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(Venetian Italian: duke) Highest official of the republic of Venice in the 8th–18th century. The office originated when the city was nominally subject to the Byzantine empire and became permanent in the 8th century. The doge was chosen from among the ruling families of Venice and held office for life. He held extensive power, as evidenced by the rule of Enrico Dandolo (r. 1192–1205), though from the 12th century the aristocracy placed limits on the doge's authority. Under Francesco Foscari (r.1423–57), Venice undertook the first conquests of the Italian mainland. The last doge was deposed when Napoleon conquered northern Italy in 1797.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on doge, visit Britannica.com.