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History of the customs elections. From arengo to balotin

Established in 697 the office of doge, except for an interruption (737-742), it remained uninterrupted until the end of the Republic (1797); let's see how it was born and how the methods of election of the head of the Republic of Venice changed over time.

Before the Doges

In the seventh century, the major islands of the lagoon were governed by tribunes elected by the Arengo or General Concione, a popular assembly in which the sovereignty of the young lagoon state resided. However, the tribunes had to account for their work as magister militum who exercised civil and military power on behalf of the exarch of Ravenna in his role as representative of the Eastern emperor under whose political sphere Venice still found itself.

At the end of the century, with the increase of the population and the need to improve the defensive system against pirate raids and Lombard raids, the local government entrusted the defense of the entire lagoon settlement to a single chief elected for life and chosen, it seems, with the approval of the emperor of the East himself.

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It is part of the series: Doges of Venice

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