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Francesco Morosini
Doge of Venice
Francesco Morosini.JPG
Reign 3 April 1688 – 16 January 1694
Born 26 February 1619
Birthplace Venice
Died 16 January 1694
Place of death Napoli di Romagna (Nafplio)

Francesco Morosini (1619 – 1694) was the Doge of Venice from 1688 to 1694, at the height of the Great Turkish War. He was a member of famous noble Venetian family (the Morosini family) which produced several Doges and generals. [1]

Contents

Early career

Morosini first rose to prominence as Captain-General of the Venetian forces on Crete during the siege of Candia by the Ottoman Empire. He was eventually forced to surrender the city, and was accused of cowardice and treason on his return to Venice; however, he was acquitted after a brief trial.[1]

In 1685, at the outbreak of the Morean War, Morosini took command of a fleet against the Ottomans and sacked Koroni. Over the next several years, he captured most of the Morea with the help of Otto Wilhelm Königsmarck. His fame reached such heights that he was given the victory title Peloponnesiacus, and was the first Venetian citizen to have a bronze bust placed during his own lifetime in the Great Hall, with the inscription Francisco Morosini Peloponnesiaco, adhuc vivendi, Senatus.[2]

His "Fortunate Shot"

Engraving showing Morosini as Captain General.

During the siege of Athens in 1687, his artillery turned the Parthenon from a functioning building to a simple ruin, and he personally oversaw the looting of many of the surviving sculptures. The Parthenon was used as a powder magazine by the Ottoman Turks when on September 26 1687 Morosini's cannons scored a direct hit on the edifice. An attache of the Swedish field commander General Otto Wilhelm Königsmarck wrote later: "How it dismayed His Excellency to destroy the beautiful temple which had existed three thousand years!". By contrast Morosini, who was the commander in chief of the operation described it in his report to the Venetian government as a "fortunate shot". Not satisfied with the destruction he had wrought so far Morosini tried to loot Athena's horses but the attempt resulted in the masterpieces being smashed to bits on the rock below. The Ottoman Empire regained possession of the monument in the following year and having noticed the demand began to sell souvenirs to Westerners. [3]

Doge

In the summer of 1688 Morosini, now having been proclaimed Doge, attacked Euboea, but was unable to capture it, and was forced to return to Venice when plague broke out among his troops. He embarked on a final campaign in 1693, but was again unsuccessful in taking Negropont, and returned to Venice after sacking some minor coastal towns. After his death in 1694, a large marble arch was placed in his honor at the Doge's Palace, while his cat—which Morosini was notably fond of—was embalmed and taken to the Museo Correr.

Commemoration

Medal struck in Morosini's honour for his military exploits in the Morean War.
  • The Scuola Navale Militare Francesco Morosini named for him
  • Ship Francesco Morosini (Ruggiero Di Lauria Class), launched 30 July 1885, named for him

References

  1. ^ a b Encyclopedia Britannica, Morosini Family, 2008, O.Ed.
  2. ^ Finlay, George (1856). The History of Greece under Othoman and Venetian Domination. London: William Blackwood and Sons. p. 220.  
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, Athens, The Acropolis, p.6/20, 2008, O.Ed.

See also

Preceded by
Marcantonio Giustinian
Doge of Venice
1688 – 1694
Succeeded by
Silvestro Valiero







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