1677, Doges of Venice, Domenico Contarini II. Large Silver Ducato Coin.
Mint Year: 1677
Denomination: Ducato (Ducato Nuovo)
Reference: Davenport 4274, KM-4274.
Mint Master: Sebastiano Badoer (SB, 1677)
Doge: Domenico Contarini II (Doge, 1659-1675)
Obverse: Lion of St. Mark left, with right paw on book of gospels beneath castle tower.
Legend: DVCATVS . VENETVS *
Reverse: Doge kneeling before nimbate St. Mark seated on throne and receiving docal banner with two long terminals.
Legend: * S . M . VEN . ALOYSIVS CONT . D
Exergue: * S . B *
The Doge (Venetian language, also Doxe, derived from Latin Dux military leader, duke; cf. English Duke, Italian Duce) was the chief magistrate and leader of the Most Serene Republic of Venice for over a thousand years. Doges of Venice were elected for life by the city-state’s aristocracy. Commonly the person selected as Doge was the shrewdest elder in the city. The Venetian combination of elaborate monarchic pomp and a republican constitution with intricate checks and balances makes La serenissima a textbook example of a crowned republic.
Alvise Contarini (Venice, October 24 1601 – Venice, 15 January 1684) was the 106th doge of the Republic of Venice from 26 August 1676 until his death. He was a acknowledged diplomat and leader, who often assisted in resolving wars with peacefull diplomatic methods. He was a welcomed and effective negotiator in the wars against the turks and during the 30 years war.
The Contarini´s are were a Venetian family, who gave to the republic eight doges and many other eminent citizens. The story of their descent from the Roman family of Cotta, appointed prefects of the Reno valley (whence Cotta Reni or Conti del Reno), is probably a legend. One Mario Contarini was among the twelve electors of the doge Paulo Lucio Anafesto in 697. Domenico Contarini, elected doge in 1043, subjugated rebellious Dalmatia and recaptured Grado from the patriarch of Aquileia. He died in 1070. Jacopo was doge from 1275 to 1280. Andrea was elected doge in 1367, and during his reign the war of Chioggia took place (1380); he was the first to melt down his plate and mortgage his property for the benefit of the state. Other Contarini doges were: Francesco (1623-1624), Niccolo (1630-1631), who built the church of the Salute, Carlo (1655-1656), during whose reign the Venetians gained the naval victory of the Dardanelles, Domenico (1659-1675) and Alvise (1676-1684). There were at one time no less than eighteen branches of the family; one of the most important was that of Contarini dallo Zaffo or di Giaffa, who had been invested with the countship of Jaffa in Syria for their services to Caterina Cornaro, queen of Cyprus; another was that of Contarini degli Scrigni (of the coffers), so called on account of their great wealth. Many members of the family distinguished themselves in the service of the republic, in the wars against the Turks, and no less than seven Contarini fought at Lepanto. One Andrea Contarini was beheaded in 1430 for having wounded the doge Francesco Foscari on the nose. Other members of the house were famous as merchants, prelates and men of letters; among these we may mention Cardinal Gasparo Contarini (1483-1542), and Marco Contarini (1631-1689), who was celebrated as a patron of music and collected at his villa of Piazzola a large number of valuable musical MSS., now in the Marciana library at Venice. The family owned many palaces in various parts of Venice, and several streets still bear its name.