Pietro II Orseolo
Pietro II Orseolo (died 1009) was the Doge of Venice from 991 to 1009. He began the period of eastern expansion of Venice that lasted for the better part of 500 years. He secured his influence in the Dalmatian Romanized settlements from the Croats and Narentines, freed Venetia from a 50-year old taxation to the latter, and started Venetia's expansions by conquering Lastovo and Korčula and acquiring Dubrovnik.
Relations with Byzantium
In 992 Pietro II Orseolo concluded a treaty with the Byzantine emperor Basil II to transport Byzantine troops in exchange for commercial privileges in Constantinople. His dogaressa was Maria Candiano.
Following repeated complaints by the Dalmatian city-states in 997, the Venetian fleet under Orseolo attacked the Neretvian pirates of Neretvia on the Ascension Day in 998. Pietro then took the title of Dux Dalmatianorum (Duke of the Dalmatians), associating it with his son Giovanni Orseolo.
Scorched earth policy
On 9 May 1000 Doge Pietro II decided to finally pacify the Croatians and the Narentines during last Croatian-Bulgarian wars, protecting Venetian trade colonies and the interests of Romanized Dalmatians. Without difficulties, his fleet of 6 ships scorched the entire eastern half of the Adriatic coast, with only the Neretvians offering resistance. After the Neretvians stole goods and captured 40 tradars from Zadar, the Doge dispatched 10 ships that caught the Neretvians near the island of Kača. He captured all of them and brought them triumphantly to Split. There, Neretvian emissaries requested the release of the prisoners. Pietro II agreed provided that the Neretvian Archont himself agreed to bow before him. Moreover, the Neretvians would also have to renounce the old tax that Venetia had to pay since 948, and guarantee safe passage to Venetian ships in the Adriatic.
Pietro II released all prisoners except for 6 Narentines, whom he kept as hostages. The mainland Narentines were thus pacified, while the citizens of Korčula decided to wage war against Orseolo, but were eventually conquered. Lastovo however, continued to resist Venetian incursions. The island was infamous for being a pirate haven. In the effort to decisively quell further opposition, Pietro II ordered the evacuation of the island city. Despite continuing opposition, Pietro II eventually razed Lastovo to the ground.
At the same time that Pietro II subjugated Lastovo, the Croatian king Svetoslav Suronja fled to Venice after his forces were defeated with the help of Bulgarian support. To bolster his weakened position, King Stephen I of Croatia married Pietro II Orseolo's daughter, Joscella (Hicela) Orseolo. Their son Peter Krešimir IV become king in Croatia in 1059.
Pietro II Orseolo was married to Maria Candiano, the daughter of Vitale Candiano and niece of Doge Pietro IV Candiano. Ottone Orseolo succeeded his father, Pietro II, as the doge of Venice until 1026, while his grandson Peter reigned as King of Hungary.
The date of his victory became that of the Festa della Sensa, the Ascension Festival, the oldest festival in Venice. It was commemorated by the Doge and the bishop of Olivolo going past the Lido and blessing the waters, invoking good fortune for the Venetian navy.
- J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, 257
- Staley, Edgcumbe: The dogaressas of Venice : The wifes of the doges. London : T. W. Laurie
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