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Francesco Molin

Francesco Molin or Francesco Da Molin (Venice, April 21, 1575 - Venice, February 27, 1655) was the 99th Doge of Venice, reigning from his election on January 20, 1646 until his death. Molin's reign is notable because of Venice's participation in a prolonged war with the Ottoman Empire over Crete; this war was begun during the reign of Molin's predecessor Francesco Erizzo, and dragged on until 1669. In order to fund the cost of this war, Molin sold access to the Venetian patriciate at a cost of 100,000 ducats per person.

Background, 1575-1645

The son of Marino Molin and Paola Barbarigo, Francesco Molin dedicated nearly his entire career to military - and particularly, naval - pursuits. As such, he served as provveditore of a number of Venetian possessions. In this, he gained a reputation as a practical and pragmatic man, and one given to diplomacy and compromise. He was chosen as Procurator of San Marco on the merits, and upon the outbreak of the Cretan War (1645–1669), he was selected as Captain General of the fleet of the Republic of Venice. He suffered from gout which rendered him intermittently unable to perform his duties.

Reign as Doge, 1646-1655

On January 20, 1646, after 23 ballots and considerable expense, Molin was elected as the 99th Doge of Venice.

During his first years as Doge, Molin strengthened Venetian forces in the area around Venice, and in Dalmatia, hoping to be able to carry the fight to Ottoman territory. Venice saw a number of victories in these years, climaxing with Venice's capture of Klis Fortress, previously believed to be impregnable, although Venice proved unable to turn this to her strategic advantage. All of Venice's naval victories were met with fresh Ottoman troops, raised from the vast expanse of the Ottoman Empire.

In an attempt to improve the situation, Venice led a fleet to the Dardanelles, where more Ottoman ships were destroyed, although a decisive Venetian victory still eluded Molin. In the campaigns of 1654 and 1655, Admiral Lazaro Mocenigo blockaded the Dardanelles; Admiral Mocenigo was killed during a third attempt, in 1657.

Given Venice's dire straits, it was forced to seek funds wherever it could. Molin determined to sell access to the Venetian nobility at a price of 100,000 ducats (60,000 ducats as a "gift" to the Most Serene Republic, and another 40,000 as a "loan"). These sales saw a number of new merchant families become Venetian patricians.

He died of a calculus on February 27, 1655.


This article was based on this article on Italian Wikipedia.

Preceded by
Francesco Erizzo
Doge of Venice
1646 – 1655
Succeeded by
Carlo Contarini


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