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Eracleano, figlio di umili contadini.

Il suo dogado fu uno dei più lunghi nella storia della Repubblica. Durò 23 anni, e lui, a differenza dei predecessori, morì nel suo letto.

Galbaio fu infatti molto bravo, riuscì a barcamenarsi fra le turbolenze politiche del periodo, prima tra longobardi e bizantini e poi tra franchi e bizantini: mantenne salde le redini, oltre che della politica anche quelle del commercio marittimo con l’impero d’Oriente, favorito dal fatto che i franchi non possedevano una flotta navale.

Durante il suo dogado si registrarono delle novità sul piano religioso, politico, sociale ed economico: l’istituzione di un nuovo episcopato nell’Isola di Olivolo e l’elezione del primo vescovo, l’occupazione dell’Istria da parte dei longobardi (768) e subito dopo dei franchi (774), la trasformazione dei venetici da pescatori e battellieri in commercianti marittimi con audaci viaggi per mare fino allo Jonio e nei mari del Levante grazie ai progressi fatti dall’arte nautica: l’uso di nuove chiglie e forme degli scafi, di nuove vele e remi consentì di mettere in acqua navi più robuste, più capienti e assai più veloci.

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