Tsardom of Russia
The Tsardom of Russia, or the Tsardom of Muscovy, was the centralized Russian state from the assumption of the title of Tsar by Ivan IV in 1547 until the foundation of the Russian Empire by Peter the Great in 1721. From 1551 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 per year; the period includes the upheavals of the transition from the Rurik to the Romanov dynasties, many wars with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire as well as the Russian conquest of Siberia, leading up to the ground-changing reign of Peter the Great, who took power in 1689 and transformed the Tsardom into a major European power. During the Great Northern War, he implemented substantial reforms and proclaimed the Russian Empire after victory over Sweden in 1721. While the oldest endonyms of the Grand Duchy of Moscow used in its documents were Rus' and the Russian land, a new form of its name, Rusia or Russia and became common in the 15th century. In the 1480s Russian state scribes Ivan Cherny and Mikhail Medovartsev mention Russia under the name Росиа, Medovartsev mentions "the sceptre of Russian lordship".
In the following century Russia co-existed with the old name Rus' and appeared in an inscription on the western portal of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery in Yaroslavl, on the icon case of the Theotokos of Vladimir, in the work by Maximus the Greek, the Russian Chronograph written by Dosifei Toporkov in 1516–22 and in other sources. In 1547, Ivan IV assumed the title of “Tsar and Grand Duke of all Rus'” and was crowned on 16 January, thereby turning the Grand Duchy of Moscow into Tsardom of Russia, or "the Great Russian Tsardom", as it was called in the coronation document, by Constantinople Patriarch Jeremiah II and in numerous official texts, but the state remained referred to as Moscovia throughout Europe, predominantly in its Catholic part, though this Latin term was never used in Russia; the two names "Russia" and "Moscovia" appear to have co-existed as interchangeable during the 16th and throughout the 17th century with different Western maps and sources using different names, so that the country was called "Russia, or Moscovia" or "Russia, popularly known as Moscovia".
In England of the 16th century, it was known both as Muscovy. Such notable Englishmen as Giles Fletcher, author of the book Of the Russe Common Wealth, Samuel Collins, author of The Present State of Russia, both of whom visited Russia, were familiar with the term Russia and used it in their works. So did numerous other authors, including John Milton, who wrote A brief history of Moscovia and of other less-known countries lying eastward of Russia, published posthumously, starting it with the words: "The Empire of Moscovia, or as others call it, Russia..."In the Russian Tsardom, the word Russia replaced the old name Rus' in official documents, though the names Rus' and Russian land were still common and synonymous to it, appeared in the form Great Russia, more typical of the 17th century, whereas the state was known as Great-Russian Tsardom. According to prominent historians like Alexander Zimin and Anna Khoroshkevich, the continuous use of the term Moscovia was a result of traditional habit and the need to distinguish between the Muscovite and the Lithuanian part of the Rus', as well as of the political interests of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which competed with Moscow for the western regions of the Rus'.
Due to the propaganda of the Commonwealth, as well as of the Jesuits, the term Moscovia was used instead of Russia in many parts of Europe where prior to the reign of Peter the Great there was a lack of direct knowledge of the country. In Northern Europe and at the court of the Holy Roman Empire, the country was known under its own name, Russia or Rossia. Sigismund von Herberstein, ambassador of the Holy Roman Emperor in Russia, used both Russia and Moscovia in his work on the Russian tsardom and noted: "The majority believes that Russia is a changed name of Roxolania. Muscovites refute this, saying that their country was called Russia". Pointing to the difference between Latin and Russian names, French captain Jacques Margeret, who served in Russia and left a detailed description of L’Empire de Russie of the early 17th century, presented to King Henry IV, stated that foreigners make "a mistake when they call them Muscovites and not Russians; when they are asked what nation they are, they respond'Russac', which means'Russians', when they are asked what place they are from, the answer is Moscow, Vologda and other cities".
The closest analogue of the Latin term Moscovia in Russia was “Tsardom of Moscow”, or “Moscow Tsardom”, used along with the name "Russia", sometimes in one sentence, as in the name of the 17th century Russian work On the Great and Glorious Russian Moscow State. By the 16th century, the Russian ruler had emerged as a Tsar. By assuming that title, the sovereign of Moscow tried to emphasize that he was a major ruler or emperor on par with the Byzantine emperor or the Mongol khan. Indeed, after Ivan III's marriage to Sophia Palaiologina, the niece of Constantine XI Palaiologos, the Moscow court adopted Byzantine terms, rituals and emblems such as the double-
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, numerous other territories. On 25 December 800, Pope Leo III crowned the Frankish king Charlemagne as Emperor, reviving the title in Western Europe, more than three centuries after the fall of the earlier ancient Western Roman Empire in 476; the title continued in the Carolingian family until 888 and from 896 to 899, after which it was contested by the rulers of Italy in a series of civil wars until the death of the last Italian claimant, Berengar I, in 924. The title was revived again in 962 when Otto I was crowned emperor, fashioning himself as the successor of Charlemagne and beginning a continuous existence of the empire for over eight centuries.
Some historians refer to the coronation of Charlemagne as the origin of the empire, while others prefer the coronation of Otto I as its beginning. Scholars concur, however, in relating an evolution of the institutions and principles constituting the empire, describing a gradual assumption of the imperial title and role; the exact term "Holy Roman Empire" was not used until the 13th century, but the concept of translatio imperii, the notion that he—the sovereign ruler—held supreme power inherited from the ancient emperors of Rome, was fundamental to the prestige of the emperor. The office of Holy Roman Emperor was traditionally elective, although controlled by dynasties; the German prince-electors, the highest-ranking noblemen of the empire elected one of their peers as "King of the Romans", he would be crowned emperor by the Pope. The empire never achieved the extent of political unification as was formed to the west in France, evolving instead into a decentralized, limited elective monarchy composed of hundreds of sub-units: kingdoms, duchies, prince-bishoprics, Free Imperial Cities, other domains.
The power of the emperor was limited, while the various princes, lords and cities of the empire were vassals who owed the emperor their allegiance, they possessed an extent of privileges that gave them de facto independence within their territories. Emperor Francis II dissolved the empire on 6 August 1806 following the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine by emperor Napoleon I the month before. In various languages the Holy Roman Empire was known as: Latin: Sacrum Imperium Romanum, German: Heiliges Römisches Reich, Italian: Sacro Romano Impero, Czech: Svatá říše římská, Polish: Święte imperium rzymskie, Slovene: Sveto rimsko cesarstvo, Dutch: Heilige Roomse Rijk, French: Saint-Empire romain. Before 1157, the realm was referred to as the Roman Empire; the term sacrum in connection with the medieval Roman Empire was used beginning in 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa: the term was added to reflect Frederick's ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy. The form "Holy Roman Empire" is attested from 1254 onward.
In a decree following the 1512 Diet of Cologne, the name was changed to the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, a form first used in a document in 1474. The new title was adopted because the Empire had lost most of its Italian and Burgundian territories to the south and west by the late 15th century, but to emphasize the new importance of the German Imperial Estates in ruling the Empire due to the Imperial Reform. By the end of the 18th century, the term "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" had fallen out of official use. Besides, contradicting the traditional view concerning that designation, Hermann Weisert has stated in a study on imperial titulature that, despite the claim of many textbooks, the name "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" never had an official status and points out that documents were thirty times as to omit the national suffix as include it. This, or the shortened "Roman Empire of the German Nation", is used in Germany to refer to the Holy Roman Empire. In a famous assessment of the name, the political philosopher Voltaire remarked sardonically: "This body, called and which still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire."
As Roman power in Gaul declined during the 5th century, local Germanic tribes assumed control. In the late 5th and early 6th centuries, the Merovingians, under Clovis I and his successors, consolidated Frankish tribes and extended hegemony over others to gain control of northern Gaul and the middle Rhine river valley region. By the middle of the 8th century, the Merovingians had been reduced to figureheads, the Carolingians, led by Charles Martel, had become the de facto rulers. In 751, Martel's son Pepin became King of the Franks, gained the sanction of the Pope; the Carolingians would maintain a close alliance with the Papacy. In 768, Pepin's son Charlemagne became King of the Franks and began an extensive expansion of the realm, he incorporated the territories of present-day France, northern Italy, beyond, linking the Frankish kingdom with Papal lands. In 797, the Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine VI was removed from the throne by his mother Irene who declared herself Empress; as the Church regarded a male Roman Emperor as the head of Christendom, Pope
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth – formally, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and, after 1791, the Commonwealth of Poland – was a dual state, a bi-confederation of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch, both King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. It was one of the largest and most populous countries of 16th– to 17th-century Europe. At its largest territorial extent, in the early 17th century, the Commonwealth covered 400,000 square miles and sustained a multi-ethnic population of 11 million; the Commonwealth was established by the Union of Lublin in July 1569, but the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had been in a de facto personal union since 1386 with the marriage of the Polish queen Hedwig and Lithuania's Grand Duke Jogaila, crowned King jure uxoris Władysław II Jagiełło of Poland. The First Partition of Poland in 1772 and the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 reduced the state's size and the Commonwealth collapsed as an independent state following the Third Partition of Poland in 1795.
The Union possessed many features unique among contemporary states. Its political system was characterized by strict checks upon monarchical power; these checks were enacted by a legislature controlled by the nobility. This idiosyncratic system was a precursor to modern concepts of democracy, constitutional monarchy, federation. Although the two component states of the Commonwealth were formally equal, Poland was the dominant partner in the union; the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was marked by high levels of ethnic diversity and by relative religious tolerance, guaranteed by the Warsaw Confederation Act 1573. The Constitution of 1791 acknowledged Catholicism as the "dominant religion", unlike the Warsaw Confederation, but freedom of religion was still granted with it. After several decades of prosperity, it entered a period of protracted political and economic decline, its growing weakness led to its partitioning among its neighbors during the late 18th century. Shortly before its demise, the Commonwealth adopted a massive reform effort and enacted the May 3 Constitution—the first codified constitution in modern European history and the second in modern world history.
The official name of the state was The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Latin term was used in international treaties and diplomacy. In the 17th century and it was known as the Most Serene Commonwealth of Poland, the Commonwealth of the Polish Kingdom, or the Commonwealth of Poland, its inhabitants referred to it in everyday speech as the "Rzeczpospolita". Western Europeans simply called it Poland and in most past and modern sources it is referred to as the Kingdom of Poland, or just Poland; the terms: the Commonwealth of Poland and the Commonwealth of Two Nations were used in the Reciprocal Guarantee of Two Nations. The English term'Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth' and German'Polen-Litauen' are seen as renderings of the Commonwealth of Two Nations variant. Other names include the Republic of Nobles and the First Commonwealth, the latter common in Polish historiography. Poland and Lithuania underwent an alternating series of wars and alliances during the 14th century and early 15th century.
Several agreements between the two were struck before the permanent 1569 Union of Lublin. This agreement was one of the signal achievements of Sigismund II Augustus, last monarch of the Jagiellon dynasty. Sigismund believed, his death in 1572 was followed by a three-year interregnum during which adjustments were made to the constitutional system. The Commonwealth reached its Golden Age in the early 17th century, its powerful parliament was dominated by nobles who were reluctant to get involved in the Thirty Years' War. The Commonwealth was able to hold its own against Sweden, the Tsardom of Russia, vassals of the Ottoman Empire, launched successful expansionist offensives against its neighbors. In several invasions during the Time of Troubles, Commonwealth troops entered Russia and managed to take Moscow and hold it from 27 September 1610 to 4 November 1612, when they were driven out after a siege. Commonwealth power began waning after a series of blows during the following decades. A major rebellion of Ukrainian Cossacks in the southeastern portion of the Commonwealth began in 1648.
It resulted in a Ukrainian request, under the terms of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, for protection by the Russian Tsar. Russian annexation of part of Ukraine supplanted Polish influence; the other blow to the Commonwealth was a Swedish invasion in 1655, known as the Deluge, supported by troops of Transylvanian Duke George II Rákóczi a
Treaty of Karlowitz
The Treaty of Karlowitz was signed on 26 January 1699 in Sremski Karlovci, in modern-day Serbia, concluding the Great Turkish War of 1683–1697 in which the Ottoman Empire had been defeated at the Battle of Zenta by the Holy League. It marks the end of Ottoman control in much of Central Europe, with their first major territorial losses after centuries of expansion, established the Habsburg Monarchy as the dominant power in the region. Following a two-month congress between the Ottoman Empire on one side and the Holy League of 1684, a coalition of the Holy Roman Empire, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Republic of Venice and Peter the Great, Tsar of Russia, a treaty was signed on 26 January 1699. On the basis of uti possidetis, the treaty confirmed the then-current territorial holdings of each power; the Habsburgs received from the Ottomans the Eğri Eyalet, Varat Eyalet, much of the Budin Eyalet, the northern part of the Temeşvar Eyalet and parts of the Bosnia Eyalet. This corresponded to much of Hungary and Slavonia.
The Principality of Transylvania remained nominally independent but was subject to the direct rule of Austrian governors. Poland recovered Podolia, including the dismantled fortress at Kamaniçe. Venice obtained most of Dalmatia along with the Morea, though the Morea was restored to the Turks within 20 years by the Treaty of Passarowitz. There was no agreement about the Holy Sepulchre; the Ottomans retained Belgrade, the Banat of Temesvár, as well as suzerainty over Wallachia and Moldavia. Negotiations with Muscovy for a further year under a truce agreed at Karlowitz culminated in the Treaty of Constantinople of 1700, whereby the Sultan ceded the Azov region to Peter the Great. Commissions were set up to devise the new borders between the Austrians and the Turks, with some parts disputed until 1703. Through the efforts of the Habsburg commissioner Luigi Ferdinando Marsigli, the Croatian and Bihać borders were agreed by mid-1700 and that at Temesvár by early 1701, leading to a border demarcated by physical landmarks for the first time.
The acquisition of some 60,000 square miles of Hungarian territories at Karlowitz and of the Banat of Temesvár 18 years by the Treaty of Passarowitz, enlarged Austrian State of the Habsburgs to its largest extent cementing Austria as a dominant regional power. It increased in size by the acquisition of Polish territories in 1772 and 1795, Dalmatia in 1815 and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878. Nolan, Cathal J.. Wars of the Age of Louis XIV, 1650–1715: An Encyclopedia of Global Warfare. Greenwood Publishing. Treaty of Karlowitz, Encyclopædia Britannica English text of treaty
The Ottoman Empire known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire; the Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror. During the 16th and 17th centuries, at the height of its power under the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman Empire was a multinational, multilingual empire controlling most of Southeast Europe, parts of Central Europe, Western Asia, parts of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, North Africa and the Horn of Africa. At the beginning of the 17th century, the empire contained numerous vassal states; some of these were absorbed into the Ottoman Empire, while others were granted various types of autonomy during the course of centuries.
With Constantinople as its capital and control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman Empire was at the centre of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for six centuries. While the empire was once thought to have entered a period of decline following the death of Suleiman the Magnificent, this view is no longer supported by the majority of academic historians; the empire continued to maintain a flexible and strong economy and military throughout the 17th and much of the 18th century. However, during a long period of peace from 1740 to 1768, the Ottoman military system fell behind that of their European rivals, the Habsburg and Russian empires; the Ottomans suffered severe military defeats in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, which prompted them to initiate a comprehensive process of reform and modernisation known as the Tanzimat. Thus, over the course of the 19th century, the Ottoman state became vastly more powerful and organised, despite suffering further territorial losses in the Balkans, where a number of new states emerged.
The empire allied with Germany in the early 20th century, hoping to escape from the diplomatic isolation which had contributed to its recent territorial losses, thus joined World War I on the side of the Central Powers. While the Empire was able to hold its own during the conflict, it was struggling with internal dissent with the Arab Revolt in its Arabian holdings. During this time, atrocities were committed by the Young Turk government against the Armenians and Pontic Greeks; the Empire's defeat and the occupation of part of its territory by the Allied Powers in the aftermath of World War I resulted in its partitioning and the loss of its Middle Eastern territories, which were divided between the United Kingdom and France. The successful Turkish War of Independence against the occupying Allies led to the emergence of the Republic of Turkey in the Anatolian heartland and the abolition of the Ottoman monarchy; the word Ottoman is a historical anglicisation of the name of Osman I, the founder of the Empire and of the ruling House of Osman.
Osman's name in turn was the Turkish form of the Arabic name ʿUthmān. In Ottoman Turkish, the empire was referred to as Devlet-i ʿAlīye-yi ʿOsmānīye, or alternatively ʿOsmānlı Devleti. In Modern Turkish, it is known as Osmanlı Devleti; the Turkish word for "Ottoman" referred to the tribal followers of Osman in the fourteenth century, subsequently came to be used to refer to the empire's military-administrative elite. In contrast, the term "Turk" was used to refer to the Anatolian peasant and tribal population, was seen as a disparaging term when applied to urban, educated individuals. In the early modern period, an educated urban-dwelling Turkish-speaker, not a member of the military-administrative class would refer to himself neither as an Osmanlı nor as a Türk, but rather as a Rūmī, or "Roman", meaning an inhabitant of the territory of the former Byzantine Empire in the Balkans and Anatolia; the term Rūmī was used to refer to Turkish-speakers by the other Muslim peoples of the empire and beyond.
In Western Europe, the two names "Ottoman Empire" and "Turkey" were used interchangeably, with "Turkey" being favoured both in formal and informal situations. This dichotomy was ended in 1920–23, when the newly established Ankara-based Turkish government chose Turkey as the sole official name. Most scholarly historians avoid the terms "Turkey", "Turks", "Turkish" when referring to the Ottomans, due to the empire's multinational character; as the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum declined in the 13th century, Anatolia was divided into a patchwork of independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. One of these beyliks, in the region of Bithynia on the frontier of the Byzantine Empire, was led by the Turkish tribal leader Osman I, a figure of obscure origins from whom the name Ottoman is derived. Osman's early followers consisted both of Turkish tribal groups and Byzantine renegades, many but not all converts to Islam. Osman extended the control of his principality by conquering Byzantine towns along the Sakarya River.
It is not well understood how the early Ottomans came to dominate their
Pope Innocent XI
Pope Innocent XI, born Benedetto Odescalchi, was Pope from 21 September 1676 to his death. He is known in Budapest as the "Saviour of Hungary". Much of his reign was concerned with tension with Louis XIV of France. A conservative, he lowered taxes in the Papal States during his pontificate and he produced a surplus in the papal budget; because of this surplus he repudiated excessive nepotism within the Church. Innocent XI was frugal in matters of governing the Papal States, from dress to leading a life with Christian values. Once he was elected to the Papacy, he applied himself to moral and administrative reform of the Roman Curia, he abolished sinecures and pushed for greater simplicity in preaching as well as greater reverence in worship—requesting this of both the clergy and faithful. After a difficult cause for canonization, starting in 1791, which caused considerable controversy over the years and, stopped on several occasions, he was beatified with no opposition in 1956 by Pope Pius XII.
Benedetto Odescalchi was born at Como on 16 May 1611, the son of a Como nobleman, Livio Odescalchi, Paola Castelli Giovanelli from Gandino. His siblings were Carlo, Giulio Maria, Constantino and Paolo, he had several collateral descendants of note through his sister: her grandson Cardinal Baldassare Erba-Odescalchi, Cardinal Benedetto Erba Odescalchi, Cardinal Carlo Odescalchi. The Odescalchi, a family of minor nobility, were determined entrepreneurs. In 1619, Benedetto's brother founded a bank with his three uncles in Genoa which grew into a successful money-lending business. After completing his studies in grammar and letters, the 15-year-old Benedetto moved to Genoa to take part in the family business as an apprentice. Lucrative economic transactions were established with clients in the major Italian and European cities, such as Nuremberg, Kraków, Rome. In 1626 Benedetto's father died, he began schooling in the humane sciences taught by the Jesuits at his local college, before transferring to Genoa.
In 1630 he narrowly survived an outbreak of plague. Some time between 1632 and 1636, Benedetto decided to move to Rome and Naples in order to study civil law; this led to his securing the offices of protonotary apostolic, president of the apostolic chamber, commissary of the Marco di Roma, governor of Macerata. He subsequently became legate to Ferrara; when he was sent to Ferrara in order to assist the people stricken with a severe famine, the Pope introduced him to the people of Ferrara as the "father of the poor." In 1650, Odescalchi became bishop of Novara, in which capacity he spent all the revenues of his see to relieve the poor and sick in his diocese. He participated in the 1655 conclave. With the permission of the pope he resigned as bishop of Novara in favor of his brother Giulio in 1656 and went to Rome. While there he took a prominent part in the consultations of the various congregations of which he was a member, he participated in the 1669-70 conclave. Odescalchi was a strong papal candidate after the death of Pope Clement IX in 1669, but the French government rejected him.
After Pope Clement X died, Louis XIV of France again intended to use his royal influence against Odescalchi's election. Instead, believing that the cardinals as well as the Roman people were of one mind in their desire to have Odescalchi as their Pope, Louis reluctantly instructed the French party cardinals to acquiesce in his candidacy. On 21 September 1676, Odescalchi was chosen to be Clement X's successor and took the name of Innocent XI, he chose this name in honour of Pope Innocent X, who made him a cardinal in 1645. He was formally crowned as pontiff on 4 October 1676 by the protodeacon, Cardinal Francesco Maidalchini. Upon his accession, Innocent XI turned all his efforts towards reducing the expenses of the Curia, he passed strict ordinances against nepotism among the cardinals. He lived parsimoniously and exhorted the cardinals to do the same. In this manner he not only squared the annual deficit which at his accession had reached the sum of 170,000 scudi, but within a few years the papal income was in excess of the expenditures.
He lost no time in declaring and manifesting his zeal as a reformer of manners and a corrector of administrative abuses. Beginning with the clergy, he sought to raise the laity to a higher moral standard of living, he closed all of the theaters in Rome and famously brought a temporary halt to the flourishing traditions of Roman opera. In 1679 he publicly condemned sixty-five propositions, taken chiefly from the writings of Escobar and other casuists as propositiones laxorum moralistarum and forbade anyone to teach them under penalty of excommunication, he condemned in particular the most radical form of mental reservation which authorised deception without an outright lie. Not unfriendly to Miguel de Molinos, Innocent XI yielded to the enormous pressure brought to bear upon him to confirm in 1687 the judgement of the inquisitors by which sixty-eight quietist propositions of Molinos were condemned as blasphemous and heretical. Innocent XI showed a degree of sensitivity in his dealings with the Jews within the Italian States.
He compelled the city of Venice to release the Jewish prisoners taken by Francesco Morosini in 1685. He discouraged compulsory baptisms which accordingly became less frequent under his pontificate
Republic of Venice
The Republic of Venice or Venetian Republic, traditionally known as La Serenissima was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed for over a millennium between the 7th century and the 18th century from 697 AD until 1797 AD. It was based in the lagoon communities of the prosperous city of Venice, was a leading European economic and trading power during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; the Venetian city state was founded as a safe haven for the people escaping persecution in mainland Europe after the decline of the Roman Empire. In its early years, it prospered on the salt trade. In subsequent centuries, the city state established a thalassocracy, it dominated trade on the Mediterranean Sea, including commerce between Europe and North Africa, as well as Asia. The Venetian navy was used in the Crusades, most notably in the Fourth Crusade. Venice achieved territorial conquests along the Adriatic Sea. Venice became home to an wealthy merchant class, who patronized renowned art and architecture along the city's lagoons.
Venetian merchants were influential financiers in Europe. The city was the birthplace of great European explorers, such as Marco Polo, as well as Baroque composers such as Vivaldi and Benedetto Marcello; the republic was ruled by the Doge, elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state's parliament. The ruling class was an oligarchy of aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens supported the system of governance; the city-state employed ruthless tactics in its prisons. The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice's decline as a powerful maritime republic; the city state suffered. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Republic of Venice was split into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic, a French client state, the Ionian French departments of Greece.
Venice became part of a unified Italy in the 19th century. It was formally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice and is referred to as La Serenissima, in reference to its title as one of the "Most Serene Republics". During the 5th century, North East Italy was devastated by the Germanic barbarian invasions. A large number of the inhabitants moved to the coastal lagoons. Here they established a collection of lagoon communities, stretching over about 130 km from Chioggia in the south to Grado in the north, who banded together for mutual defence from the Lombards and other invading peoples as the power of the Western Roman Empire dwindled in northern Italy; these communities were subjected to the authority of the Byzantine Empire. At some point in the first decades of the eighth century, the people of the Byzantine province of Venice elected their first leader Ursus, confirmed by Constantinople and given the titles of hypatus and dux, he was the first historical Doge of Venice. Tradition, first attested in the early 11th century, states that the Venetians first proclaimed one Anafestus Paulicius duke in 697, though this story dates to no earlier than the chronicle of John the Deacon.
Whichever the case, the first doges had their power base in Heraclea. Ursus's successor, moved his seat from Heraclea to Malamocco in the 740s, he represented the attempt of his father to establish a dynasty. Such attempts were more than commonplace among the doges of the first few centuries of Venetian history, but all were unsuccessful. During the reign of Deusdedit, Venice became the only remaining Byzantine possession in the north and the changing politics of the Frankish Empire began to change the factional divisions within Venetia. One faction was decidedly pro-Byzantine, they desired to remain well-connected to the Empire. Another faction, republican in nature, believed in continuing along a course towards practical independence; the other main faction was pro-Frankish. Supported by clergy, they looked towards the new Carolingian king of the Franks, Pepin the Short, as the best provider of defence against the Lombards. A minor, pro-Lombard faction was opposed to close ties with any of these further-off powers and interested in maintaining peace with the neighbouring Lombard kingdom.
The successors of Obelerio inherited a united Venice. By the Pax Nicephori, the two emperors had recognised that Venice belonged to the Byzantine sphere of influence. Many centuries the Venetians claimed that the treaty had recognised Venetian de facto independence, but the truth of this claim is doubted by modern scholars. A Byzantine fleet sailed to Venice in 807 and deposed the Doge, replacing him with a Byzantine governor. During the reign of the Participazio family, Venice grew into its modern form. Though Heraclean by birth, the first Participazio doge, was an early immigrant to Rialto and his dogeship was marked by the expansion of Venice towards the sea via the construction of bridges, bulwarks and stone buildings; the modern Venice, at one with the sea, was being bor