Chapter 6 “Nobili scaduti”? The Return of Cretan Patricians to Venice in the Seventeenth Century

In: Cultures of Empire: Rethinking Venetian Rule, 1400–1700
Author: Dorit Raines

In the 1670s and at the beginning of the 1680s several manuscript versions imitating Venetian Relazioni circulated in Venice. All launched a harsh attack against the leading Venetian patricians, who were blamed for their incompetence in having poorly managed the War of Crete (1646–1669), which left the Republic with drained funds and the island under Turkish control. One of these “anti-myth” writings: Relazione sulla organizzazione politica della Repubblica di Venezia al cadere del secolo decimosettimo, was attributed to the imperial ambassador, Francesco Ulderico della Torre (1630–1695).1 Yet on reading the text it becomes clear that it was written, or at least inspired, by Venetian patricians who were frustrated with the outcome of the war.2 One of the target groups heavily attacked in the Relazione were the seventy-eight mainland families who for the sum of 100,000 ducats were aggregated into the Venetian patriciate.3 While this criticism may be understood as the old patriciate’s fear of losing face vis-à-vis the European nobility, the inclusion in the “nobili scaduti” (“fallen nobles”) category of those who returned from Crete is surprising, since, legally speaking, they enjoyed the same rights as the other Venice-based patricians.

Benjamin Arbel has already observed that “the consideration of the Venetian overseas territories in terms of colonial history is usually a useful key from various points of view to understand the nature of the Venetian State and its long and very interesting relationship to its possessions overseas.”4 The relationship between centre and periphery in an empire is a process of interaction and therefore a matter of an ongoing negotiation. Imperial governance in the Ancien Régime used a number of control systems, some more immediate and coercive in nature, and others of a more latent and long-term perspective, such as colonization. The amorphous nature of the empire and the drive towards centralization dictated a specific policy of positioning a number of the ruling nation’s subjects in the empire’s conquered territories. Up till now historians mostly considered the colonial point of view in terms of the benefits that the control over a given territory had brought to the dominating state. Yet the colonial bond also had its costs and one of them was the social and political status of the colonizers in the dominating capital.5 In our case the question to be asked is whether there was any policy regarding the colonizers’ rights, and, put more bluntly, whether Venetians were ready to pay the price for their Cretan colonization?

The story of Venetian patrician families in Crete is a long and complicated one. In 1211, after Venice had taken possession of the island, a number of patricians left for Crete. Members of the Nani, Muazzo, Venier, Canal, Falier, Foscolo, Sagredo, and other families left for political and economic reasons to colonize the island and engage in trade.6 These families were careful to register (albeit not regularly) their offspring as legitimately born to patrician parents so that they would be eligible to take part in the Great Council in Venice, but between 1211 and 1669 something changed.

Sometimes it is interesting to look not just at the ongoing chronological development of a phenomenon but also to observe it from its conclusion – the point when it exhausts itself and reaches its natural term. The aim of this paper is to (a) investigate whether the seventeenth-century “old” patriciate’s claim that the Cretan-based patricians had forfeited their right to sit in the Great Council was indeed true; (b) to assess the number and identity of those returning nobles; and (c) to retrace the decision-making process that led to their reintegration.

The author of the anti-myth Relazione was very explicit in his judgment on the reintegrated Cretan nobles:

Out of the natural order of things was the appearance made in the [Great] Council of nobles of the unfortunate colony of Crete. We should remember that the Republic of Venice imitated the Roman one, which, upon becoming an empire did not find a better solution to keep the new subjects in faith than sending settlers. Likewise, after 1202 Venice bought Crete, and finding [the island] repeatedly disobedient in its rebellions, it finally resolved to send settlers to it. To these it [the Republic] assigned generous estates with the obligation to stop any internal sedition, and to oppose to any enemy invasion. They [the settlers] have largely enjoyed the estates for four centuries, estimating advantageous the exchange of their Venetian nobility for the Cretan wealth.

But now, the author declares, some families have fled to Venice at the first sign of trouble at the beginning of the war, sparking others to gradually follow. He continues: “In grace the Reader may concur with his own judgment to enquire after these people, and he will find them false, of barbarous customs, lazy, of arrogant pretension, and desperate because of being poor.”7 The core of the old patriciate’s claim was this: the Cretan patricians enjoyed the riches of the island as long as Venice assured their security, but they had betrayed Venice’s trust a number of times.8 And now, at a crucial moment when defence of the island was needed, they were fleeing to Venice, not only asking for shelter but also for undeserved privileges.

The Venetian patriciate has always suffered from amnesia. The usefulness of omitting uncomfortable truths had sometimes – if not always – resulted in a long silence on certain issues. Yet one issue – socio-political in nature – was never forgotten: place of origin and date of arrival in Venice. This also applied to the Cretan patricians. While the father of Venetian official chronicles, Andrea Dandolo, in his fourteenth-century Chronica extensa had only referred to those sent to Crete as “knights composed of nobles and citizens and the infantry made of commoners,”9 the fifteenth-century chronicles were far more explicit. The first to copy the lists from an official State record into his diary was probably the fifteenth-century patrician Antonio Morosini (his chronicle goes from 1094 to 1433),10 this was followed by Giorgio Dolfin’s Cronicha dela nobil cità de Venetia et dela sua provintia et destretto (a chronicle that ends in 1468).11 The genealogical trees initiated in the sixteenth century by Marco Barbaro usually present lists citing the arrival of certain groups to Venice. Curiously, a long list, according to their sestiere of residence, of those who left Venice to colonize Crete was also inserted (Barbaro copied the list from the fifteenth-century chronicles) and continued to be copied from one exemplar to the next. The fifteenth-century chronicles may have been influenced by the widespread conviction at the time that the right to claim descent from patrician ancestors was becoming a chaotic process. Consequently, in the face of the growing numbers of applicants who wished to prove their nobility by retracing their origins to family members who first settled in Crete it was seen as necessary to remind the public who those settlers were. Indeed, matters were further complicated by the fact that some original patrician settlers in Crete had not ever been members of the Great Council in Venice because they had left before its Serrata (Closing) in 1297.12

The Dandolo family serves as an illustration of the winding road of social status travelled by Cretan patricians. The Dandolo family was historically linked to the Corner, Muazzo, and Pizzamano families who, according to the old family chronicles, settled in the area of San Luca and San Paternian during the early stages of the settlement in Rivoaltus in the ninth century (Venice).13 Over time, as Juergen Schultz has demonstrated, the family became increasingly influential, until one of its members, Doge Enrico Dandolo (elected in 1192), conqueror of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, reached the highest office.14 It’s no wonder that the lists naming the first settlers to leave for Crete in 1211 include a Marino Dandolo from the parish of San Fantin in the sestiere of San Marco.15 This Marino was probably one of the doge’s sons and, judging from the Barbaro genealogical trees, was indeed the founder of the main Cretan Dandolo branch, which was based mostly in the city of Candia and in the area of Rethymno.16 One of Marino’s grandsons – Nicolò (d. 1307),17 had two sons: Andrea and Zuanne “q[uondam] Nicolai de Creta,” who were registered on 26 November 1320 as candidates for the Great Council in Venice, but their request was denied on 4 October 1321 on the grounds that those residing in Crete had no right to register unless able to do so in Venice, in person.18

We have no further information as to whether or not the two applicants managed to register their rights to membership of the Great Council, but they do appear on the patrician genealogical trees, a sign that they were eventually admitted. The explanation for this episode may lie partly in the promulgation of two Great Council decrees: the first, dated 25 November 1319, probably served as a trigger to the Dandolo brothers’ claim the following year, as it established the approbatio procedure for anticipating entrance to the Great Council for eighteen-year-old candidates, while the rest of the young patricians entered upon reaching twenty-five years of age.19 The second decree, dated 27 September 1323, linked the applicant’s descent from a member of the Great Council to his own right to become a member. Indeed, the procedural change brought about by the 1323 decree may have paved the way for a second attempt made by the Dandolo to claim their right: instead of being registered beforehand with the Quarantia’s quaternus and becoming subject to examination by the Avogadori di Comun (which could reject the application in cases where the majority had doubts regarding the credentials of the candidate), the 1323 decree regarded all candidates as eligible without specification of age, whose “father and grandfather would have been members of the Council” (in this case, their grandfather Marco was registered with his Venetian parish name, an indication that he was a Venetian resident and could claim descent from the doge’s son Marino).20 This legal procedure, which still left different aspects of the question unresolved, may explain why the earliest record of a prove registration for a noble from Crete is dated 10 October 1355 when the Collegio approved patrician status for Zorzi de Molin, Niccolò Falier, and Francesco Muazzo. It is possible, as Monique O’Connell has suggested, that this was down to the Avogaria di Comun’s poor record-keeping, but the later dates of these records may also suggest that a firmer understanding of the sort of records needed for the prove procedure was only established over time.21

The Dandolo episode is the first indication that a distinction was made between Venetian- and Cretan-based patricians. It is unlikely that the authorities’ refusal was because the social status of the applicants’ mother was seen as unacceptable; after all, the fourteenth-century law insisted only on her descent from a family whose occupation was not considered ignoble. More reasonable is the suggestion that although Venice sought to retain strong ties and to encourage Cretan patricians’ fidelity,22 its governing elite was not yet ready to pay the full price for it – that is, to allow the automatic inclusion of all Cretan-based patricians in the Great Council of Venice without being present in the city.23 Insisting that the applicants had to register their rights/status in Venice was an effective instrument of selection: not all could afford to travel to Venice to file their claim. It has been demonstrated that some of the fifteenth-century requests by Cretan patricians relied upon claims of “imaginary genealogy,” and that the offices of the Avogaria di Comun worked hard to investigate the authenticity of the records and testimonies presented and to corroborate the claims.24 After the 1440s, things changed: applicants had to demonstrate their nearest paternal relatives’ membership, not their distant ancestors’ presence among the original settlers of the island.25 This was partly due to the growing sense of social distinction felt by the Venetian patriciate: the main concern of the Venetians “was to exclude those who they felt diminished their corporate purity from within their own ranks.”26

As of 1297, with the “Closing” of the Great Council, and due to a long legislative process that linked hereditary social privileges to political ones, this ruling elite succeeded in becoming a socially closed group. The transmission of political privileges was patrilinear in nature: it was reserved for those who were able to demonstrate either their political status (tracing their descent to a father member of the Great Council for at least four years before 1297) and their social status (their parents’ legitimate marriage). A further legislation established the hereditary nature of the father-to-son transmission of this privilege. Over the course of the fifteenth century, with the growing importance of the branch (ramo) over the patronymic family (casata), marriage had become a strategic node in the larger political game. The branch had to decide on its political priorities during elections: it had the choice either to remain loyal to its patrilinear parents or to enlarge its voting lobby by sustaining those kinship ties acquired by marriage.27 The growing importance of the cognatic ties during the fifteenth century slowly led to a stricter policy regarding the social status of the patricians’ brides.

With the introduction of the 1506 birth and the 1526 marriage registry, the endogamic nature of the Venetian patriciate had become a reality. The question of Cretan-based patricians, however, resurfaced. If up till now things were loosely dependent upon the Avogadori di Comun’s investigations, the new registries and the legislation made it more difficult for some Cretan patrician branches devoid of an uninterrupted prove claim policy to present their case for inclusion in the Great Council, but for those who had pursued this policy for centuries, things became a lot easier. The registries produced a novelty which may be interpreted as the beginning of a social distinction between Venetian- and Cretan- based patricians: probably due to the 1506 institution of the register of births by the Avogadori di Comun, Marino Sanuto (de origine, situ et magistratibus urbis Venetae) in his 1512 list of “casade de zentilhomeni” was already distinguishing between patrician households and “Nobeli e casade è in Candia.”28 This protracted memory of four centuries of Cretan colonizers indicates the lingering, unsolved problem that anticipated the post-war patrician outburst of anger in 1669. Although one may be considered noble in Crete this did not mean he would be recognized as such by the Venetian Republic’s high standards,29 which became increasingly complicated for applicants after the opening of the birth and marriage registries.

The cases of Cretan-based candidates claiming patrician rights before the Avogadori di Comun in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries after the opening of registries, followed the same administrative procedure. First, they relied heavily on the registries of births and marriages made on the island.30 The candidate appeared before the authorities in the city nearest to his place of residence (Candia, Rethymno, or Chanea) and asked for a copy of records testifying his claim. The authorities then produced a cover letter such as the following: “As Ser Francesco Dandolo [son] of Ser Andrea intends to relocate to this city [of Venice] in order to have his nobility approved by the Maggior Consiglio, we have on his behest copied the writings pertinent to his approval.”31 The arguments (and documents) presented to the Avogadori di Comun were those which the applicant thought would strengthen his case.32 Francesco Dandolo, son of Girolamo “di Candia” asked on 4 August 1554 to be recognized as a Venetian patrician with the right to sit in the Great Council. The compelling arguments he presented to build his case were: (1) He was the offspring of a legitimate marriage between his father and Madaluzza Gradenigo, daughter of the late Gabriel; (2) His father, Girolamo, was the legitimate and natural son (fiolo legitimo, et natural)33 – along with two other brothers, Alvise and Marco – of Antonio, son of the late Alvise and Maria, widow of Antonio Pizzamano of Venice; (3) His uncle (“barba”) Marco, his father’s brother, had received his prova di nobiltà on 26 September 1527;34 (4) He had notified the Avogaria of Crete and of Venice of the birth of his three sons from his legitimate marriage with Elisabetta Salamon, daughter of the late Andrea;35 (5) The members of the Dandolo family were among the inhabitants of Crete who were generally recognized to be part of the Great Council in Venice; (6) He had served in all the usual offices in Crete that were also open to nobles of the Great Council of Venice.36 Francesco knew perfectly well that the main obstacle to his claim was his father, Girolamo, who was born out of wedlock and only legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his parents. The applicant thus tried to claim his right by demonstrating that his uncle Marco had been recognized as noble, omitting the fact that, unlike Girolamo, Marco was born after his parents’ marriage and was therefore a legitimate son of a patrician. He further strengthened his claim by presenting copies of his sons’ birth registration in the Cretan Chancellery.

Another case involved Gasparo Dandolo, son of the late Matteo, grandson of the late Gasparin from the San Paternian branch,37 and born in 1584. On 4 September 1605, he applied to be recognized as noble for the upcoming lottery of Santa Barbara (because he had not yet reached twenty-five, the age required for regular entry).38 His problem, as illustrated in the deliberation of the Council of Ten on 5 July 1606, was that his father had died (in 1597) and his mother was not present in Venice. The Council decided to instruct the Avogadori di Comun to accept the testimonies of the two nearest relatives and to put him to the prova in order to let him participate in the lottery “to allow him to present to the lottery of Santa Barbara’s day.”39 The records presented by the applicant were based on Cretan Chancellery records: (1) the marriage certificate dated 5 March 1578 of the applicant’s father, Matteo Dandolo, son of the late Gasparin, with Agnesina Dandolo, daughter of the late Nicolò, son of the late Piero; (2) his father Matteo’s acceptance as noble of the Great Council of Venice on 30 August 1580 on the basis of two other records described in the text of the 1580 prova: (a) the birth certificate of the applicant’s grandfather (Gasparin, son of the late Zuanne) dated 12 June 1534 testifying that he was born of a legitimate marriage; (b) the birth certificate of the applicant’s father (Matteo, son of the late Gasparin) dated 17 June 1551, noting that although Matteo’s grandfather, Domenico Muazzo (father of Polissena, Matteo’s mother) had not been recognized as noble: “whose father [of Polissena] was not recognized as noble,” Matteo’s birth was recognized to be of noble descent.40

The sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century processi di nobiltà are clearly different in nature from the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century procedures, which presented elaborate genealogical trees delineating remote relatives in order to claim Venetian noble rights. Although these later processi offer over the course of the sixteenth century similar cases to those of Venetian-based patricians (i.e. a patrician’s legitimate son or, more frequently, the mother’s family status), things changed especially following the law enacted on 30 June 1589. The law which tightened the control of marriages between male patricians and non-patrician females and the following Senate decree dated 12 July 1590, which instructed the Avogadori di Comun to fully investigate the cases of natural daughters of patrician males (whose birth was to be immediately registered after a formal fatherly recognition), resulted in a situation where a part of the Cretan-based patricians were having difficulties demonstrating their “purity.”41 Their former custom of randomly submitting claims of noble status to the Avogaria di Comun (sometimes skipping one or two generations) was no longer sufficient to ensure their rights.

One detects here two distinct groups of Cretan-based patrician families: those who had lost their Venice-based branches, such as the ones mentioned by Sanuto, and were only intermittently recorded as members of the Great Council; and others who enjoyed the solid presence of relatives (or other close branches) in Venice, and therefore were able to regularly submit claims for recognition as Venetian nobles.

The first group is indicated by Marino Sanuto in De origine, situ et magistratibus urbis Venetae. In his 1512 version, the list of “casade de zentilhomeni” was already distinguishing between patrician households and “Nobeli e casade è in Candia”: Busnadego, Dono, Gezo, Griego, Matono, Mazaman, Miegano, Signolo, and Vizamano.42 Two years later in 1514, Sanuto returned to the argument and again enumerated the “Casade de zentilhomeni sono in Candia”: Abramo, Avonal, Busnago, Calergi, Dono, Gezo, Grego, Istrigo, Lanzuol, Matono, Mazaman, Megano, Signolo, Vizamano, Lolin.43 Sanuto itemized either families that were already extinct or families that presented a claim to sit on the Great Council at the beginning of the sixteenth century or that were present (with at least one member) in the Great Council during the two years taken into consideration.44 Those few families that were not extinct made only casual appearances in the Great Council until the 1589 law. The 1589 law pushed them to strengthen their prove di nobiltà policy of presenting claims to noble status every generation in order not to lose their rights.

The second group included the branches known as “di Candia” but belonging to established and prominent Venetian patrician families: Barbarigo (4 branches), Bon (5 branches), Corner (7 branches), Dandolo (4 branches), Foscarini (2 branches), Mezzo (4 branches), Molin (3 branches), Muazzo (4 branches), Pasqualigo (1 branch), Polani (3 branches), Querini (11 branches), Sagredo (1 branch), Salamon (1 branch), Tron (1 branch), Venier (7 branches), Zorzi (1 branch) – 16 casate with 59 branches “di Candia.”

It is likely that the Venetian authorities were aware of the fact that an increased number of Cretan-based patricians tried to claim noble status despite the fact that their descent did not fully meet the high social standards set, especially as regards their mother’s origins. Both the laws of 1589 and of 1590 show the Venetian authorities’ degree of awareness of the Cretan-based patricians’ special case. A surviving folder in the archives of the Avogaria di Comun sheds further light on the way these magistrates tried to deal with the situation. The Avogadori decided to collect prove di nobiltà of Cretan-based patricians from documents existing in their archives. The result is a folder bearing the title: “famiglie stabilite nell’isola di Candia,” with records illustrating forty-five cases (with some copies of the submitted documents) of members belonging to twenty-four casate: Avogadro, Barozzi, Bragadin, Calergi, Corner, Dandolo, Fradello, Grioni, Lolin, Loredan, Manolesso, Marin, Megani, De Mezzo, Muazzo, Pasqualigo, Pizzamano, Polani, Querini, Sagredo, Salamon, Viaro, Zen, Zorzi. The presented cases refer to specific persons, and in most cases is followed by a date (ranging from 1438 to 1590), probably that of the prova di nobiltà of the patrician in question.45 The absence of a number of families belonging to the group mentioned by Sanuto, which were already extinct or at least absent from the Great Council by the beginning of the sixteenth century is striking.46 The mentioned forty-five cases thus refer to those families that had a somewhat continuous policy of applying to be approved as Venetian nobles. The number of cases extracted by the Avogadori, however, is very low considering the potential number of those who might have sought the right to sit in the Great Council. If we take the Muazzo branches “di Candia” as an example, the number of patricians noted as provato on the genealogical trees is much higher than the number of cases in the folder of the Avogaria di Comun’s busta 205/1.47 A closer look suggests that the registered cases belong either to one of the Cretan branches whose member Zuanne, son of the late Antonio (provato in 1540), was the founder of the Santa Maria Zobenigo branch,48 or to the case of Antonio Muazzo, son of the late Francesco, son in turn of the late Antonio.

Indeed, one might well ask whether the case of Antonio Muazzo, son of the late Francesco, son in turn of the late Antonio,49 acted as the trigger for, or at least contributed to, the adoption of both the 1589 and 1590 decrees. On 4 April 1589, Antonio asked to be recognized together with his heirs as patrician. He justified his claim through his ancestor, also named Antonio Muazzo, who was approved noble on 2 May 1462 possibly because his mother’s (Elisabetta De Mezzo) family members had not tried to claim their noble status.50 The matter was sent on 24 April of the same year by the Avogadori di Comun to the Collegio, which rejected the claim on 6 June 1589. Three weeks later on 30 June 1589, the aforementioned decree, which restricted marriages with non-patrician females, was adopted. Later, on 11 July 1590, the Avogador di Comun, Giacomo Bragadin, brought the case up again in the Collegio. A day later the 1590 decree was passed. Antonio Muazzo was later recognized as a legitimate patrician on 2 August 1595.51 The forty-five cases in the folder E thus document the preliminary investigations made by the Avogadori di Comun into other similar cases before they were put before the Collegio.

Administratively speaking, the year 1590 represents a turning point in addressing the matter of the Cretan-based patricians and their right to claim noble status. First, the Chancellery of Crete opened birth and marriage registries in 1590–1591.52 Second, the Venetian offices established efficient registries that would help them to thoroughly investigate the cases put before them by the Cretan applicants.

Up till now, we have looked at the way the Venetian authorities tried to address the matter. Yet retracing the two groups of Cretan-based families in the Avogadori di Comun’s Processi di nobiltà files may shed further light on their attitudes toward their Venetian noble rights.

Let us first consider the time span between the actual dates of marriages and births and their notification to the Chancelleries in Crete or in Venice. Although most of the families belonging to the first group (without affiliate branches in Venice) were fairly meticulous in registering their marriages and the birth of their sons in Crete (in three places: Candia, Rethymno, and Chanea), they usually notified the marriage only when their son (or sons) were born or reached at least eighteen years of age, and they usually did it in their place of residence and not in Venice.53 Those families with affiliated/related branches in Venice were quicker to register marriages and births, probably due to their ongoing contact with Venetian relatives and their awareness of the correct procedures.54

Another interesting pattern in the behaviour of these two groups is the frequency with which their members requested the prova di nobiltà. The Avonal family claimed noble status for two of its members: in the period which runs from 1506 to 1640: Giorgio, son of the late Giovanni on 7 August 1557 and “Marco da Rettimo” on 2 September 1582.55 This low frequency is contrasted with the high number of requests to be recognized as noble that were advanced by Cretan branches of Venice-based families. The Dandolo branch founded by Alvise, son of the late Marco, son in turn of the late Zuanne,56 demonstrates that almost every generation had at least one member (usually married) who submitted a request to be recognized as a member of the Great Council in Venice: Alvise’s father in 1431; Alvise himself in 1477; then Francesco, son of the late Girolamo (Alvise’s great grandson) in 1554; and his second cousin Antonio, son of the late Alvise in 1543; Francesco’s son Tomaso in 1559; and Francesco, son of the late Andrea (Tomaso’s nephew) in 1630.57 A curious case is the Mezzo family, which was virtually absent from the Venetian political scene; apart from its three Cretan-based branches, the family also had a Venetian one based in Santa Ternità. This branch founded by Marco, son of the late Zorzi, who gained the right to sit in the Great Council in 1424, waited until 1588 to apply for one of its members to be recognized as a Venetian noble: Francesco, son of the late Zorzi (born in 1549). The next member to file a similar request in 1674 was Zorzi, son of the late Marco (born in 1653). Judging from their strategies of marriages mostly with Cretan-based branches (Contarini, Premarin, Venier), marriages with families outside the Venetian patriciate (Piasentin of Castelfranco, Protonotario, Lucciati), or intermarriage between branches within the family (three out of thirteen marriages between 1493 and 1784), one can deduct that the family members were not interested in being elected to offices or having any role in Venetian politics.58

A third pattern detected through the prove di nobiltà (probably as a consequence of the 1589 law) is the growing intensity in the number of requests that were submitted after the passing of the aforesaid law. A survey based on nine families mentioned in the records of the Processi di nobiltà as of 1589 reveals that there were five with branches based uniquely in Crete: Avonal, Fradello, Grego, Miegano, and Vizzamano, and four with branches of relatives bearing the same family name based in Venice: Muazzo, Pasqualigo, Pizzamano, and Salamon. This shows that there was a growing urgency among Cretan-based patricians to submit requests for approval as noble: during the sixteenth century, roughly one member of every generation belonging to those families submitted a request, but after 1589 we find two or even three brothers filing claims.59 The branches whose other relatives were based in Venice, such as Salamon, Pasqualigo, or Pizzamano, present a different situation. Since the members of these branches moved back and forth between Crete and Venice, many of them registered the births and marriages directly in the Venetian Chancellery offices and were therefore exempt from a process of prova, yet they were subject to the usual status verification of every young patrician aged eighteen years old.60 We learn from the genealogical trees that Zuan Marco, son of the late Nicolò from the Salamon branch “di Candia” based in the Santa Marina parish in Venice and born in Crete on 14 May 1621, applied to be approved but was rejected due to his mother’s Jewish origins. Another case is that of the brothers Zorzi and Piero, sons of the late Andrea Salamon from the same branch and born in Sitia, who applied in 1688 but were approved only in 1697.61 The Pasqualigo family presents the same phenomenon. Out of fifty-six cases filed in the Processi di nobiltà series of the Avogaria di Comun from the fifteenth to the end of the eighteenth century, only one involves a case of Cretan-born patricians. Lorenzo, son of the late Francesco, born on 7 July 1535, from a branch that a generation later would settle in the San Gregorio parish in Venice, was approved as a Venetian noble in 1561. Likewise, in 1586 he filed a claim to approve the noble status of his nephews Lorenzo (the founder of the San Gregorio branch), Francesco, and Marcantonio, sons of the late Pellegrin. The reason for this unusual request lies in the fact that Lorenzo’s nephews were born from the marriage of Pellegrin (who died in 1586) with Vicenza Pisani, a natural daughter of the patrician Marin, son of the late Benetto. The request was approved and the fourth nephew Benetto, born in 1577, was subsequently recognized as noble too.62 Most of these cases, however, show an intensification in the return to Venice in the 1630s and the 1640s, even before the war of Candia (1645–1669) began, to claim noble status directly in the Avogadori di Comun offices.

“Nobili scaduti”? If the old patriciate intended the term “scaduti” (“fallen”) in the sense of “devoid of noble requisites as set by Venetian laws,” it should have applied the same rigor to those Venice-based patricians who asked to be recognized as nobles despite the fact that their status did not exactly comply with the increasingly high standards set by Venetian laws between 1458 to 1590 (either because the legitimacy of their parents’ marriage was not fully established, or because the mother was of ignoble origin, or was a natural daughter not duly recognized by her father etc.). Stanley Chojnacki has observed that the establishment of the 1506 birth registry was “designed to weed out extramarital offspring, [and] reinforce noble endogamy by assigning a new official function to the relationships created in marriage.”63

In fact, the growing competition between patrician houses in the run for offices and the race for power positions enhanced noble endogamy: the only way to win elections was to widen kinship relations (parentela) through marriage.64 Like the seventy-eight mainland families of the first aggregation, the Cretan patricians were regarded as a social, political, and financial disturbance to the “natural” socio-political process established by the old patricians. They were, moreover, seen as a potential threat to the poor patriciate who were competing for paid offices and, being poor, were undesirable for marriage. Indeed, if we calculate that the number of members of these seventy-eight aggregated families present in the Great Council at the end of the War of Crete stood at 216,65 and the Cretan-based patricians at sixty-nine,66 (out of a total of c. 950 votes) these two blocks could have formed a socio-political alliance in a voting lobby that interfered with the complicated marriage calculations of the old patricians who were eager to establish robust political alliances.67

Yet they were not by any means “scaduti.” As has been demonstrated, the Republic overtly avoided adopting a clear policy regarding the Cretan-based patricians. Not only did it need their loyalty and their presence on the island, many family branches were divided between Venice and Crete and it was difficult to sort out the “Cretan-based” from the “Venice-based” members. The social Venetian policy as expressed in the 1506, 1526, 1589, and 1590 decrees was deemed effective enough to stop any infiltration of unwanted elements into the patriciate. A large number of the Cretan-based patricians, on the other hand, were careful to assure their rights by presenting at least one member per generation to the prova di nobiltà, assuring that the heirs would also benefit from this recognition of status. Caught between two worlds, they nevertheless did not give up their Venetian nobility for the riches of Crete as sustained by the old patriciate. They believed they had an equal share in power, defending for more than four centuries one of the most important territories of the Venetian Republic’s overseas empire. Although they were initially treated with contempt, this allowed them to return and to be reinserted into Venetian political and social life after the fall of the island. With time, their origin was forgotten and they became an indiscernible part of the political and social scene.

References

  • ASVe (Archivio di Stato, Venice), MC (Maggior Consiglio), Liber Albus.

  • ASVe, AdC (Avogaria di Comun), Processi di nobiltà, bb. 205/1, 291/9, 313/31, 318/36, 331/49, 334/52, 338/56.

  • ASVe, Duca di Candia, reg. 87: “Libro grande matrimoni, nascite e battesimi dei Nobili veneti.”

  • ASVe, Index 59 (ex 70), “Duca di Candia. Nobili veneti in Candia. Nascite (1590–1668).” ASVe, Index 60 (ex 71), “Duca di Candia. Nobili veneti in Candia. Matrimoni (1590–1668).”ASVe, Index 61 (ex 69), “Duca di Candia. Nobiltà cretense (1590–1668)”.ASVe, Index 86/ter i (A-L), Giuseppe Giomo, “Avogaria di Comun. Matrimoni patrizi per nome di donna.”BMCC (Biblioteca del Museo Civico Correr, Venice), Cod. Cicogna 2498, 2500, 2502, 2503, Marco Barbaro, “Genealogie Venete.”

  • ASVe, Index 59 (ex 70), “Duca di Candia. Nobili veneti in Candia. Nascite (1590–1668).”

  • ASVe, Index 60 (ex 71), “Duca di Candia. Nobili veneti in Candia. Matrimoni (1590–1668).”

  • ASVe, Index 61 (ex 69), “Duca di Candia. Nobiltà cretense (1590–1668).” ASVe, Index 86/ter i (A-L), Giuseppe Giomo, “Avogaria di Comun. Matrimoni patrizi per nome di donna.”

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BMCC (Biblioteca del Museo Civico Correr, Venice), Cod. Cicogna 2498, 2500, 2502, 2503, Marco Barbaro, “Genealogie Venete.”

  • BMCC, Cod. P.D. c 775, “Libro d’oro di Candia con l’aggiunta delle famiglie cittadine e notabili dell’Isola, raccolte da Giovanni de Pellegrini,” edited in 1809.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BMCC, Cod. Gradenigo-Dolfin 83.3, Pietro Gradenigo, “Genealogie Venete.”

  • BNM (Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice), Cod. Marc. It. vii, 124 (=7421), Gian Antonio Muazzo, “Cronaca delle famiglie nobili venete che abitaromo a Candia.”

  • BNM, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 947 (=7429), “Aggregazioni alla nobiltà veneta.”

  • BNM, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 1260 (=7538), “Libro dei nobili veneti.”

  • Andreae Danduli ducis Venetiarum Chronica per extensum descripta, aa. 46–1280 d.C . Ed. Ester Pastorello . In Rerum Italicarum Scriptores. Raccolta degli storici italiani dal Cinquecento al Millecinquecento xii. Bologna: N. Zanichelli, 1938–1958.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arbel, Benjamin . “Una chiave di lettura dello Stato da Mar veneziano nell’età moderna: la situazione coloniale.” In Il “Commonwealth” veneziano tra 1204 e la fine della Repubblica: Identità e peculiarità . Eds. Gherardo Ortalli , Oliver Jens Schmitt , and Ermanno Orlando . Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2005: pp. 155179.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Cassiere della Bolla ducale, Grazie-Novus Liber (1299–1305). Ed. Elena Favaro . Venice: Comitato Pubblicazione delle Fonti relative alla Storia di Venezia, 1962.

  • Chojnacki, Stanley . “Identity and Ideology in Renaissance Venice: The Third Serrata.” In Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297–1797. Eds. John Martin and Dennis Romano . Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001: pp. 278280.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chojnacki, Stanley . “In Search of the Venetian Patriciate: Families and Factions in the Fourteenth Century.” In Renaissance Venice . Ed. John R. Hale . London: Faber & Faber, 1973: pp. 4790.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chojnacki, Stanley . “La formazione della nobiltà dopo la Serrata.” In Storia di Venezia dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, 3: La formazione dello stato patrizio. Eds. Girolamo Arnaldi , Giorgio Cracco , and Alberto Tenenti . Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1997: pp. 641725.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chojnacki, Stanley . “Marriage Regulation in Venice (1420–1535).” In id., Women and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society . Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000: pp. 5375.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chojnacki, Stanley . “Political Adulthood.” In id., Women and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society . Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000: pp. 227243.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chojnacki, Stanley . “Social Identity in Renaissance Venice: the Second Serrata.” Renaissance Studies 8, no. 4 (1994): pp. 341358.

  • Cowan, Alexander . Marriage, Manners and Mobility in Early Modern Venice. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

  • Crescenzi, Victor . Esse de maiori consilio: Legittimità civile e legittimazione politica nella repubblica di Venezia (secc. xiixvi). Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1996.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Del Negro, Piero . “Forme e istituzioni del discorso politico veneziano.” In Storia della cultura veneta, 4/ii: Il Seicento. Eds. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore-Stocchi . Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1984: pp. 407436.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Del Negro, Piero . “La ‘poesia barona’ di Giorgio Baffo ‘Quarantiotto’: politica e cultura nella Venezia di metà Settecento.” Comunità 184 (1982): pp. 312425.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dolfin, Giorgio . Cronicha dela nobil cità de Venetia et dela sua provintia et destretto (origini – 1458), vol. i. Ed. Angela Caracciolò Aricò . Venice: Centro Cicogna, 2007–2009.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dorigo, Wladimiro . Venezia romanica, ii. Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2003).

  • Ferguson, Niall . Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World. London: Allen Lane, 2003.

  • Gaeta, Franco . “Venezia da ‘Stato misto’ ad aristocrazia ‘esemplare.’” In Storia della cultura veneta, 4/ii: Il Seicento. Eds. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore-Stocchi . Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1984: pp. 437494.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gasparis, Charalambos . “Great Venetian Families outside Venice: The Dandolo and the Gradenigo in 13th-Century Crete.” In Liquid and Multiple: Individuals and Ιdentities in the Thirteenth-Century Aegean. Eds. Guillaume Saint-Guillain and Dionysios Stathakopoulos . Paris: Collège de France, Centre de Recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, 2012: pp. 5574.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gerland, Ernst . Das Archiv des Herzogs von Kandia im Königlichen Staatsarchiv zu Venedig. Strasbourg: Karl J. Trübner, 1899.

  • Guida generale degli archivi di Stato italiani, vol. iv. Ed. Maria Francesca Tiepolo . Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1994.

  • Il Codice Morosini: Il mondo visto da Venezia (1094–1433). Ed. Andrea Nanetti . Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull’alto Medioevo, 2010.

  • Jacoby, David . “Migrations familiales et stratégies commerciales vénitiennes aux xiie et xiiie siècles.” In Migrations et diasporas méditerranéennes (xe xve siècles). Eds. Michel Balard and Alain Ducellier . Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2002: pp. 355373.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuehn, Thomas . Illegitimacy in Renaissance Florence. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002.

  • McKee, Sally . Uncommon Dominion: Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

  • O’Connell, Monique . “The Venetian Patriciate in the Mediterranean: Legal Identity and Lineage in Fifteenth-Century Venetian Crete.” Renaissance Quarterly 57, no. 2 (2004): pp. 466493.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raines, Dorit . “Cooptazione, aggregazione e presenza al Maggior Consiglio: le casate del patriziato veneziano, 1297–1797.” Storia di Venezia i (2004): pp. 164.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raines, Dorit . “Entre rameau et branche. Deux modèles du comportement familial du patriciat vénitien.” In Construire les liens de famille dans l’Europe moderne. Eds. Anna Bellavitis , Laura Casella , and Dorit Raines . Mont-Saint-Aignan: Presses Universitaire de Rouen et du Havre (PURH): pp. 125152.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raines, Dorit . “La dote politica della sposa nei giochi di potere del patriziato veneziano (xvixviii secoli).” In AMICITIAE PIGNUS: Studi storici per Piero Del Negro. Eds. Ugo Baldini and Gian Paolo Brizzi . Milan: Edizioni UNICOPLI, 2013: pp. 401425.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raines, Dorit . “Strategie d’ascesa sociale e giochi di potere a Venezia nel Seicento: le aggregazioni alla nobiltà.” Studi Veneziani 60 (2006): pp. 279317.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Relazione sulla organizzazione politica della repubblica di Venezia al cadere del secolo decimosettimo […] , Manoscritto inedito di un contemporaneo. Ed. Giuseppe Bacco . Vicenza: F.G. Picutti, 1856.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rösch, Gerhard . Der venezianische Adel bis zur Schließung des Großen Rats: Zur Genese einer Führungsschicht. Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1989.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ruggiero, Guido . The Boundaries of Eros: Sex Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

  • Sabbadini, Roberto . L’acquisto della tradizione: Tradizione aristocratica e nuova nobiltà a Venezia. Udine: Istituto Editoriale Veneto Friulano, 1995.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sambo, Alessandra . “Figli adulterini o legittimati: Il caso della dotazione di Elena Grimani (1797–1800).” Acta Histriae 8, no. 2 (x) (2000): pp. 479490.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanuto, Marino (il Giovane). De origine, situ et magistratibus urbis Venetae ovvero La città di Venetia (1493–1530). Ed. Angela Caracciolo Aricò . Venice: Centro Studi Medioevali e Rinascimentali “E. A. Cicogna,” 2011.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Schultz, Juergen . “The Houses of the Dandolo: a Family Compound in Medieval Venice.” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52, no. 4 (1993): pp. 391415.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Subrahmanyam, Sanjay . “Connected Histories: Notes towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia.” Modern Asian Studies 31, No. 3, Special Issue: The Eurasian Context of the Early Modern History of Mainland South East Asia, 1400–1800 (Jul., 1997): pp. 735–762.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tafel, Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich and Georg Martin Thomas , eds. Urkunden zur älteren Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik Venedig, mit besonderer Beziehung auf Byzanz und die Levante. Vom neunten bis zum Ausgang des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts. Vienna: Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1856, ii.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zanetto, Marco . “Mito di Venezia” ed “antimito” negli scritti del Seicento veneziano. Venice: Editoria universitaria, 1991.

1

Giuseppe Bacco, ed., Relazione sulla organizzazione politica della repubblica di Venezia al cadere del secolo decimosettimo […], Manoscritto inedito di un contemporaneo (Vicenza: F.G. Picutti, 1856).

2

On the anti-myth writings, see Piero Del Negro, “Forme e istituzioni del discorso politico veneziano,” in Storia della cultura veneta, 4/ii: Il Seicento, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi and Manlio Pastore-Stocchi (Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 1984), pp. 407–436, here 411–422. On this specific work, see Piero Del Negro, “La ‘poesia barona’ di Giorgio Baffo ‘Quarantiotto’: politica e cultura nella Venezia di metà Settecento,” Comunità 184 (1982): pp. 312–425, here 332–334; Franco Gaeta, “Venezia da ‘Stato misto’ ad aristocrazia ‘esemplare,’” in Storia della cultura veneta, pp. 437–494, here 493, n. 200; Marco Zanetto, “Mito di Venezia” ed “antimito” negli scritti del Seicento veneziano (Venice: Editoria universitaria, 1991), pp. 69–98.

3

On the aggregations to the Venetian patriciate, see Roberto Sabbadini, L’acquisto della tradizione: Tradizione aristocratica e nuova nobiltà a Venezia (Udine: Istituto Editoriale Veneto Friulano, 1995); Dorit Raines, “Strategie d’ascesa sociale e giochi di potere a Venezia nel Seicento: le aggregazioni alla nobiltà,” Studi Veneziani 60 (2006): pp. 279–317.

4

Benjamin Arbel, “Una chiave di lettura dello Stato da Mar veneziano nell’età moderna: la situazione coloniale,” in Il Commonwealth veneziano tra 1204 e la fine della Repubblica: Identità e peculiarità, ed. Gherardo Ortalli, Oliver Jens Schmitt, and Ermanno Orlando (Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2005), pp. 155–179, here 179.

5

Sanjay Subrahmanyam, “Connected Histories: Notes towards a Reconfiguration of Early Modern Eurasia,” Modern Asian Studies 31, no. 3, Special Issue: The Eurasian Context of the Early Modern History of Mainland South East Asia, 1400–1800 (Jul., 1997): pp. 735–762; Niall Ferguson, Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World (London: Allen Lane, 2003).

6

Gerhard Rösch, Der venezianische Adel bis zur Schließung des Großen Rats: Zur Genese einer Führungsschicht (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1989), pp. 127–133; Stanley Chojnacki, “La formazione della nobiltà dopo la Serrata,” in Storia di Venezia dalle origini alla caduta della Serenissima, 3: La formazione dello stato patrizio, ed. Girolamo Arnaldi, Giorgio Cracco, and Alberto Tenenti (Rome: Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, 1997), pp. 641–725, here 664–665; Sally McKee, Uncommon Dominion: Venetian Crete and the Myth of Ethnic Purity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), pp. 32–33.

7

Relazione sulla organizzazione politica, pp. 43–44, 165–166.

8

Probably referring to the San Tito revolt in 1363 and other minor episodes. See McKee, Uncommon Dominion, pp. 133–167; Monique M. O’Connell, “The Venetian Patriciate in the Mediterranean: Legal Identity and Lineage in Fifteenth-Century Venetian Crete,” Renaissance Quarterly 57, no. 2 (2004): pp. 466–493, here 470–472.

9

Andreae Danduli ducis Venetiarum Chronica per extensum descripta, aa. 46–1280 d.C., in Rerum Italicarum Scriptores. Raccolta degli storici italiani dal Cinquecento al Millecinquecento, t. xii, ed. Ester Pastorello (Bologna: N. Zanichelli, 1938–1958), pp. 284–285, seventh year of Pietro Ziani’s reign: “nobile cives equites, et plebeios pedites, decretum est Cretam trasmitere.”

10

Andrea Nanetti ed., Il Codice Morosini: Il mondo visto da Venezia (1094–1433) (Spoleto: Centro italiano di studi sull’alto Medioevo, 2010), i, p. 15, only for the sestieri of San Marco and Castello, very similar but not identical, as Morosini omits some names for the sestiere of San Marco. Morosini adds: “e tute queste chose per ordene tut’è registrade in li libri de i ati de la Chanzelaria de Veniexia.” In fact, he was probably the first to copy them from the “Concessio insulae Cretensis, facta per dominum Petrum Ziani, Ducem Veneciae, fidelibus suis Venetis” in September 1211, today at Archivio di Stato, Venezia (hereafter ASVe), Maggior Consiglio (hereafter MC), Liber Albus, f. 73. The document was published by Gottlieb Lukas Friedrich Tafel and Georg Martin Thomas in Urkunden zur älteren Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik Venedig, mit besonderer Beziehung auf Byzanz und die Levante: Vom neunten bis zum Ausgang des fünfzehnten Jahrhunderts (Vienna: Hof- und Staatsdruckerei, 1856), ii, pp. 129–136, list on pp. 134–135.

11

Giorgio Dolfin, Cronicha dela nobil cità de Venetia et dela sua provintia et destretto (origini – 1458), ed. Angela Caracciolò Aricò (Venice: Centro Cicogna, 2007–2009), i, pp. 232–234, referring to 1214. Dolfin’s lists refer to all sestieri, but the San Marco one, unlike Morosini’s is complete, yet it maintains the same order as Morosini’s, slightly different from the Barbaro list.

12

O’Connell, “The Venetian Patriciate in the Mediterranean,” p. 477.

13

Biblioteca del Civico Museo Correr, Venezia (hereafter, bmcc), Cod. Cicogna 2500, Marco Barbaro, “Genealogie Venete,” f. 79; see Wladimiro Dorigo, Venezia romanica (Venice: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 2003), ii, pp. 741–751.

14

Rösch, Der venezianische Adel, pp. 25, 33, 60, 65, 91–96, 101, 127.

15

Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venezia (hereafter, bnm), Cod. Marc. It. vii, 124 (=7421), G. Antonio Muazzo, “Cronaca delle famiglie nobili venete che abitaromo a Candia,” f. 47; bmcc, cod. Cicogna 2498, Marco Barbaro, “Genealogie Venete,” p. n.n. The Dandolo settled in the San Fantin parish during the twelfth century, see Juergen Schultz, “The Houses of the Dandolo: A Family Compound in Medieval Venice,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 52, no. 4 (1993): pp. 391–415, here 402.

16

bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2500, f. 101; bnm, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 124 (=7421), f. 47. The fourth wave of settlers in 1252 included Zuanne Dandolo “della Contrà di S. Salvador” (bnm, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 124 (=7421), f. 47; bmcc, cod. Cicogna 2498, p. n.n.), but I have not been able to identify him.

17

On his father, Marco, see Charalambos Gasparis, “Great Venetian Families outside Venice: The Dandolo and the Gradenigo in 13th-Century Crete,” in Liquid and Multiple. Individuals and Ιdentities in the Thirteenth-Century Aegean, ed. Guillaume Saint-Guillain and Dionysios Stathakopoulos (Paris: Collège de France, Centre de Recherche d’Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance, 2012), pp. 55–74, here 57–58 and 71, table 1. On Nicolò’s possessions in Crete, see ibid., pp. 58–62. See also, Cassiere della Bolla ducale, Grazie-Novus Liber (1299–1305), ed. Elena Favaro (Venice: Comitato Pubblicazione delle Fonti relative alla Storia di Venezia 1962), p. 23, no. 89, April 1300.

18

“Quod nemo qui habitat in Creta possit scribe, nisi furit praesens in Venetia ad faciendum se scribi.” bnm, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 124 (=7421), f. 47 citing from a “quaternus ubi scribuntur illi, qui debant [sic] eligi, et esse possunt de Maiori Concilio, principia 1315 Mensis Julii, Ind[ictio]ne 3.a, et cammina fino al 1330 16 marzo,” kept in the Chancellery. See the decree of the Great Council dated 19 July 1315 where it referred to a “quaternus in quo fuerunt scripti,” Victor Crescenzi, Esse de maiori consilio: Legittimità civile e legittimazione politica nella repubblica di Venezia (secc. xiiixvi) (Rome: Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medio Evo, 1996), p. 333, n. 87. The reference to Nicolò as “de Creta” meant that he was a resident in Crete, otherwise he would have mentioned his Venetian parish of origin. See David Jacoby, “Migrations familiales et stratégies commerciales vénitiennes aux xii e et xiii e siècles,” in Migrations et diasporas méditerranéennes (x exv e siècles), ed. Michel Balard and Alain Ducellier (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2002), pp. 355–373, here 357.

19

Crescenzi, Esse de maiori consilio, pp. 333–334, citing from ASVe, MC, Deliberazioni, 15, Liber Fronesis, f. 28r., see also Stanley Chojnacki, “In Search of the Venetian Patriciate: Families and Factions in the Fourteenth Century,” in Renaissance Venice, ed. John R. Hale (London: Faber & Faber, 1973), pp. 47–90, here 82, n. 47.

20

“Pater vel avo possint esse de consilio.” Moreover, the decree left the final word to the Collegio formed of the doge, the six counsellors and the three heads of the Quarantia. Crescenzi, Esse de maiori consilio, pp. 334–337, citing from ASVe, MC, Deliberazioni, Liber Fronesis, f. 119r.

21

According to the findings of O’Connell, after the 1355 prove registration, the next-recorded prova was in 1361 and then four more in 1367 in the wake of the San Tito revolt. O’Connell, “The Venetian Patriciate in the Mediterranean,” p. 476.

22

Indeed, as Monique O’Connell rightly asks: “Why, then, did Venice, which prided itself on the exclusivity of its patriciate, allow these Venetians from Crete to enter the ranks of the city’s nobility?” Ibid. p. 468. Her answer is linked to the Venetian interest to maintain some patrician presence in this delicate geopolitical island as a loyal colonial elite.

23

As emerges from the contributions of David Jacoby and Renard Gluzman in this volume, the same seems to be true for cittadini and ships.

24

O’Connell, “The Venetian Patriciate in the Mediterranean,” p. 477, n. 38. On the investigations of the Avogaria di Comun, Guido Ruggiero, The Boundaries of Eros: Sex Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 199–200; Alexander Cowan, Marriage, Manners and Mobility in Early Modern Venice (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 26–29.

25

O’Connell, “The Venetian Patriciate in the Mediterranean,” p. 478.

26

McKee, Uncommon Dominion, p. 171.

27

Dorit Raines, “Entre rameau et branche. Deux modèles du comportement familial du patriciat vénitien,” in Construire les liens de famille dans l’Europe moderne, ed. Anna Bellavitis, Laura Casella, and Dorit Raines (Mont-Saint-Aignan: Presses Universitaire de Rouen et du Havre (PURH), 2013), pp. 125–152.

28

Marino Sanuto, il Giovane, De origine, situ et magistratibus urbis Venetae ovvero La città di Venetia (1493–1530), ed. Angela Caracciolo Aricò (Venice: Centro Studi Medioevali e Rinascimentali “E. A. Cicogna,” 2011), p. 169.

29

As Sally McKee points out, it is hard to tell whether all members of the Cretan Great Council were considered nobles in the fourteenth–fifteenth centuries. McKee, Uncommon Dominion, pp. 41–50. It is only later, that a register of Cretan nobles was opened. See ASVe, Index 61 (ex 69), “Duca di Candia: Nobiltà cretense (1590–1668)”; at the beginning, a note explaining that the three registries of Cretan nobles are part of the busta 54 (vecchio ordinamento) named “Verifiche di nobiltà cretense, 1572–1669.” See n. 52 in the present essay. Cf. bmcc, Cod. P.D. c 775, “Libro d’oro di Candia con l’aggiunta delle famiglie cittadine e notabili dell’Isola, raccolte da Giovanni de Pellegrini,” edited in 1809.

30

ASVe, Duca di Candia, reg. 87: “Libro grande matrimoni, nascite e battesimi dei Nobili veneti” and index 59 (ex 70), “Duca di Candia: Nobili veneti in Candia. Nascite (1590–1668)” and index 60 (ex 71), “Duca di Candia: Nobili veneti in Candia: Matrimoni (1590–1668).”

31

“Intendendo Ser Francesco Dandolo fu del Ser Andrea trasferirsi in cotesta Città [i.e. Venice] per farsi provar nobile dell’Eccellentissimo Maggior Consiglio habbiamo però a sua instantia fatto copiare le scritture pertinenti alla sua prova […],” ASVe, Avogaria di Comun (hereafter, AdC), Processi di nobiltà, b.313/31, no. 22, 4 May 1630, Crete.

32

The applicants usually did not appear personally before the Avogadori di Comun but presented a written statement supported by relevant documents and represented by male patricians. Cowan, Marriage, Manners and Mobility, p. 23.

33

What Francesco probably meant was that his father Girolamo, born before his parents’ marriage, was subsequently legitimated (legitimatio per subsequens matrimonium). See Thomas Kuehn, Illegitimacy in Renaissance Florence (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), pp. 49–50; Alessandra Sambo, “Figli adulterini o legittimati: Il caso della dotazione di Elena Grimani (1797–1800),” Acta Histriae 8, no. 2 (x) (2000): pp. 479–490, here 482.

34

ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 313/31, no. 2.

35

His son Girolamo asked to prove his status on 14 January 1566, ibid., no. 7; his other son, Antonio, notified the Avogaria in Candia of his marriage on 27 November 1563 with Bianca Zen, ibid., no. 6.

36

Ibid., no. 3, 4 August 1554.

37

bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2500, f. 98v; Cod. Gradenigo-Dolfin 83.3, Pietro Gradenigo, “Genealogie Venete,” f. 112.

38

The young patricians had the option of registering for the Barbarella (or Balla d’Oro), the yearly lottery that enabled winners to enter the Great Council at twenty (then corrected to eighteen) rather than waiting until the statutory age of twenty-five. Stanley Chojnacki, “Identity and Ideology in Renaissance Venice: The Third Serrata,” in Venice Reconsidered: The History and Civilization of an Italian City-State, 1297–1797, ed. John Martin and Dennis Romano (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001), pp. 278–280, here 286, n. 28.

39

“Per poter essere imbossolato il giorno di Santa Barbara.” On witnesses, see Cowan, Marriage, Manners and Mobility, pp. 34–45.

40

“Cuius [of Polissena] pater probatus non fuit.” After the investigation, the matter passed on to the Collegio. The vote was unanimous: ten votes for approving Gasparo Dandolo’s noble status. ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 313/31, n. 18, July 1636. Stanley Chojnacki, “Marriage Regulation in Venice (1420–1535),” in id., Women and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000), pp. 53–75, here 63–67.

41

Cowan, Marriage, Manners and Mobility, pp. 29–31, 122; Chojnacki, “Identity and Ideology in Renaissance Venice. The Third Serrata,” pp. 263–294.

42

Marino Sanuto, De origine, situ et magistratibus urbis Venetae, p. 169.

43

Ibid., p. 221.

44

See for example the Fradello family: ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 318/36, no. 1: Giorgio son of the late Nicolò, provato on 5 August 1509 in Venice and Francesco son of the late Nicolò, provato on 30 May 1516 in Venice; no. 3 Antonio son of the late Girolamo, provato on 16 July 1493.

45

The exact location of this folder in the archives of the Avogadori di Comun before the reordering that took place in 1955 was probably in the Prove di nobiltà section. Today the folder marked E in a modern hand is part of the busta 205/1 of the Avogaria di Comun’s archive. The only trace left is a scribal hand which marked the folder iv: “famiglie stabilite nell’isola di Candia,” as part of an older busta: “Prove di nobiltà n.o 124/1 segn. n.o 1–30, anni 1445–1618.” See the Index 86 of the Avogaria di Comun’s archive, edited in 1955 by Salvatore Carbone, p. 52.

46

The families are: Businago (extinct or absent as of 1471), Dono (before 1473), Gezo (as of 1478), Lanzuol (as of 1432), Mazaman (as of 1412), Signolo (between 1493 and 1527). Dorit Raines, “Cooptazione, aggregazione e presenza al Maggior Consiglio: le casate del patriziato veneziano, 1297–1797,” Storia di Venezia i (2004): pp. 1–64, here 55–63.

47

See bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2502, Marco Barbaro, “Genealogie Venete,” f. 257v for Zuanne son of the late Piero (provato in 1464), Giacomo son of the late Francesco (1527), Francesco son of the late Giacomo son of the late Nicolò (1544), Francesco son of the late Giacomo son of the late Francesco (1545); f. 258v for Giacomo son of the late Mattio (1471), Nicolò son of the late Mattio (1471), Marco son of the late Andrea (1558); f. 259v for Antonio son of the late Piero (1461); f. 260v for Antonio son of the late Piero (1467), Andrea son of the late Mattia (1459). I left out Marco, son of the late Nicolò (f. 258v), and Francesco, son of the late Nicolò (f. 259v), for whom the genealogical trees noted scritto and not provato (the first in 1511 and the second a year after), which may mean that they or their parents hurried to register their births on the new register opened in 1506, but perhaps did not file the claim to be recognized as nobles (which meant a further investigation into the marriage status of their parents).

48

ASVe, AdC, b. 205/1, folder E, fols. 9 and 96: Muazzo Antonio, son of the late Pietro, son of the late Nicolò 2.5.1461; f. 21: Muazzo Andrea, son of the late Matteo, son of the late Pietro (23 May 1489), see also bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2502, f. 260v.

49

bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2502, f. 259v.

50

On the marriage between Francesco Muazzo and Elisabetta De Mezzo in Candia on 1 September 1567, see ASVe, AdC, b. 334/52, no. 6; ASVe, index 086/ter i (A–L), Giuseppe Giomo, “Avogaria di comun. Matrimoni patrizi per nome di donna,” p. 373: Elisabetta De Mezzo daughter of the late Giacomo married Francesco Muazzo, son of the late Antonio in February 1564; information noted by Giomo as extracted from ASVe, Duca di Candia, Sposalizi, 1559.93, f. 40t – Elisabetta’s father is probably Giacomo De Mezzo, son of the late Francesco, and her mother was the daughter of Giovanni Muazzo, son of the late Francesco “di Candia,” bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2502, f. 35v.

51

See bnm, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 124 (= 7421), fols. 91v (for the applicant’s father, Francesco) and 92v (for the applicant, Antonio); ASVe, AdC, b. 205/1, folder E, fols. 10–18.

52

See Ernst Gerland, Das Archiv des Herzogs von Kandia im Königlichen Staatsarchiv zu Venedig (Strasbourg: Karl J. Trübner, 1899), p. 9: the xxxviii series, buste nos. 92–95 was dedicated to “Nascite e matrimoni”: the first three numbers in Candia: 1590–1619; 1591–1635; 1619–1668 and the last one in Rethymno, 1591–1644. The Guida generale degli archivi di Stato italiani, vol. iv, ed. Maria Francesca Tiepolo (Rome: Ministero per i beni culturali e ambientali, Ufficio centrale per i beni archivistici, 1994), p. 1009, attributes to the Ducal Chancellery in the archive of Duca di Candia the “Libro grande dei matrimoni, nascite e battesimi dei nobili veneti”, 1590–1668, reg. 1, but does not mention the buste referred to by Gerland. The answer lies in the Index 86 of the Avogaria di Comun’s archive, edited in 1955 by Salvatore Carbone. It has at the end of it (p. 245) a later written note, which reads as follows: “Quinterni scontro Nascite, Matrimoni, Battesimi (Il “Libro Grande” è nell’archivio del Duca) 4647 B. 1 (ex-76) 1590. 9 dicembre-1619. 30 settembre (regg. 14).

4648 B. 2 (ex-77) 1619. 5 dicembre-1668. 25 agosto (regg. 17).

Canea.

[…].

Quinterni scontro….

4650 B. 1 (ex-90) 1591. 22 dicembre-1640. 4 novembre (regg. 20).

Retimo.

Quinterni scontro….

4651 B. 1 (ex-88) 1591. 13 settembre-1644. 8 agosto (regg. 19).”

These four items, although today in the archive of the Avogadori di Comun, once belonged to that of Duca di Candia. In fact, the Index 451 edited by Tiepolo, registers at p. 5 the following note: “Nobiltà Veneta bb. 76–90. bb. 76–90 Materiale passato in parte all’Avogaria di Comun; in parte rimasto nella Cancelleria del Duca.”

53

See, for example, the case of the Miegano family: Bernardin, son of the late Giovanni who married Zancarola Zancaruol on 1 February 1587 and whose sons were born on 7 December 1588 (Giovanni) and on 17 October 1590 (Francesco), made the notification on 10 June 1591 (ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 331/49, no. 2), while Zaccaria, son of the late Bernardin, born on 8 December 1595 proceeded himself to notify his birth on 17 April 1619 (ibid., no. 7). Also, Tomaso, Giorgio and Marco, sons of the late Gabriele Fradello and Maddalena Foscarini, born respectively in 1611, 1617 and 1622 in Candia and notified on 16 October 1647, ibid., b. 318/36, no. 9.

54

Take for example the Barozzi Cretan-based branch with the marriage between Francesco, son of the late Giacomo Barozzi, and Elisabetta Barozzi on 2 April 1562 in Rethymno and the birth in the same place of their son, Giacomo, on 31 August 1564, both registered in Rethymno on 23 April 1565. The same Francesco who remarried with Florida Prata on 2 August 1572 and had a son with her, Andrea, on 22 December 1573 in Rethymno, registered both marriage and birth on 10 December 1583 but directly in Venice, see ibid., b. 291/9, nos. 10 and 11. See also the case of the Pasqualigo family: the sons of Giovanni, son of the late Giacomo and Caterina Muazzo, all born in Crete: Girolamo in 1531; Giorgio in 1535; Antonio in 1543; and Giovanni in 1551, whose birth was registered in the Cretan Chancellery only in 1555 after the first two sons had reached the age of claiming noble status. Ibid., b. 338/56, n. 2.

55

Ibid., b. 284/2, nos. 3 and 1.

56

bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2500, f. 102v.

57

ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 313/31, no. 22.

58

bmcc, Cod. Cod. Cicogna 2502, f. 33v.

59

This is the case for Zaccaria and Francesco, sons of the late Bernardin Miegano, born respectively in 1597 and 1595 who asked to be approved as nobles in 1619. ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 331/49, nos. 5 and 7. Another case is that of Tomaso, Giorgio, and Marco, sons of the late Gabriele Fradello and Maddalena Foscarini, born respectively in 1611, 1617 and 1622, who claimed their rights as Venetian nobles in 1647. Ibid., b. 318/36, no. 9.

60

Stanley Chojnacki, “Social Identity in Renaissance Venice: the Second Serrata,” Renaissance Studies 8, no. 4 (1994): pp. 341–358; id., “Political Adulthood,” in Chojnacki, Women and Men in Renaissance Venice, pp. 227–243, here 236–238.

61

bmcc, Cod. Cicogna 2503, Marco Barbaro, “Genealogie Venete,” f. 268v.

62

ASVe, AdC, Processi di nobiltà, b. 338/56, no. 1; bmcc, Cod, Cicogna 2503, f. 19v.

63

Chojnacki, “The Third Serrata,” p. 273.

64

Dorit Raines, “La dote politica della sposa nei giochi di potere del patriziato veneziano (xvixviii secoli),” in AMICITIAE PIGNUS: Studi storici per Piero Del Negro, ed. Ugo Baldini and Gian Paolo Brizzi (Milan: Edizioni unicopli, 2013), pp. 401–425.

65

The calculation was based of the lists in the “libro d’oro”: bnm, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 1260 (=7538), and the requests to be aggregated (suppliche) in bnm, Cod. Marc. It. vii, 947 (=7429). Raines, “Strategie d’ascesa sociale e giochi di potere,” p. 316, n. 213.

66

The calculation of the number of Cretan patricians admitted to the Great Council is based on the year 1669 (the end of the war) in order to be as close as possible to the presumed date of the Relazione sulla organizzazzione, the source that declared that the number of those patricians was around one hundred. On the basis of the genealogical trees the numbers are as follows: Barbarigo – 7 patricians; Barozzi – 2; Bon – 6; Bragadin – 1; Corner – 14; Dandolo – 2; Foscarini – 5; Mezzo – 5; Muazzo – 5; Pasqualigo – 1; Querini – 12; Venier – 9. Many Cretan-based members belonging to these families (as well as to the Polani, Sagredo, Salamon and Zorzi branches “di Candia”) were killed during the war.

67

Raines, “La dote politica della sposa,” pp. 401–425. For the total number of patricians in the Great Council between 1650 and 1675, see Raines, “Cooptazione, aggregazione e presenza al Maggior Consiglio,” p. 45.

Cultures of Empire: Rethinking Venetian Rule, 1400–1700

Essays in Honour of Benjamin Arbel

Series: 

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 347 168 7
Full Text Views 3 1 0
PDF Views & Downloads 9 7 0