,, deserved
a better fate than a wholesale massacre in the
plains of Nice'. While these first pilgrims were
rushing headlong to their destruction, all the
chivalry of Europe was arming for the enterprise.
Not the great sovereigns, it is true, but princes of
the second order in rank, although inferior to none
in deeds of courage and knightly valour:-Godfrey
of Bouillon, pure and disinterested, his brothers
Eustace and Baldwin, Hugh of Vermandois, and
Robert of Normandy, brothers to the respective
kings of France and England, Bohemond, son
of Robert Guiscard, and his cousin Tancred, the
flower of chivalry, Raymond of Toulouse, and
many others too numerous to mention.
1 "The blood-red banner floating o'er their van,
All madly blythe the mingled myriads ran;
Impatient Death beheld his destined food
And hovering vultures snuff'd the scent of blood."
Heber's "Palestine."

5 2 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

Roused by the universal din of arms, fearful of
forfeiting alike her present rank as an European
power and any share of possible future conquests,
perhaps also inspired by some spark of the general
enthusiasm, Venice set aside the caution of the
Greek emperor, and sent forth a magnificent arma-
ment to the holy war. It was commanded by
Giovanni, the son of Vitale I, Michieli, her thirty-
third doge, and it consisted of eighty ships of war,
fifty-five merchant-vessels, available alike for
merchandise or transport, and seventy smaller
ships of various kinds. Enrico Contarini, bishop
of Castello, accompanied the expedition as coun-
sellor to the young son of the doge. The Venetians
set sail first for Rhodes, where, falling in with the
Pisans, bound likewise on the same errand, a
fierce battle ensued, which ended in the defeat of
the Pisans. The origin of the quarrel between
the fleets when their respective states were at
peace has been variously reported by historians.
Some aver that the emperor Alexius, displeased
by the conduct of Venice, had stationed the Pisans
at Rhodes in order to prevent the Venetians from
touching at that island, instructing the Pisans to
treat with scorn any friendly advances on the part
of the rival Republic, and to hinder the progress
of her vessels in every way. On the other hand,
the dispute is ascribed to a totally different cause.
The Venetians, it is said, touched at the island of
San Niccol6 (in the close vicinity of Rhodes),
for the purpose of obtaining the relics of the saint
from whom it is named, who is buried there. The
traffic of relics had begun to form a singular feature

The First Crusades.

in the commerce of Venice, and it proved a most
lucrative trade.
The annual fair, which made one among the
many festivities held in honour of San Marco,
when his relics were exhibited, attracted large
throngs of people to Venice. This became so
great a source of wealth to the nation that other
saints' festivals were kept in the same manner,
and the ardour for acquiring new relics increased
to such an extent that, if the pilgrim merchants,"
as they were called, could not purchase them, they
were apt to steal them and bring them back in
triumph to Venice. And so it happened in the
case of San Niccol6, bishop of Mira. The
Venetians, unable to obtain the relics of the saint
by negotiation, took possession of them by force
and carried off the coveted treasure, which, on this
occasion, derived an additional importance from
the fact of St. Nicholas being the patron saint
of all mariners. The Pisans, who witnessed this
proceeding, demanded their share of so precious
a spoil, and on the refusal of the Venetians to
divide it a battle ensued. After this dispute, by
no means an edifying beginning of the Crusade,
from whatever cause it may have arisen, the
Venetian fleet pursued its way to Smyrna, an
unfortified town of which they easily obtained
possession. Thence to Joppa, reaching it in time
to blockade the port while the troops of Godfrey
de Bouillon besieged the town. The taking of
this city was followed by the more important
capture of Jerusalem (o199), which crowned the
success of those first champions of Christendom.

54 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

Within a few months the Venetians assisted at
the battle of Ascalon, and the complete defeat of
the infidels. After this victory Godfrey de Bouillon
suspended as trophies before the Holy Sepulchre,
the sword and standard of the sultan, and dis-
missed the crusading host, retaining only the
faithful Tancred, three hundred knights and two
thousand foot soldiers for the defence of Palestine.
Although he practically founded the kingdom of
Jerusalem, he would only accept for himself the
modest title of baron or defender of the Holy
Sepulchre. He would not, it is said, wear a
crown of gold in that city where his Saviour had
been crowned with thorns'. The Venetians had
the honour of striking one blow for the cause
under so pious and noble a leader, but they arrived
too late to be of any great assistance, and returned
when all was over to Venice with their fraudulently
obtained relics of San Niccol6. These they de-
posited in the church of San Niccold del Lido,"
built about fifteen years previously, in the reign of
Domenico Contarini. Venice had played but an
insignificant part in the First Crusade. In the
interval however which elapsed before the Second
Crusade was set on foot (1147), she was constantly
solicited by the successors to Godfrey de Bouillon
on the throne of Jerusalem, to defend them in
their perilous position against the attacks of the
Mohammedans. In 1104, Baldwin I, king of
Jerusalem, sent to implore her assistance, and this
time Venice assented without delay, for her com-
mercial interests had already suffered through her
1 Hallam, Europe during the Middle Ages, vol. i. 51.

The First Crusades.

former inaction. The Genoese and Pisans had
rushed in to obtain a share of the rich Eastern
spoils. The former had set up counting-houses
at Jerusalem, Joppa, Caesarea, and Ptolemais, the
latter had established them in Antioch. Hence
arose those perpetual rivalries and jealousies
between the three Republics, which plunged them
into such deadly feuds. The doge, "Ordelafo
Faliero," gave orders for the immediate prepara-
tion of a large armament of a hundred ships, and
it was for this purpose that the famous arsenal
was first constructed, famous in itself, but still
further immortalized by Dante's lines:
"In the Venetian's arsenal as boils
Through wintry months tenacious pitch to smear
Their unsound vessels; for the inclement time
Seafaring men restrains, and in that while
His bark one builds anew, another stops
The ribs of his that hath made many a voyage,
One hammers at the prow, one at the poop,
This shapeth oars, that other cables twirls,
The mizen one repairs, and mainsails rent.
So not by force of fire but art divine
Boil'd here a glutinous thick mass, that round
Limed all the shore beneath." (Inf. canto xxi).
This arsenal, whence issued the gallant fleets
which for centuries protected the Christian world
against Turkish invasion, plays a conspicuous
part in the history of Venice. Not only the
peace and prosperity of the city depended upon it,
but also the security of all her maritime provinces.
Of nothing therefore was the Republic so jealous,
and nothing was so carefully watched as the
arsenal. The labourers who worked in it, termed
arsenalotti, called the Republic their good mother,

56 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

and night and morning raised their cry of Evviva
S. Marco!" They formed a peculiar class, and
enjoyed numerous privileges all significant of the
great trust reposed in them. They carried the
newly chosen doge during his first tour of the city,
rowed the state galleys on the occasion of the
marriage of Venice with the sea, and on this day
were received as guests in the ducal palace. They
guarded the bank and the mint, the treasures of
St. Mark, the grand council during its session in
the palace, and finally, the arsenal itself. They
were therefore a great support in any state crisis,
and in the palmiest days of the Republic (the I6th
century) their number amounted to more than
16,ooo souls. The immediate necessity for a
great public arsenal arose out of the destruction,
by late fires, of all the small dockyards, hitherto
established in every part of the city. The success
achieved by the first fleet which issued from the
new arsenal seemed to augur well for the maritime
glory of the future Venetian armaments. On
this occasion, Acre, Sidon, and Berythus, fell a
prey to her victorious ships. Baldwin, king of
Jerusalem, awarded to Venice in return for her
prompt assistance one fourth part of the city of
Acre, with a free commerce throughout the
kingdom of Jerusalem, and an immunity within
its limits from all jurisdiction except that of her
own magistrates. But these successful conquests
in the East were balanced by troubles at home.
Again two huge fires, in quick succession, worked
fearful damage in a town built nearly entirely of
wood, and a sudden inundation completed the

The First Crusades.

destruction of Malamocco, already devastated by
flames. The inhabitants were transferred to
Chiozza, while in Venice the wooden habitations
which had been destroyed were replaced by those
marble palaces which even now, though "crumbling
to the shore," make her one of the proudest cities
of Europe.
These disasters encouraged a new enemy, in
the shape of the king of Hungary, to try and
wrest from Venice her Dalmatian possessions, but
he was defeated with loss, and the doge added to
his titles that of duke of Croatia. A second
battle with the Hungarians was not so favourable.
The doge was killed at the head of his troops, and
the Venetians were forced to sue for a truce of
five years. The famous golden altar-piece, called
the "Pala d'Oro"' was put up in San Marco in
the lifetime of this doge.
His successor,Domenico Michieli (Doge XXXV),
had not long been on the throne when he received
an embassy from Baldwin II, king of Jerusalem,
imploring his assistance against the infidels, who
were pressing him onall sides. The ambassadors did
not fail to promise new commercial advantages in
return. Whilethese negotiations were being carried
on the peril increased, the king himself was taken
prisoner, and the pope, Calixtus II, urged upon all

SThe Pala d'Oro is now only exhibited on great occasions.
It is a rich fabric of gold, ornamented with pearls and precious
stones and beautiful enamel. It is divided into two parts, of which
the upper part belongs to the Ioth century, and is upon silver
plate; the lower, upon golden plate, belongs to the IIth and 14th

58 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

the princes of Europe the immediate necessity of
going to his succour. The doge quickly responded
to the appeal, and, in a very short time a large
fleet of two hundred ships, of which he himself
took the command, put to sea ( 122). Among the
ships were several immense galleys, each banked
with a hundred oars, and each oar requiring
two men to ply it. On touching at Cyprus, the
doge was informed that the Saracen fleet was
before Jaffa, and the Venetians followed quickly
on the track of their enemy. They found the
Saracens blockading the port, and a fierce and
terrible battle ensued. The Saracens were early
dismayed by the loss of their admiral, for the
galley bearing the doge himself, being a swifter
vessel than the rest, began the attack, and, by
chance, ran down the vessel of the Saracen
admiral. The shock of the collision was so great
that the enemy's vessel sank immediately with all
the crew on board. Despite their loss, the Saracens
made a desperate fight, and the carnage was
fearful. In the archbishop of Tyre's account of
this engagement, it is recorded that the victors
stood on their decks ancle deep in the blood of
their enemies, and that the sea was dyed scarlet
for a circuit of two miles. This great national
triumph is represented by a picture in the Sala
dello Scrutinio," in the ducal palace, painted by
Santo Peranda. After this victory the Venetian
fleet entered the liberated port, and the doge re-
paired to Jerusalem where he was received with
rapturous applause. He concluded a treaty with
the Council of Regency, greatly to the advantage

The First Crusades.

of the Venetians, whereby an entire street in each
city of the kingdom of Jerusalem was allowed to
them, all their imports were permitted to pass free
from duty, and no taxes were to be paid by them.
Anxious to follow up their victory before the
infidels had recovered from their heavy losses at
Jaffa, the crusaders debated whether of the two
cities, Tyre or Ascalon, should be next attacked.
Opinions being divided, it was determined to
decide by lot. The names of the two cities were
written on slips of paper and placed in an urn.
The patriarch of Jerusalem celebrated a solemn
mass, and an orphan child was then selected to draw
out the lot. It fell upon Tyre, and to that city
the crusaders directed their steps. The Venetians
were to blockade the port while their allies in-
vested the city by land. The Christian host
could hardly have selected a more important place
for their joint attack. Tyre was at that time the
most populous and flourishing of the Syrian towns:
her commercial prosperity had been a proverb from
the earliest times, and the part which she played in
ancient history had been already imitated in the
middle ages by Venice.
But fourteen hundred years previous to the siege
of the crusaders it had taken the greatest efforts
of Alexander to conquer Tyre, and the Christian
army soon became aware what a formidable task
lay before them. Situated on a lofty eminence,
shut in by mountains on the north side, and
defended by inaccessible rocks against the sea
coast, these natural defences would have been
difficult enough to overcome; but when, added to

60 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

this, the nineteen miles of wall which surrounded
the city were defended with a triple line of forti-
fication and garrisoned by the forces of the sultans
of Egypt and Damascus, it appeared in truth im-
pregnable. For three months the crusaders besieged
the city in vain. Discouraged by repeated failures
their courage began to flag, and discord still further
weakened their forces. The army murmured
against the fleet. The Venetians, they said, were
in comparative ease and security, exempt from the
daily hardships and perils which beset the land
forces, and they went on to protest that they would
remain as inactive in their tents as the Venetians
upon their ships. When tidings of these murmurs
reached the gallant doge, he promply bethought
him of a remedy for their complaints. With a
coolness and courage which have hardly been
rivalled in history, he ordered his fleet to be com-
pletely disarmed. The ships were all stripped of
their sails, rudders, and oars, and, burdened with
these equipment, the sailors were commanded to
accompany him to the crusaders' camp. A more
extraordinary sight could hardly be imagined than
these long files of Venetian sailors who had de-
spoiled their own vessels beneath the walls of the
enemy's city. But the hardy experiment was
crowned with success. "You have cast aspersions
upon our courage, you have doubted our good
faith," said the doge to the crusader chief, and we
have come to prove how unjust and ill-founded
are your suspicions. We are willing to share your
fatigues and your perils. By depriving ourselves
in this manner (pointing to the sailors' burdens)

The First Crusades. 61

of all means of abandoning the coast we shall be
exposed to a double attack from the infidel hosts
on the one hand, and, on the other, from the effects
of a sudden tempest upon our disarmed and dis-
masted vessels." The suspicions of the army were
removed by so practical a proof of the sincerity
of their allies, and they besought the Venetians to
return to their ships. But although the siege was
pressed with renewed vigour, the garrison held out
with undiminished strength, and there was no sign
of yielding. At length what force could not ac-
complish was obtained by stratagem. A carrier
pigeon was observed to fly frequently in and out
of the city, and the crusaders felt certain that their
enemies were invited to hold out by promises of
speedy relief from the Saracen army. Next time
the pigeon flew over their heads they raised a loud
shout and the terrified bird dropped to the ground.
The letter which it was bearing to the besieged city
contained indeed the expected tidings of speedy
relief from the sultan of Damascus if the garrison
could only hold out a little longer. The crusaders
extracted this letter, substituting another con-
taining intelligence of an opposite kind: namely
that the city was so surrounded by the Christian
army that it was impossible to attempt to raise
the siege. The bird carried back the false intel-
ligence to the besieged garrison. Immediate
capitulation ensued, and the city with all its rich,
spoils fell into the hands of the crusaders. The
capture of Tyre was soon followed by that of
Some historians state that the doge was offered.

62 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

the crown of Jerusalem in return for his signal
services. This is however improbable, as the
throne could not be considered vacant because
the king was in captivity. But Venice had ob-
tained a sufficient amount of glory and power
from her new Eastern possessions to excite the
jealousy of the Greek empire without this addi-
tional dignity. Alexius Commenus had watched
with suspicious eyes the first conquests of the
crusaders, although he had been willing enough to
reap the advantages of their valour.
Gibbon compares him to the jackal, who is said
to follow the footsteps and devour the leavings of
the lion.1" Certainly while the crusaders pushed
onwards into the midland countries of Asia, he
lost no time in re-uniting to his empire those
cities, Ephesus, Smyrna, Philadelphia, Laodicoea,
&c., which had been evacuated by the Turks at
the approach of the European host. But as the
Latin conquests became more extensive, and the
European dominion established so immediately in
her vicinity more powerful, the alarm -of the Greek
empire was proportionably aroused. Venice, the
former vassal of the empire, had embarked in the
crusade contrary to the wishes of her liege lord,
and, at all costs, her prosperity and power must
be checked lest they should cause her to forget the
deference which she had hitherto paid to the court
of Constantinople. Johannes Commenus had
succeeded to his father Alexius, and before the
Venetian ships could return from Tyre he gave
1 Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," vol. xi.
p. 97.

The First Crusades. 63

orders to his own fleet to interrupt the Venetian
commerce and to capture the merchant-vessels of
the Republic wherever they were to be met. A
speedy retribution followed upon this act of
treason. The doge took his victorious fleet to
Rhodes, which he sacked and pillaged. He ravaged
the whole of the Archipelago. The towns of
Dalmatia which had seceded to the empire were
destroyed, so that when the warrior doge Michieli,
on his return to Venice, died in 1130, he deserved
the epitaph of Hic jacet Terror Gracorum."
The emperor was glad to purchase peace by the
renewal of all the former commercial privileges
of the Venetians. His successor, Manuel, was
thankful to return to the normal relations of the
two states and to avail himself of the powerful
assistance of Venice against their common enemy,
Roger, king of Sicily. The allies soon possessed
themselves of Corfu, and proceeded to devastate
Sicily, till at last the king obtained peace by an
offer of high commercial privileges to the Vene-
tians. Although the empire had been willing
enough to make use of the arms of an ally
in the hour of danger, her jealousy of the Re-
public was only lying dormant, and was quickly
re-awakened by the new advantages wrung from
the king of Sicily by the success of her arms.
Unable to cope with her in open warfare, the wily
Greek emperor had recourse to treachery. Italy
was at that time the scene of the Guelph and
Ghibelline war, the desperate struggle which was
raging between pope Alexander III and the
emperor Frederic Barbarossa, who maintained the

64 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

pretensions of the anti-pope, Victor IV. Venice
espoused the cause of Alexander III, and con-
sequently took an active share in the league of
the Lombard cities against the German emperor.
Aquileia, the ancient enemy of Venice, adhered
to the imperial cause, and to show her zeal made
another descent upon Grado. But this time the
aggressors were caught in their own toils. They
had conquered the island and were enjoying their
pillage in security, as they thought, when they
were surprised by the Ventians, and the patriarch
Ulric was taken prisoner with his twelve canons.
He was allowed to go free, but not till he had
been made to submit to a most humiliating tribute
which gave rise to a strange custom in Venice.
Every year, on Thursday in Carnival, the anni-
versary of the victory, the patriarch of Aquileia
was compelled to send to Venice, as a tribute, a
bull and twelve pigs, intended to represent a
deputation of himself and his twelve canons.
These ambassadors, as they were contemptuously
designated, were paraded through the streets of
Venice and finally slaughtered with mock solem-
nity on the Piazza Maggiore, in the presence of
the doge and the assembled citizens, This custom,
although subsequently somewhat reformed, was
kept up to the last days of the Republic.
The triumph over Aquileia was succeeded by
another over rebellious Zara, but these victories
were dearly bought. The exchequer of Venice was
already nearly exhausted by the constant drains
upon it, when a fresh subsidy was required to
maintain the forces of the Lombard league. In

The First Crusades.

these circumstances the Republic was obliged to
have recourse to a loan from the most wealthy
citizens, each being required to contribute, so far
as he was able, to the public need. The Greek,
emperor had been watching his opportunity, and
he thought that the moment had now arrived for
humbling the pride of Venice. He began by asking
the Venetians to assist him in his war against the
king of Sicily, and on their refusal, pleading their
recent treaty with that monarch, he seized upon
four towns in Dalmatia. He then sent an embassy
to Venice to say that he did not intend to break
with the Republic, but if they would return to
their allegiance he was willing to renew their
former treaties. He would also restore the
captured towns if the Venetians would continue
their former commerce with the empire. Venice,
impoverished by constant warfare, could ill afford
to lose her commercial advantages. She was
obliged to accept this unsatisfactory explanation
of the emperor's conduct, and her vessels, richly
laden once more, set sail to trade with the Levant.
This was the snare which the artful Greek had
prepared for them. Immediately on their arrival
at Constantinople they were seized, and all the
Venetians throughout his dominions were simul-
taneously arrested and thrown into prison.
The rage and indignation which the news of
this treacherous proceeding awakened in Venice
can easily be imagined. There was not a citizen
who did not offer his life, his family, or his goods,
to avenge his outraged country. The family of
the Giustiniani, one of the most ancient in

66 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

Venice and a hundred in number, with one ex-
ception embarked and perished in the cause. The
one left behind had taken monastic vows, but
was withdrawn from his convent lest the whole
family should have thus been for ever extinguished.
To furnish funds for the war "La Camera degli
Imprestidi" (the chamber of loans) was established,
to which the citizens agreed to contribute at an
annual interest of four per cent. The contributors
afterwards formed themselves into a company for
the management of the funds, and this institution
was called the Bank of Venice. It lasted as long
as the Republic itself, and is supposed to be the
earliest example of a permanent national debt.
In twenty days, owing to the united efforts of the
citizens, an armament of a hundred galleys and
twenty ships was prepared, and commanded by
the doge in person, Vitale Michieli, put to sea.
But fresh treachery and terrible disasters awaited
the Venetians. On touching at the island of
Negropont, the doge was apprised that the emperor
wished to treat for peace. Ambassadors were
sent to Constantinople, and the Venetians went
into winter quarters at Scio to await their return.
Here the plague broke out among them, more
than one chronicler affirms in consequence of
the wells having been poisoned by the Greeks;
an act which seems only in accordance with their
former treacherous conduct. By the time the
ambassadors, wearied by repeated procrastinations
and unable to come to any conclusion, returned
for fresh orders from the doge, the magnificent
fleet and army had been so thinned by the ravages

T/ze First Crusades.

of the plague that many ships had been burnt
because there were no sailors to man them.
Few of the soldiers were able to bear arms, and
nothing remained but for the doge to conduct
what was left of his host back to Venice. New
disasters on the homeward voyage still further
increased the terrible wreck of that fine fleet, so
that at length only seventeen vessels crept slowly
into Venice to tell the dismal tale. They brought
with them, moreover, the seeds of the horrible
disease which had wrought their destruction at
Scio, and it soon spread with fearful rapidity
among the crowded population of Venice.
Maddened by such a series of calamities, the
fickle populace sought an object on which to wreak
their rage and disappointment. As was ever
their wont, they turned upon the doge, whom they
considered responsible for all their past and present
sufferings. In vain he called an assembly in the
ducal palace to try and appease them. They would
not hear him, and, falling upon him, one more
prince was added to the already long catalogue of
those who had paid for their great position the
penalty of a violent death (I172).
The army and the fleet of Venice had both been
destroyed, her enemies were triumphant, the city
was a prey to sedition and disease, the hands of
the Venetians were again stained with the blood
of their prince; but a new and more lasting order
of things was about to spring out of this very
confusion, and Venice would again arise to a still
greater height of splendour and strength than any
which she had hitherto attained.


A.D. 1172-1193.



"Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee,
And was tie safeguard of the west: the worth
Of Venice did not fall below her birth,
Venice, the eldest child of Liberty.
She was a maiden City bright and free;
No guile seduced, no force could violate;
And when she took unto herself a Mate,
She must espouse the everlasting Sea."
Wordsworth, Poems of the Imagination," No. VI.

N interval of six months elapsed between
the assassination of the last doge, Vitale
II, Michieli, and the election of a new
prince. The people were deliberating upon a
change in their form of government. The imper-
fections of their constitution, as it existed at
present, were so palpable that it was evident some
radical reform was required. Their doge was in-
deed an elective sovereign, but, once chosen, there
was no means of restraining his power. When

Sebastiano Ziani.

the people were dissatisfied with either his govern-
ment or his policy, their only remedy lay in an
open insurrection, to which, as has already been
seen, they too often had recourse. Some limita-
tions had been imposed upon the authority of the
doge in 1032, with the intention of averting these
scenes of violence and bloodshed; but they were
insufficient to protect the rights of the people
against a magistrate of such indefinite powers.
Every other Italian state had before this more
or less provided for its liberty by constitutional
laws, and the time had arrived for Venice to
follow their example. The framework of her
constitution was formed in 1172, but it passed
through several modifications before it was com-
pleted at the beginning of the fourteenth century.
The first reform assailed the manner of the
election of the doge. The people had as much
too much freedom in the election of their prince,
as too little when the authority was once placed
in his hands. Hitherto, it would seem, that the
whole population might, if they liked, take part in
the election of the doge, and this large and tumul-
tuous assembly of people, told by the head, can
scarcely be considered as the true representative
of the nation. As Venice increased in power and
size, these assemblies became more and more
incapable of exercising any good influence upon
the election: the better class of citizens abstained
from attending such scenes of disorder and con-
fusion. Many instances prove that the doge was
often elected solely by acclamation. Pre-eminently
in the case of Domenico Selvo in 1069, when, in

70 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

imitation of the Lombard method of choosing a
king, all the people, armed, repaired to the Lido in
their gondolas and shouted, We will have Selvo
for our doge!" Selvo was accordingly declared
elected to the ducal throne. This was an excep-
tional case. But even on those occasions when
some pretence of order was introduced into the
ceremony, when the election was not the imme-
diate act of the people, it was conducted in the
name of the people, and finally submitted to their
decision. The doge-elect was conducted to San
Marco, and after the celebration of a solemn mass,
he was presented to the assembled citizens. After
taking an oath to govern them wisely and prudently,
he was carried round the Piazza San Marco seated
in the "pozzetto" (the seat of honour), scattering
largesse among the people, who were invited to
signify their assent by loud acclamations. It was
not till after his return from this procession that
he was declared elected, the acclamations of the
people taking the place of their votes. The ducal
bonnet, or corno," was then placed upon his head,
at the summit of the Giant's staircase, and he was
allowed to enter his palace. Here then it may
be seen that the acclamations of the people were
all powerful to choose or to refuse their new
ruler. It is curious also to notice, that a remnant
of this very old custom has descended to the present
time. Take, for example, the coronation of our
own sovereign. Even here, where the monarchy
is hereditary and not elective, the people are not
excluded from the ceremony. A section of the
Coronation Service is entitled The Recognition."

Sebastiano Ziani.

Thus, before our present queen sat upon her
throne, the archbishop of Canterbury and the
great officers of state went to the four corners of
the theatre, on which she was raised for all the
people to see her, and at each one of them ad-
dressed the people: "Sirs, I here present unto you
Queen Victoria, the undoubted Queen of this realm:
Wherefore all you who are come this day to do
your Homage, are you willing to do the same ?"
and the people signified their willingness and joy,
by loud and repeated acclamations, all with one
voice crying out, "God save Queen Victoria! "
But to return from this digression. The only
other authority recognized in Venice up to the
year 1172 was a tribunal, which, on account of
the number of its members, was called the "Forty."
They are supposed to have been representatives
of the most ancient Venetian families, and their
average duties do not appear to have extended
beyond the administration of justice. But by the
assassination of the doge, this tribune became
the principal, if not the only, authority in Venice,
and the forty members determined to avail them-
selves of their important position, to introduce
a reform in the constitution before the election
of a new doge.
They began by establishing a great council
called the "Maggior Consiglio," principally com-
posed of men of high birth, and invested by the
law with the appointment of the doge, and of all
the council of magistracy. Four hundred and

1 Phillimore's Eccles. Law, vol. i, p. 1056.

72 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

eighty citizens were to form the great council,
and they were elected in the following manner.
Each one out of the six districts into which
Venice was divided, was every year to choose
two electors, and these electors were in turn to
choose each forty.citizens, in order to make up
the appointed number.
The people were allowed to choose their own
tribunes, and to make this privilege more valu-
able, the election of the great council was to be
renewed every year. Yet, in truth, this was only
a semblance of a right preserved to the people,
and not a reality. They had been deprived of
their sovereignty without being aware of it, and
the first germ of an aristocratical government
had been substituted in its place. The same re-
spect for the ancient nobility, which had hitherto
shown itself in the choice of the old tribunal of
the "Forty," led the new tribunes to choose the
members of the great council from the same noble
source, so much so, that it was forbidden to them
by law to choose more than four members out
of one family. Gradually the choice of these
electors or tribunes, instead of being left with the
people, was usurped by the grand council. Con-
sequently the re-election of the members lay
principally in the hands of the council itself, and
thus it was for the most part composed of the
same members re-elected from year to year. This
was only the first step towards making a council-
lorship hereditary, which came to pass in the
thirteenth century. Thus the popular assemblies,
which had been the scenes of such violence and

Sebastiano Ziani.

clamour, were abolished, except on two occasions,
when the people were to ratify the choice of a
doge, or when it was a question of peace or
As before, the new doge was presented for the
approbation of the people only with the words-
"If it please you, this is your doge." But this
was a mere form to pacify the people, who were
angry at being excluded from his election. This
was now conducted in the Basilica of San Marco,
by eleven electors chosen out of the great council,
and the majority was to be decided by not less
than nine out of the eleven votes. The splendour
of the subsequent ceremony was enhanced to
make up to the people for their lost privilege.
Immense largesse was thrown among them, in
order, it is said by an old chronicler1, that while
the people were engaged in scrambling for it, the
newly elected doge might ascend the Giant's stair-
case, and receive the ducal bonnet. Once crowned
with this, there was no longer any possibility of
questioning his election; for when the choice of
the electors was unpopular, the people were known
to protest with angry vociferations in the hopes
of preventing, while there was yet time, the final
ceremony, which was equivalent to a coronation.
The ducal bonnet, or "corno," from its resem-
blance to a horn in shape, is well-known to those
who are familiar with the pictures of the Venetian
school. It was supposed to be of Eastern origin,
and certainly its decorations had an Oriental

1 II Cavaliere Soranzo.

74 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

splendour. The ball in which it ended was a
huge diamond, in the centre was a priceless ruby,
bordered with rich pearls and jewels. The manner
of election having been thus reformed, the next
step was to limit the authority of the prince when
elected. Six councillors were chosen out of the
great council, to be the special advisers of the
prince, whose orders would have no weight unless
backed by their authority. They formed the sig-
nory" or visible representative of the Republic;
they were empowered to dispatch orders, to corre-
spond with ambassadors, to treat with foreign
states, to convoke councils, to preside in them,
and to perform other duties of administration.
For matters of graver importance connected
with the state, a further provision was made. It
would not have suited with the secrecy which
became the chief feature of Venetian policy, if, on
these occasions, the doge had been obliged to
convene an assembly so numerous as that of
the great council. Hitherto, since 1032, when the
doge wished to consult the opinion of the people,
he had sent for some of the principal citizens,
choosing them himself, and hence they were called
"Pregadi ," i. e. "the invited."
But now this privilege was taken from him.
Instead of naming his own advisers, or pregadi,"
he was only to preside in a council of sixty mem-
bers, to be annually renewed, chosen out of the
grand council, to whom the care of the state in

A hall was set apart for them in the ducal palace called
the Sala del Senato or dei Pregadi."

Sebastiano Ziani.

all domestic and foreign relations, and the previous
deliberation upon proposals submitted to the
"Maggior Consiglio," was confided.
Lastly, the rights of the people were supposed
to be secured by the oath of the doge at his elec-
tion, so comprehensive as to embrace every
possible check upon undue influence. He was
bound not to correspond with foreign states, or to
open their letters, except in the presence of the
signory; to acquire no property beyond the Vene-
tian dominions, and to resign what he might
already possess; to interpose, directly or indirectly,
in no judicial process, and not to permit any
citizen to use tokens of subjection in saluting
him 1.
Thus, out of the ruins of the former despotic
power of the doge, arose a system of aristocratical
government of which no more exclusive or more
lasting example existsthanthat furnished by Venice.
This elaborate and complicated machinery being
completed, it only remained to choose a fitting
representative of the diminished power and dignity
of the dogeship. The choice of the electors fell
upon "Sebastiano Ziani," a wise and prudent
man, a favourite with the people, whose good
graces he further acquired by scattering immense
largesse when carried in triumph round the Piazza.
1 For this description of the Venetian government the writer
is, in great measure, indebted to the remarks of the following
historians:-Hallam, Europe during the Middle Ages," vol. i.
pp. 475 et seq.; Sismondi, Histoire des Republiques Italiennes,"
vol. iii. pp 286 et seq.; Daru, "Histoire de la Republique de
Venise," vol. i. pp. 134 et seq.; Zanotto, Storia della Repubblica
di Venezia," vol. i. pp. 215, 216.

76 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

There was but little promise at the beginning of
his reign of those brilliant scenes which were
about to illustrate this period of Venetian history.
Emboldened by the complete destruction of the
Venetian fleet, the Greek emperor proceeded to
outrage the dignity of the fallen state in the
person of her ambassador Enrico Dandolo." But
the fame of that gallant soldier was afterwards
only enhanced by the barbarous act which, although
it deprived him of sight, could not diminish his
courage, nor render his subsequent services one
whit less valuable to his country, or less formidable
to her treacherous enemy. As yet however the
Republic in its weakened and impoverished state
was unable to take any steps towards avenging
the cruel insult which had been inflicted by the
Greek emperor. Her best defence from further
outrage lay in her close alliance with the king of
Sicily, whose power the Eastern empire had long
had cause to dread. But an opportunity for
active retaliation was not long in offering itself.
Ancona, whose commercial prosperity under the
immediate favour of the Greek emperor had for
some time past excited the jealousy of Venice,
was besieged by the army of Frederic Barbarossa,
and Venice on this occasion enrolled herself
under his banner for the purpose of humbling her
treacherous foe. The siege, which was conducted
by the relentless archbishop-elect of Mayence, is
only too memorable by its horrors. There is,
however, some comfort in knowing that the suffer-
ings and the deeds of heroism on the part of the
garrison were not in vain. Relief came to them

Sebastiano Ziani. 77

at length from Ferrara. The siege was raised by
the joint armies of the Contessa Bertinoro and
Marcheselli, lord of Ferrara; the imperial army
was obliged to make a hasty retreat, and the
Venetian ships withdrew from the harbour. In
the course of the siege they had sustained no
inconsiderable loss.
But it was only a mercantile jealousy which had
prompted Venice to join in the attack upon
Ancona. It was entirely contrary to her usual
policy to encourage directly so formidable a power
as that of the emperor of Germany in her imme-
diate vicinity. When therefore Frederic Barbarossa
made, for the fifth time, his descent into Italy,
Venice renewed her alliance with the Lombard
league, whose final triumph at the battle of Legnano
over the imperial army forms one of the landmarks
of the history of that period. It was the first
time that success had attended the struggles of the
people for liberty in the middle ages. Moreover
the complete defeat of the imperial forces on
this occasion, ultimately led to a reconciliation
between the pope and the emperor. The struggle
between these two powers had been raging ever
since the coronation of Barbarossa. On this
occasion Adrian IV insulted the pride of the
haughty emperor. Frederic revenged himself by
not acknowledging the successor to Adrian, Alex-
ander III, elected (1159) by the majority of
cardinals, but lent his support and countenance
to the other candidate, Victor IV, chosen by the
minority. Hence arose the scandal, hereafter to
be repeated, of two popes, one excommunicating

78 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

the other; and for twenty years Italy was the scene
of the struggle between pope and anti-pope, and
a prey to the imperial army. The quarrel extended
more or less to the other European states. France
upheld the cause of Alexander III, to spite the
emperor of Germany; and the king of England
recognized the authority of the same pope, when,
in obedience to his commands, he performed his
penance before the shrine of Thomas a Becket.
Yet all the while Alexander III was a fugitive from
his see and from his dominions. Indeed an imperial
edict prohibited any state from granting him an
asylum in any part of Italy, and his rival was safely
established at Rome. In this pitiful condition,
Alexander at length fled to Venice. Embarking at
Benevento, in one of the ships of the king of
Sicily, he was driven by a tempest to the coast of
Dalmatia, and after a short stay at Zara he crossed
over to the Lagune. The first night he took
refuge in a monastry, that of San Salvatore, in the
"Merceria," near the Rialto, which still bears the
inscription, "Alexandro III. Pont. Max. pernoc-
tanti." But the next day, discarding his disguise,
he announced who he was and threw himself upon
the mercy of Venice. The Republic received
their illustrious guest with the hospitality due
to his dignity and to his misfortunes. They de-
spatched ambassadors to Frederic, then at Pavia,
beseeching him to acknowledge the true pope, lay
down his arms, and restore peace to Italy. But
Frederic, little knowing what a great humiliation
was in store for him, returned a haughty answer.
"Go back to your prince," he said, and to your

Sebastiano Ziani. 79

senate. Tell them the emperor of Rome demands
the surrenderof a fugitive and a foe. If Venice refuse
to yield him up she becomes henceforth the enemy
of the empire. I will punish her offence. I will
press her by sea and by land, and I will plant my
imperial eagles on the porch of San Marco."
This formidable threat did not intimidate the
Venetians. In a short time a fleet of seventy-five
galleys was prepared and put to sea. The pope
himself girded the doge with a golden sword, and
implored the blessing of heaven on the enterprise;
and this time the Venetians were victorious. The
imperial fleet, chiefly composed of Genoese and
Pisan ships, was defeated in a fierce battle off the
coast of Istria. Forty-eight vessels were captured
and brought back in triumph to Venice, together
with a still more valuable prize, Otho, the emperor's
son, who had commanded his father's fleet. He
was made the bearer of propositions of peace to
Frederic, who, crushed by the double victory of
the Lombard league by land, and the Venetians by
sea, was forced at length to yield.
The preliminaries of the treaty were drawn up
at Venice, and the story of the reconciliation
between the pope and the emperor forms a brilliant
page in her history. The city in the midst of the
Lagune became the scene of the most important
event of the age. All eyes were turned towards
her as the central point of European interests.
England and France sent their ambassadors to
attend this memorable congress; the princes of
the Italian states, the bishops and cardinals who
had remained faithful to Alexander throughout his

80 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

misfortunes, the deputies from the cities of the
Lombard league, all flocked to Venice. The
imperial plenipotentiaries signed a treaty whereby
Alexander III was recognized as the true pope
and re-established in the holy see, and a truce of
five years was granted to the Lombard cities,
during which time the emperor was to acknow-
ledge their rights and not exact from them the oath
of fealty1.
These points settled, the emperor came himself
to Venice, for the purpose of ratifying the treaty
by an act of public submission to the pope.
Six Venetian galleys were sent to convey him
from Chiozza to San Niccol6 del Lido, where the
signory had prepared for his reception. The
following morning a brilliant concourse, pope,
emperor, doge, prelates, warriors, ambassadors, and
people, assembled on the Piazza of San Marco.
The pope was seated in the porch of the Basilica,
arrayed in his pontifical vestments, surrounded by
prelates and cardinals. The emperor on landing
at the Piazza was received by the doge and the sena-
tors, and conducted to the chair where Alexander
sat. No sooner did Frederic perceive the pope
than, casting off his imperial mantle, he prostrated
himself before him to kiss his feet. And here it
is sad to relate that the dignity which had sustained
Alexander throughout his misfortunes forsook him
in the hour of his triumph.
"Black Demons hovering o'er his mitred head,
To Caesar's successor the Pontiff spake;
1 This truce became a definite treaty at the Peace of Constance
in 1185.

Sebastiano Ziani.

Ere I absolve thee, stoop! that on thy neck,
Levelled with earth, this foot of mine may tread.
Then he, who to the Altar had been led,
He, whose strong arm the Orient could not check,
He who had held the Soldan at his beck,
Stooped, of all glory disinherited,
And even the common dignity of man.
Amazement strikes the crowd: while many turn
Their eyes away in sorrow, others burn
With scorn, invoking a vindictive ban
From outraged nature; but the sense of most
In abject sympathy with power is lost ."
No doubt the wrongs of twenty years, the
hardships and indignities which he had endured,
flashed in that instant across the pontiff's mind,
and the temptation to avenge them must have been
strong. Yet if the generosity common to all great
minds cpuld not withold him from trampling on
a fallen foe, at least his position as patriarch of
the Western church ought to have restrained him
from giving yet another occasion for the bitter
remark that her spiritual office was eaten up with
temporal pride.
In the vestibule of S. Marco a lozenge of red
marble still marks the spot where the emperor
knelt to sue for pardon, and up to a very recent
period a brass tablet used also to record the words
spoken by the pope to the emperor on this
"Super aspidem et basilicum ambulabisA."
Whether, satiated by this first act of revenge, or
perhaps feeling that he had already gone too far,
1 William Wordsworth, Sonnet xxxviii.
2 "Thou shalt go upon the lion and the adder," etc. Ps. xci.

82 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

the pope dispensed Frederic from the further acts
of homage, which it was customary for the emperors
to pay, namely, the holding the stirrup of the
pope's horse when he mounted, and afterwards
going on foot before the pope to lead it by the
Although questioned by some historians, no
event of the middle ages is, in reality, better
attested than the one just related.
Firstly, by a number of ancient chroniclers, who
record even the minutest circumstances connected
with it. Secondly, by the special privileges
accorded by the pope to Venice, in recognition of
the great services which she had rendered to him
in his distress. If the doge had lost the substance
of his power at the beginning of his reign, the
shadow was greatly increased by the symbols of
sovereignty, with which he was now invested by
a papal grant. Henceforth a lighted taper, a
sword, a canopy, a chair of state, a footstool
covered with cloth of gold, silver trumpets, and'
rich embroidered banners were to be borne before
the doge of Venice. These ordinary empty
honours might have been conferred upon any
prince, but the extraordinary gift of the sove-
reignty of the sea was destined, in its annual
renewal, to be a fitting record of the perpetual
gratitude of Rome to Venice. The ceremony
which accompanied the symbolic marriage of
Venice with the Adriatic stands forth as a picture
of unique character in her romantic history.
Alexander III presented the doge with a gold
ring. "Receive this," he said, "from me, as a

Sebastiano Ziani.

pledge of your sovereignty over the sea, which I
give you, and every year do you and your suc-
cessors renew, with this ring, your marriage with
her: that henceforth all posterity may know that
the Adriatic is yours by right of conquest, and owes
to you the obedience which a wife owes to her
Now alas!
"The spouseless Adriatic mourns her lord
And annual marriage now no more renewed;"
but for six hundred years the ceremony was re-
ligiously observed by the Venetians, and every
year the doge went forth, in the famous Bucin-
toro," the great state galley, to solemnize the
symbolic nuptials.
The voyage, on the day of the festival, took
place with a dazzling retinue of craft of every
sort, amid the thunder of cannon, towards the
Lido. As soon as they entered upon the open
sea, a door was unlocked in the private chamber
of the doge, in the stern of the vessel, a priest
sprinkled holy water into the sea on the spot
where the golden ring was about to fall, and the
doge cast it in with the words:
Desponsamus te, mare, in signum veri perpetuique dominii,"
(We wed thee, 0 sea, in token of true and per-
petual sovereignty).
The model of the "Bucintoro," still to be seen
in the arsenal at Venice, gives some idea of this
marvellous floating palace. The great ship was
one hundred Venetian feet long, it was divided

84 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

lengthwise into two stories, and was rowed by
forty-two oars, each oar on account of its great
length taking four men to ply it. The nobles and
senators sat in the upper storey in two long rows.
In the stern was the private saloon of the doge,
where he sat on a gilded throne, surrounded by
councillors and foreign ambassadors. The whole
ship was richly decked within and without, with
gilt ornaments of flowers, fruits, shells, fish, syrens,
and tritons. Nymphs and caryatides upheld the
canopy of scarlet satin which covered in the gal-
lery of the great saloon. The double prow of the
vessel was meant to represent the double dominion
of the Republic, by land and by sea; the stern was
adorned with two winged lions, while the banner
of San Marco floated from the single gilt mast
of the vessel. The Venetians were careful to
preserve, as nearly as possible, the identity of the
original ship, and as fast as one perished with
age, it was replaced by another exactly similar.
The last Bucintoro was stripped of its gilt or-
naments and partially burned by the barbarous
French soldiers in 1797, although the venerable
hull served as a gun-boat till 1824. This peculiar
privilege of the sovereignty of the sea, so justly
prized by the Venetians, and which, by the way,
excited the immediate jealousy of the king of
Naples, was one very tangible and lasting proof
of the obligations of the pope to Venice.
Another testimony is furnished by an inscription
placed in the Vatican by Pius IV, four centuries
after the event, to this effect:
"Pope Alexander III fled to Venice from the


t ill

S 'I~ Ed '



Sebastiano Ziani.

wrath and persecutions of the emperor. He was
received with every honour by the senate. Otho,
son of the emperor, was defeated and taken pri-
soner by the Venetians in a naval engagement.
Frederic, having signed a treaty of peace, came to
Venice, to prostrate himself before the pope,
implore his forgiveness, and swear obedience for
the future. Consequently the re-establishment of
the pope in the Holy See is due to the Venetians."
This inscription was compiled by the joint labours
of the College of Cardinals, from ancient authors,
documents, paintings, and marbles. When, in
1635, Urban VIII, caused it to be removed, Ve-
nice immediately recalled her ambassador from
Rome, and refused any audience to the papal
nuncio till it had been replaced.
Lastly, we have the testimony of the paint-
ings in the great council chamber of the ducal
palace. Some of the greatest artists of the Vene-
tian school have illustrated the whole history of
this remarkable event in a series of twelve paint-
ings 1. It was only fitting that the doge of Venice

I 1. Pope Alexander III recognized by the Doge Sebastiano
Ziani in the cloister Della Carit& : 2. Departure of the Papal and
Venetian ambassadors for Pavia : by Carlo and Gabrieli Cagliari.
3. The Pope presenting the Doge with a lighted taper; by
Leandro Bassano. 4. The Ambassors of the Pope and the Doge
before Frederick I at Pavia; by J. Tintoretto. 5. The Pope
girding the Doge with a golden sword; by F. Bassano. 6. The
departure of the Doge from Venice; by Paolo Fiammingo. 7.
Sea-fight at Salvore-The Venetians take prisoner Otho son of the
Emperor Frederick I; by Tintoretto. 8. The Doge presenting
Otho to the Pope; by A. Vicentino. 9. The Pope gives Otho
his liberty; by Palma il Giovane. o1. The Emperor Frederick
Barbarossa and Pope Alexander III in Venice; by Zuccaro.

86 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

who had restored the pope to the holy see and to
his dominions, should accompany his triumphal
entry into Rome, and should witness the entire
submission of the anti-pope, Calixtus III, the third
who had maintained the schism, who now laid
down his pretensions at the feet of Alexander.
Sebastiano Ziani died shortly after his return
to Venice, in the year 1178. During his reign
the Republic had not only been restored to all
her former glory, but she had acquired additional
honours, which she preserved to the last day of
her existence. Moreover, by protecting Rome
against the emperor, she had established a claim
to the high consideration of the European princes,
and the Italian cities were indebted to her for
the preservation of their rights. These could, as
yet, give Venice no cause for uneasiness, and by
the diminution of the imperial power in Italy, a
highly dangerous neighbour was removed from
her vicinity. Rome was bound, to Venice by a
deep debt of gratitude. The king of Naples and
Sicily was the ally of the Republic, and it
was in the interest of both states to maintain a
union which enabled them to withstand the Greek
emperor and the Saracen pirates. The Eastern
empire, perceiving Venice about to arise to new
power and strength, began to repent of her late
atrocities, and endeavoured to make up for them
by a tardy restitution of the confiscated goods.
The rivalry of Pisa and Genoa was not yet suf-
II. Arrival of the Emperor and Doge in Ancona; by Gambarato.
12. The Pope makes a present to the Doge in the church of S.
Giovanni Laterano; Giulio del Moro.

Sebastiano Ziani.

ficiently formidable to cause apprehension in
Venice, and only served to keep the Republic in
that state of activity which is so necessary to the
well-being of state. The king of Hungary was,
in truth, the only enemy Venice had to fear. So
much for the external relations of the Re-
Within the city many important features mark
this reign. The two great granite columns,
which are such familiar objects in the pictures
of Venice, were erected on the Piazzetta. Some
fifty years previously they were brought by Do-
menico Michieli from some island in the Archi-
pelago, on his return from the Holy Land. Their
capitals are a proof of their Byzantine origin.
Originally there were three columns, but in land-
ing them, one sank in the mud, from whence it
has never been raised. The other two, although
safely landed on the quay, were so immense, that
it was found impossible to raise them in those
days when the art of mechanism was so little
understood. At length, Niccol6 Barattiero a
Lombard architect, undertook the difficult task,
and succeeded in rearing up the huge masses of
granite on the Piazzetta, where they have stood
ever since. We do not know how he managed
to raise them, except that he was careful to keep
the ropes, which he used as pulleys, constantly
damp, lest they should snap with the strain. It
is easy to imagine how eagerly his proceedings
were watched by the people, and their delight when
the difficult task was at length accomplished. The
successful architect was told he might fix his own

88 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

reward. He made the singular and embarrassing
request that games of chance, elsewhere forbidden
by the law, might be played with impunity be-
tween the two columns. The doge could not go
back from his word, so the request was granted.
Afterwards, to deter the people from profiting by
their privilege, the public executions were ap-
pointed to take place on the same spot. Thus
the space between the two columns became so
ill-omened, that even crossing it was supposed
to portend a misfortune.
The two figures which surmount the columns
were not added till a later period. They were
executed by Pietro Guilombardo in 1329, and repre-
sent the former and later patron saints of Venice.
The former, St. Theodore, stands upon a croco-
dile. He was a young Syrian soldier who suffered
martyrdom in the time of Maximus, and was
highly esteemed by the Eastern church. When
Narses expelled the Ostrogoths, in 535, from
Italy, he built, as has been already said, one of
the earliest churches in Venice in honour of St.
Theodore. The Eastern martyr thus came to be
regarded as the patron saint of the Republic,
until the translation of the relics of San Marco to
Venice caused the Venetians to place themselves
under the patronage of the Evangelist, whose
symbol adorns the other column. With regard
to the image of St. Theodore, De la Houssaye
sarcastically comments upon the shield being
placed in the right hand of the warrior and the
lance in the left, significant of the ignorance of
the Venetians in the use of arms, and their pre-

Sebastiano Ziani.

ference for a peaceful policy at any cost. The
"Piazzetta," or little piazza, on which these
columns stand, was paved by order of Sebastiano
Ziani, and the Piazza San Marco itself was consi-
derably enlarged, the battlemented wall which had
circumscribed it being pulled down. The first
bridge on the Rialto, which connected that island
-the cradle of Venice-with the opposite island
of San Marco, dates also from this reign. At
first it only consisted of a bridge of boats across
the grand canal, and was not replaced by even a
wooden bridge till the year 1264. Finally, a not-
able act of Sebastiano Ziani's reign, was the sub-
stituting the name of the doge on the coin of Venice
for that of the Italian king or German emperor.
A few changes again marked the election of
"Orio Mastropiero," Doge XL, who succeeded
to Sebastiano Ziani (1178). The great council
appointed four commissioners, each of whom
named ten electors, and thus a new tribunal of
forty replaced the old tribunal of the same num-
ber, and on their choice depended the election
of the new doge. The "Avvogadori" were also
instituted at the same time. These were magi-
strates, three in number, chosen to represent the
people and guard their interests, not only in state
affairs, but also in the private administration of
justice, and in all matters of internal legislation.
The great event of this reign was the Third Crusade
(i 189). The schism, which had for so many years
agitated the papal see being for the present at
rest, the pope turned his attention to the affairs of
Palestine, and caused a third crusade to be preached

90 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

in aid of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. Never
was that kingdom in greater need of assistance.
News had reached Europe that the famous con-
queror Saladin had gained possession of it; that
the king, Guy de Lusignan, was taken prisoner;
and that, with the exception of a few strong towns
on the sea-coast, the Holy Land was again in the
hands of the Infidels. The grief and dismay
spread by this intelligence was universal, and all
the princes felt it incumbent on them to hasten
to the defence of the little kingdom, which had
till then been the tangible proof of their efforts to
rescue the Holy City, the pledge of their Christian
Consequently the "Peace of God," proclaimed
by the papal nuncios among the European states,
was eagerly embraced by all nations.
The kings of England and France let their old
feud rest, that each might march at the head of
his troops to Palestine. Frederic Barbarossa
joined the expedition, to expiate his crime of
fighting against the pope, but was drowned in
crossing the little river of the Salef in Armenia,
before he could reach his destination. Pisa and
Genoa laid aside their rivalries to furnish ships and
troops to Conrad, marquis of Montferrat, Cre-
mona made up her quarrel with Brescia, Parma
with Piacenza, Milan with Pavia, and sent their
bravest warriors to fight under the one standard
of the cross. Venice left off disputing with the
king of Hungary for her Dalmatian possessions,
and sent a large armament to join the crusade.
Alas! that so small a result should have attended

Sebastiano Ziani.

such great efforts, because the unity of impulse
which had inspired them could not produce unity
of action.
Discords and strife filled that camp of chivalry,
and it seemed as if the quarrels of the various
states had only been laid down in Europe to be
resumed in Syria.
How prominently do they stand forth in history,
that group of European kings and warriors encamped
before Acre, on the sultry coast of Syria, nine
times renewing the assault before the besieged city
would surrender! Nor must we forget their
generous foe, or deny to the great Saladin those
noble qualities which, alas, were lacking in many a
Latin prince. There is no need to enter at large
upon so favourite a chapter of history, more espe-
cially when romance lends yet a few more
touches to enhance the brilliant scene, making a
perfect picture of that memorable crusade. Yet
not all the valour of the lion-hearted king Richard,
his deeds of prowess which seem to belong more
to. romance than to history, could restore the Latin
kingdom of Jerusalem, checked and thwarted as
they were by the disunion, the cold prudence, and
the envy of his brother chiefs. Who can repress
a sigh when they read of that brave hero veiling
his face, on reaching the summit of a hill whence
Jerusalem could be seen ? "Those," said he, "who
are unwilling to rescue, are unworthy to view the
sepulchre of Christ." Perhaps the blood with
which he had so recklessly stained his hands,
perhaps the pride of his heart, which had marred
the purity of his motives, precluded him from the

92 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

reward granted to Godfrey de Bouillon's more
sober perseverance and purer zeal.
The soldiers remained in possession of the Holy
City, but it was "stipulated that Jerusalem and the
Holy Sepulchre should be open, without tribute or
vexation, to the pilgrimage of the Latin Christians;
that, after the demolition of Ascalon, they should
inclusively possess the sea coast from Jaffa to Tyre;
that the count of Tripoli and the prince of Antioch
should be comprised in the truce; and that during
three years and three months all hostilities should
cease 1.
Venice had lent powerful maritime assistance
to the warriors in this crusade. A share in the
honours of taking Tyre, Acre, Jaffa, and Ascalon,
fairly belonged to her, and was, as before, recom-
pensed with commercial privileges. Her martial
exploits on this occasion are thrown into the shade,
as were.indeed those of greater European states,
by the giant force and dauntless courage of the
English monarch.
But in the next crusade, which comprehended
an enterprise of greater magnitude than any yet
undertaken, Venice played no secondary part.
Nor can her champion who, regardless of age and
infirmity, led with undaunted courage her troops
to victory, be considered inferior to any of the
gallant names which adorn the roll of chivalry.

1 Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. xi. 13.


A.D. 1193-1205.

"Oh, for one hour of blind old Dandolo,
Th' octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe l"
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage," Canto iv. sc. 12.

HE twofold aspect of Venice, as an Oriental
and a European city, which outwardly appears
in her buildings, partly designed by Italian
art, partly decked with Byzantine wealth, may
be clearly traced in her history.
Placed by chance betwixt two empires, she
preserved her independence during her first
struggles for existence. Afterwards, when she had
developed into a proud and powerful state, she held
more than once the fate of either empire in her
hands. We have just seen her witness the humili-
ation and decide the fate of the Western emperor.
Now turning eastwards, a still more remarkable
sight awaits our astonished eyes. If it was the
proud lot of Sebastiano Ziani to restore the pope
to Rome, Enrico Dandolo was about to plant the
standard of San Marco on that other seat of im-

94 Pictures from the Early History of Venice.

perial power to which the Roman eagles were first
transferred by Constantine.
Enrico Dandolo, the ambassador who had been
deprived of his sight by the cruelty of Emmanuel
Commenus, was chosen by the electors to succeed
Orio Mastropiero in the ducal chair. He was
eighty-five years old, almost, if not entirely, blind;
yet, on account of the unimpaired vigour of his
body, the firmness and energy of his mind, he was
unanimously selected as the fit person to guide
the fortunes of the Republic. The event proved
the entire wisdom of a choice which combined
the experienced wisdom of age with the dauntless
energy of youth. His active administration early
showed itself in directing the arms of the Republic
against the troublesome province of Dalmatia,
which had seceded to the king of Hungary.
While the Venetian fleet, commanded by Dandolo,
was making for Zara, the Pisans, ever watchful
rivals of Venice, seized upon the important posi-
tion of Pola, in Istria, but were quickly dislodged
by a portion of the Venetian fleet, dispatched from
Zara by the doge. Brindisi supplied Pisa with
fresh troops to renew the attack, and the war
seemed likely to last, had not pope Innocent III
offered himself as mediator between the two
Republics. The pope had another object on which
he desired to concentrate the energies of the
European states, among which Venice might now
be justly considered to fill an important place.
Dissatisfied with the result of the last crusade,
he caused another to be preached; but he did not
discover till too late that in the crusading armies

Enrico Dandolo.

he had set in motion a force which he could
not control. This very remarkable chapter of
history has been already dealt with by a vast
number of learned historians, who gleaned their
information from the valuable contemporary
chronicles, both Greek and European, which have
been preserved to us. Yet it forms so important
and brilliant a portion of Venetian history that it
cannot be omitted from a treatise which professes
to recall the most gorgeous scenes of her existence.
Humbly following therefore in the footsteps of
the great historians, the writer will endeavour to
relate once again the principle features of this
Fulk, of Neuilly, an insignificant little village
in the neighbourhood of Paris, was appointed to
preach the Fourth Crusade (1201). He had already
obtained a reputation by the hardihood with
which he rebuked the vices of the nobles and
people, nor indeed did he scruple to attack the
sovereigns themselves. Consequently, although
neither a Peter the Hermit nor a St. Bernard,
his preaching on this occasion was attended with
great success. The people flocked in crowds to
hear him, large sums of money were placed at
his disposal to defray the expenses of the crusade,
and the great barons of France hastened to enroll
themselves under the banner of the cross. The
chief of these were Thibalt, the young count of
Champagne, and his cousin Louis, comte de Blois,
both of regal lineage, for both alike were nephews
of the kings of France and England; Simon de
Montfort, celebrated for his active share in the war

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