Domenico Selvo was the 31st Doge of Venice, serving from 1071 to 1084. He avoided confrontations with the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church at a time in European history when conflict threatened to upset the balance of power. He supervised a longer period of the construction of the modern St Mark’s Basilica than any other Doge.
About Domenico Selvo in brief
Domenico Selvo was the 31st Doge of Venice, serving from 1071 to 1084. He avoided confrontations with the Byzantine Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Roman Catholic Church at a time in European history when conflict threatened to upset the balance of power. He forged new agreements with the major nations that would set up a long period of prosperity for the Republic of Venice. The essentially democratic way in which he not only was elected but also removed from power was part of an important transition of Venetian political philosophy. The overthrow of his rule in 1084 was one of many forced abdications in the early history of the republic that further blurred the lines between the powers of the Doge, the common electorate and the nobility. He supervised a longer period of the construction of the modern St Mark’s Basilica than any other Doge. The basilica’s complex architecture and expensive decorations stand as a testament to the prosperity of Venice traders during this period. He had a relatively uneventful reign, healing the rift between his Doge and his subjects and regaining territory that had been lost to the Kingdom of Croatia in the years following the deposition of Otto Orseolo. However, one of the key reforms he enacted would restrict the power of the future Doges, including a law forbidding the election of a son of a Doge to the throne. Domenico Flabanico, a successful merchant, was called by the people to the position of Doge in his 11-year reign.
The Doge was severely outraged by the call and called the people ‘foolish’ and ‘ignorant’ He was deposed by his enemies and exiled to Constantinople in 1026, but his successor, Pietro Barbolano, had such difficulty in attempting to unite the city that it seemed infighting would once again seize Venice. In 1032, the former Doge lay dying in Constantinople and was unable to return from exile. He died in 1032 and was replaced by his son, Otto Orsolo, who became the youngest Doge at the age of 16. He spent his reign pushing the boundaries of the Republic further east down the western coast of the Balkan Peninsula with his conquests in Dalmatia in 1000. The reputed arrogance and ambition of these Doges caused the deterioration of the relationship with the Holy. Roman Empire in the west, the stagnancy of the relationships with the Eastern empires, and discord at home in the Republic. Pietro II’s negotiations with Byzantine Emperor Basil II helped foster a new age of prosperity in Venice. He restored previously seized lands to Venice, opened up routes of free trade between the two states, and exempted all Venetians from taxes in the HolyRoman Empire. His son Otto OrSolo assumed the title of Doedge upon Pietro’s death in 1009, thereby becoming the youngest doedge in Venice’s history. He was overthrown by those who wished to restore power to his son.
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