Word of the Day – Thursday, October 3rd



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DOGE (dohj)

The elected magistrate of a “crowned republic”, esp. Venice and Genoa
Common clues:
Venetian magistrate; Old Venetian judge; Venetian honcho; Venetian V.I.P.; Venetian bigwig
Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year
Frequency in English language: 47148 / 86800
Venice, Italy: the Doge's Palace

Doge is a dialectal Italian word that descends from the Latin dux (as does the English duke and the standard Italian duce and duca), meaning "leader", especially in a military context. The wife of a Doge is styled a Dogaressa.

The title of Doge was used for the elected chief of state in a number of Italian "crowned republics". The two best known such republics were Venice (where he was called a Doxe) and Genoa, which rivaled each other, and the other regional great powers, by building their historical city-states into maritime, commercial, and territorial mini-empires.

Portrait of Doge Leonardo Loredan wearing the traditional corno ducale

According to the chronicler John the Deacon, author of the Chronicon Venetum ("Chronicle of Venice"), written about AD 1000, the office of the Doge was first instituted in Venice about 700, replacing tribunes that had led the cluster of early settlements in the lagoon. Whether or not the first doges were technically local representatives of the Emperor of Constantinople, the doge, like the emperor, held office for life and was similarly regarded as the ecclesiastical, the civil and the military leader, in a power structure termed caesaropapism.

As the oligarchical element in the constitution developed, the more important functions of the ducal office were assigned to other officials, or to administrative boards, and he who had once been the pilot of the ship became little more than a figurehead. The last doge was Ludovico Manin, who abdicated on 1797, when Venice passed under the power of Napoleon's France following his conquest of the city.

While Venice would again shortly declare itself a republic, attempting to resist annexation by Austria, it would never revive the dogal style, but various titles including dictator and collective heads of state, including a triumvirate.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Doge of Venice".