F. C. (Francis Cotterell) Hodgson.

Venice in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; a sketch of Ventian history from the conquest of Constantinople to the accession of Michele Steno, A.D. 1204-1400 online

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first doge. The Querini were in old times called Galbaii, the Badoeri
Partecipazii ; the former claimed the Emperor Galba as an ancestor.

^ See ante, p. 46.


essaying to search Pietro Querini delia Casa Grande, was
knocked down. A riot in Rialto followed, and in the end
the Quarantia took the matter up, and Querini was con-
demned and fined for the assault. Another Querini had
been fined by Marco Dandolo, Avogador di Comun, for
having, when Bailo of Negropont, left his son Niccolo un-
punished for an assault on a Jew. Bajamonte or Boemondo^
Tiepolo, son of that Giacomo or Jacopo Tiepolo who
might have been chosen doge by acclamation on the late
doge's death had he not withdrawn from the city, and
so grandson of Lorenzo Tiepolo the doge, and who was
also son-in-law of Marco Querini, a respected member of
that great family, had been condemned as long ago as
the year 1300, to restore a sum of money he had extorted
over and above his proper salary from the inhabitants of
Modone and Corone. Two years later, before this sum
had been repaid, he had been elected on the Quarantia,
but had retired in dudgeon to his villa at Marocco, and
taken no part in public affairs. He was still there in
1310. His father-in-law, Marco Querini, had also his
grievances : he had been censured for abandoning Castel
Tedaldo in the war with Ferrara,- and surviving when
most of the garrison under him were slain, and he took
this to be a reflection on his loyalty or his courage, for
which he held the doge responsible. He used to talk
among his kinsmen and friends against the doge, on the
ground of his innovations on the constitution, his attack
on Ferrara, his provocation of the Pope, and all the
troubles and disorders to which this had led. He found
his son-in-law ready enough to return to Venice for any

1 His grandfather, the Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo, had married a
daughter of Bohemund de Brienne, Prince of Rascia in Bosnia (v. ante,
pp. 86, 153). Hence, no doubt, his Christian name, which was softened
in the Venetian dialect to Bajamonte or Bagiamonte. The name Bohe-
mund is first met with, I think, in the son of Robert Guiscard the
Norman. Miss Yonge (" Hist, of Christian Names," ii. 442) thought
the name was Slavonic and equivalent to Theophilus.

- See ante, p. 212.


enterprise that might give him his revenge against the
doge. Bajamonte was a popular person in Venice, com-
monly known as // Gran Cavaliere, a man evidently of
vaulting ambition, of the same type as Matteo Visconti
or Ecelino da Romano, or the founders of the families of
Carrara or Delia Scala. The ambition to become despots
on the ruins of republican freedom was a marked feature
in the character of the Italian noblemen of these centuries,
when the imperial power had ceased to be formidable.
It was mainly against the effects of this ambition, I think,
that Gradenigo had devised his reform of the Venetian
constitution, and for this reason men like Bajamonte
Tiepolo resented his action. The uncertainty of the old
regulations for the elections both of doge and of Great
Council had made a coup d'etat always possible, such
as had nearly placed on the ducal throne Bajamonte's
father, Jacopo. There were special reasons why the
ambition to make himself a despot should possess the
mind of a Venetian nobleman. Nowhere was so much
wealth accumulated in the great families, many of whom
had, since the conquest of Constantinople, been princes,
all but independent, in the Levant. A Venetian Sanudo
had, we have seen, been Prince of Naxos and the Twelve
Islands ; a Tiepolo was Prince of Scopulo ; and nearer
home, in the wild country of Dalmatia, Croatia, or Hun-
gary, Venetian nobles had become allied to royal or
princely families. Andrew III., who was King of Hungary
from 1290 till 1301, was son of a Venetian mother, Toma-
sina Morosini, with whom his father Stephen had fallen
in love when an exile staying in the house of her brother
Albertino. When Andrew was recalled to Hungary to
succeed to the throne of his uncle Ladislaus, his mother
and her brother went with him, and Albertino Morosini
was made by his grateful nephew Duke of Slavonia ^ and

* The continuator of Dandolo (cols. 402, 403 of Murat., R. I. S. xii.)
says that Morosini was made Ban, as well as Duke, of Slavonia, and


Count of Possega, and was a powerful person in Hungary
till his nephew died. He then returned to Venice, and
lived in a house near the church of San Giuliano, in a
place still called Corte della Regina, in memory of his
sister Tomasina, who there ended her days. Michele
Morosini, Albertino's son, had a daughter Costanza, who
married Wladislas, King of Servia ; thus bringing a second
royal alliance to the Morosini family.

When Bajamonte Tiepolo returned to Venice, a meeting
of the disaffected was held in the Casa Querini near the
Rialto Bridge,^ on the side of the Grand Canal, opposite to
San Marco, known sometimes as the Rialto, sometimes
simply as di la., as opposed to di qua dal Canale. The
Tiepoli were neighbours of the Querini, their head-
quarters being in the Campo Sant' Agostino near the
Frari. Marco Querini opened the meeting by an invective
against the doge, on the ground of his exclusion of good
citizens from the government, and of his quarrel with the
Pope, and Bajamonte enlarged on the resources of the con-
spiracy, and the certainty of success, if their secret was kept.
But another member of the Querini family, Jacopo, who
was about to start for Constantinople on a mission, an old
man of great authority, spoke against the two former
speakers, and against the feeling of the meeting, which
evidently went with them. He did not attempt to justify
the doge's policy, but pointed out that his reform had been
legally carried in the Great Council, which had also ap-
proved the war with Ferrara, and he entreated them not to

hat he added the insignia of the Banate to his arms. These were a
cross argent over a ring of the same. As these hid the family Ircssa
azziirra, his descendants changed the tressa into the sharra {Libra de'
Nobili Vcneti (Firenze, 1866), s.v. Moresini). Tressa appears to be
the Venetian equivalent for the fascia or horizontal band. Sbarra is
the bend running obliquely from the chief sinister to the base dexter.

1 The Palazzo Querini in the parish of Sta. Maria Formosa is still
standing. The best-known branch of the family, called Q. Stampalia
from the island of Stampalia near Rhodes, which was bought by Zuane
Q., when exiled after the conspiracy of B. Tiepolo (Tassini, Ciiriosita
Venez., p. 597), became extinct in 1S86.


stir up civil war, relying on the unstable populace, who had
let Marin Bocconio perish. The old man's speech made
an impression, but this only lasted till after his departure
on his mission. Then a rising was fixed for the 15th of
June, St. Vitus' Day. The conspirators were to assemble
the night before in the Casa Querini, and at daybreak to
cross the Rialto Bridge, and make a rush on the Piazza
of St. Mark in two bodies — one, led by Marco Querini and
his two sons, by the way of the Calle de' Fabbri, the other,
led by Bajamonte, by the way of the Merceria. Badoero
Badoer, who had much influence on the Terra Ferma, was
to assemble his people in and about Padua, and come to
Peraga, that had long been a possession of his family, on
the night of the 14th, and from thence force his way into
the city at daybreak on the 15th.

The conspirators were not favoured by fortune ; in the
first place they found the doge prepared. One Marco
Donato of the contrada of the Magdalene, who had been
at first in the conspiracy but had withdrawn from it, gave
the doge information. The Signoria was assembled in the
night at the ducal palace, with the Sigfiori di Hoife, and
the Avogadori, the doge's legal advisers. All these digni-
taries had armed their servants, and pressing messages had
been sent to the Podestas of Chioggia, Torcello, and Murano
to come with their guards. The workmen of the arsenal,
whose duty it was to act as the doge's bodyguard when
necessary, were standing ready. Marco Giustinian of San
Moise, and the Dandolo family, always the enemies of
the Tiepoli, had mustered their followers in the Piazza,
when at the first dawn of the 15 th the insurgents, led by
Marco Querini and his son Benedetto, broke into it from
the Calle de' Fabbri and the Ponte de" Dai. The fight here
was sharp and short ; the Querini were put to flight and
Marco and his son killed. The other body of insur-
gents, led by Bajamonte Tiepolo, on its way to the Mer-
ceria arrived at the church of San Giuliano. A violent

2i8 VENICE IN THE 13th c^- 14th CENTURIES

thunderstorm had been raging in the night, with torrents of
rain and a gale of wind, and this seems to have brought
Tiepolo to a stand before he entered the Piazza from
either the Merceria or the street of San Basso. Near the
church of San GiuUano his standard-bearer, carrying a
flag with Liberia inscribed on it, was struck down by a
stone mortar thrown by a woman from a window; this,
which is mentioned in all our accounts, seems to have
discouraged Tiepolo, who fled across the wooden bridge
at the Rialto and barricaded himself with his followers
in that neighbourhood. There they were among friends,
whereas the popular feeling had been against them across
the canal, as it was against a few remains of the force of
Marco Querini, which collected in the Campo di San Luca
and were dispersed by members of the Guild of Painters and
of the Scuola of the Carita. Those who were with Tiepolo
prepared to hold out till Badoer brought up his reinforce-
ments from Peraga. But Badoer had been seriously de-
layed by the storm, and Ugolino Giustinian, the Podesta
of Chioggia, whom the doge sent to stop him, found him
still on the other side of the lagoon, and there attacked
and routed his band and took him and them prisoners.
The disaster of Badoer took away the last serious chance
of success from the conspirators, but Tiepolo was still
strongly posted in his own quarter of the city, and men's
minds were in so much agitation that the doge was anxious
to induce him to surrender on conditions. His haughty
spirit, however, refused to accept pardon or amnesty, and
rejected the mediation of some Milanese merchants, and
of Giovanni Soranzo and Matteo Manolesso, whom the
doge deputed to treat with him. It was not till Filippo
Belegno, one of the doge's counsellors, an old man of
venerable age and persuasive eloquence, approached him,
that he consented to go into exile with his followers for
four years into the parts of Slavonia beyond Zara. In those
parts he was told he might move about freely, but not


enter any part of Venetian territory or any place at war
with Venice. So many of his followers as were members,
or qualified to be members, of the Great Council were to
be restricted to places assigned to them by the doge, but
the cities of Padua, Treviso, or Vicenza and their territories
were too near at hand to be safely left open to enemies
of the Government, so that the doge could not make any
of these their place of exile. The humbler conspirators
were only required to make good any property they had
plundered during the troubles.

The Great Council was nearly unanimous in agreeing to
these merciful terms. Badoero Badoer met with severer
treatment. He had been taken with arms in his hand,
fighting against the Government of his country, and could
expect no mercy. He was put to the torture till he con-
fessed what of course he could not deny, his own high
treason ; but the council did not put him to further torture
for the purpose of inculpating others, and on the 17th of
June he was beheaded between the two columns on the

The Signoria probably often regretted they had not been
equally severe with Bajamonte Tiepolo. For many years
after his exile he was a thorn in their side. He had many
kinsmen and friends in Dalmatia and Slavonia; besides
his grandmother's kindred, who were Voivodes of Rascia, in
the neighbourhood of Novi Bazar, Mladino, a Ban of Croatia,
was related to him, and the Lords of Brebir, who called
themselves Counts of the Maritime Cities of Dalmatia, were
his good friends. Before his rebellion he had been Podestk
of Sebenico, and in that ofifice had acquired influence
in Slavonia. He had also as long ago as in 1300 been
podesta at Ferrara,^ a post which would have brought him
into communication with the Papal Government. He and
his friends had opposed the war with Ferrara and come
into collision with their Government over this. We are
^ Comniemortali, libro i. No. 35 (ed. Predelli).


not surprised to find among liis adherents the priests of
nine of the city parishes. We are told that his name was
known and honoured in Guelf circles throughout Italy.
He had property not only in Dalmatia, but in the March
of Treviso about his villa at Marocco that we have already
mentioned, and his influence with the rulers of Treviso was
sufificient to make them break the promises they made to
the doge to banish him and his followers from their terri-
tory ; for early in 13 ii we find that he and his principal
adherents had left the places of exile assigned to them
when their lives were spared, and had assembled near
Marocco, on the very borders of the Venetian dominions.
Here they were an ever-present danger, and the Govern-
ment could not tell what support they had in the city.
Spies were set to watch the movements of the exiles and
of their friends in the city ; and within a month of the out-
break the wives of the conspirators were sent after them
into exile, and all communication with the exiles was
forbidden under severe penalties.

The Government next proceeded to offer rewards or
thanks to all who, in heaven or on earth, had signally
helped it in its danger : first to San Vito, on whose day
the conspiracy had been crushed. On that day the doge
and other magistrates were every year to walk in procession
to the Saint's church, as they did to San Marco on his day,
and a dinner was to be given by the doge.^ Then Marco
Donato (or Dona in Venetian), the doge's informer, was
rewarded by admission of himself and all his descendants
to the Great Council. The woman who had thrown the
stone mortar that broke the standard-bearer's head,
Giustina or Lucia Rossi, was rewarded, at her own
request, by permission to fly the banner of St. Mark
from her window on San Vito's Day and other great
festivals, and by a promise that the Procurators of St.

* " Et prandium per Dominum Ducem." See Pfesbiter, 25th June,
1 3 10, quoted in Roman., iii. 2i7i "• '•


Mark, who were her landlords, should never raise the
rent paid by herself or her successors. A descendant,
Nicolo Rosso, maintained his right to this beneficial rent
against the Procurators in 1468, and the house and shop
" della grazia del morter " in the Merceria at the corner of
the Calk del Cappello is still known. The Scuola of the
Carita and the Painters' Guild were granted the right to
hoist theiribanners on a mast set up in the Campo of St.
Luke in memory of the fight there with Querini's band.

At the same time confiscation or destruction of the chief
conspirators' property went on ; severe measures were
threatened against all who sheltered them, even in monas-
teries, which were generally licensed to protect the un-
fortunate. Bajamonte's house at St. Agostino was pulled
down, and many years after, in 1364, stone pillars were
erected at the boundaries of its site, with an inscription
carved on them to the effect that the ground was now the
property of the Commune, and had once been that of
Bajamonte Tiepolo the traitor.^ The pilasters at its
great gate were bestowed on the church of San Vito.^
The Palazzo Querini seems, at the time of the conspiracy,
to have belonged to three brothers, one of whom had not
joined Marco and Pietro in the conspiracy ; so with strict
and formal justice one-third part was ordered to be left
standing, while the rest was destroyed ; but as difificulties
not unnaturally arose in determining the exact limits of the
part to be spared, the Commune bought the share of the

' I have given the interesting words of this inscription, from Grxvius
(Antiq. Jtal , torn. v. pt. ii. p. 172), in note i to p. 154, ante. In
Cicogna's Iscrizioni, iii. 36, 37, the words I have quoted are qualified
as " una giunta capricciosa di qualche scherzevol poeta." The "column
of infamy" on which the inscription was carved was removed by its
last owner, the nephew and heir of Duke Melzi, to his villa garden on
the Lake of Como, where it is still to be seen (Tassini, Curios. Venez.,
p. 608).

^ Not the present church of S- Vito e Modesto in the Giudecca, but a
small building near the Academia (see Graevius, Antiq, Ital., torn. v.
pt. ii. p. 208). It is in the Campo San Vio (Venetian for Vito) that
the English church is situated.


innocent brother and converted the whole into public
shambles. The arms of the Querini and Tiepolo families
were also altered ; the quarterly or and gules of Querini
and the two-towered castle argent on azure field of
Tiepolo were to disappear throughout the city, even from
the portraits of the Doges Giacomo and Lorenzo Tiepolo
in the Hall of the Great Council, and from the tombs of the
same doges in the vestibule of Santi Giovanni e Paolo.^

Such measures as these might relieve the high-strung
sentiment of indignation that prevailed in the city : the
question what measures should be taken to prevent the
success of any similar attempt was one that demanded and
received more mature consideration. The proposal first
made was not accepted. A commission or Giunta of
fifteen was in existence, that had been elected, as other
and larger bodies had previously been, to manage the war
with Ferrara. It was proposed in July, the month after
the outbreak, to entrust this Giunta, with the addition of
the three heads of the Quarantia or Supreme Criminal
Court, with the power of spending money and making any
provisions or orders they thought necessary in respect of
the recent disturbances,- and that their orders should have
the same validity as decrees of the Great Council. This

^ The Querini family in modern times have resumed the two-towered
castle, which appears in Tettoni e Saladini Teatro Araldico (vol. ii.
s.v.), surmounted by a doge's cap proper [cortio ducale), which was
gradually substituted for the buffalo's horn {corno di btifalo) given them
after the conspiracy. In Le Arnie oi'ero Insegne di tiitti HNobili, &c.,
Venezia, 1619, the castle has disappeared, and we have a horn argent
on azure field, which might serve either for a buffalo's horn or a doge's
cap. In the same book we have three shields for Querini, all bearing
three golden stars on azure, but variously arranged, and one with a B
in the lower field to show that the branch that bore these had been
Buoni, i.e. loyal, at the time of the conspiracy. See Libra dei Ncbili
V^eneti, Firenze, 1866, pp. 71, 72, and 82, the author of which, writing
in 1704, says that the buffalo's horn had by that time been '■^ quasi
ridotto i?i una coda di liimaca," a cochleare or spiral.

^ "Omnia negotia istarum novitatum" (Rom., iii. p. 40, n. i).
" Novitates " are apparently analogous to the Greek vewrepifffibs for
" revolutionary movements."


was not approved ; a body of eighteen was thought too
large, and it was thought better to appoint a new body ad-
hoc. Of two other proposals that were next made, the one
that was carried provided that two Hsts of ten should be
nominated, one list by one '■^mano" or division of the
Great Council, the other by the Signoria, that each nominee
should be separately submitted to the Great Council and
ten selected by it, not more than one of any family to be
included in the ten, nor any Procurator of St. Mark, but
the holder of any other office to be eligible as one of the
ten without resigning such office. The ten when elected
were to have the same full powers in reference to recent
events as were proposed to be given by the proposal before
rejected, and to hold office till Michaelmas, that is, for less
than three months.^

This decree, carried in the Great Council on the 12th of
July 1 310, created, as an exceptional and temporary body,
the famous tribunal that was to last as long as the Republic,
and to be looked on in future ages as the most characteristic
institution of the Venetian aristocracy. The Council of
Ten at once began to act : the decrees for demolishing the
houses of Tiepoli and Querini, both passed before the

^ In 1868 Bartolommeo Cecchetti, then Keeper of the Archives,
published a memoir he had read in 1865 to the Ateneo \'eneto, "SuU'
Istituzione dei Magistrati della Repubblica Veneta fine al Secolo XIII.,"
in which he quoted from documents of 1288 and 1291 twenty mentions
of a Council of Ten, as an existing body with its Capitolare, and having
special knowledge of ^'' negoda giierra." It is, however, clear from
the words of the decrees of 1310 quoted in Venezia e le Stie Lagujie
(i. pp. 131 sqq.), " Che si eleggano X savi sopra questi negozi di queste
novita," ike, that the council was a new body created for the purpose
of dealing with the conspiracy. The most recent authority on the
question, Signer Enrico Besta (// Senate I'eneziano, 1899, p. 39, n. 5)
has shown that Cecchetti was mistaken, and that the Council of Ten,
which was found mentioned before the end of the thirteenth century,
was one of the temporary commissions that it was customary at Venice
to appoint, e.g. the commission of fifteen mentioned in the text for the
conduct of the war at Ferrara. Signer Besta mentions many other
cases. I have not seen Cecchetti's Memoir, but there are extracts from
it in A. Baschet, Les Archives de Venise, p. 515, note 2.


end of July, were its work. A series of measures carried
in the same month show us the state of panic in which the
city was plunged. The members of the Great Council
were permitted to attend its meetings in arms, the doors
of its hall were to be kept open during its meetings, loo
armed men in boats were to patrol the lagoons and canals,
200 selected by the caposesiieri were to guard the Piazza, and
thirty to be always on guard in the doge's palace. Every
night at least ten men were to watch over each contrada,^
and without their leave no one after the third bell had rung
was to pass from one contrada to another. At the same
time the caposesiieri were ordered to levy 1500 good men
and true to be ready to hasten to the side of the doge at
the first alarm, each with his cuirass and other arms. As
soon as the tocsin was rung from the campanile of San
Marco all these were to assemble at their gathering-places
and march half to the Piazza, half to guard their own

The public alarm had not subsided when Michaelmas
arrived, the date at which the powers of the Council of
Ten must end, if not prolonged, and the doge came before
the Great Council and demanded a prolongation for two
months more of these powers. His picture of the state of
affairs was so alarming that his demand was readily com-
plied with. Similar prolongations for two months at a time
were sanctioned till July 131 1,'- when the council was pro-
longed, apparently, till 131 5, after which two decennial
prolongations carried it on to the 20th of July 1335, when
it was made a permanent body, the members of which
were elected annually in August or September, a few at

^ The contrada at \'enice was generally equivalent to the par-

- Lebret says that in January T312 it was prolonged for five years,
which would have carried it on till 1317. This he makes to agree with
the statement that decennial extensions ended in 1335, by supposing
the extensions to have been made in each case in the year before the
term expired, i.e. in 1316 and 1325 (i. pp. 698, 699).


a time, and by two divisions ^ of the Great Council, no one
being re-eligible.-

When the Council of Ten set to work, and the reports of
the spies employed by it came in, it was evident that the
alarm had not been unreasonable. On the 16th April
131 1, a spy reported from Padua that on the day before,
which was Good Friday, Bajamonte, who was staying in

Online LibraryF. C. (Francis Cotterell) HodgsonVenice in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; a sketch of Ventian history from the conquest of Constantinople to the accession of Michele Steno, A.D. 1204-1400 → online text (page 20 of 62)