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The chief office in the historical city states of Venice and Genoa.

Venice and Genoa were medieval city states arising out of the chaos following the dissolution of the Roman Empire in Italy by barbarian invasions. Both were in protected locations and relied on sea trade for their prosperity. The chief officer of these principalities was called the "doge" (from the Latin "dux"--leader). The first doge in Venice was elected by the citizenry in 697. Starting in 1171 the election of the doge who served a two-year term was transferred to the ruling council of the city. In Venice the office came to an end when the Republic of Venice was overthrown by Napolean[?] in 1797. Altogether there were 120 doges of Venice.

An important ritual in Venice was the marriage of the doge with the sea.

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