Pope Clement V who excommunicated Venice in 1309

On this day in history: Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice

By Region History of Italy News North-east Italy

In 1309, the lagoon city faced a crisis as Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice due to its dispute over Ferrara’s political control.

The decree of excommunication, issued on March 27, severed Venice from the Church and annulled trade agreements and religious services. Despite this, Venice resisted Papal control, leading to a subsequent crusade threat.

During this time, ecclesiastical penalties like excommunication were powerful tools for influencing populations. Venice’s defiance prompted internal rebellion, but the attempt to overthrow the government failed, resulting in the establishment of the Council of Ten.

The death of Doge Pietro Gradeningo marked a turning point. Denied religious burial due to excommunication, his passing spurred Venice towards reconciliation with the Papacy. New leadership in Venice eventually accepted Papal control over Ferrara, leading to the lifting of the excommunication.

What was the Council of Ten?

The Council of Ten, also known as Consiglio dei Dieci in Italian or Consejo de i Diexe in Venetian, played a significant role in governing the Republic of Venice from 1310 to 1797. The Council formed after Pope Clement V excommunicated Venice in 1309.

Elected annually, the body held authority to mete out punishments to patricians. Responsible for matters of state security, the Council of Ten, along with the Full College, formed the core of the oligarchical patrician rule in Venice.

Comprising ten patrician magistrates elected by the Great Council for one-year terms, the Council also included an additional group of 15 to 20 members until 1582. To ensure diversity, only one member per family could serve at a time, and re-election for consecutive terms was prohibited.

Read: Facts about Venice

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