Cathedral of the Archangel
The Cathedral of the Archangel is a Russian Orthodox church dedicated to the Archangel Michael. It is located in Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin in Russia between the Great Kremlin Palace and the Ivan the Great Bell Tower, it was the main necropolis of the Tsars of Russia until the relocation of the capital to St. Petersburg, it was constructed between 1505 and 1508 under the supervision of an Italian architect Aloisio the New on the spot of an older cathedral, built in 1333. Now it serves as a part of Moscow Kremlin Museums. A precursor to the present cathedral was built in 1250, was replaced with a stone church in 1333 by Grand Duke Ivan Kalita, who would become the first Russian monarch to be buried in the church. In 1505, Grand Duke Ivan III in the midst of major renovation project for the Kremlin, turned his attention to the church, as in the case of the rebuilding of the Assumption Cathedral two decades earlier, turned to architects from Italy for assistance. An Italian, Lamberti Aloisio da Mantagnana was invited to Moscow, ground was broken for a new cathedral on 21 May 1505.
Ivan died in the autumn of the same year, was buried in the still unfinished building. Work on the cathedral was completed by the end of 1508, but it was not formally consecrated until 8 November 1509; the new building incorporated many elements of the Italian Renaissance, numerous of these details disappeared during repairs and restorations. The interior walls were not painted with frescoes until the 1560s. A fresco of Lazar of Serbia was painted in 1564. In addition, inside the cathedral are the depictions of Saint Sava, Stefan Nemanja and Byzantine emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos attesting to Ivan the Terrible's connection to his Serbian roots, his mother Elena Glinskaya was a daughter of Prince Vasili Lvovich Glinsky of Lithuania and Serb Princess Ana Jakšić. The cathedral was damaged in the 1737 Kremlin Fire, was further threatened by the construction of the predecessor of the Grand Kremlin Palace, which led to soil subsidence, caused a slight tilt in the orientation of the walls. Victories of the Russian military were celebrated in the Cathedral of the Archangel.
All Russian tsars and grand princes were buried within the cathedral until the time of Peter the Great, along with many empresses and princes of the blood, with the sole exception of Boris Godunov. After the royal necropolis was moved to Peter and Paul Cathedral in St. Petersburg, only Tsar Peter II, who happened to die in Moscow, was interred here. There are 54 burials in the cathedral, with 46 ornamented whitestone tombstones and glazed cases made of bronze. Of note is the tomb of Tsarevich Demetrius, the son of Ivan the Terrible, was buried there in the early 17th century and was canonized. During the 1917 Russian Revolution, the cathedral was damaged during the fighting. Afterwards, it was closed by the Bolshevik regime. During the 1950s, along with the other surviving churches in the Moscow Kremlin, was preserved as a museum. A large portion of the church’s treasures were either transferred to the Kremlin Armory Museum, or sold overseas. After 1992, the building was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church and occasional religious services resumed.
Compared with the other two major Kremlin cathedrals, the Archangel Cathedral is different in style, despite maintaining a traditional layout. It echoes the layout of the Assumption Cathedral in its use of five domes (representing Jesus Christ and the Four Evangelists. However, the exterior ornamentation its characteristic semi-circular niches with shell-shaped ornaments and gateways with arc-shaped frames made of white limestone, which are coated with paint and decorated with floral ornaments point to the Italian Renaissance influence; the interior of the cathedral, was constructed in a manner typical for Russian churches. The large iconostasis of the cathedral of the archangel, 13 meters high, dates from 1678-81; the icon of Archangel Michael, the oldest in the iconostasis, is believed to have been created for Princess Eudoxia, the wife of Dmitri Donskoi to the memory the victory in the Battle of Kulikovo. The wall frescoes date to the 17th centuries; some were painted by Yakov of Kazan, Stepan of Ryazan, Joseph Vladimirov and others between 1652 and 1666.
Klein, Mina. The Kremlin: Citadel of History. MacMillan Publishing Company. ISBN 0-02-750830-7 Tropkin, Alexander; the Moscow Kremlin: history of Russia's unique monument. Publishing House "Russkaya Zhizn". ASIN: B0010XM7BQ Home Page Satellite photo of the Cathedral of the Archangel
Council of Florence
The Seventeenth Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church was convoked as the Council of Basel by Pope Martin V shortly before his death in February 1431 and took place in the context of the Hussite wars in Bohemia and the rise of the Ottoman Empire. At stake was the greater conflict between the Conciliar movement and the principle of papal supremacy; the Council entered a second phase after Emperor Sigismund's death in 1437. Pope Eugene IV convoked a rival Council of Ferrara on 8 January 1438 and succeeded in drawing the Byzantine ambassadors to Italy; the Council of Basel first suspended him, declared him a heretic, in November 1439 elected an antipope, Felix V. The rival Council of Florence concluded in 1445 after negotiating unions with the various eastern churches; this bridging of the Great Schism was a political coup for the papacy. In 1447, Sigismund's successor Frederick III commanded the city of Basel to expel the Council of Basel; the initial location at Basel reflected the desire among parties seeking reform to meet outside the territories of the Papacy, the Holy Roman Empire or the kings of Aragon and France, whose influences the council hoped to avoid.
Ambrogio Traversari attended the Council of Basel as legate of Pope Eugene IV. Under pressure for ecclesiastical reform, Pope Martin V sanctioned a decree of the Council of Constance obliging the papacy to summon general councils periodically. At the expiration of the first term fixed by this decree, Pope Martin V complied by calling a council at Pavia. Due to an epidemic the location transferred at once to Siena and disbanded, in circumstances still imperfectly known, just as it had begun to discuss the subject of reform; the next council fell due at the expiration of seven years in 1431. Martin himself, died before the opening of the synod; the Council was seated on 14 December 1431, at a period when the conciliar movement was strong and the authority of the papacy weak. The Council at Basel opened with only a few bishops and abbots attending, but it grew and to make its numbers greater gave the lower orders a majority over the bishops, it adopted an anti-papal attitude, proclaimed the superiority of the Council over the Pope and prescribed an oath to be taken by every Pope on his election.
On 18 December Martin's successor, Pope Eugene IV, tried to dissolve it and open a new council on Italian soil at Bologna, but he was overruled. Sigismund, King of Hungary and titular King of Bohemia, had been defeated at the Battle of Domažlice in the fifth crusade against the Hussites in August 1431. Under his sponsorship, the Council negotiated a peace with Calixtine faction of the Hussites in January 1433. Pope Eugene acknowledged the council in May and crowned Sigismund Holy Roman Emperor on 31 May 1433; the divided Hussites were defeated in May 1434. In June 1434, the pope began a ten-year exile in Florence; when the Council was moved from Basel to Ferrara in 1438, some remained at Basel, claiming to be the Council. They elected Duke of Savoy, as Antipope. Driven out of Basel in 1448, they moved to Lausanne, where Felix V, the pope they had elected and the only claimant to the papal throne who took the oath that they had prescribed, resigned; the next year, they decreed the closure of what.
The new council was transferred to Florence in 1439 because of the danger of plague at Ferrara and because Florence had agreed, against future payment, to finance the Council. The Council had meanwhile negotiated reunification with several Eastern Churches, reaching agreements on such matters as the Western insertion of the phrase "Filioque" to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, the definition and number of the sacraments, the doctrine of Purgatory. Another key issue was papal primacy, which involved the universal and supreme jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome over the whole Church, including the national Churches of the East and nonreligious matters such as the promise of military assistance against the Ottomans; the final decree of union was a signed document called the Laetentur Caeli, "Let the Heavens Rejoice". Some bishops feeling political pressure from the Byzantine Emperor, accepted the decrees of the Council and reluctantly signed. Others did so by sincere conviction, such as Isidore of Kiev, who subsequently suffered for it.
Only one Eastern Bishop, Mark of Ephesus, refused to accept the union and became the leader of opposition back in Byzantium. The Russians, upon learning of the union, angrily rejected it and ousted any prelate, remotely sympathetic to it, declaring the Russian Orthodox Church as autocephalus. Despite the religious union, Western military assistance to Byzantium was insufficient, the fall of Constantinople occurred in May 1453; the Council declared the Basel group heretics and excommunicated them, the superiority of the Pope over the Councils was affirmed in the bull Etsi non dubitemus of 20 April 1441. The democratic character of the assembly at Basel was a result of both its composition and its organization. Doctors of theology and representatives of chapters and clerks of inferior orders outnumbered the prelates in it, the influence of the superior clergy had less weight because instead of being separated into "nations", as at Constance, the fathers div
Basilios Bessarion, a Roman Catholic Cardinal Bishop and the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, was one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century. He was educated by Gemistus Pletho in Neoplatonic philosophy, he became a Roman Catholic cardinal, was twice considered for the papacy. He has been mistakenly known as Johannes Bessarion or Giovanni Bessarione due to an erroneous interpretation of Gregory III Mammas. Bessarion was born in Trebizond, the Black Sea port in northeastern Anatolia, the heart of Pontic Greek culture and civilization during the Byzantine and Ottoman periods; the year of his birth has been given as 1389, 1395 or 1403. Bessarion's Neoplatonism Bessarion was educated in Constantinople went in 1423 to the Peloponnese to study Neoplatonism under Gemistus Pletho. Under Pletho, he "went through the liberal arts curriculum…, with a special emphasis on mathematics…including the study of astronomy and geography" that would have related "philosophy to physics…cosmology and astrology" and Pletho's “mathematics would include Pythagorean number-mysticism, Plato’s cosmological geometry and the Neoplatonic arithmetic which connected the material world with the world of Plato’s Forms.
It included astrology…" Woodhouse mentions that Bessarion "had a mystical streak… was proficient in Neoplatonic vocabulary…mathematics…and Platonic theology". Bessarion's Neoplatonism stayed with him his whole life as a Roman Catholic cardinal, he was familiar with Neoplatonist terminology and used it in his letter to Pletho's two sons and Andronikos, on the death of his still-beloved teacher in 1452. The most remarkable thing about his life was that a Neoplatonist could have played such a significant role in the Roman Church for at least a brief time, though he was attacked for his views by more orthodox Catholic academics shortly after his death. Bessarion's life as a monk and role in the Council of Ferrara On becoming a tonsured monk, he adopted the name of an old Egyptian anchorite Bessarion, whose story he has related. In 1436 became abbot of a monastery in Constantinople and in 1437, he was made metropolitan of Nicaea by the Byzantine Emperor John VIII Palaeologus, whom he accompanied to Italy in order to bring about a reunion between the Orthodox and Catholic churches.
They had been separated since the Schism of 1054, but the emperor hoped to use the possibility of re-uniting the churches to obtain help from Western Europe against the Turks. Bessarion participated in the Byzantine delegation to the Council of Ferrara-Florence as the most eminent representative of unionists, although belonged to the party of anti-unionists. On 6 July 1439 he was the one who read the declaration of the Greek Association of Churches in the cathedral of Florence, in the presence of Pope Eugene IV and the Emperor John VIII Palaeologus; some have impugned Bessarion's sincerity in adhering to the Union. It has been argued that he was pragmatic patriot and thought religious Union would be the only hope and refuge for the Byzantine Empire faced with the Ottoman advance. However, Gill upholds Bessarion's sincerity in being convinced to the truth of the Roman position in the matters discussed at the Council quoting from the bishop's own Oratio Dogmatica: But if we had discerned error in the doctrine of the Latins or distortion in their faith, not I would have counseled you to embrace union and agreement with them in that case, that for fear of bodily ills you should prefer the values of the present world to spiritual values, the freedom of the body to the betterment of the soul, but I myself would have undergone all, worst and I would have exposed you to it before I would have urged you to union with them and have recommended such action.
Upon his return to Greece, he found himself bitterly resented for his attachment to the minority party that saw no difficulty in a reconciliation of the two churches. At the Council of Florence, held in Ferrara and Florence, Bessarion supported the Roman church and gained the favour of Pope Eugene IV, who invested him with the rank of cardinal at a consistory of 18 December 1439. From that time, he resided permanently in Italy, doing much, by his patronage of learned men, by his collection of books and manuscripts, by his own writings, to spread abroad the new learning, his palazzo in Rome was a virtual Academy for the studies of new humanistic learning, a center for learned Greeks and Greek refugees, whom he supported by commissioning transcripts of Greek manuscripts and translations into Latin that made Greek scholarship available to Western Europeans. He defended Nicholas of Cusa, he is known in history as the original patron of the Greek exiles including Theodore Gaza, George of Trebizond, John Argyropoulos and many others.
He held in succession the archbishopric of Siponto and the suburbicarian sees of Sabina and Frascati. At the papal conclave of 1455 which elected the Aragonese candidate, Alfons de Borja, as Callixtus III, Cardinal Bessarion was an early candidate for his disinterest in the competition between Roman factions that pressed candidates of the Orsini and Colonna factions, he was opposed for his Greek background by the French Cardinal Alain de Coëtivy. "It is probable that the cardinals were less afraid of his Greek training and temperament than they were of his known austerity and passion for reform", Francis A. Burkle-Young has observed. For five years, he was legate at Bologna, he was engaged on embassies to many foreign princes, among others to Louis XI of France in 1471. Other missions were to Germany to encou
Bayezid II was the eldest son and successor of Mehmed II, ruling as Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1481 to 1512. During his reign, Bayezid II consolidated the Ottoman Empire and thwarted a Safavid rebellion soon before abdicating his throne to his son, Selim I, he is most notable for evacuating Sephardi Jews from Spain after the proclamation of the Alhambra Decree and resettling them throughout the Ottoman Empire. Bayezid II was the son of Emine Gülbahar Hatun. There are sources; this would make Ayse Hatun a first cousin of Bayezid II. However, the marriage of Mükrime Hatun took place two years after Bayezid was born and the whole arrangement was not to Mehmed's liking; the Albanian-born Emine Gülbahar Hatun is accepted as the real mother of Bayezid II. Bayezid II married Gülbahar Hatun, the mother of Bayezid II's successor, Selim I and nephew of Sitti Mükrime Hatun. Bayezid II's overriding concern was the quarrel with his brother Cem, who claimed the throne and sought military backing from the Mamluks in Egypt.
Having been defeated by his brother's armies, Cem sought protection from the Knights of St. John in Rhodes; the Knights handed Cem over to Pope Innocent VIII. The Pope thought of using Cem as a tool to drive the Turks out of Europe, but as the papal crusade failed to come to fruition, Cem was left to languish and die in a Neapolitan prison. Bayezid II paid both the pope to keep his brother prisoner. Bayezid II ascended the Ottoman throne in 1481. Like his father, Bayezid II was a patron of eastern culture. Unlike many other Sultans, he worked hard to ensure a smooth running of domestic politics, which earned him the epithet of "the Just". Throughout his reign, Bayezid II engaged in numerous campaigns to conquer the Venetian possessions in Morea defining this region as the key to future Ottoman naval power in the Eastern Mediterranean; the last of these wars ended in 1501 with Bayezid II in control of the whole Peloponnese. Rebellions in the east, such as that of the Qizilbash, plagued much of Bayezid II's reign and were backed by the Shah of Persia, eager to promote Shi'ism to undermine the authority of the Ottoman state.
Ottoman authority in Anatolia was indeed threatened during this period and at one point Bayezid II's vizier, Ali Pasha, was killed in battle against rebels. In July 1492, the new state of Spain expelled its Jewish and Muslim populations as part of the Spanish Inquisition. Bayezid II sent out the Ottoman Navy under the command of admiral Kemal Reis to Spain in 1492 in order to evacuate them safely to Ottoman lands, he sent out proclamations throughout the empire. He granted the refugees the permission to become Ottoman citizens, he ridiculed the conduct of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile in expelling a class of people so useful to their subjects. "You venture to call Ferdinand a wise ruler," he said to his courtiers, "he who has impoverished his own country and enriched mine!" Bayezid addressed a firman to all the governors of his European provinces, ordering them not only to refrain from repelling the Spanish refugees, but to give them a friendly and welcome reception. He threatened with death all those who treated the Jews harshly or refused them admission into the empire.
Moses Capsali, who helped to arouse the sultan's friendship for the Jews, was most energetic in his assistance to the exiles. He made a tour of the communities and was instrumental in imposing a tax upon the rich, to ransom the Jewish victims of the persecution; the Muslims and Jews of al-Andalus contributed much to the rising power of the Ottoman Empire by introducing new ideas and craftsmanship. The first printing press in Constantinople was established by the Sephardic Jews in 1493, it is reported that under Bayezid's reign, Jews enjoyed a period of cultural flourishing, with the presence of such scholars as the Talmudist and scientist Mordecai Comtino. On 14 September 1509, Constantinople was devastated by an earthquake. During Bayezid II's final years, a succession battle developed between his sons Ahmet. Ahmet unexpectedly captured Karaman, an Ottoman city, began marching to Constantinople to exploit his triumph. Fearing for his safety, Selim staged a revolt in Thrace but was defeated by Bayezid and forced to flee back to the Crimean Peninsula.
Bayezid II developed fears that Ahmet might in turn kill him to gain the throne, so he refused to allow his son to enter Constantinople. Selim returned from Crimea and, with support from the Janissaries, forced his father to abdicate the throne on 25 April 1512. Bayezid departed for retirement in his native Demotika, but he died on 26 May 1512 at Büyükçekmece before reaching his destination and only a month after his abdication, he was buried next to the Bayezid Mosque in Istanbul. Sultan Bayezid II's statesmanship and intellectual abilities are depicted in the historical novel The Sultan's Helmsman, which takes place in the middle years of his reign. Sultan Bayezid II and his struggle with his son Selim is a prominent subplot in the video game Assassin's Creed: Revelations. In the game, due to Bayezid's absence from Constantinople, the Byzantines had the opportunity to sneak back into the city, hoping to revive their fallen empire. Near the end of the game, Bayezid surrendered the throne to his son Selim.
However, Bayezid does not make an actual appearance. Bayezid II, p
The Hexamilion wall was a defensive wall constructed across the Isthmus of Corinth, guarding the only land route into the Peloponnese peninsula from mainland Greece. The Hexamilion stands at the end of a long series of attempts to fortify the Isthmus stretching back to the Mycenean period. Many of the Peloponnesian cities wanted to pull back and fortify the Isthmus instead of making a stand at Thermopylae when Xerxes invaded in 480 BC; the issue arose again before the Battle of Salamis. Although the concept of a fortress Peloponnese was appealing, fortification of the Isthmus was of no utility without control of the ocean, as Herodotos notes; the wall was constructed in the period between 408 AD and 450 AD, in the reign of Theodosius II during the time of the great Barbarian invasions into the Roman Empire. The attack of Alaric on Greece in 396 AD or the sack of Rome in 410 AD by the Visigoths may have motivated the construction, which included towers, sea bastions, at minimum one fortress; the one known fortress contained two gates, of which the northern gate functioned as the formal entrance to the Peloponessos.
The wall was constructed with a mortar core faced with squared stones. It is not certain how long it took to complete, but the importance given to the task is apparent from the scale of the construction; every structure in the region was cannibalized for stone for the effort, either being incorporated into the wall directly, as was the temple of Poseidon at Isthmia, or being burned into lime, as was the sanctuary of Hera at Perachora as well as much of the ancient statuary of Corinth. In the reign of Justinian, the wall was fortified with additional towers, reaching a total number of 153. Military use appears to have fallen off after the 7th century AD, by the 11th AD domestic structures were being built into the wall. In 1415, the Byzantine emperor Manuel II supervised repairs over a period of forty days; the high cost of this effort caused unrest among the local elite. The wall was breached again in 1431 by the Ottomans under the command of Turahan Bey. Despot Constantine Palaiologos restored the wall again in 1444, but the Turks breached it again in 1446 and in October 1452.
After the Ottoman conquest of the Peloponnese in 1460, the wall was abandoned. During its history, the wall never succeeded in fulfilling the function for which it was constructed, unless it acted as a deterrent. Elements of the wall are preserved south of the Corinth Canal and at the Sanctuary of Poseidon at Isthmia. Diolkos Official website Excavations on the Hexamilion, by the Ohio State University
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in Harju County. From the 13th century until 1918, the city was known as Reval. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 and has a population of 440,776. Tallinn, first mentioned in 1219, received city rights in 1248, but the earliest human settlements date back 5,000 years; the initial claim over the land was laid by the Danes in 1219, after a successful raid of Lindanise led by Valdemar II of Denmark, followed by a period of alternating Scandinavian and German rule. Due to its strategic location, the city became a major trade hub from the 14th to the 16th century, when it grew in importance as part of the Hanseatic League. Tallinn's Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tallinn is the major political, financial and educational center of Estonia. Dubbed the Silicon Valley of Europe, it has the highest number of startups per person in Europe and is a birthplace of many international companies, including Skype.
The city is to house the headquarters of the European Union's IT agency. Providing to the global cybersecurity it is the home to the NATO Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, it has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. According to the Global Financial Centres Index Tallinn is the most competitive financial center in Northern Europe and ranks 52nd internationally; the city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland. In 1154, a town called قلون was put on the world map of the Almoravid by the Arab cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, who described it as "a small town like a large castle" among the towns of'Astlanda', it was suggested. The earliest names of Tallinn include Kolyvan, known from East Slavic chronicles and which may have come from the Estonian mythical hero Kalev. However, modern historians consider connecting al-Idrisi placename with Tallinn unfounded and erroneous. Up to the 13th century, the Scandinavians and Henry of Livonia in his chronicle called the town Lindanisa.
This name may have been derived from Linda, the mythical wife of Kalev and the mother of Kalevipoeg, who in an Estonian legend carried rocks to her husband's grave, which formed the Toompea hill. It has been suggested that the archaic Estonian word linda is similar to the Votic word lidna'castle, town'. According to this suggestion, nisa would have the same meaning as niemi'peninsula', producing Kesoniemi, the old Finnish name for the city. Another ancient historical name for Tallinn is Rääveli in Finnish; the Icelandic Njal's saga mentions Tallinn and calls it Rafala, based on the primitive form of Revala. This name originated from the adjacent ancient name of the surrounding area. After the Danish conquest in 1219, the town became known in the German and Danish languages as Reval. Reval was in use until 1918; the name Tallinn is Estonian. It is thought to be derived from Taani-linn, after the Danes built the castle in place of the Estonian stronghold at Lindanisse. However, it could have come from tali-linna, or talu-linna.
The element -linna, like Germanic -burg and Slavic -grad / -gorod meant'fortress', but is used as a suffix in the formation of town names. The previously-used official names in German Reval and Russian Revel were replaced after Estonia became independent in 1918. At first, both forms Tallinn were used; the United States Board on Geographic Names adopted the form Tallinn between June 1923 and June 1927. Tallinna in Estonian denotes the genitive case of the name, as in Tallinna Reisisadam. In Russian, the spelling of the name was changed from Таллинн to Таллин by the Soviet authorities in the 1950s, this spelling is still sanctioned by the Russian government, while Estonian authorities have been using the spelling Таллинн in Russian-language publications since the restoration of independence; the form Таллин is used in several other languages in some of the countries that emerged from the former Soviet Union. Due to the Russian spelling, the form Tallin is sometimes found in international publications.
Other variations of modern spellings include Tallinna in Finnish, Tallina in Latvian and Talinas in Lithuanian. The first traces of human settlement found in Tallinn's city center by archeologists are about 5,000 years old; the comb ceramic pottery found on the site dates to about 3000 BCE and corded ware pottery c. 2500 BCE. Around 1050, the first fortress was built on Tallinn Toompea; as an important port for trade between Russia and Scandinavia, it became a target for the expansion of the Teutonic Knights and the Kingdom of Denmark during the period of Northern Crusades in the beginning of the 13th century when Christianity was forcibly imposed on the local population. Danish rule of Tallinn and Northern Estonia started in 1219. In 1285, the city known as Reval, became the northern most member of the Hanseatic League – a mercantile and military alliance of German-dominated cities in Northern Europe; the Danes sold Reval along with their other land possessions in northe
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