Get Along Little Doge
Oil from IraqTo: email@example.com
Subject: The Doge
Your recent reading on Enrico Dandolo, the doge made me curious about the famous office of the Doge of Venice, so I looked it up. It lasted, impressively, from 726 (and possibly earlier) until the late 18th century, which means that Venice holds the record for maintaining a sort-of Republican form of government. What amazes me was the sheer complication of the Venetian system. For example, the election rules (from Wiki) sound as if they were made up by S. J. Perelman:
New regulations for the elections of the doge introduced in 1268 remained in force until the end of the republic in 1797. Their object was to minimize as far as possible the influence of individual great families, and this was effected by a complex elective machinery. Thirty members of the Great Council, chosen by lot, were reduced by lot to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were reduced by lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were once more reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven finally chose the forty-one who actually elected the doge.
This system ended in 1797, when Venice came under French rule and Napoleon abolished the Republic, exclaiming "Get along little Doge." At the time, there was fierce conflict between the Austrians, who wanted France to have Venice, and the French, who wanted the Austrians to take it off their hands. The French won, so Venice became Austrian in 1798. But then it became French again in 1805, and then Austrian again in 1814. All of which would have been terribly confusing, but the Venetians were too busy gliding around the canals in their vaporetti to care what flag was raised over the Municipio Palace. In any case, the town was already wholly based on tourism by the mid-18th century, so its nationality was as irrelevant as that of Disneyland.
--- Gianni SchicchiTo: undisclosed-recipients
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