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Originally appearing in Volume V08, Page 380 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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DOGE (a modified form of the Ital. duca, Lat. dux, a leader, or duke), the title of the chief magistrate in the extinct republics of Venice and Genoa. In Venice the office of doge was first instituted about 700. John the Deacon, referring to this incident in his Chronicon Venetum, written about r000, says " all the Venetian cities (omnes Venetiae) determined ' that it would be more honourable henceforth to be under dukes than under tribunes." The result was that the several tribunes were replaced by a single official who was called a doge and who became the head of the whole state.' The first doge was Paolo Lucio Anafesto, and some authorities think that the early doges were subject to the authority of the emperors of Constantinople, but in any case this subordination was of short duration. The doge held office for life and was regarded as the ecclesiastical, the civil and the military chief; his duties and prerogatives were not defined with precision and the limits of his ability and ambition were practically the limits of his power. About 800 his independence was slightly diminished by the appointment of two assistants for judicial work, but these officers soon fell into the background and the doge acquired a greater and more irresponsible authority. Concurrently with this process the position was entrusted to members of one or other of the powerful Venetian families, while several doges associated a son with themselves in the ducal office. Matters reached a climax after the fall of the Orseole family in ro26. In 1033, during the dogeship of Dominico Flabianico, this tendency towards a hereditary despotism was checked by a law which decreed that no doge had the' right to associate any member of his family with himself in his office, or to name his successor. It was probably at this time also that two councillors were appointed to advise the' doge, who must, moreover, invite the aid of prominent citizens when discussing important matters of state. In 1172 a still more important change was introduced. The ducal councillors were increased in number from two to six; universal suffrage, which theoretically still existed, was replaced by a system which entrusted the election of the doge to a committee of eleven, who were chosen by a great council of 480 members, the great council being nominated annually by twelve persons. When a new doge was chosen he was presented to the people with the formula "this is your doge, if it please you." Nominally the citizens confirmed the election, thus maintaining as a constitutional fiction the right of the whole people to choose their chief magistrate. Five years later this committee of eleven gave way to a committee of forty who were chosen by four persons selected by the great council. After the abdication of Doge Pietro Ziani in 1229 two commissions were appointed which obtained a permanent place in the constitution and which gave emphatic testimony to the fact that the doge was merely the highest servant of the community. The first of these commissions consisted of five Correttori della promissione ducale, whose duty was to consider if any change ought to be made in the terms of the oath of investiture (promissione) administered to each incoming doge, this oath, which was prepared by three officials, being a potent factor in limiting the powers of the doge. The second commission consisted of three inquisitors sopra it doge defunto, their business being to examine and pass judgment upon the acts of a deceased doge, whose estate was liable to be mulcted in accordance with their decision. In consequence of a tie at the election of 1229 the number of electors was increased from forty to forty-one. The official income of the doge was never large, and from early times many holders of the office were engaged in trading ventures. One of the principal duties of the doge was to celebrate the symbolic marriage of Venice with the sea. This was done by casting a precious ring from the state ship, the " Bucentaur," into the Adriatic. In its earlier form this ceremony was instituted to commemorate the conquest of Dalmatia by Doge Pietro Orseole II. in 1000, and was celebrated on Ascension day. It took its later anc} more magnificent form after the visit of Pope Alexander New regulations for the elections of the doge were introduced in 1268, and, with some modifications, these remained in force until the end of the republic. Their object was to minimize as far as possible the influence of the individual families, and this was effected by a very complex machinery. Thirty members of the great council, chosen by lot, were reduced, again by lot, to nine; the nine chose forty and the forty were reduced by lot to twelve, who chose twenty-five. The twenty-five were lot to nine and the nine elected forty-five. Then the forty-five were reduced by lot to eleven, and the eleven chose the forty-one, who actually elected the doge. As the oligarchical element in the constitution developed, the more important functions of the ducal office were assigned to other officials, or to administrative boards, and he who had once been the pilot of the ship became little more than an animated figurehead, properly draped and garnished. On state occasions he was surrounded by an increasing amount of ceremonial, and in international relations he had the status of a sovereign prince of the first rank. But he was under the strictest surveillance. He must wait for the presence of other officials before opening despatches from foreign powers; he was for-bidden to leave the city and was not allowed to possess any property in a foreign land. To quote H. F. Brown, " his pomp was splendid, his power limited; he appears as a symbol rather than as a factor in the constitution, the outward and visible sign of the impersonal oligarchy." The office, however, was main-4ained until the closing days of the republic, and from time to time it was held by men who were able to make it something more than a sonorous title. The last doge was Lodovico Manin, who abdicated in May 1797, when Venice passed under the power of Napoleon. In Genoa the institution of the doge dates from 1339. At first he was elected without restriction and by popular suffrage, holding office for life; 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 and the little councils, who employed for this purpose a machinery almost as complex as that of the later Venetians. The Napoleonic Wars put an end to the office of doge at Genoa. See Cecchetti, II Doge di Venezia (1864) ; Musatti, Stosia della promissione ducale (Padua, 1888) ; and H. F. Brown, Venice: a Historical Sketch (1893). DOG-FISH, a name applied to several species of the smaller sharks, and given in common with such names as hound and beagle, owing to the habit these fishes have of pursuing or hunt-ing their prey in packs. The small-spotted dog-fish or rough hound (Scyllium canicula) and the large-spotted or nurse hound (Scyllium catulus) are also known as ground-sharks. They keep near the sea bottom, feeding chiefly on,,the smaller fishes and Crustacea, and causing great annoyance to the fishermen by the readiness with which they take bait. They differ from the majority of sharks, and resemble the rays in being oviparous. The eggs are enclosed in semi-transparent horny cases, known on the British coasts as " mermaids' purses," and these have tendril-like prolongations from each of the four corners, by means of which they are moored to sea-weed or some other fixed object near the shore, until the young dog-fish is ready to make its exit. The larger of these species attains a length of 4 to 5 ft., the smaller rarely more than 30 in. The picked dog-fish (Aaanthias vulganis, formerly known as Squalus acanthias) is pre-eminently the dog-fish. It is the most abundant of.the British sharks, and occurs in the temperate seas of both northern, and southern hemispheres. It attains a length of 4 ft., but the usual length is 2 to 3 ft., the female, as in most sharks, being larger than the male. The body is round and tapering, the snout projects, and the mouth is placed ventrally some distance from the end of the snout. There are two dorsal fins, each of which is armed on its anterior edge with a sharp and slightly curved spine, hence its name " picked." This species is viviparous, the female producing five to nine young at a birth; the young when born are 9 to 10 in. long and quite similar to the parents in all respects except size. It is gregarious, and is abundant at all seasons everywhere on the British coasts. In 1858 an enormous shoal of dog-fish, many square miles in extent, appeared in the north of Scotland, when, says J. Couch, " they were to be found floating in myriads on the surface of every harbour." They are the special enemies of the fisherman, injuring his nets, removing the hooks from his lines, and spoiling his fish for the market by biting pieces out of them as they hang on his lines. They are however eaten, both fresh and salted, by fishermen, especially on the west coast of England, and they are sold regularly in the French markets.
End of Article: DOGE

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