Orso Ipato: The First True Venetian Doge

During the Iconoclastic Controversy of the 8th and 9th centuries – a dispute within the Byzantine over the use of religious images and icons – Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (717-41) denounced the worship of icons, eventually ordering their prohibition and destruction.


Venice – siding with Rome – opposed this decision. In their opposition, Venetians armed and revolted, subsequently nominating their own doge, Orso Ipato, in 726.


While Paoluccio Anafesto, elected in 697, may have been the first leader in Venice to bear the title (from the Latin dux), he was still a representative of Byzantium. Ipato, by contrast, was the first doge elected without external intervention, and as such is remembered as the first true Venetian doge.


Though Byzantium maintained some level of power in Venice for a period of time, having appointed a number of administrators, its authority entered decline after the middle of the 8th century. Around this time, the Lombards captured Ravenna, the seat of Byzantine power in Italy, and its exarchate leadership subsequently collapsed in 751.




Horodowich, E. (Philadelphia). A Brief History of Venice. 2009: Running Press Book Publishers.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. (n.d.). Iconoclastic Controversy. Retrieved from Encyclopaedia Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/event/Iconoclastic-Controversy


Image Source:

http://www.cnicg.net/dogi/, via Wikimedia Commons

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