Enrico Dandolo

Enrico Dandolo (* 1107, † June 21, 1205 ) was the 41st Doge of Venice. He reigned from 1192 to 1205. During his tenure, the Fourth Crusade was.


Dandolo came from the prominent Venetian family of Dandolo, which has provided a total of four Doge: Save Enrico Dandolo Giovanni the Doge Francesco Dandolo and Andrea Dandolo. Two women of the family were married to doges, Giovanna Dandolo with Pasqual Malipiero and Zilia Dandolo with Lorenzo Priuli. Enrico's father Vitale was a close advisor to the Doge Vitale Michiel II, an uncle, who also was called Enrico, the Patriarch of Grado was. These men were both old, so the young Enrico stood up to his sixties in its shadow.

His son was Ranieri Dandolo, who represented him from 1202 to 1205 as Vizedoge in Venice. His granddaughter Anna Dandolo was married to the Serbian king Stefan Nemanjić.


First political experiences

Dandolos first appearance on the political scene took place in 1171 and 1172, when the Byzantine government first possession confiscated thousands of Venetians and then imprisoning them ( cf. Venetian economic history ). Due to the applied popular will, the Doge had seen initially forced to collect troops for a retaliatory expedition. This was, however, decimated by disease in the spring of 1171 apart. Instead Dandolo and the other ambassadors were sent to Constantinople to negotiate Opel.

In the following years Dandolo traveled twice on a diplomatic mission to King William II of Sicily in 1183 and again after Konstantin Opel to negotiate with Emperor Manuel I Komnenos on the restoration of the Venetian Quarter in the city. According to legend, Emperor Manuel I Comnenus allegedly ordered to dazzle the Venetian ambassador, a torment which also met, for example, the Byzantine emperor Alexios V. and Isaac II.

Election as Doge

He was 85 years old (or at least in the late seventies ) when he came into office in 1192. He was physically and intellectually extraordinarily powerful. 1202 beached the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade in Venice and were not in a position to pay for the many rented Venice ships, as far fewer troops than expected enlisted. Dandolo realized that the only way to use the ships advantageous was to send a Venetian contingent on the crusade.

In a poignant and sensational ceremony in the Basilica San Marco Dandolo took the cross. Soon, thousands of Venetians followed his example. Dandolo came quickly to the forefront of Venetian crusade movement.

Zadar and Konstantin Opel

Originally, the direct crossing to Egypt was scheduled Dandolo, however, the troops convinced, in the Dalmatian and earlier temporarily controlled by Venice port city of Zara, now Zadar, which was under Croatian- Hungarian rule, to land. Many crusaders refused for their help. However, most were inspired by Dandolos promise that their accumulated during the waiting time in Venice debt would be repaid, convince. Pope Innocent III. forbade the attack and excommunicated the entire army of crusaders for it.

Zara was captured after a short siege on 15 November 1202 and devastated. Shortly thereafter met Alexius Angelus, son of the deposed Byzantine emperor Isaac II, in the city and persuaded the leaders of the crusaders to besiege Constantinople Opel in order to get to the throne of the Byzantine Empire. When Constantine Opel finally fell on 12 April 1204 Dandolo was much involved as one of the leaders. He was still vigorous enough to participate in an expedition against the Bulgarians and died 1205 He is buried in the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople Opel. ; his grave is still preserved, even if easy to overlook it because of its smallness.


It is not known when and how Dandolo became blind or had only a visual impairment. One of circulating after the Fourth Crusade ( and accepted by some historians ) narrative according to which he was blinded during his mission in 1171 by the Byzantines. But more likely it was due to a head injury between 1176 and his inaugural Dogenamtes the 1192nd


  • Palma il Giovane: Victory before Constantine Opel to 1587, Sala del Consiglio Maggior, Doge's Palace, Venice