Doge of Genoa

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Giovanni Francesco II Brignole Sale, Doge of Genoa from 1746 to 1748
Flag of Genoa

The Doge of Genoa (Latin: Januensium dux et populi defensor, "Genoese Duke and People's Defender") was the ruler of the Republic of Genoa, a communal republic and a state of the Holy Roman Empire, from 1338 until the state's extinction in 1797. Originally elected for life, after 1528 the Doges were elected for terms of two years. In actuality, the Republic (or Dogate) was an oligarchy ruled by a small group of merchant families, from whom the doges were selected.

According to Christine Shaw: "Genoese doges were essentially faction leaders, in charge of the defense of Genoa and her territory. . . Some of them liked to see themselves as effectively lords of the city, but they were not."

History[edit]

The Palace of the Doges view from Piazza Matteotti.

The first doge ("duke") of Genoa, Simone Boccanegra, whose name is kept alive by Verdi's opera, was appointed by public acclaim in 1339. Initially the Doge of Genoa was elected without restriction and by popular suffrage, holding office for life in the so-called "perpetual dogate"; but after the reform effected by Andrea Doria in 1528 the term of his office was reduced to two years. At the same time plebeians were declared ineligible, and the appointment of the doge was entrusted to the members of the great council, the Gran Consiglio, who employed for this purpose a political system almost as complex as that of the later Venetians.

The Palazzo Pubblico, where the doges had formerly presided, was expanded in 1388 to accommodate the new ruler and style of government, the first of a series of radical reconstructions. It was renamed Palazzo Ducale and magnificently rebuilt in the 16th century. Until recently the palazzo housed courts, but it now functions as Genoa's cultural center.

Of all the "perpetual" doges of Genoa who ruled for their lifetime, only one ruled for more than eight years. Many resigned or were driven out before taking office. Some failed to complete a single day in power. Between 1339 and 1528, only four doges were legally elected. Genoa did not trust its doges; the ruling caste of Genoa tied them to executive committees, kept them on a small budget, and kept them apart from the communal revenues held at the "Casa di San Giorgio". Not surprisingly, the doges of Genoa have been less renowned than the doges of Venice.

Still, the position of doge stood at the head of state patronage, and the city's inner group of leading merchant families vied with each other to place their man in the position. Rival elections were known to take place within the building. In 1389, a frustrated candidate made a surprise return from enforced exile accompanied by 7,000 supporters, and after dining amicably with the incumbent, politely but firmly ejected him, thanking him for serving so ably as his deputy during his own "unavoidable absence" from Genoa.

Bust of Giovanni Battista Cambiaso, Doge of Genoa between 1771 and 1773, Royal Castle in Warsaw.

For generations two powerful families in Genoa all but monopolized the dogate: the Adorno, supporters of imperial power in the Middle Ages, and the Campofregoso or Fregoso, supporters of papal power. Tomaso di Campofregoso became doge three times: in 1415, 1421 and 1437. In 1461, Paolo Fregoso, archbishop of Genoa, enticed the current doge to his own palace, held him hostage and offered him the choice of retiring from the post or being hanged. When Fregoso was in due course himself toppled, he fled to the harbor, commandeered four galleys and launched himself on a whole new career as a pirate. While the doge's palace in Venice accumulated great furnishings and works of art over the years, in Genoa, each doge was expected to arrive with his own furnishings and, when he left, to strip the palace to its bare walls.

Genoa's power peaked early, and it was eclipsed by Venice. In the 16th century the republic enjoyed a dramatic revival under the leadership of the admiral, statesman and patron of the arts Andrea Doria who ruled the state as a virtual dictator but never actually became doge. It was through the Spanish empire in the New World that Genoa became rich again. Doria served the Spanish Habsburgs as admiral-in-chief, and the bankers of Genoa handled Spain's financial business, which vastly enriched Genoa's banking oligarchy.

The Napoleonic Wars put an end to the office of doge at Genoa. In 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte incorporated Genoa into the newly organized Ligurian Republic, French soldiers and the city's mob ransacked the doge's palace.

List of Doges of Genoa[edit]

Lifetime office-holders[edit]

Doges elected for two years[edit]

From 1528 to 1599[edit]

From To Doge Notes
12 October 1528 4 January 1530 Oberto Cattaneo Lazzari
4 January 1531 4 January 1533 Battista Spinola
4 January 1533 4 January 1535 Battista Lomellini
4 January 1535 4 January 1537 Cristoforo Rosso Grimaldi
4 January 1537 4 January 1539 Giovanni Battista Doria
4 January 1539 4 January 1541 Giannandrea Lungo Giustiniani
4 January 1541 4 January 1543 Leonardo Cattaneo della Volta
4 January 1543 4 January 1545 Andrea Centurione Pietrasanta
4 January 1545 4 January 1547 Giovanni Battista De Fornari
4 January 1547 4 January 1549 Benedetto Gentile Pevere
4 January 1549 4 January 1551 Gaspare Grimaldi Bracelli
4 January 1551 4 January 1553 Luca Spinola
4 January 1553 4 January 1555 Giacomo Promontorio
4 January 1555 4 January 1557 Agostino Pinello Ardimenti
4 January 1557 3 December 1558 Pietro Giovanni Chiavica Cibo (died in office)
4 January 1559 4 January 1561 Girolamo Vivaldi
4 January 1561 27 September 1561 Paolo Battista Giudice Calvi (died in office)
4 October 1561 4 October 1563 Battista Cicala Zoaglio
7 October 1563 7 October 1565 Giovanni Battista Lercari
11 October 1565 11 October 1567 Odorico Ottavio Gentile
15 October 1567 3 October 1569 Simone Spinola
6 October 1569 6 October 1571 Paolo Giustiniani Moneglia
10 October 1571 10 October 1573 Gianotto Lomellini
16 October 1573 17 October 1575 Giacomo Durazzo Grimaldi
17 October 1575 17 October 1577 Prospero Centurione Fattinanti
19 October 1577 19 October 1579 Giovanni Battista Gentile Pignolo
20 October 1579 20 October 1581 Nicolò Doria
21 October 1581 21 October 1583 Gerolamo De Franchi Toso
4 November 1583 4 November 1585 Gerolamo Chiavari
8 November 1585 13 November 1587 Ambrogio Di Negro
14 November 1587 14 November 1589 Davide Vacca or Vaccari
20 November 1589 15 November 1591 Battista Negrone
27 November 1591 26 November 1593 Gio. Agostino Campi Giustiniani
27 November 1593 26 November 1595 Antonio Cebà Grimaldi
5 December 1595 4 December 1597 Matteo Senarega
7 December 1597 15 February 1599 Lazzaro Cebà Grimaldi

From 1599 to 1650[edit]

From To Doge Notes
22 February 1599 21 February 1601 Lorenzo Sauli
24 February 1601 25 February 1603 Agostino Doria
26 February 1603 27 February 1605 Pietro (Sacco) De Franchi
1 March 1605 2 March 1607 Luca (De Castro) Grimaldi
3 March 1607 17 March 1607 Silvestro Invrea
22 March 1607 23 March 1609 Gerolamo Assereto
1 April 1609 2 April 1611 Agostino Luciani Pinello
6 April 1611 6 April 1613 Alessandro Longo Giustiniani
21 April 1613 21 April 1615 Tomaso Spinola
25 April 1615 25 April 1617 Bernardo Clavarezza
25 April 1617 29 April 1619 Giovanni Giacomo (Tartaro) Imperiale
2 May 1619 2 May 1621 Pietro Durazzo
4 May 1621 12 June 1621 Ambrogio Doria (died in office)
22 June 1621 22 June 1623 Giorgio Centurione
25 June 1623 16 June 1625 Federico De Franchi
16 June 1625 25 June 1627 Giacomo Lomellini
28 June 1627 28 June 1629 Giovanni Luca Chiavari
26 June 1629 26 June 1631 Andrea Spinola
30 June 1631 30 June 1633 Leonardo Della Torre
5 July 1633 5 July 1635 Giovanni Stefano Doria
11 July 1635 11 July 1637 Gio. Francesco Brignole Sale
13 July 1637 13 July 1639 Agostino Pallavicini
28 July 1639 28 July 1641 Giovanni Battista Durazzo
14 August 1641 19 June 1642 Giovanni Agostino De Marini (died in office)
4 July 1642 4 July 1644 Giovanni Battista Lercari
21 July 1644 21 July 1646 Luca Giustiniani
24 July 1646 24 July 1648 Giovanni Battista Lomellini
1 August 1648 1 August 1650 Giacomo (Toso) De Franchi

From 1650 to 1699[edit]

From To Doge Notes
23 August 1650 23 August 1652 Agostino Centurione
8 September 1652 8 September 1654 Gerolamo De Franchi
9 October 1654 9 October 1656 Alessandro Spinola
12 October 1656 12 October 1658 Giulio Sauli
15 October 1658 15 October 1660 Giovani Battista Centurione
28 October 1660 22 March 1661 Gian Bernardo Frugoni (died in office)
28 March 1661 29 March 1663 Antoniotto Invrea
13 April 1663 12 April 1665 Stefano De Mari
18 April 1665 18 April 1667 Cesare Durazzo
10 May 1667 10 May 1669 Cesare Gentile
18 June 1669 18 June 1671 Francesco Garbarino
27 June 1671 27 June 1673 Alessandro Grimaldi
5 July 1673 4 July 1675 Agostino Saluzzo
11 July 1675 11 July 1677 Antonio Da Passano
16 July 1677 16 July 1679 Giannettino Odone
29 July 1679 29 July 1681 Agostino Spinola
13 August 1681 13 August 1683 Luca Maria Invrea
18 August 1683 18 August 1685 Francesco Maria Lercari Imperiale
23 August 1685 23 August 1687 Pietro Durazzo
27 August 1687 27 August 1689 Luca Spinola
31 August 1689 1 September 1691 Oberto Della Torre
4 September 1691 5 September 1693 Giovanni Battista Cattaneo
9 September 1693 9 September 1695 Francesco Invrea
16 September 1695 16 September 1697 Bendinelli Negrone
19 September 1697 26 May 1699 Francesco Maria Sauli (died in office)

From 1699 to 1750[edit]

From To Doge Notes
3 June 1699 3 June 1701 Girolamo De Mari
7 June 1701 7 June 1703 Federico De Franchi
1 August 1703 1 August 1705 Antonio Cebà Grimaldi
22 August 1705 22 August 1707 Stefano Onorato Ferreti
9 September 1707 9 September 1709 Domenico Maria De Mari
14 September 1709 14 September 1711 Vincenzo Durazzo
22 September 1711 22 September 1713 Francesco Maria Imperiale
22 September 1713 22 September 1715 Giovanni Antonio Giustiniani
26 September 1715 26 September 1717 Lorenzo Centurione
30 September 1717 30 September 1719 Benedetto Viale
4 October 1719 4 October 1721 Ambrogio Imperiale
8 October 1721 8 October 1723 Cesare De Franchi
13 October 1723 13 October 1725 Domenico Negrone
18 January 1726 18 January 1728 Gerolamo Veneroso
22 January 1728 22 January 1730 Luca Grimaldi
20 January 1730 20 January 1732 Francesco Maria Balbi
29 January 1732 29 January 1734 Domenico Maria Spinola
3 February 1734 3 February 1736 Stefano Durazzo
7 February 1736 7 February 1738 Nicolò Cattaneo
7 February 1738 7 February 1740 Costantini Balbi
16 February 1740 16 February 1742 Nicolò Spinola
20 February 1742 20 February 1744 Domenico Canevaro
1 February 1744 1 February 1746 Lorenzo De Mari
3 March 1746 3 March 1748 Gian Francesco Brignole Sale II
6 March 1748 6 March 1750 Cesare Cattaneo Della Volta

From 1750 to 1797[edit]

From To Doge Notes
10 March 1750 10 March 1752 Agostino Viale
28 March 1752 7 June 1752 Stefano Lomellini Abdicated
7 June 1752 7 June 1754 Giovanni Battista Grimaldi
23 June 1754 23 June 1756 Gian Giacomo Veneroso
22 June 1756 22 June 1758 Giovanni Giacomo Grimaldi
22 August 1758 22 August 1760 Matteo Franzoni
22 September 1760 10 September 1762 Agostino Lomellini
25 November 1762 25 November 1764 Rodolfo Giulio Brignole Sale
29 January 1765 29 January 1767 Francesco Maria Della Rovere
3 February 1767 3 February 1769 Marcello Durazzo
16 February 1769 16 February 1771 Giovanni Battista Negrone
16 April 1771 16 April 1773 Giovanni Battista Cambiaso
7 January 1773 9 January 1773 Ferdinando Spinola
26 January 1773 26 January 1775 Pier Franco Grimaldi
31 January 1775 31 January 1777 Brizio Giustiniani
4 February 1777 4 February 1779 Giuseppe Lomellini
4 March 1779 4 March 1781 Giacomo Maria Brignole
8 March 1781 8 March 1783 Marco Antonio Gentile
6 May 1783 6 May 1785 Giovanni Battista Ayroli
6 June 1785 6 June 1787 Gian Varlo Pallavicino
4 July 1787 4 July 1789 Raffaele De Ferrari
30 July 1789 30 July 1791 Alerame Maria Pallavicini
3 September 1791 3 September 1793 Michelangelo Cambiaso
16 September 1793 16 September 1795 Giuseppe Maria Doria
17 November 1795 17 November 1797 Giacomo Maria Brignole after whom Genoa was annexed by Napoleon

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Steven Epstein. Genoa and the Genoese. p. 243
  2. ^ expelled from office by archbishop Paolo Fregoso of Genoa

External links[edit]