Reniero Zeno

Reniero Zeno

Reniero Zeno (Venetian: "Renieri Zen"; died July 7 1268) was the 45th Doge of Venice, reigning from January 1 1253 until his death in 1268.


The first references to Zeno in historical sources describe him as a diplomat in France and Italy, where he was excommunicated for having pushed Bologna to avoid paying tributes to the Papal States. In 1240 he helped Doge Jacopo Tiepolo during the siege of Ferrara and in 1244 he was named "capitano da mar" (fleet commander) of the Republic of Venice. He was also the podestà (Chief Magistrate) of numerous Italian cities.

After the death of Marino Morosini, Zeno, who was podestà of Fermo, was elected Doge with 21 out of 41 votes. In 1256-1259 he helped the Pope and Treviso in the war for the Marca Trevigiana against the Ghibelline warlord Ezzelino IV da Romano, who's death resolved the conflict. Venice in the meantime found itself engaged in a war against the Republic of Genoa, its greatest rival in the Mediterranean. The cause of the conflict was the sacking by the Genoese of the Venetian quarter in Tyre. When the future Doge Lorenzo Tiepolo destroyed the Genoese fleet in 1257, Genoa decide to install the Palaeologi dynasty of the Byzantine Empire, who as a reward assisted Genoa by blocking Venetian ships from entering the Black Sea.

Venice replied by building two large fleets which again defeated the Genoese in Morea in 1262 and in Settepozzi in 1263. In 1265 a truce was signed between the two parties.

Under Zeno's reign a series of 129 law articles were approved which gave Venice a modern maritime legislation. Zeno died in Venice in 1268.

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