The republic was ruled by the Doge, who was elected by members of the Great Council of Venice, the city-state's parliament. The ruling class was an oligarchy of merchants and aristocrats. Venice and other Italian maritime republics played a key role in fostering capitalism. Venetian citizens generally supported the system of governance. The city-state enforced strict laws and employed ruthless tactics in its prisons.
The opening of new trade routes to the Americas and the East Indies via the Atlantic Ocean marked the beginning of Venice's decline as a powerful maritime republic. The city state suffered defeats from the navy of the Ottoman Empire. In 1797, the republic was plundered by retreating Austrian and then French forces, following an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Republic of Venice was split into the Austrian Venetian Province, the Cisalpine Republic, a French client state, and the Ionian French departments of Greece. Venice then became a part of a unified Italy in the 19th century.
Reverse: Nimbate lion of St. Marko standing left, holding banner / + S MARCVS VENETI
Die Orientation: -
Weight: 0.94 g
Reverse: + SΛNCTVS • MΛRCVS • VENET, lion rampant left.
Die Orientation: 11 H
Weight: 1.88 g