office time five forty
DOGE, a modified form of the ordinary Italian duce, frorn the Latin dux, a leader or duke, employed to designate the chief magistrate in the republics of Genoa and Venice. In both cities the office underwent from time to time a variety of transformations, for details on which the larger histories of the republics must be consulted.
In Venice the doge was originally chosen by universal suffrage, held office for life, and was regarded as the civil, military, and ecclesiastical chief. His duties and preroga-tives were not defined vi ith much precision, and the limits of his ability and ambition were practically the limits of his power. In 755 his independence was diminished by the appointment of two assistants or duumvirs ; but this institution was again allowed to fall into the background, and the doge acquired more and more of irresponsible authority, while at the same time the office was usually committed to a member of one or other of the more power-ful families. This tendency towards a hereditary despotism was checked in 1033 by Flabenigo's law, which reinstituted the dumuvirate, and declared distinctly that no doge had the right of associating any member of his family with himself in the government, or of transmitting his office on his decease. In 1172 a still more important change was introduced ; not only was the duumvirate replaced by a body of six councillors, but universal suffrage was abolished, and the election of the doge intrusted to a comiadttee of twelve persons, elaborately selected from the members of the great council. On the death of Ziani II. in 1229, two commissions were appointed, which obtained a permanent place in the constitution, and gave emphatic testimony to the fact that the doge was merely the highest servant of the community ; the first consisted of five Corretturi della promisione (locale, whose duty was to consider if any change ought to be made in the oath of investiture administered to the doge ; the second was a board of three ingnisitori sul doge, iutrusted with the curious task of examining and passing judgment on the acts of the deceased magistrate, whose estates might be mulcted in accordance with their decision. To minimize as far as possible the influence of individual families, the election of the doge was in 1268 effected by a curiously complex machinery, which remained, with some modifications, till the close of the republic ; thirty members of the great ceuncil, elected by ballot, selected nine members, who in their turn chose forty ; of these forty twelve taken by lot chose twenty-five ; the twenty-five were next reduced to nine ; the nine elected forty-five ; the forty-five were reduced to eleven ; and the eleven chose the final forty-one in whose hands lay the actual election of the doge. In proportion to the development attained by the oligarchical element in the constitution, the more important functions of the office were assigned to other officials or to administrative boards, and he who had once been really the pilot of the ship became little more than an animated figure-head, properly draped and garnished. On state occasions he was still attended by all the ceremonial observances of former times : his robe was still purple, the horns of his beretta were still exalted, the sword, the tapers, and the trumpets were borne before him, his leaden seal was affixed to public documents, and the ring was still dropped yearly from his hand iu symbolic espousal of 1,Teniee and the sea. But he was under the strictest surveillance, had to wait for the presence of other officials in order to open the despatches from foreign powers, was forbidden to leave tlae city, could not legally be poseessed of property in a foreign land, or contract a foreign alliance for any of his children, and was moreover liable to the infliction of a fine dor any trespass he might conamit. The office was maintained, however, till the last days of the republic, and from time to time was held by men who knew how to make it something more than such an empty simulacrum. (See Cecchetti, II Doge di Venezia, 1864.) In Genoa the institution of the doge dates from 1339, and at first he was elected without any restriction by popular suffrage, and held office for life ; but after the reform effected by Andrea Doria in 1528, the term was reduced to two years, plebeians were declared ineligible, and the appointment was intrusted to the members of ,the great and the little councils, who were bound, however, to employ, in proof of impartiality, nearly as complex a machinery as that of the later Venetians.