Citing the Database
The database as a whole should be cited as a web page. Different citation styles have different methods for formatting these citations. In Chicago style, for instance,
Kohl, Mozzato, and O’Connell, “The Rulers of Venice, 1332-1524,” rulersofvenice.org, date accessed.
Each database entry has a unique record number which can be used to reference a particular piece of information. For instance, a footnote to the statement “Ambrogio Loredan was elected as Avvocati del Forestier in 1364,” might read “Kohl et al, ‘The Rulers of Venice,’ record 4371.
Edited by Benjamin G. Kohl 2004-2010; Monique O'Connell 2010-present.
Database compiled by Benjamin G. Kohl, Andrea Mozzato and Monique O'Connell.
Production and Design at ACLS Humanities E-Book, New York City, 2009; Robert McCartney, 2012; Geoff Groberg, 2014-2015.
Published by the ACLS, 2013-present.
First Published by The Renaissance Society of America, 2009-2012.
© 2005-8 Benjamin G. Kohl, Andrea Mozzato, Monique O'Connell
This publication was made possible by generous grants fromThe Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation
The Hedgelawn Foundation.
Some content courtesy of Italica Press, Inc.
Project History and Acknowledgements
The database began out of Benjamin Kohl's modest inquiry, begun in the Archivio di Stato di Venezia in the autumn of 2000, to determine the nature of office-holding in Venice during the era of the Black Death. After discussions with archivist Dr. Claudia Salmini and Professor Reinhold C. Mueller of the Dipartimento di Studi Storici of the University of Venice, Kohl decided to enlist the help of two younger scholars, Dr. Monique O'Connell and Dr. Andrea Mozzato, in the creation of the database based on the fondo. In the spring of 2002 application for funding was made to the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, through the good offices of James M. Olson, Director of Corporate, Foundation, and Governmental Relations at Vassar College, and his able assistant, Diana Altegoer. The trustees at Delmas awarded an initial grant of $30,000 for the project, followed by a second grant of $30,000 in 2003. A further grant of $5000 in early 2004 from the Hedgelawn Foundation of Worton, Maryland, enabled O'Connell and Kohl to gather data from other archival sources in the spring and summer of 2004.
Mozzato was largely responsible for the basic Rulers of Venice database and has also been responsible for entering data from the first nine registers and from the Consiglio dei Dieci, completing this task in the autumn of 2004. O'Connell has been responsible for collecting and entering data for thousands of elections held in the Consiglio dei Rogati from 1332 to 1400, using as sources both Kohl's The Records of the Venetian Senate on Disk, 1335-1400 and the dozens of original registers housed in the Archivio di Stato of Venice. She has also entered the data on the procuratori di San Marco and the electors of the doges of Venice from 1329 to 1523 that Kohl has collected over the past two years. In Venice, the presiding genius of our project was Dr. Salmini, who has greatly facilitated the consultation of archival documents and the acquisition of microfilms, on which much of our research has depended. Moreover, she has been ever ready to share her considerable knowledge of the application of computer research to archival projects and the history and protocols of the office of the Segretario alle Voci. Reinhold Mueller has encouraged our undertaking from its beginning and was always prompt to place his considerable knowledge of Venetian history and institutions at our disposal. We are also grateful for the encouragement received from two directors of the Archivio di Stato di Venezia, first Dr. Paolo Selmi, followed by his successor, Dr. Raffaele Santoro.
The first edition of the database benefitted enormously from the support, encouragement, and judgment of Eileen Gardiner and Ronald G. Musto, then directors of Humanities E-Book at the American Council of Learned Societies in New York, and the ACLS center staff, especially Nina Gielen, and Jeremy Posada, Erik Council, Christopher Martin and Cameron Martin for their editorial and production skills.
The Renaissance Society of America published the first version of the database in 2009, and we are much indebted to the former executive director, John Monfasani, and the officers and council of the society for their interest and support at a critical juncture. The first edition used proprietary software by FileMaker, Inc. As technology evolved and users offered their feedback, the RSA decided to migrate the database to a new home using the open-source, standards-based MySQL database and a traditional web site better adapted to online searches. Between the initial online publication of the Rulers of Venice database in 2009 and the fall of 2012, the editorial team, in consultation with experts at the Renaissance Society of America as well as at several universities, reworked the technical aspects of the database in order to incorporate user feedback as well as to respond to the evolving digital environment. After Ben Kohl's 2010 death, the editorship passed to Monique O'Connell, who solicited the help of software engineer and systems analyst Robert McCartney of Vanderbilt University. Robert generously donated his technological expertise and many hours of his time to migrate the database and build new search functionality. The second release of the database in Sept 2012 made no changes to the data itself, but changed the software and search capabilities in order to improve users' experience.
In 2013, the ACLS took on the responsibility for publishing and hosting the database as well as the associated book of essays, bringing the two parts of the project together. We are grateful to Steven Wheatley and Nina Gielen of the ACLS and Ann Moyer of the RSA for making the transition possible. Financial support from the ACLS made further technical upgrades possible and in 2015, Geoff Groberg of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library at Wake Forest University completed a further series of technical upgrades and a site redesign.
The database is dedicated to the two individuals whose enlightened vision and passionate advocacy made its completion possible:
IN MEMORY OF PATRICIA HOCHSCHILD LABALME (1927-2002) and BENJAMIN G. KOHL (1938-2010)
How to Search the Database
A keyword search will search across all the fields of the database—it is the most open-ended of the search possibilities, but users should be careful to check the spelling of their search terms.
Tips for using the keyword search:
- A search word can be prepended with - (minus sign) to exclude results that include that word. For example searching keywords marco -polo will show records that match "marco" but do not include "polo."
- A search word prepended with + (plus sign) will force include that word. For example searching keywords marco +polo will only return records that contain "polo." Records that also contain "marco" will have a higher search ranking, but not all records will necessarily contain the word "marco."
- An asterisk (*) can be appended to a word for wildcard searches. For example bacalar* will return results for "Bacalario." However, wildcards don't work when they are the first character in a string. So *acalario will not return any results.
- Wrapping a phrase in quotes will find exact matches of the phrase. For example "de la Fontana" will find records with that exact phrase, but will exclude records that contain only "Fontana" without the words "de la" in front. However, note that searches are performed across all columns in a row so a column ending in "de la" with the next column beginning with "Fontana" will be returned in the search results.
- If you don't see your keyword(s) in the returned results it's probably because the keyword is found in a column that is not being displayed. Keyword searches use all of the columns in a row, but you can display/hide columns using the More Options section of the search form.
Source, Register, Folio.
These fields allow users to search by archival series. The "Source" pull-down menu displays six options: Consiglio dei Dieci (including Misti and Capi); Maggior Consiglio; Segretario Voci, which accounts for over 50,000 of the some 70,000 records contained in the database; Senato (including Misti, Secreta, Mar, and Terra). The final option, “Other Source,” will bring up nearly 3300 records from printed lists and sources, which fill gaps in the records of office-holding left by the archival material. A search by "Source" may be further refined by adding the number of a particular register and, if desired, the folio for any of the archival sources. The nature of the five remaining archival series will be discussed in some detail below since they constitute the bulk of the database. For even more information, the user is referred to Benjamin G. Kohl's essay "Introduction" in the accompanying book of essays
This section provides the name of each office held by the some 70,000 officeholders noted in the database. In the drop-down menu, users can see the normalized Italian equivalent of the majority of office titles. There is some inconsistency between singular and plural titles. Thus, councilors may be found as "Consigliere," and patrons of the galleys as "Patroni delle galere." Users can refine their searches geographically: for instance, one could search for “Bailo,” which would pull up all offices with bailo in the title, and choose “Corfù” from the office place menu to find a list of all “Bailo of Corfù.”
Each entry is further defined by six broad categories in the "Office Type" field. As noted above, offices held in Venice proper are defined as de intus with the further categories of office (uffici) or councils (consigli) added, and are defined in the geography fields as "Venezia" and "Venezia." Offices held outside the city of Venice in its dominions of the Italian mainland are called "de extra, Stato da Terra," and in Venice's overseas dominions, "de extra, Stato da Mar." The overseas dominions and commercial communities, often consoli, are listed by region. Smaller cities, towns, and areas are found in the "Office Place" field: thus, Camposampiero is found in the region of Padova, Pola in Istria, Corfu in Isole Ionie, and Tunisi and Barbaria under Magreb.
The towns listed under "Dogado," the ancient duchy of Venice, represent a special case, since these include settlements of the lagoon which had been under Venetian control for some time. In some cases, we have been able to utilize printed sources and inventories of podestarie, held in the Sala di Studio of the Archivio di Stato, to provide more extensive lists of Venetian podestà in three places: Chioggia (1343-1524), Murano (1279-1523), and Torcello (1283-1525).
Under "Ambascerie" are listed some 796 members of embassies and missions to foreign powers who were largely elected in the Senate. These are further defined by the city and region that were the destinations of each embassy. A search for “Ambascerie” will pull up all embassies, which can be refined by place name.
Under this term are listed some 2074 patrons, captains, and naval officers of the merchant and war fleets, which are further defined by geographical area or destination.
For those offices which were held in Venice, uffici and consigli, this field is annotated "Venezia." In other cases, the field identifies the city in which the officeholder served, or the destination of an embassy, galley fleet, naval commander, or captain.
For all offices held within Venice, this field is annotated "Venezia." The regions of the Terraferma state include: Belluno, Brescia, Ferrara, Friuli, Padova, Puglia, Treviso, Vicenza, Verona. The regions of the overseas dominions include: Istria, Sclavonia, Dalmazia, Albania, Isole Ionie, Grecia, Isole Greche, Romania, Costantinopoli, Trebisonda, Tana, Egitto, and Magreb.
Searching for an officeholder, his father, and places of residence in Venice comprise another type of search category. The results will show the unified officeholder’s name and his father’s name, if given in the source. It will also show his parish of residence, if given in the source. To provide consistency and ease of access, we have assigned only one spelling to each of the over one hundred Venetian noble families listed in the database. Thus, families whose surnames are rendered in a half dozen different ways in Latin, Italian, and dialect in the sources are always subsumed under a single name here (examples include the names Donà, Giustinian, Sanudo, and Zorzi). But consistency has been harder to achieve with given names. Hence, the most common man's name, known in several forms, is always Giovanni, and the dialect versions are avoided; similarly, it's always Paolo, never Polo, and always Marino, never Marin. A special case is that we use Alvise and Ludovico instead of the modern Italian, Luigi. These are simply translations of the Latin forms, Aluisius and Lodovicus. But the same individual is often called both Alvise and Ludovico in the sources, so a search under the two versions is often needed to find all positions held by a single officeholder.
Users can search by a single year or a range of dates by selecting from the drop-down menus.
These options give users more flexibility to specialize their search. The form shows all of the different data fields, allowing users to choose particular columns to display. This type of search is best adapted for expert users who are very familiar with the source material.
Users who wish to see their search results returned in a certain order-- for instance, alphabetical order by officeholder's first name or last name-- can do this by choosing from the pull-down menu in the "order by" field.
The core of the database is comprised of elections to public office in the Maggior Consiglio, as recorded in the first nine registers of the series of the Archivio di Stato di Venezia, called Segretario Alle Voci, registri universi, serie antica. The elections recorded in these nine registers were to a number of different offices of the Venetian state. Those held within the city of Venice, called de intus, were either at the Rialto or the ducal palace (the uffici) or in the four main councils (the consigli). Offices held outside the city of Venice governed the cities, regions, and dominions of the Italian mainland (called "de extra, Stato da Terra") or Venice's overseas dominions (called "de extra, Stato da Mar"). As stated, for the database, we have transcribed the some 50,000 names and offices contained in the nine registers listed here, with gaps noted.
Segretario Alle Voci, registri universi
Register No., Years, Carte no, Original editor(s), type of election (electus or invravit)
- Reg. 1, 1349-1353, 67 carte, Kohl: Elections to uffici, consigli, and reggimenti, with officials listed by date of election (electus)
1353-1363 (gap of 10 years)
- Reg. 2, 1362-1367, 46 carte, Kohl: Elections to uffici, consigli, and reggimenti, with officials listed by date of election (electus)
1368-1383 (gap of 15 years)
- Reg. 3, 1383-1387, 47 carte, Kohl: Elections to uffici, consigli, and reggimenti, with officials listed by date of election (electus)
1387-1437 (gap of 50 years)
- Reg. 4, 1438-1457, 155 carte, Mozzato: Elections to uffici, consigli, and reggimenti, with officials listed by date of election (electus)
- Reg. 5, 1437-1490, 47 carte, Kohl: Elections to reggimenti, with officials listed by the date of their entry into office (intravit)
- Reg. 6, 1465-1502, 164 carte, Kohl and O'Connell: Elections to uffici and reggimenti, with officials listed by the date of their entry into office (intravit)
- Reg. 7, 1491-1524, 90 carte, Mozzato: Elections to uffici, with officials listed by the date of their entry into office (intravit)
- Reg. 8, 1491-1524, 133 carte, Mozzato: Elections to reggimenti, with officials by date of election (electus)
- Reg. 9, 1492-1521, 34 carte, Mozzato: Elections to consigli, with officials by date of election (electus)
Consiglio dei Dieci-Misti, 1310 to 1408
Andrea Mozzato has compiled the elections of the three capi (capita) and the two inquisitors (inquisitores) of the Consiglio dei Dieci contained in the early registers of its Deliberazioni Miste, as they have survived from 1313 to 1408. Register 1 (1313 to 1315) is a mere fragment. Register 2, cc. 1-5v, contains fragments of material from 1316 and 1316, and cc. 86r-159v is continuous from January 1320 to August 1324. There is a large gap in the documentation between 1335 and 1348. Register 5 contains the deliberations for 1348 to 1363, and Register 6 for April 1363 to June 1374. Register 7, which included deliberations from 1374 and 1392, has been lost since about the middle of the last century. The first five registers have been edited by Ferruccio Zago, and provide the basis for the elections made in the Consiglio dei Dieci reported in our database. But, where need be, Mozzato has also consulted the original registers in the Archivio di Stato.
During the period covered, the Consiglio dei Dieci enjoyed the limited prerogative of electing each month for its membership the three capi and its two inquisitors, which for purposes of clarity we have annotated thus in the note field: for example, "Elected for May 1353." The Council of Ten also chose those nobles charged by the city with overseeing public order, Capi dei Sestieri (capita sexteriorum), who were elected to an annual term beginning on the first of March, as well as a few ad hoc offices.
Senate, Misti, 1332 to 1400
The Consiglio dei Rogati (the Senato) had the right to elect a number of ad hoc or extraordinary officials (Ufficiali straordinarii) who were typically ambassadors, savi, provveditori, and sindici. These officials usually served for a specific limited term or until the task assigned to them in the commission was completed. These elections in the Senato from 1335 to 1400 are taken, wherever possible, from Benjamin G. Kohl, The Records of the Venetian Senate on Disk, 1335-1400 (New York: Italica Press, 2001). For registers 15 and 16, which are not included in Kohl's electronic edition, the elections have been taken from the original registers, with cross-references to the item number in the detailed calendar edited in Italian by Roberto Cessi and Mario Brunetti, Le deliberazioni del Consiglio dei Rogati (Senato), serie Mixtorum, vol. 2, libri XV-XVI (Venice: Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Venezie, Monumenti Storici, n.s. 16, 1962). Very recently, a team of scholars, sponsored by the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, has begun a monumental edition of the first twenty extant registers of the Deliberazioni del Consiglio dei Pregadi, under the title Venezia- Senato, deliberazioni Miste. Kohl used the first three volumes in this series, containing complete editions of registers 19, 20, and 23, to add data to the database.
- Leduc, François-Xavier, ed. Venezia-Senato, deliberazioni Miste, registro XIX (1340 -1341). Venezia-Senato, Deliberazioni Miste. Vol. 6. Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2004.
- Girardi, Francesca, ed. Venezia-Senato, deliberazioni Miste, registro XX (1341-1342). Venezia-Senato, Deliberazioni Miste. Vol. 7. Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2004.
- Girardi, Francesca, ed. Venezia-Senato, deliberazioni Miste, registro XXIII (1345-1347). Venezia-Senato, Deliberazioni Miste. Vol. 10. Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2004.
Since only a small fraction of the Senate elections were included in Kohl's Records, or in later editions, Monique O'Connell has consulted all the original manuscripts of Senato, Deliberazioni Miste, Registers 17-44, for 1335-1400, and added all elections not previously noted in the electronic or print editions.
Senate, Secreta, to 1397
O'Connell has noted in our database all the elections contained in the five surviving registers of Senate, Secreta, for the trecento, as in Kohl's Records.
Secreta, Current collocation, Dates, Number of folios
- Istria, Reg. A (A), 4 April-10 August 1335, 24 folios
- A, Reg. A (B), 29 August 1345-24 March 1348, 104 folios
- B, Reg. B (C), 27 March 1348-28 February 1351, 105 folios
- D, Reg. L (D), 14 May 1376-3 February 1377, 44 folios
- E, Reg. R (E), 3 March 1388-30 April 1397, 148 folios
Kohl has added all other elections in these registers, so that all elections in the Venetian Senate for the fourteenth century, in both the Misti and Secreta series, are available in this version of our database.
Maggior Consiglio (Ducal Elections)
From 1365 to the fall of the Venetian republic in 1797 the deliberations of the Maggior Consiglio recorded the elections to all nine committees that played a role in the election of each new doge. These elections were not recorded by the Segretario alle Voci but are included in the main registers of deliberations. The following registers have been consulted for these elections.
Register, Name, Inclusive Dates
- Register 19, Spiritus, 1325-1349
- Register 20, Novella, 1350-1384
- Register 21, Leona, 1384-1415
- Register 22, Ursa, 1415-1454
- Register 23, Regina, 1455-1479
- Register 24, Stella, 1480-1502
- Register 25, Deda, 1503-1521
For a detailed explanation of the electoral process, please consult the section "Election of the Doges and Their Committees of Dogal Electors, 1329- 1524," in Kohl's essay "Introduction" in the companion e-book Rulers of Venice, 1332-1524. The name and date of election for all twenty-eight newly elected doges, from Marino Zorzi in 1311 to Andrea Gritti in 1523, have been added to the database from these and other sources.
Under the catchall category of "Other Source" O'Connell has added the names of many rectors in Stato da Mar, especially for the period between 1387 and 1437, by combing many older published lists of Venetian governors in the Levant. She has also added the names of the many Venetian nobles who served as podestà, capitani, camerlenghi, castellani, and sindici of cities and towns in northeast Italy after the conquest of the Terraferma state in the early quattrocento. A complete bibliography of the lists, arranged by city, is provided in the "Primary Resources" section of the bibliography in the associated e-book Rulers of Venice, 1332-1524. The editions used are also noted in the "Short Title List".
Normalization of Data
As anyone who has had the opportunity to consult the original registers will realize, officeholders’ names, office titles, and dates were all originally recorded in Latin or Italian. Many entries were abbreviated, and there was no standardized spelling used. These factors pose problems for computerized searching, as while it is clear to an experienced researcher that “Marco Morosini” and “Marcus Mauroceno” are equivalent, a computer is not able to realize that without extensive direction from a programmer. The original transcriptions included both the original and the normalized Italian version of names, office titles, and, when included, the father’s name, pledger’s name, parish or sestiere. Since users interested in the original Latin can now view the register pages directly in the Transcriptions section, searches of the database now return only the normalized Italian version of names. We have also added data to assist in searching, such as Office Place, Office Region, and Type of Office. This data exists only in the normalized Italian version, as it was not present in the original source.
The date associated with each record can mean one of several things. It can indicate the date of election to office (electus). It can also indicate the date of entry into office (intravit). Less frequently, the date indicates when the officeholder was referenced as holding the office, a moment which might come near the middle or end of his term (mention). Furthermore, the dates in the original source are Venetian-style. According to the Venetian calendar, the New Year started on March 1, and thus dates from January and February in the Venetian system (more veneto) are a year behind the modern dating. Thus, for example, 22 February 1342 (more veneto) is 22 February 1343 in modern usage when the New Year starts on the first of January. The basic search results always display the modern year.
There is a great deal of variety in the geographical terminology of the original sources. In addition to the use of Latin, Italian, and Venetian, the regions of the Venetian stato da mar add another layer of complexity, as they are now known by their Greek or Slavic names. We have rendered all place names in the Office Region and Office Place fields in Italian. Users who would like more geographical clarity are invited to refer to the map section of the database, which offers place-based searching. There is also a gazetteer in the associated ebook Rulers of Venice: interpretations, methods, database.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Did every individual in the database actually hold the office to which he was elected?
No. The database lists information on elections; it is not a list of who held office. On many occasions, an individual would refuse to take the office to which he had been elected or would be elected to another, more desirable office in the same electoral cycle. The notary would sometimes go back to the original election and make a note (“refutavit” or crossing out the entry). Officeholders also died before taking office or while in office (“obiit”). These appear in the “Notes” field of the database. On other occasions, the notary would not go back and make such a note, and another candidate would be elected to the office. Thus, when using the database, it is always best to state that “Marco Morosini was elected to an office” rather than “Marco Morosini held an office” unless you have another source indicating that he actually took office.
There are nine different men listed as the Podestà di Verona in 1440. Why is that? How can I tell who actually held the office?
Many times electees refused to take the offices to which they were elected, and new elections were held until the post was filled. Unfortunately there is no easy way to be 100% sure who actually took the office. In the case of the nine podestà of Verona, one could sort the records by date, at which point it becomes clear that the nine elections were held over the course of three months, the first on 9/4 and the last on 12/13. As the term in office for the podestà of Verona was two years, it is likely that the first eight candidates refused the post. To check this hypothesis, one could search for the final candidate, Giovanni Pisani, and see if he held any other offices between 1440-1442. If one does this, one can see that he was elected as Capitano of Padova 1/29/1441. One can then search under “Other Source” and “Verona” to check published sources; they reveal that while three individuals held the position of Provveditore and vice-podesta of Verona, none of the nine elected as Podestà of Verona in 1440 appear to have actually held the office.
How can I tell if all the listed records for “Marco Contarini” refer to the same person?
It is not always possible to solve the homonym problem, but one can use the database to determine the likelihood of a name referring to a single or multiple individuals. The first and easiest way is through father’s name: Marco Contarini di Nicolò is not the same person as Marco Contarini di Fantino. Unfortunately, fathers’ names were not regularly recorded until the mid-fifteenth century; in the Segretario Voci series they appear in register 4 by disappear for the most part in register 5. A second strategy for dis-ambiguating individuals with the same name is to sort by date- if there is a large gap between one burst of officeholding and another, or if “Marco Contarini” is regularly and simultaneously elected to several different offices within a few years, it is likely (although not certain) that the name refers to two or more people. In the case of prominent individuals, the Dizionario Biografico Italiano (DBI) can be a very useful resource.
I have some data on officeholding in Venice I would like to add to the database. How can I do that?
Rulers of Venice is not open for users to add or to modify the data themselves. If you notice something you think should be changed or if you have a set of data you would like to donate, please use the “contact us” link to let us know.