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Figlio del doge Domenico (1118-30).

Il dogado di Vitale II attraversò anni critici per la politica veneziana.

In Occidente l’imperatore Federico Barbarossa meditava di dominare i Comuni italici e di impossessarsi del Dogado, sostenendo che l’imperatore «comanda i regni e ogni nazione deve adorarlo»; Zara continuava a dare pensieri; il patriarca di Aquileia aveva assalito Grado.

In Oriente, il basileus Emanuele Comneno aveva concesso ai genovesi le stesse facilitazioni commerciali già godute dai veneziani sin dal 1082 e da qualche tempo anche dai pisani, poi aveva fatto improvvisamente arrestare i circa 10mila veneziani che erano residenti a Costantinopoli confiscandone i beni. Il doge organizzò una spedizione punitiva con una flotta imponente e costrinse il basileus a contrattare la pace, ma questi prese tempo e nell’attesa la flotta venne colpita da una tremenda epidemia e dovette rientrare a Venezia completamente decimata anche dagli attacchi pisani e genovesi: 17 navi su 120 tornarono in Laguna, portando per giunta l’epidemia in città.

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