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Pietro II Orseolo was the Doge of Venice from 991 to 1009. He began the period of eastern expansion of Venice that lasted for the better part of 500 years. He secured his influence in the Dalmatian Romanized settlements from the Croatians and Paganians, freed Venetia from a 50-year old taxation to Pagania and started Venetia's expansions by conquering Lastovo and Korčula and acquiring Dubrovnik.

In 992 Pietro II Orseolo concluded a treaty with the Byzantine emperor Basil II to transport Byzantine troops in exchange for commercial privileges in Constantinople.[1]

Following repeated complaints by the Dalmatian city-states in 997, the Venetian fleet under Orseolo attacked the Neretvian pirates of Pagania (Neretvia) on the Ascension Day in 998. Pietro then took the title of Dux Dalmatianorum (Duke of the Dalmatians), associating it with his son Giovanni Orseolo.

On 9 May 1000 Doge Pietro II decided to finally pacify the Croatians and the Pagania during last Croatian-Bulgarian wars, protecting Venice trading colonies and the interests of the Dalmatian Romanized citizenry. Without difficulties, his fleet of 6 ships scorched the entire eastern half of the Adriatic coast, with only the Neretvians offering some resistance. After the Neretvians stole goods and captured 40 tradars from Zadar, the Doge dispatched 10 ships that caught the Paganians near the island of Kača. He captured all Paganians and brought them triumphantly to Split. There, Neretvian emissaries requested the release of the prisoners, if the Neretvian Archont himself came to bow, renounce the old tax that Venetia had to pay since 948 and guarantee safe passage to Venetian ships in the Adriatic. Pietro II released all prisoners except for 6 Paganians, whom he kept as hostages. The mainland Paganians were thus pacified, while the citizens of Korčula decided to fight, but were eventually conquered. Bloody resistance was given, on Lastovo as well. The island was infamous for being a pirate haven, so Pietro II ordered the island's city to be evacuated so that it could be razed to the ground. The citizens of Lastovo refused and continued to fight. Pietro eventually won and purged and razed the City to the ground. During this expedition Croatian king Svetoslav Suronja will go in Venice exile after his forces are defeated by usurpers supported by Bulgarians. King son will marry Pietro II Orseolo daughter Joscella (Hicela) Orseolo. Grandchild from this matrimony will become Croatian king Dmitar Zvonimir in 1074. On the tiny Adriatic island of Saint Maximus, the Bishop of Ragusa came and bowed in loyalty to him in the name of Dubrovnik.

His son Ottone Orseolo was his successor as the doge of Venice until 1026[2], while his grandson Peter regined as King of Hungary.

Legacy

The date of his victory became that of the Festa della Sensa, the Ascension Festival, the oldest festival in Venice. It was commemorated by the Doge and the bishop of Olivolo going past the Lido and blessing the waters, invoking good fortune for the Venetian navy.

References

  1. ^ J. Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, 257
  2. ^ Genealogy of the Orseolo family
Political offices
Preceded by
Tribuno Memmo
Doge of Venice
991–1009
Succeeded by
Otto Orseolo
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