Apparteneva ad una delle 12 famiglie dette apostoliche.

Egli è ricordato soprattutto per la prima imponente spedizione dei veneziani in Terrasanta, con circa 200 navi al comando del figlio Giovanni, fatta allo scopo di allontanare dalla Siria i pisani, che si erano insediati a Giaffa o Jaffa con un proprio quartiere commerciale in seguito all’aiuto offerto a Goffredo di Buglione, duca di Lorena.

Quest'ultimo, infatti, sollecitato dalle parole del papa, si era messo a capo dei crociati con un seguito di 120 navi pisane, una scorta genovese e milizie provenienti da ogni parte del vecchio continente.

Nonostante l’accorata chiamata alle armi del papa Urbano II per liberare la Palestina dagli infedeli, il doge inizialmente non aderì alla prima crociata (1095-1099), forse perché al momento non vedeva quali vantaggi ricavare da una simile spedizione, o forse perché non riteneva la flotta veneziana ancora pronta a un simile evento, o forse ancora perché non voleva turbare i traffici con i musulmani.

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